Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 19, 2017

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Webcasts and Conferences

Plan Loans and In-Service Distributions
RECORDED
ASC

The Audit Trilogy, Parts I, II, and III (On-Demand CLE Package)
RECORDED
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Compensation
RECORDED
ASC

Fee Litigation - Fiduciary Lessons for Financial Advisors
June 28, 2017 WEBCAST
ERISApedia.com

Hot Topics in ERISA Litigation
June 28, 2017 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicago Downtown Chapter

Say it Ainít So: Real Life EPCRS Case Studies You Just Canít Make Up!
July 11, 2017 WEBCAST
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar
July 12, 2017 in WV
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Beyond the ACA: Health Policy and Sustainable Health Spending
July 18, 2017 WEBCAST
Altarum Institute

Early Retirement Incentives: Navigating the Legal Issues
August 10, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

Executive Compensation Immersion Program
September 11, 2017 in AZ
WorldatWork

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[Guidance Overview]

Employers, Health Plans Should Brace for Tightened Mental Health Coverage Disclosure and Enforcement
"Employer and other group health plan sponsors, fiduciaries, insurers and vendors should verify the adequacy of their current health plan mental health coverage rules and administration with existing federal rules and brace for potential expanded disclosure requirements in light of the June 16, 2017 publication by the [DOL] of Mental Health Parity Implementation FAQs Part 38... The guidance and proposed model notice [indicate] a growing attention by the department to ensuring that participates in beneficiaries understand their mental health parity [rights.]"
Solutions Law Press

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[Guidance Overview]

ACA Round-Up: Mental Health and Substance Use Parity, Premium Tax Credits, and a New Marketplace Reinsurance Proposal
"On June 16, 2017, Labor, Treasury, and HHS released [FAQs] requesting public comments on a proposed form that participants, enrollees, and their authorized representatives (including providers) could use to request information from their health plan or insurer regarding [non-quantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs)], or to obtain documentation after an adverse determination regarding MH/SUD benefits.... The FAQ also clarifies that eating disorders are mental health conditions and treatment for an eating disorder is a mental health benefit within the meaning of the MHPAEA."
Health Affairs

General Electric Escapes Retirees' Health Benefits Lawsuit
"The retirees failed to show that they were sufficiently harmed by General Electric's fiduciary conduct with respect to the plans, so they lack standing to sue the company for breach of its fiduciary duties under [ERISA], Judge Lynn Adelman held June 15. Granting summary judgment to General Electric, Adelman held that most of the retirees' alleged injuries didn't amount to an 'injury in fact' and thus were insufficient to grant them standing." [Kauffman v. General Electric Co., No. 14-1358 (E.D. Wis. June 15, 2017)]
Bloomberg BNA

Individual Rates Jump; Employers Insulated
"Michigan's nine insurers submitted two sets of individual market rates last week to the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services that showed some eye-popping price hikes. One set -- including the controversial federal subsidy designed to hold down premiums -- requests rate increases from insurers that range from 8 percent to 27 percent. The second set, without the subsidies, range from 19 percent to 60 percent."
Crain's Detroit Business

Evidence on Recent Health Care Spending Growth and the Impact of the ACA (PDF)
13 pages. "Though average marketplace premium increases were higher in 2017 than in 2015 and 2016, marketplace competition in large urban markets has generally been intense, leading to narrower networks of providers who are willing to accept lower payment rates in private insurance plans.... 20 states have average 2017 nongroup marketplace premiums that are below their average employer-sponsored insurance premiums; 11 states have average marketplace premiums that exceed employer-sponsored insurance premiums by less than 10 percent."
Urban Institute

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Market Uncertainty Driving ACA Rate Increases
"Two market influences, in particular, are complicating 2018 rate setting: the uncertainty surrounding continued funding of cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments and the question of how the relaxation of the individual mandate will impact enrollment and risk pools.... [Up] to two-thirds of 2018 rate increases will be due to the uncertainty surrounding these two market influences."
Oliver Wyman Health

State Efforts to Lower Cost-Sharing Barriers to Health Care for the Privately Insured
"Six states and DC have policies requiring insurers in the individual market to cover certain services pre-deductible, such as doctor's visits and generic prescription drugs.... [S]tates designed these plans to make high-value health care services more accessible and affordable, although data to assess the impact of pre-deductible coverage is not yet available. Although stakeholders identified challenges in the development of these plans, states' open, public processes contributed to a generally smooth implementation."
Urban Institute

[Opinion]

The Healthcare System: 50 Years Later
"In 1967, the healthcare system was an abstract concept. We paid scant attention unless we wrecked our cars or injured ourselves playing ball. We thought every physician infallible, every procedure evidence-based and every admission necessary. But today, healthcare matters and how our system operates confronts them daily. There's confusion about Repeal and Replace and dissonance about the politics: they understand healthcare is expensive but they think there's plenty of government money to cover anyone needing care."
Paul Keckley

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice AR-2017-01, for Victims of Severe Storms in Arkansas
"Victims of the Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding that took place beginning on April 26, 2017 in parts of Arkansas may qualify for tax relief from the [IRS].... Individuals who reside or have a business in Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lawrence, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington, and Yell Counties may qualify for tax relief."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

2017 Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report (PDF)
"[A] 66-year-old couple retiring this year will require 59% of their Social Security benefits to cover total retirement health care costs. A 55-year-old couple will need 92% of benefits, and 45-year-old couple, 122%.... [A] 65-year-old couple will pay $404,253 ($607,662 in future dollars) for total lifetime health care costs.... [In] ten years, a 55-year-old couple will pay 25% more for the same coverage. In two decades, equivalent insurance will cost a 45-year-old couple over $635,000."
HealthView

2017 Employee Benefits Report (PDF)
40 pages. "Nearly one-third of organizations increased their overall benefits offerings in the last 12 months, with health (22%) and wellness (24%) benefits being the most likely ones to experience growth ... Organizations that had reduced their benefits package were most likely to have decreased health care benefits (57%). Another one-quarter (24%) decreased wellness benefits ... Most organizations offer retirement plans to help employees save and plan for their financial future. [Defined contribution] plans were the most common, with 90% offering a traditional 401(k) or similar plan and 55% offering a Roth 401(k) or similar plan. Three-quarters of organizations (76%) provided an employer match for their 401(k) plans while 40% matched Roth 401(k) contributions."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

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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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