Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 17, 2017

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Defined Contribution Account Manager (Combo Plans)
Nova 401(k) Associates
in AZ, TX, Telecommute

Retirement Plan Administrator
Benefit Professionals, Inc. / Stevens Dowd & Company
in AL, MS

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[Guidance Overview]

Draft Regs Issued for Earned Sick Leave Ordinance in Cook County, Illinois
"[T]he draft regulations ... [provide] a complicated process for calculating the amount of carryover for covered employees of covered employers subject to the FMLA and the conditions for using that carryover time ... [As] an alternative to accrual and carryover, employers subject to the FMLA may comply with the ordinance by frontloading 60 hours of earned sick leave for use as permitted by the ordinance and 40 hours of earned sick leave for use as FMLA leave. As a practical matter, it is still unclear how these regulations are to be administered."
Ogletree Deakins

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The Surprising Employer Benefit Millennials Really Want
"With the introduction of many flashy workplace benefits geared towards millennials such as trendy decor, student loan repayment assistance, onsite cafes, dog-friendly offices, relocation and travel privileges, improved leave policies, free snacks and more, it's surprising to know that ... 34% of millennials chose health care as the most important benefit their employer can offer. More and more millennials are seeking out companies that have an onsite health clinic."
Forbes

Employers Should Re-Evaluate Their Wellness and Incentive Programs
"Design incentive programs that align with company goals.... Eliminate incentives for activities that are contrary to clinical guidelines.... Make incentive targets consistent with current clinical guidelines.... Offer incentives for achievable goals.... Remember the importance of nonfinancial incentives.... Consider incentives to promote group activity rather than individual achievement.... Deliver incentives to maximize their effectiveness.... Align incentive programs ... with the firm's broader strategic goals.... Measure program results.... Develop a multiyear plan to transition existing incentive programs."
Willis Towers Watson

'Wellness' Expands to Embrace Financial Planning, Volunteering Opportunities
"Eighty-four percent of surveyed employers now offer their workers financial security programs, such as access to debt management tools or student loan counseling, up from 76 percent last year ... Ninety-five percent of surveyed employers are offering physical wellness programs this year, and 87 percent are providing emotional health benefits, such as mental health counseling through an employee assistance program. Employee incentives continue to be a critical part of health-promoting programs."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Federal Contractor Sick Leave Order Survives Under Trump, for Now
"Trump administration officials discussed revising or repealing the paid sick leave order and the DOL's implementing rules during earlier stages of the transition ... But in recent weeks, the regulation has taken a back seat, as employer advocates and GOP lawmakers turned their attention to repealing the controversial overtime, fiduciary and 'blacklisting' rules."
Bloomberg BNA

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South Carolina Blocks Local Municipalities from Passing Paid Leave Requirements
"17 states have passed legislation banning local paid sick leave laws similar to South Carolina's. These include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon (except for employers with less than 10 employees), Tennessee, and Wisconsin."
Ogletree Deakins

Already 'Locked Out' Over Supervisor's Concerns, Employee Failed to Revive FMLA Claim
"An employee with a known anxiety disorder failed to plausibly allege that her termination was triggered by an email to her supervisor stating she'd be 'out sick,' the First Circuit ruled in affirming dismissal of her FMLA retaliation claim. Her pleadings had painted a picture of a longstanding and emotionally fraught dispute with her supervisor, who had encouraged her to take medical leave in the past and had recently expressed fear that she might bring a gun to work. She had also been denied entry to a work building just days before she sent the 'out sick' email, causing her to fear imminent termination." [Germanowski v. Harris, No. 16-1306 (1st Cir. Apr. 12, 2017)]
Wolters Kluwer

Looking Ahead to 2018: Will a Shorter Open Enrollment Period Reduce Adverse Selection in Exchange Plans?
"The rule finalizes the provision from ... that reduces the length of the 2018 open enrollment period from three months ... to 45 days ... to 'reduce opportunities for adverse selection.'... [S]uch a reduction may decrease enrollment by 'healthy procrastinators' and plan switching among re-enrollees. Nearly 60 percent of new enrollments (59.5 percent) and more than one-third of those switching from a subsidized platinum-level plan to a lower metal level (35.6 percent) did so during the second half of a three-month long open enrollment period in 2015."
Health Affairs

HHS Releases Final Rule on ACA Marketplace Stabilization
"One of the main provisions of the final rule is the authority for insurers to sell less-generous policies that will feature lower premiums, but higher deductibles. Under this new provision, insurers can now sell policies that are four percentage points below ACA standards, compared with two percentage points under current regulations. Another provision, aimed at creating a more stable pool of enrollees, will reduce the current open enrollment period in half."
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

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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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