Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 31, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Pension Administrator
Scholz & Friends Enlightened Retirement Group, Inc.
in TX

Health & Welfare Department Manager
MidAmerica Administrative & Retirement Solutions
in FL

Defined Contribution Plan Consultant
BPAS
in PA

Relationship Manager - Firm Relations
Principal Financial Group
in AZ, CA, CO, DC, GA, IA, IL, IN, MA, MN, MO, NC, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT

Pension Administrator
East Bay TPA Firm in Northern CA
in CA

Defined Contribution / 401k Retirement Plan Administrator
Pension Consultants, Inc.
in CT

Consultant - Defined Contribution Practice
Aon
in NJ

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[Guidance Overview]

Health Benefits for Domestic Partners: Tax and Coverage Rules for Employers (PDF)
39 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] When are employers required to offer coverage to domestic partners, and what type? [2] What is a company-defined domestic partner, and what are the typical conditions? [3] What information can you ask for to verify domestic partner status? [4] How does imputed income apply depending on domestic partner type and tax dependent status? What are the differences between state and federal law? [5] What about account-based plans such as health FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs?
ABD Insurance & Financial Services

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[Guidance Overview]

QSEHRA: 21st Century Cures Act Creates a New Health Care Plan Option for Small Employers
"QSEHRA funds may be used for many qualifying medical expenses, not just premiums.... The employer must give written notice of the benefit to employees no later than 90 days prior to the start of the plan year.... As of [March 31], the notice requirement had been suspended by the IRS until further guidance on the contents of the notice is issued. See IRS Notice 2017-20."
Mintz Levin

[Guidance Overview]

Revisiting the ACA: What Employer Provisions Remain Intact for Now
"For as much as the [ACA] (ACA) focused on expanding coverage for the previously uninsured and underinsured, it also extended protections to employees receiving health insurance through their employer. After last week's cancellation of the vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House Republican plan to repeal the ACA, it is important to take a step back and revisit some of the major ACA employer provisions that remain intact for now."
McDonald Hopkins

[Guidance Overview]

Major ACA Changes for Employers Still Possible This Year: An In-Depth Look at What's at Stake (PDF)
"[It] is possible that Congress will pass bipartisan legislation this year that revises certain aspects of the ACA, including the Cadillac Tax and employer mandate ... Regardless of any legislative action by Congress, however, the federal agencies with enforcement authority over the current ACA rules can issue, revise, or withdraw regulatory and sub-regulatory guidance regarding certain aspects of the ACA, including those that impact [group health plans] and employer-sponsors. Further, the outcome of House v. Price, a pending federal court case that challenges [HHS] use of federal funds to pay for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies on the public health insurance exchanges, could have a significant impact on the individual insurance market, forcing Congress to reopen debate about ACA-related legislation."
Trucker Huss

Employers Expanding Wellness Definition and Opportunities
"A key to connecting with employees is recognizing a new approach that moves beyond one-size-fits-all is needed. With five generations in the workplace, a successful wellness program must evolve to meet the varying needs of employees at different life stages."
Healthcare Trends Institute

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Almost Half of Doctors Support a Single-Payer Healthcare System
"48% of the 500 doctors who responded said they would support a single-payer system that would provide healthcare insurance to everyone ... Doctors said the current fragmented system is a barrier for patients who either don't have health insurance or can't find a doctor who accepts their coverage[.]"
FierceHealthcare

Strike One on Health Care Reform: Where Do We Go from Here?
"There are conflicting reports on the status of health care reform ... Extreme measures have been proposed, including repealing the ACA in its entirety without seeking a replacement. More moderate options also have been proposed, and there are seventy pending bills that already have been proposed in the current Congressional session. Others have suggested that a bipartisan measure ultimately may have the best chance of becoming law."
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Bill Aims to Offer ACA Exchange Relief
"The bill would allow people with no options to buy insurance with their ACA subsidies outside of the exchanges, as long as they purchase a plan that's been approved by their state for sale in the individual market. The program would be available to people living in counties that [HHS] has certified to have no exchange plans available."
FierceHealthcare

[Opinion]

The Trump Administration Needs to Decide if They Are In or Out
"Right now, there are two key questions the Trump administration has to answer: [1] Will they pull the plug on the low-income cost sharing subsidies? If they do, the cost to the health plans would be about $8 million a month for every 100,000 cost sharing people they cover. [2] Are they going to enforce the individual mandate or not? ... The individual mandate was never terribly effective, but it did get people's attention. Putting the word out that you don't have to sign up until you are sick would about finish things off."
Bob Laszewski's Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review

[Opinion]

The Economic Effects of Repealing the Job Killing Provisions of Obamacare (PDF)
13 presentation slides. "Repealing the ACA would, by 2026: [1] Increase real GDP by $393 billion, or 1.97%. [2] Increase private sector employment by 874,000, or 0.49%. [3] Increase personal income by $174 billion, or 0.76%. [4] Have reduced federal revenue cumulatively by $692 billion, or 1.60%."
National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA]

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Death of the Substantial Compliance Doctrine?
"The days of the substantial compliance doctrine ... appear to be at an end in the Second Circuit. But plan fiduciaries expecting to rest easy, because their ERISA disability benefits litigations are likely to arise elsewhere, should think again. On December 16, 2016, the DOL issued final revisions to the Claims Procedure regulation ... [P]lan fiduciaries can likely expect courts all over the country to increase scrutiny of administrators' claim handling procedures, especially with respect to disability claims."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

Senate Committee Confirms Secretary of Labor Nominee
"R. Alexander Acosta was confirmed as Secretary of Labor by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on [March 30]. The committee voted 12-11 along party lines; a full Senate vote is expected soon."
Pensions & Investments

Bridge Your Engagement Gap -- Go Mobile
"Consumers are getting their information through smartphone apps; whether it's shopping, paying for coffee, checking train schedules, hailing a taxi -- you name it. [Those] responsible for internal communication need to embrace the fact that employees want to get their benefits info like they get everything else -- through an app[.]"
Frenkel Benefits

Court Upholds Eroding Defense Expense Provision; ERISA Exclusion Bars Coverage for Constitutional and Statutory Civil Rights Claims
"A number of underlying lawsuits were brought against the insured alleging that it underfunded its retirement plan and trust. The suits alleged beaches of contract and fiduciary duty, as well as violations of the Mississippi and United States constitutions and 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. The insurer defended the insured under a reservation of rights. The insurer then filed an action seeking a declaration that defense costs were included in the limit of liability and that no coverage existed under the EPL coverage part due to the Employee Benefits Law Exclusion.... On appeal, the Fifth Circuit recognized that defense costs erode the limit of liability under the plain language of the policy.... The court further held that the Employee Benefit Law Exclusion barred coverage for claims not only under ERISA and related laws but also based on federal and state constitutions and statutes, including Section 1983 claims." [Federal Ins. Co. v. Singing River Health Sys., No. 15-60876 (5th Cir. Mar. 1, 2017)]
Wiley Rein LLP

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

States and Municipalities Propose CEO Pay Ratio Tax
"[T]he city of Portland, Oregon ... increases its corporate tax rate by 10% for a public company with a CEO pay ratio of 100:1 and by 25% for a public company with a CEO pay ratio of greater than 250:1.... Rhode Island and Minnesota currently have proposed tax rules that are substantially similar to the Portland tax provision. In other jurisdictions, the tax proposals range from the nominal ($2,500 annual filing fee in Illinois) to the material (potential as high as 25% corporate income tax rate in Connecticut) based on the level of a company's proxy-disclosed CEO pay ratio."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Press Releases

Pension Rights Center Has Moved
Pension Rights Center

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2017 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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