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June 13, 2017 logo logo
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
Continental Benefits Group, Inc.
in NJ

Client Service Manager
Newport Group
in AL, KS

Senior ERISA Specialist
Newport Group
in FL, MN, NC

Retirement Plan Administrator
RPC CPAs + Consultants, LLP
in TX

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Webcasts and Conferences


Plan Terminations & Partial Plan Terminations

Structuring Equity Compensation for Partnerships and LLCs

M&A Series 2017 Part 1: Covenants and Post-Transaction Clean-up Issues and Processes
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

M&A Series 2017 Part 2: The Due Diligence Process
June 14, 2017 WEBCAST
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Form 5500 Workshop
August 17, 2017 in KS
FIS Relius Education

ERISA Workshop
August 18, 2017 in KS
FIS Relius Education

Fringe Benefits: Taxation, Qualification, and Important Rules for Employers
August 22, 2017 WEBCAST

Ethics: Doing the Right Thing in Difficult Situations
August 31, 2017 WEBCAST
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

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[Guidance Overview]

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fees Due by July 31 (PDF)
"The PCORI fees apply to 'specified health insurance policies' and 'applicable self-insured health plans.' ... The PCORI fees do not apply if substantially all of the coverage under a plan is for excepted benefits, as defined under HIPAA.... Although stand-alone retiree health plans are generally exempt from many of ACA's requirements, sponsors and issuers of these plans are subject to the PCORI fees, unless the plan qualifies as an excepted benefit under HIPAA.... If continuation coverage under COBRA (or similar continuation coverage under federal or state law) provides accident and health coverage, the coverage is subject to ACA's PCORI fees ... HRAs and health FSAs are not completely excluded from the obligation to pay PCORI fees.... The entity that is responsible for paying the PCORI fees depends on whether the plan is insured or self-insured."
Cowden Associates, Inc.


Join ECFC in KC for the CDH Education Event of the Summer

Sponsored by ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation]

Symposium is THE premier networking and professional development event for employers, plan sponsors, TPAs and other service providers in the CDH space, and is your annual opportunity for practical advice, technical education, and Congressional and regulatory updates from industry leaders.

[Guidance Overview]

Are Employers Ready for Arizona's New Paid Sick Leave Law?
"[Key] aspects of this new law that Arizona employers should know: [1] How much earned paid sick leave must be provided by an employer? ... [2] How can employees use paid sick leave? ... [3] What happens to the earned paid sick time when an employee resigns or is terminated? ... [4] What if the employer already provides Paid Time Off, isn't that enough? ... [5] For an employer that operates in locations both within Arizona and outside it, if the employer complies with Arizona sick leave requirements, is it in compliance everywhere else?"
Greenberg Traurig

[Guidance Overview]

Arizona's Paid Sick Leave Law: The 'Same Hourly Rate,' Attendance, and Coverage Questions
"The [Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA)] recognized that incentive compensation schemes, shift differentials, and premiums meant to compensate employees for work performed under differing conditions (e.g., the night shift), as well as exempt salaried employees, pose difficulties for employers seeking to provide paid sick time off at the 'same hourly rate.' Therefore, the ICA has proposed regulations that apply [four] methods for determining same hourly rates for PST ... Although ICA has not elaborated on what is meant by 'with the same benefits, including health care benefits,' informally ICA indicates that a PST day off should be treated the same as a day worked for purposes of healthcare insurance benefits accruals."
Ogletree Deakins

Minneapolis and Saint Paul Sick Leave Ordinances Become Effective July 1
"The Minneapolis and Saint Paul sick and safe time ordinances will be enforced only against employers residing within the respective cities -- at least for now. The Hennepin County District Court's temporary injunction prohibiting the city of Minneapolis from enforcing its ordinance against employers residing outside of the city is on appeal, with oral argument scheduled for July 11. The city of Saint Paul has confirmed that it would enforce its ordinance only against employers physically located within the city."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Wellness Incentives: A Case Study
"Individual incentives like paid days (or half-days) off, premium rebates, HSA contributions, or cold hard cash consistently garner higher participation -- an incredible 40%-60% rate across industries. Even offering something as simple (and free) as a 'Jeans Day' to anyone who reaches a goal will gain better results than a raffle."
Frenkel Benefits


Online Learning Course: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

This course identifies coverage and eligibility requirements of employees and responsibilities of employers, and describes how to avoid common administration mistakes, implement best practices and be aware of interactions with other laws.

Capitol Hill Debate Over Drug Prices Shifts to PBMs
"While lawmakers continue to disagree about the pharmaceutical industry's role in soaring prices for medicines, there are bipartisan calls on Capitol Hill to probe the middlemen in the distribution chain: pharmacy benefit managers. The new focus comes amid an effort by the drug industry to shift the blame from drugmakers, which have faced the brunt of the public backlash for exorbitant pricing, by exposing what it considers opaque business practices by PBMs."
Morning Consult

County-by-County Analysis of Current Projected Insurer Participation in 2018 Health Insurance Exchanges
"The CMS map displays point in time data and is expected to fluctuate as issuers continue to make announcements on exiting or entering specific states and counties. It currently shows that nationwide 47 counties are projected to have no insurers, meaning that Americans in these counties could be without coverage on the Exchanges for 2018. It's also projected that as many as 1,200 counties -- nearly 40% of counties nationwide -- could have only one issuer in 2018."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

CMS 2017 Effectuated Enrollment Snapshot (PDF)
15 pages. "As of March 15, 2017, 10.3 million individuals had effectuated their coverage for February 2017, meaning that they selected a plan that started in January or February, and had paid their first month's premium.... In March of 2016, 10.8 million people had effectuated coverage through the Exchanges, and by the end of the year, only 9.1 million remained.... [On] average since 2014, more than a million enrollees per year have dropped their coverage before the end of the plan year."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

High Premiums and Disruptions in Coverage Lead to Decreased Enrollment in Health Insurance Exchanges (PDF)
"High costs and lack of affordability are the most common factors that lead consumers to cancel coverage. Consumers with higher premiums were more likely to terminate or cancel coverage. Consumers listed lack of affordability as one of the most common reasons for not paying for the first month's coverage.... Consumers without financial assistance were more likely to terminate or cancel coverage."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Patients Can't Afford Obamacare, Drop Coverage
"CMS' report shows that 3.6 million American patients selected a plan on the Obamacare exchange during 2016, but had dropped their coverage by the end of the year. Of those who dropped their plans, 46 percent attributed the decision to cost.... [R]oughly twice as many Americans have chosen to pay the penalty tax or claim a hardship exemption than those who have enrolled in Obamacare's exchanges."
Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Iowa Submits 1332 Waiver Request, Claiming It Is Necessary to Avoid an Individual Insurance Market Collapse
"On June 12, 2017, the Iowa insurance commissioner submitted a request for a 1332 waiver that would dramatically change the nature of the marketplace in Iowa ... To grant Iowa's waiver request, CMS would have to grant, as Iowa recognizes, waivers and modifications of many of the 1332 statutory and regulatory requirements. Iowa proposes, therefore, that CMS broadly waive 1332's requirements under President Trump's [ACA] Executive Order, or alternatively simply grant its request under the Executive Order without statutory or regulatory authority."
Health Affairs

The Economy, Not Washington, Is Likely to Shape Employer Health Benefits in 2018
"Employers see health benefits as a key way of attracting talent in a tight labor market. Despite potential changes to Obamacare, employers aren't likely to roll back essential health benefits. Most employers expect health-care costs to rise 6.5 percent in 2018."


Health Reform: The Tipping Points We Should Be Watching
"Delegating Medicaid and insurance oversight to states is great politics for federal legislators but problematic ... if accompanied by regulations that hog-tie Governors with red-ink.... In the 57% of companies that provide coverage, employee contributions are increasing (19% for single/29% for family policies) and high deductible products are fast becoming the status quo.... Physicians are unhappy.... Hospital closures [may occur because the] ... inpatient business is increasingly unprofitable, the outpatient business is being cherry-picked by opportunistic investors, and cheaper, accessible, safe and effective alternatives are proliferating."
Paul Keckley

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

FASB Issues Helpful Guidance on Accounting for Equity-Based Compensation
"The ASU should reduce the instances that an entity is required to apply modification accounting to a share-based payment award.... The ASU streamlines the application of modification accounting by stating that when making a change to the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award, a company should apply modification accounting to the award, unless each of [three] conditions is met[.]"
Winston & Strawn LLP

Press Releases

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2017, 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, 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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