Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 11, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Compliance Analyst QKA
Newport Group
in AL, AZ, CA, FL, IL, KS, MD, MN, NC, NY, TX, VA, WI, Telecommute

Manager, Client Reporting
Newport Group
in NC

Health & Wellness Consultant
International Paper
in TN

Retirement Benefits Consultant
International Paper
in TN

Client Service Analyst II
Bank of America
in NJ

Retirement Plan Consultant
Ascensus
in CA, FL, IN, NC

401(k) Plan Manager (Administration)
Ascensus
in CA

Retirement Plan Administrator
Estate & Pension Advisory Board
in NJ

Tax Law Editor - Employee Benefits Tax and ERISA
Bloomberg BNA
in VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Leave of Absence and Paid Time Off Issues for Health and Section 125 Plans
RECORDED
Acrisure LLC

Open Enrollment Blueprint: Ways to Up the Game
RECORDED
ConnectYourCare

Documenting Your EBP Audit: What You Need to Know
July 17, 2017 WEBCAST
AICPA

Office of Professional Responsibility: What You Need to Know About Practicing Before the IRS
July 19, 2017 WEBCAST
IRS [Internal Revenue Service]

Paid Family Leave Benefits Are Coming to New York: What Employers Need to Know Now
July 20, 2017 in NY
Nixon Peabody LLP

DOL Informational and Outreach Forum: How to Do It Right the First Time Compliance -- We Can Help
July 26, 2017 in MA
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

College Retirement Plan Compliance in a New Era of Increased Litigation
August 10, 2017 WEBCAST
Williams Mullen

Legislative Update
August 16, 2017 in MO
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - St. Louis Chapter

Health and Welfare Benefit Plans National Institute
September 25, 2017 in VA
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

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[Guidance Overview]

New York Paid Family Leave Law Contributions Have Started, While Proposed Regs Are Revised
"The definition of 'wages' was amended to explicitly provide that tips be included in the average weekly wage calculation.... The eligibility criteria have been amended to account for employees with compressed work schedules ... The proposed regulations have [also] been amended to [1] explicitly permit employees that will be employed for fewer than 26 consecutive weeks or 175 days in a 52 week period to waive coverage.... [2] include language to require that insurance carriers specifically state the basis of a denial of a request for paid family leave.... [3] clarify that an employee using intermittent leave must give the employer separate notice for each day of paid family leave."
Mintz Levin

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[Guidance Overview]

State of Washington Enacts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
"The new law will provide eligible workers with up to 12 weeks per year of paid medical leave for an employee's own serious health condition, as well as 12 weeks per year of paid leave for family care purposes... If an employee has a need for both medical and family care leave during the same 52-week period, the employee's total leave allotment will be capped at 16 weeks.... [F]emale employees who experience complications relating to pregnancy will be eligible to receive two additional weeks of leave, for a possible 18 weeks total per year."
Proskauer's Law and the Workplace

Getting to the Root of High Prescription Drug Prices: Drivers and Potential Solutions
"This report documents 10 major problems that play a role in high U.S. prescription drug prices.... This report also discusses a broad range of feasible policy actions that have been proposed by various stakeholders, experts, and researchers and could be further developed by policymakers to address high drug prices. Some of the actions identified will have a direct impact on pricing, while others may have an indirect impact but could lead to other favorable outcomes."
The Commonwealth Fund

Trends in HSA Balances, Contributions, Distributions, and Investments, 2011-2016 (PDF)
24 pages. "On average, account holders appear to be using [health savings accounts] as specialized checking accounts rather than investment accounts.... Longer experience with HSA improves account holder prospects for financial security.... Over time, account owners appear to see the value in investing."
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

Resources to Help Employers Evaluate Accountable Care Organizations
"[T]he ACO Journey Map is a tool to help employers who are considering offering ACOs to their employees assess six critical competencies of an ACO along a development path. These competencies include clinical governance, network, care model, consumer experience, technology and analytics, and finance model.... [T]he [28-page] ACO Scoring Guide provides health plans, ACOs and employers with instructions and detailed definitions of each competency in the ACO Journey Map."
National Business Group on Health [NBGH]

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2017 Health Savings Accounts Facts

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The Implications of Cutting Essential Health Benefits: An Analysis of Nongroup Insurance Premiums Under the ACA (PDF)
"[T]he largest shares of ACA-compliant nongroup insurance premiums can be attributed to the costs of office-based care (30%), prescription drugs (22%), outpatient facility care (17%), and inpatient care (15%). Coverage for these services is generally seen as fundamental to insurance.... Maternity and newborn care accounts for just 6 percent of total premium dollars, habilitative/rehabilitative care for 2 percent, and pediatric dental and vision care for 1 percent.... [T]he per-person costs of insuring essential benefits are reasonably low when the costs are spread broadly across a large population with diverse health care risks."
Urban Institute

Individual Insurance Market Performance in Early 2017
"Loss ratios began to decline in 2016, suggesting improved financial performance. In 2017, following relatively large premium increases, individual market insurers saw significant improvement in loss ratios, averaging 75% in the first quarter.... Though 2017 annual loss ratios are therefore likely to end up higher than 75%, this is nevertheless a sign that individual market insurers on average are on a path toward regaining profitability in 2017."
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Obamacare Marketplaces Just Had Their Most Profitable First Quarter Ever
"Insurers in the [ACA] marketplaces earned an average of nearly $300 per member in the first quarter of 2017, more than double what they earned in a similar period in the marketplaces' previous three years ... Insurers' newfound profitability seems to stem from increased premiums and steady costs, a suggestion the markets are stabilizing[.]"
The Washington Post; subscription may be required

What Data Reveals About Unlimited Vacation
"The data proves that on average employees with unlimited PTO plans do in fact take less time off than employees with a set amount of vacation days. This calls for a change in the way HR teams and managers communicate about time off."
Namely

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[Opinion]

Executive Order on HDHPs Would Boost Appeal
"There is a draft executive order (EO) floating around Washington that, if signed by President Trump, would allow HSA-eligible health plans to provide first-dollar coverage for the chronically ill.... Such a change would go a long way toward encouraging more employers to offer these plans and would boost enrollment."
Mercer

Benefits in General

The 'Gig Economy' Leaves Some Working Americans Financially Vulnerable
11 pages. "The most talked about benefit of of working part-time is flexibility ... Part-time work also allows people to try a few different jobs before deciding what career they want to pursue full-time ... The downside is that most part-time jobs in the U.S. come with no insurance or retirement savings benefits: Only 32% of part-timers say they receive such benefits compared to 87% of full-time workers."
Guardian

Press Releases

Advisor Earns Certification in Behavioral Finance
ProCourse Fiduciary Advisors, LLC

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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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