Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

May 16, 2017

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Professional Capital Services
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TD Ameritrade
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Retirement Plan Consultants
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Webcasts and Conferences

Mastering Form 5500 Schedule H: Avoiding Audit Triggers
May 18, 2017 WEBCAST
Strafford

Alternative Investments in ERISA Retirement Plans: Mitigating Liability Risks for Hedge and Private Equity Funds and Pension Plan Fiduciaries
May 24, 2017 WEBCAST
Strafford

Workplace Fringe Benefits
May 25, 2017 WEBCAST
Cowden Associates, Inc.

Employer Benchmarking Survey Results
May 30, 2017 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

2017 Wellness: Generational Wellness: Bridging the Gaps in Your Organization
June 7, 2017 in MA
New England Employee Benefits Council

Administrative Services Agreements for Health & Welfare Plans
June 15, 2017 WEBCAST
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Employee Wellness Challenges: Keeping Them Well, Keeping You Compliant
June 15, 2017 WEBCAST
New England Employee Benefits Council

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[Official Guidance]

CMS to Provide Small Businesses More Flexibility When Enrolling in Healthcare Coverage (PDF)
"CMS will be exploring a more efficient implementation of the Federally-facilitated SHOP Marketplaces in order to promote insurance company and agent/broker participation and make it easier for small employers to offer SHOP plans to their employees, while maintaining access to the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. CMS intends to propose rulemaking that would change how small employers and employees in SHOPs using HealthCare.gov enroll in SHOP plans taking effect on or after January 1, 2018."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

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[Guidance Overview]

CMS Announces Plans to Effectively End the SHOP Exchange
"Small employers have always had the option of enrolling directly with insurers or through agents or brokers, and removing enrollment through the FF-SHOP as an additional option does not expand their choices.... A primary purpose -- if not the primary purpose -- of the SHOP exchange was to allow employees of small businesses to choose among a broad range of health plan options. With the end of the FF-SHOP, it is more likely that the choices available to employees of small group will be limited to a single plan or to a few plans offered by a single insurer."
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs

[Guidance Overview]

Taxability of Wellness Plan Rewards (PDF)
"Any wellness incentive that is not medical care is taxable, unless it is a nontaxable fringe benefit.... Common Mistakes: [1] Assuming that all incentives are nontaxable because wellness programs provide medical care. [2] Assuming that because wellness program incentives tend to be small, they are nontaxable. [3] Failing to communicate a wellness program incentive's taxability to employees."
Cowden Associates, Inc.

[Guidance Overview]

Georgia Enacts Kin Care Law
"The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2017, applies to employers with over 25 employees and to those employees who work at least 30 hours per week. When the law takes effect, qualifying employees will be entitled to use up to 5 days of paid sick leave per year to care for the needs of their immediate family members. Employees still must use their sick leave in accordance with the terms of their employer's policy and are only entitled to use accrued sick leave."
Littler

CMS to Let Small Businesses Bypass ACA Marketplace
"To give small firms more flexibility in buying coverage, [CMS announced on May 15] that a small business or its broker could directly enroll employees with an insurance company, rather than having to do so through the SHOP marketplace. The move follows a rule implemented by the Obama administration in December, which says some insurers no longer have to offer a SHOP plan in a given state in order to participate in that state's individual marketplace."
Morning Consult

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How to Survive an ACA Audit

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June 6 webinar. Ensure that your policies and procedures mitigate audit inquiries from various federal agencies. Documentation and record retention will be the key to minimizing potential penalties. Discount for BenefitsLink readers.


FSA, HRA, and HSA Comparison Chart (PDF)
Chart summarizes 26 aspects of the programs, including eligibility, portability, discrimination rules, funding requirements, maximum contribution levels, and balance carry-overs.
Marsh Consulting Group

Grounding Deferential Review in California
"[A] number of states have passed insurance regulations barring discretionary clauses in disability insurance policies ... A question that has dogged these regulations is the extent to which they are preempted by ERISA.... The Ninth Circuit [recently] held that a state discretionary ban is not preempted by ERISA and properly extends to employer-drafted plans as long as the plan provides for insured benefits." [Orzechowski v. Boeing Co. Non-Union Long Term Disab. Plan, No. 14-55919 (9th Cir. May 11, 2017)]
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Court Faults Employer for Failing to Provide Accurate Information Regarding Life Insurance Conversion
"The judge faulted WellStar for not understanding its life insurance policy and incorrectly assuming that its former employee was still covered.... The court considered the fact that WellStar did not follow its own written procedures in determining it had breached its duty to the plaintiff." [Erwood v. Life Ins. Co. of North America and Wellstar Health System, Inc. Group Life Ins. Program, No. 14-1284 (W.D. Penn. Apr. 13, 2017)]
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Younger Employees Becoming Savvy Health Care Spenders
"Millennials: Are more satisfied than older employees with their health plan choices ... Are more likely to make cost-conscious health care decisions, such as seeking the cost of a procedure before receiving care.... Have the highest rates of regular exercise and normal weight, yet also are more likely to smoke.... One in 3 Millennials has turned down a job in part because of poor insurance offerings[.]"
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

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200,000 Postal Workers Would See Pay Raises, Benefit Cuts Under New Labor Contract
"In a potential hit for employees, the Postal Service would cut its contribution toward employees' health care plans by 3 percent through 2019. Still, even by the end of the contract USPS would pay for a maximum of 76 percent of any given plan, while the top contribution for the rest of the government caps out at 75 percent."
Government Executive

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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