Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 15, 2017

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Webcasts and Conferences

Responsibilities of 3(16), 3(21) and 3(38) Fiduciary & TPAs
RECORDED
ASC

Impact of the DOL Fiduciary Rule on Plan Sponsors
RECORDED
Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets [CIEBA]

Equity Compensation for Partnerships and LLCs
June 21, 2017 WEBCAST
Practical Law Company

Developing Relationships With 401(k) Financial Advisors
June 28, 2017 WEBCAST
ERISApedia.com

M&A Series 2017 Part 3: Last Minute Lessons for M&As -- Tidbits Gleaned from Litigation and Other New Developments
July 12, 2017 WEBCAST
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

The Revised Disability Claims Regulations: Where Are the Minefields?
July 13, 2017 WEBCAST
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Dialing Workplace 9-1-1! Common Employer Mistakes and Pitfalls Associated With the FMLA and Leaves of Absence in the Workplace
July 18, 2017 in NY
Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC

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NLRB: ACA-Mandated Benefit Plan Changes Still Require Bargaining
"[A] union was in the process of negotiating an initial collective bargaining agreement when the employer, without prior notice to the union, began notifying employees that they would be eligible for health insurance after 60 days of employment instead of the prior requirement of one year of employment.... The employer argued that its unilateral change was privileged because the ACA mandated coverage of the newly hired employees.... The NLRB applied the 'well-established' doctrine that, when an employer is compelled to make changes in terms and conditions of employment in order to comply with the mandates of a statute, it must provide the collective bargaining representative notice and an opportunity to bargain over the discretionary aspects of such changes." [Western Cab Company, 365 NLRB No. 78 (May 16, 2017)]
McDermott Will & Emery

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A Manslaughter Conviction May Not Prevent Receipt of ERISA Life Insurance Benefits
"Many states have enacted slayer rules to prevent murderers from inheriting from their victims, including life insurance policy proceeds. A recent case out of New York ... considered a novel question about whether or not a second-degree vehicular manslaughter conviction necessarily prevents a beneficiary from receiving life insurance proceeds. The court found that it does not." [Prudential Ins. Co. of Am. v. Govel, No. 16-297 (N.D.N.Y. June 6, 2017]
Roberts Bartolic

The Cost of Care: New Insights Into Healthcare Spending Growth
"When disease-based price indexes are growing at a slower pace than the medical goods and services prices, we learn that medical decisionmakers are using these medical goods and services more efficiently.... Disease-based price indexes account for these cross-industry or cross-product substitutions, whereas the traditional goods and services indexes do not.... The traditional index has grown 59 percent from 1999 to 2016, while the disease-based price index has grown 38 percent."
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]

Health Spending by State 1991-2014: Measuring Per Capita Spending by Payers and Programs
"This study examines per capita health spending by state of residence and per enrollee spending for the three largest payers (Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance) through 2014. [It] discusses in detail the impacts of the [ACA] implementation and the most recent economic recession and recovery on health spending at the state level.... [T]hese factors affected overall annual growth in state health spending and the payers and programs that paid for that care. They did not, however, substantially change state rankings based on per capita spending levels over the period."
Health Affairs

Health Expenditures by State of Residence, 1991-2014 (PDF)
"These data provide a resident-based view of health care spending (that is, spending for the individuals who reside in a state) by service and by major payer (Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Health Insurance) that are consistent in methodology and definition over time, offering a context for understanding variation in health spending across states." [Also available: [1] State Health Expenditure Accounts: Methodology Paper, 1980-2014, Definitions, Sources and Methods (ZIP); [2] Health expenditures by state of residence: summary tables, 1991-2014 (ZIP); [3] Health expenditures by state of residence, 1991-2014 (ZIP); and [4] Econometric Analysis of State Health Expenditures: Methodology and Model Specification (PDF).]
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

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Would States Eliminate Key Benefits if AHCA Waivers are Enacted?
"The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House of Representatives on May 5, would permit states to seek waivers to amend the required benefits if doing so would achieve one of several purposes, including lowering premiums. [This article looks] at the benefits covered by non-group plans before the ACA as a possible indication of how states could respond to the waiver authority under the AHCA."
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Estimated Financial Effect of the American Health Care Act of 2017 (PDF)
"Over fiscal years 2017-2026, selected provisions of the AHCA are anticipated to reduce Federal expenditures by over $328 billion primarily because of lower Medicaid spending. In 2018, the number of uninsured is estimated to be about 4 million higher under the AHCA than under current law ... By 2026, the number of uninsured is estimated to be roughly 13 million higher under the AHCA.... For the individual insurance market, average gross premiums are estimated to be roughly 13 percent lower in 2026 under the AHCA than under current law."
Office of the Actuary, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

For AHCA, CMS Actuary Finds Smaller Coverage Losses, Smaller Spending Reductions Than CBO
"The headline from the Actuary's report that is likely to receive the most attention is that the CMS Actuary sees the AHCA as increasing the uninsured by 4 million for 2018/2019 and by 13 million by 2026. By contrast, the CBO estimated that the AHCA would increase the uninsured by 14 million for 2018 and 23 million by 2026. The Actuary also, however, projects far smaller reductions in federal health care spending from the AHCA than did the CBO -- a total of $328 billion over ten years[.]"
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs

Employers Satisfied with Private Exchanges in Overwhelming Numbers
"Nearly 100% of employers are satisfied using a benefits marketplace (also known as a private exchange) to deliver an online shopping experience for choosing health and other benefits to employees ... 97% of employers are satisfied ... 86% think the benefits marketplace has helped them control benefits costs. 89% say moving to the benefits marketplace has impacted their company culture positively."
OneExchange from Towers Watson

[Opinion]

Emerging Senate Repeal Bill Eviscerates Protections for Millions in Employer-Sponsored Health Plans Nationwide
"Nationwide, [the authors] estimate that the essential health benefit waivers would result in annual caps on benefits for nearly 27 million Americans with employer-based coverage. About 20 million people with employer-based coverage would face lifetime limits on coverage."
Center for American Progress

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Shareholder Proposals on Executive Compensation Decrease in 2017
"Through May 31, 2017, 330 shareholder proposals had gone to a vote. Thus far, the most common proposals have involved climate change, the environment, and sustainability. Together with proposals requiring reports on lobbying payments and policies, political contributions, holy land principles, and gender diversity and equality proposals, these 'political' proposals accounted for nearly one-half of the proposals so far. Proposals on executive compensation failed even to make the top ten."
Winston & Strawn LLP

Discussions on
the BenefitsLink Message Boards

How Best to Collect FICA Due from Retiring Employee
"Client has an executive with SERP type benefit that will vest upon his upcoming retirement. As a result, he will recognize significant Medicare taxes on the present value of the future SERP benefits in 2017. (Executive is already maxed out on SS taxes for 2017, so no amount owed there.) Question: what's the best way to collect those taxes from the executive? In the month he retirees, he will only work a short portion of the month and will not net enough regular wages to cover the significant Medicare taxes due. Can he simply write a check to the employer to cover the remaining FICA taxes due? Would it be possible and better to withhold the full amount needed from pay for the month prior to the retirement month?"
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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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