Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 5, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Manager, Client Services
Newport Group
in FL, NC

DB Administrator
Swerdlin & Company
in GA

401(k) Account Manager
LT Trust
in CO

Executive Director
Connecticut Coalition of Taft-Hartley Health Funds, Inc
in CT

Retirement Plan Consultant
Intac Actuarial Services
in NJ, NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

Due Diligence When Replacing Plan Vendors
April 18, 2017 in CA
Western Pension & Benefits Council - San Diego Chapter

ERISA Successor and Affiliate Liability in Asset Sales and Distressed Benefit Plans
May 2, 2017 WEBCAST
Strafford

2017 Telehealth Bootcamp - Part 1
May 16, 2017 in IL
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
June 26, 2017 in CA
FIS Relius Education

Just for ERPAs Workshop - Chicago, IL
September 5, 2017 in IL
FIS Relius Education

2017 Telehealth Bootcamp - Part 2
September 12, 2017 in IL
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

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[Guidance Overview]

Qualified HRAs Now Permitted for Small Employers
"Although the IRS has indefinitely extended the timeframe for the notice requirement, from a practical standpoint, any employer that adopts a QSEHRA should make a reasonable good faith effort to provide notice to participants containing the information prescribed by the Cures Act.... Since one of the requirements for having a QSEHRA is that the employer cannot offer health coverage, an employee either will have to purchase an individual policy (through private insurance or on the Marketplace) or be covered by the health insurance plan of the employee's spouse or a parent."
Cheiron

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Lower-Income Workers Less Likely to Take Needed Time Off
"About one-in-six adults (16%) who have been employed in the past two years say there was a time during this period when they needed or wanted to take time off from work following the birth or adoption of their child, to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to deal with their own serious health condition, but were unable to do so. This figure rises to 30% among those with household incomes under $30,000."
Pew Research Center

Americans Support Paid Leave, and They Want Employers to Foot the Bill
"About three-quarters of respondents said employers should pay for maternity and paternity leaves. Slightly less (72%) said employers should pay for leave for an employee's own illness and only 59% think employers should pay for caregiving leave. Relatively few say government -- either federal or state -- should provide the pay[.]"
HR Daily Advisor

Cash Allowances for Employees to Select from Benefits Suite?
"Generally, if an employer wants to pay its employees a cash allowance that is earmarked for certain benefits, the arrangement has to qualify under one of the plans the IRS has established (e.g. HRA, FSA, HSA, cafeteria plan).... [T]he cafeteria plan rules were set up to accommodate a 'bucket' approach, but employers must comply with the IRS's requirements when setting up such a plan. The money in a full flex plan, that allows employees to choose and trade off among different benefits, can come from employer or employee contributions."
HR Daily Advisor

Aetna Transitions Towards Wellness and Value
"Aetna is in the process of transforming from a traditional health insurance company to becoming a healthcare-focused company, in part by emphasizing value-based reimbursement and social determinants of health, said Harold L. Paz, MD, MS, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Aetna.... [In] the future the emphasis will be on value-based reimbursement models and the need to really coordinate care for individuals that bring in the social determinants of health and the multiple determinants of health to increase the number of healthy days that each individual has. That's not just physical health, but it's mental health, and it's social health."
AJMC

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How Would Cross-State Insurance Sales Affect Costs and Coverage for Consumers?
"If insurers sold plans across state lines, bare-bones catastrophic plans with low premiums and high out-of-pocket costs are likely to proliferate. These plans tend to appeal to younger, healthier adults who expect to use few health care services.... With the remaining comprehensive plans attracting mostly sicker, costlier enrollees, premiums and out-of-pocket costs would increase sharply. RAND researchers estimate that average annual premiums overall could rise by as much as $2,500 a year if the ACA were repealed in full and cross-state sales were permitted."
The Commonwealth Fund

'It's Not Like Other States': High-Cost Alaska Sits in the Eye of Health Reform Storm
"Individual health insurance premiums here climbed almost 40 percent annually after the ACA went into effect, and high health care costs drove all but one provider, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, out of the market in 2017. Now, [residents] are watching closely as state leaders grapple with preventing the online marketplace from collapsing in Alaska. Officials are seeking a $51.6 million federal waiver to shore up the individual insurance market."
Kaiser Health News

[Opinion]

CBO Provides a Roadmap for Improving AHCA
"Rather than criticizing the agency for delivering bad news, policymakers should examine the analysis to identify provisions that should be modified in order to produce a more sustainable reform -- and to get a better assessment from CBO.... [1] Higher financial penalties for failure to maintain coverage ... [2] The 'no-premium' health insurance option and automatic enrollment ... [3] A compromise on Medicaid eligibility within a reformed program ... [4] Additional support for low-income households above medicaid eligibility."
Health Affairs

[Opinion]

Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines Doesn't Lower Costs or Improve Choice
"[The ACA] includes a provision ... whereby an insurer could establish itself in one state and sell health insurance to consumers in multiple other states without having to follow those states' laws and regulations.... In the absence of legislative action, there is nothing preventing HHS Secretary Tom Price from issuing the required regulations and working with states to develop standards for interstate sales. In fact, several states already allow cross-state sales.... To date, six states have enacted laws to allow cross-state sales: Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming. Yet none of these states has had a single new insurer enter its market because of its law."
The Commonwealth Fund

Benefits in General

Personal Jurisdiction Under ERISA: Forget About Minimum Contacts
"The rules governing general jurisdiction over corporations have changed in the last five years, and most corporations may be subject to general jurisdiction in, at most, two states. Though it is debatable whether, or how much, this change benefits defendants in ERISA cases, there is no question that counsel for corporations in general, and ERISA fiduciaries in particular, need to carefully consider personal jurisdiction when confronting a new case."
Robinson & Cole LLP

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Restricted Stock/RSUs and Tax Returns: Eight Costly Mistakes to Avoid
"Special issues on tax returns arise with restricted stock and restricted stock units (RSUs). Mistakes can be painful not only because they can cause you to overpay your taxes but also because they may draw unwanted attention from IRS auditors. (Ouch, right?) [This article provides] a brief review of the necessary tax documents and forms, followed by eight big tax-return mistakes to avoid with restricted stock and RSUs."
myStockOptions.com

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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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