Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

May 15, 2017

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Manager, Client Services
Newport Group
in CA

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USI Consulting Group
in CT

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Norfolk Southern Corporation
in VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Fi360 Fiduciary Talk: Health Savings Accounts in the Fiduciary Process
May 15, 2017 WEBCAST
fi360

Actuary as an Expert Witness
May 24, 2017 WEBCAST
ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries [ACOPA]

Family Medical Leave Statutes for Small and Medium Business
June 1, 2017 WEBCAST
ComplianceOnline

Diagnoses and Prescriptions: Top Ten Things Employers Need to Know About Arizona Paid Sick Time Before July 1, 2017
June 6, 2017 WEBCAST
Littler Mendelson

30th Annual Cincinnati Employee Benefits Conference
June 8, 2017 in OH
Cincinnati Bar Association

Rules and Timing of Death Distributions
June 21, 2017 WEBCAST
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

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[Official Guidance]

Checklist for Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver Applications (PDF)
"This checklist is intended to help states pursuing Section 1332 waivers as they develop and complete the required elements of the application.... We encourage states interested in applying for Section 1332 Waivers to reach out to the Departments promptly for assistance in formulating an approach that meets the requirements of Section 1332."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Advert.]

Online Learning Course: COBRA

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Even though the ACA has made health care coverage easier for individuals to obtain, group insurance plans must continue to offer COBRA coverage. This course will explain the technicalities of COBRA, including who is entitled and how it must be administered.


[Guidance Overview]

Georgia's New Sick Leave Law Appears to Be More Bark Than Bite
"The law specifically states that employees are not permitted to take more sick leave than they already have earned.... Moreover, employees are still required to follow the terms of the company sick leave policy ... Essentially, the new law merely means that an employer should not have a policy which states 'sick time can only be used for the employee's own illness and not to care for others.' "
Fisher Phillips

CMS Checklist For State 1332 Waivers Focuses on High-Risk Pools, Reinsurance
"The checklist restates the procedural requirements that states must meet under the current 1332 rules, such as posting a notice of the waiver proposal and accepting comments for at least 30 days, holding two public hearings, and consulting with Indian tribes where relevant. Most elements in the checklist, however, describe specifically what information states must submit with applications for a 1332 waiver involving a reinsurance or high-risk pool program."
Timothy Jost in Health Affairs

New Gene Tests Pose Threat to Insurers
"The 23andMe test results will not appear in people's medical records, and the company promises not to disclose identifiable findings to third parties. It is up to the customers to reveal them -- and the fear for insurers is that many will not."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

Prescription Drug Costs Break Through the Partisan Logjam
"Republicans are almost as likely as Democrats, and more likely than independents, to pick lowering the costs of prescription drugs as a priority for President Trump and the Congress. It's the number two priority in health for all Americans, just behind reducing out of pocket costs in general."
Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation, via Axios

[Advert.]

Now is a great time to join Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB)

Sponsored by WEB - Worldwide Employee Benefits Network

WEB members represent more than 25 professions and 30 areas of expertise within the pension and benefits industry -- administrators, consultants, attorneys, accountants, investment managers, communications experts and benefits managers. Join today.


Health Insurance Price Index Report for the 2017 Open Enrollment Period (PDF)
23 pages. "[This report] provides an in-depth analysis of the cost of individual and family health insurance plans selected by unsubsidized eHealth shoppers during the [ACA's] nationwide open enrollment period for 2017 coverage [which] began on November 1, 2016 and ended January 31, 2017.... The intent of this report is to present a nationwide snapshot of consumer behavior in the individual health insurance market by looking at the cost of health plans selected by consumers shopping outside government marketplaces through eHealth."
eHealth

The Future of Obamacare Will Be Written by Smaller Insurers
"[It] is insurers like Medica -- a nonprofit, regional health plan with 1.2 million members -- who will determine whether people can buy insurance next year. Medica's competitors in Iowa and Nebraska have announced they will drop out next year, making the company the likely last guard against a scenario that leaves exchange participants with zero options for buying their own health coverage. Last week, Medica issued a threat that without government action, it might leave Iowa's exchange."
The Washington Post; subscription may be required

Most Americans Not Protecting Their Paychecks with Disability Insurance
"[A]mong employed Americans who do not have short- or long-term disability insurance provided by their employer, 43 percent say the reason is because their employer does not offer it. Only 14 percent say the reason they don't have it is because they cannot afford coverage; a combined 34 percent don't have policies through their employer due to other obligations or expenses they feel are higher priorities (12 percent), don't see the value (12 percent), or say 'I am healthy and don't need it' (14 percent)."
OneAmerica

[Opinion]

Cigna Corporation Announces Termination of Anthem Transaction
"Cigna Corporation announced that the merger agreement with Anthem has been terminated.... Anthem was required under the merger agreement to lead the regulatory approval process and to use its reasonable best efforts to obtain regulatory approval.... Cigna ... believes that Anthem willfully breached those obligations and as a result the transaction did not receive the requisite regulatory approvals. Cigna seeks prompt payment of the $1.85 billion reverse termination fee and will pursue our claims for additional damages of over $13 billion against Anthem for the harm that it caused Cigna and its shareholders."
Cigna

[Opinion]

Aetna CEO: 'Single-Payer, I Think We Should Have That Debate'
"The government doesn't administer anything. the first thing they've ever tried to administer in social programs was the ACA, and that didn't go so well. So the industry has always been the back room for government. If the government wants to pay all the bills, and employers want to stop offering coverage, and we can be there in a public private partnership to do the work we do today with Medicare, and with Medicaid ... then let's have that conversation. But if we want to turn it all over to the government to run, is the government really the right place to run all this stuff?"
Vox

[Opinion]

Anthem Comments on Decision of the Delaware Court of Chancery on Acquisition of Cigna; Terminates Merger Agreement
"Anthem believed this acquisition was a truly compelling opportunity to positively impact the health and well-being of its members, and to expand access to high quality affordable health care for consumers.... Anthem has delivered to Cigna a notice terminating the Merger Agreement.... Cigna's repeated willful breaches of the Merger Agreement and its successful sabotage of the transaction has caused Anthem to suffer massive damages, claims which Anthem intends to vigorously pursue against Cigna."
Anthem, Inc.

Benefits in General

Retirement Planning: Coping with Higher Health Care Costs (PDF)
"Longer lives -- not disease -- are driving current and projected increases in health care costs that well exceed general inflation, placing the budgets of many retirees, now and in the future, under tremendous pressure.... [D]emographics as well as generational, gender, and geographic differences all play a role in the equation.... [F]inancial advisors will need to rethink their advice on how to accrue retirement income. Growth investment strategies can help retirees, while leaving properly funded legacies."
Prudential, Via Journal of Financial Service Professionals

Employees of Small Businesses Want Improvements to Benefits
"Although small businesses are fostering happy workplaces, 72% of respondents indicate that an improvement in their benefits offerings would make them even happier. The report also generated 22% of respondents that say their benefits offerings is one thing they like least about working for a small business."
HRDailyAdvisor

Press Releases

Olivia Mitchell Named 2016 EBRI Lillywhite Award Winner
EBRI [Employee Benefit Research Institute]

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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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