Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 10, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Services Administrator
Old Point National Bank
in VA

Regional Director, Non-Qualified
Newport Group
in FL, GA, IL, MN, NC

Retirement Plan Account Analyst
Boulay
in MN

Heath and Group Benefits Analyst
JM Family Enterprises
in FL

Compliance Coordinator / Senior Plan Administrator
Scholz & Friends Enlightened Retirement Group, Inc.
in TX

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[Guidance Overview]

Washington State Approves Paid Family and Medical Leave: What Employers Need to Know
"The new paid leave program provides benefits of up to 90 percent of the employee's income and matches Washington, D.C., in providing the highest percentage of income benefit of any state or district in the United States. The key aspects of this new paid family and medical leave law are [outlined in this article]."
Ogletree Deakins

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Texas Supreme Court Disputes Reach of Obergefell in Employee Benefits Case
"[T]he Texas Supreme Court held that Obergefell v. Hodges ... does not necessarily require state governments to extend marital benefits to same-sex married couples.... The Texas Supreme Court remanded the case, so the trial court could decide if the Constitution or Obergefell 'requires citizens to support same-sex marriages with their tax dollars.' " [Pidgeon v. Turner, No. 15-0688 (Tex. June 30, 2017)]
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Value-Based Insurance Design: Some Health Plans Nudge Patients to Do the Right Thing
"What would happen if, instead, health plans offered more generous coverage of high-value care, but less generous coverage of those services that provide little or no health benefit? ... Many large employers and state governments are ... reducing cost-sharing for high-value care and medications to treat chronic illnesses, like depression and heart disease. This year, [CMS] began a five-year test of value-based design that permits Medicare Advantage plans in seven states to reduce cost-sharing and enhance benefits for enrollees with designated chronic conditions."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

BCRA Economic and Employment Consequences for States
"While the draft BCRA and the AHCA would have similar effects on the number of uninsured Americans, the BCRA would lead to significantly larger job losses and deeper reductions in states' economies by 2026. A brief spurt in employment would add 753,000 more jobs in 2018, but employment would then deteriorate sharply. By 2026, 1.45 million fewer jobs would exist, compared to levels under the current law. Every state except Hawaii would have fewer jobs and a weaker economy."
The Commonwealth Fund

House Passes Medical Malpractice Tort Reform Bill
"The House passed the Protecting Access to Care Act by a vote of 218 to 210 ... [T]he bill would: [1] Cap noneconomic damage awards at $250,000 and set sliding-scale limits on the contingency fees that lawyers can charge; [2] Create a safe harbor from product liability litigation for health care providers who prescribe or dispense FDA approved products; [3] Establish a three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, with certain exceptions, from the date of an injury; and [4] Create a fair-share rule, under which a defendant would be liable only for the percentage of the final award that was equal to his or her share of responsibility for the injury."
HR Policy Association

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[Opinion]

Is There Justification for the Contraceptive Rule to Go Into Effect Immediately Upon Issuance?
"An apparently genuine copy of the draft interim final contraceptive rule was leaked on May 30, 2017. The preamble of the leaked rule states, 'The Departments have determined that good cause exists to publish these interim final rules because it would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest to delay putting these provisions in place until a full public notice and comment process is completed.' It is puzzling that, given the urgency of the rule, it is still being held a month and a half later. This is particularly puzzling as the Departments concluded in the preamble that the interim final rule is not economically significant and is not subject to a number of the statutes and executive orders under which OMB review is required."
Health Affairs

[Opinion]

Changing Health Insurance Plans Again: Seriously?
"Tackling the individual market for insurers is only part of the issue facing insurers: flaws in the ACA's oversight of insurance extend beyond the individual market. [1] Insurers have no obligation to provide coverage to any segment in the population if it's not profitable to their businesses.... [2] Americans want coverage but most don't trust insurers.... [3] Large Insurers have done well since passage of the ACA despite its flaws, while others have been hurt."
Paul Keckley

Benefits in General

Plan Sponsors Using Limited-Scope Audits Should Watch for Proposed Changes
"The proposed SAS requires the plan sponsor to acknowledge its responsibility when it comes to the audit. The auditor would be required to get it in writing.... This change will most likely increase plan sponsor costs, especially when plan sponsors opine on certified financial statements prepared by financial institutions. Plan sponsors may need to engage the appropriate subject-matter expert to comment on asset valuation and financial statement presentation."
HRDailyAdvisor

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

CEO Pay Packages See Largest Increase Since 2013
"Over the study period, a growing number of companies started granting performance-based long-term incentives (LTI) to their chief executives, reaching 81.5 percent of Equilar 500 companies in 2016. Meanwhile, the prevalence of CEOs receiving time-based stock options fell to a five-year low of 50 percent in 2016."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Discussions on
the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Can Employer Withdraw Offer of Health Insurance Coverage If Employee Doesn't Work the Hours Agreed-Upon When Hired?
"The employee was hired to work 35 hours per week ('Full Time' status), so there was no initial measurement period before the offer of coverage. Only the Limited Non-Assessment Period. However, the employee no longer works 35 hours weekly. He has averaged 25 hours for months now, but still has his initial status as Full Time. Can the employer take back the offer of coverage? Could it force a status change to Part Time or Variable Hour?"
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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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