Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 27, 2017

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Big Business Asks Congress for Protection from Paid Leave Laws
"During the 2016 presidential campaign, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton pledged their support for more paid family leave. Now big business is countering the calls with a proposal of its own: Congress should establish a certain optional amount of paid leave and, if companies meet that threshold, they should be protected from state or local laws that might require more."
Treasury & Risk; free registration may be required

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Employers Finding All-Encompassing Strategy Key to Effective Health Care Programs
"Actions employers will take to improve the employee experience of the health care program include: [1] Implement a high-tech enrollment process with decision support.... [2] Offer greater choice of health plan options and types of benefits.... [3] Improve navigation of health care providers.... Actions employers will take to improve the employee experience of the well-being program include: [1] Provide access to a portal for tracking activity and incentives.... [2] Routinely ask for employee feedback to enhance program offerings.... [3] Personalize rewards for employees who engage in the well-being program.... [4] Offer access to tools to help households meet their financial goals."
Willis Towers Watson

Consumer Engagement in Health Care and Choice of Health Plan: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X (PDF)
"Millennials value and are more satisfied than other generational cohorts with aspects of plan management that are directly within a plan sponsor's control.... Millennials are more engaged than other generational cohorts in health care choices, including some that are costly for plan sponsors.... Plan sponsors may have more leverage to encourage millennials to stop smoking."
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

Private Health Insurance Exchanges Set to Grow Rapidly
"Employers are likely to adopt private health exchanges in growing numbers, seeking to save money and meet consumer demands. Health plans will have to invest in IT and re-orient their sales efforts to the individual."
HealthLeaders Media

Insurer Did Not Breach Fiduciary Duty by Disclosing Substance Abuse Claim to Employer
"[T]he Court observed that FedEx's plan specifically obligated Aetna to notify FedEx if an employee sought benefits for substance abuse.... [T]he Court held that Aetna did not breach its fiduciary duty by declining to change its report to FedEx after Aetna received additional information about plaintiff's claim, because the additional information did not render Aetna's report inaccurate." [Williams v. FedEx Corp. Services and Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 16-4032 (10th Cir. Feb. 24, 2017)]
Robinson & Cole LLP

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AHCA: What Employers Should Know
"The health of the individual market is important to employers as outside options for COBRA coverage and pre-65 retiree medical coverage.... [S]hortfalls in the individual market will result in cost-shifting to other markets, most likely employers since they cover the largest portion of the US population.... There is still interest in repeal/replace, but the reality that it will take time seems to have sunk in -- especially given that even if the House is able to pass a bill, there will be more issues to navigate in the Senate."
Mercer

How Medicaid Enrollees Fare Compared with Privately Insured and Uninsured Adults
"[T]he large majority of people who have Medicaid for the full year are able to get the health care they need. Based on survey results, 91 percent have a regular source of care, compared to 93 percent of privately insured people with continuous coverage and 77 percent of people uninsured for at least part of the year. Medicaid enrollees are also happy with their care -- 57 percent rated it as very good or excellent, compared with 52 percent of the privately insured and 40 percent of the uninsured."
The Commonwealth Fund

Anthem Threatens to Leave Health Exchanges If Subsidies Are Halted
"Joseph R. Swedish, the company's chief executive, set a deadline of early June for a decision on the subsidies, saying Anthem would weigh increasing rates by at least 20 percent next year."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

[Opinion]

The AHCA Does Not Materially Improve Obamacare, and MacArthur Waivers Don't Materially Improve the AHCA
"The opt-out concept is not irredeemable. But the MacArthur amendment would require dramatic changes to make it even a modest step toward ObamaCare repeal."
Cato Institute

Benefits in General

Chief Human Resource Officers on Trends Shaping the Workplace, Outdated Policies Governing It, and the Way Forward (PDF)
86 pages. "[Recommendations] of the most senior HR executives working for America's largest employers on ... what can be done from a policy perspective to make the workplace work [include] ... [1] Increased portability of employee benefits that are not tied to tenure with a single employer.... [2] A tax-preferred system in the mold of a 401(k) that would help employees to save and pay off student loan debt sooner.... [3] Companies already providing generous paid leave benefits should have a federal safe harbor from being hampered by the varying requirements of state and local leave mandates.... [4] Protect the Tax Exemption of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI).... [5] Federal legislation enabling employees to collect defined benefit plan retirement income earlier while permitting them to continue to work for their employer[.]"
HR Policy Association

Measuring Compensation Expenses (PDF)
"Employers can work systematically to align wage and benefit costs with product market values and targeted profits as follows: [1] Complete the Worksheet [in this article] for each employee, and compare with the BLS results for the employer's specific industry and employee categories ... [2] Redirect some Form W-2 Wages to indirect employer costs for pension and welfare benefits to achieve a compensation package for each employee reflective of his or her market value of production.... [3] Seek less expensive labor[.]"
H.C. Foster & Company

[Opinion]

Tax Reform Can Both Improve the Economy and Protect Employer-Sponsored Benefits
"Taxing employer-sponsored health insurance will not raise revenue, but instead will force employers to curtail their health benefits in order to avoid the tax.... A drastic shift to Roth contributions could undermine the entire retirement system in this country and undo the progress that has been made through widely favored pre-tax 401(k) plans."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Could Your Incentive Plan Be Subject to ERISA?
"Many incentive or bonus plans make payments or deliver stock within 2-1/2 months after the end of the year the participant became vested in order comply with the short-term deferral exception of Code Section 409A. However, some incentive plans provide for accumulations, multi-year periods, and mandatory deferrals. These plans may unwittingly become subject to ERISA's requirements."
Winston & Strawn LLP

Press Releases

CAPTRUST Announces New Investment Chief
CAPTRUST Financial Advisors

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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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