Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 18, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Analyst
TPA Firm
in MA

Administration
Slavic401k.com
in FL

Relationship Manager
Principal Financial Group
in OR

ERISA Compliance Specialist
Charles Schwab
in OH, TX

Retirement Plan Administrator
Bates & Company
in FL

Retirement Plan Admin II
Lifetime Benefit Solutions
in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

How Regulatory Changes Impact Your CDH Program
RECORDED
ConnectYourCare

Basics of Traditional IRAs - Establishing / Contributions
July 25, 2017 WEBCAST
Collin W. Fritz & Associates, Ltd.

IRA Reporting Training
July 26, 2017 WEBCAST
Wolters Kluwer

13th Executive Forum on Next Generation Worksite & Near-Site Clinics
September 11, 2017 in GA
World Congress

ISCEBS Continuing Education Day
September 28, 2017 in TX
ISCEBS - Houston Chapter

18th Annual Hawaii Seminar - 2017 ERISA Update
November 15, 2017 in HI
TRI Pension Services

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Discussions

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New Comments and Topics

All Topics, Grouped by Forum


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[Guidance Overview]

Washington Becomes Fifth State with Paid Family Leave
"On July 5, Washington joined four other states and the District of Columbia in providing a paid family leave benefit. Under the state's new insurance program, workers will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave per year starting in 2020. Employer and employee contributions will fund the benefit, but businesses with fewer than 50 employees in the state will not be required to pay the employer portion. Employers should begin planning to integrate the new entitlement into their current leave programs and payroll practices."
Conduent

[Advert.]

Certificate in Canadian Benefit Plans

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Last Call to Register - This Certificate in Canadian Benefit Plans is designed to provide a solid foundation in Canadian pensions and benefits, human resources and compensation that is critical to working successfully with Canadian employees.


Sen. McConnell Statement on Upcoming Vote to Repeal Obamacare
"[In] the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)

July 31 Form 5500 Deadline is Quickly Approaching for Calendar Year Plans
"Insurance policy years (i.e., the time for a renewal) may be different from ERISA plan years. If your health and welfare plans renew on a fiscal year, your ERISA plan may still be on a calendar year track. The ERISA plan documentation will specify the plan year on which it operates."
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Case Study: HDHP Launch Nets 54 Percent of Employees
"Anyone who communicates to employees about benefits knows that the message can easily be lost, misunderstood, or simply tuned out ... The communications challenge is magnified at Woodward because we have more than 500 employee owners across the Midwest. We deliberately chose to use the term CDHP in all our messaging -- written promotions, open enrollment meetings, etc. as we thought it has a less negative connotation than high-deductible health plan. Getting creative with communication and using a variety of channels was key to our effectiveness."
The Alliance

Putting Consumer-Driven Health Plan Adoption on the Fast Track
"Employers can follow these basic guidelines to maximize CDHP participation: Follow a detailed communications strategy.... Use multiple communication channels.... Leverage decision support tools."
Frenkel Benefits

[Advert.]

SALGBA Regional Conference for public sector benefit professionals

Sponsored by SALGBA [State and Local Government Benefits Association]

The SALGBA Regional Conference, hosted by Metro Nashville Public Schools and the State of Tennessee, will be held August 28-29, 2017 in Nashville, TN. More information please visit www.salgba.org.


HSAs With the Best Investment Menu Designs
"An HSA plan's investment menu should offer a comprehensive set of options so that do-it-yourself investors can build well-rounded portfolios.... [It's] prudent to offer multi-asset-class funds, which offer built-in asset-class diversification, for hands-off investors who wish not to construct or closely monitor their portfolio.... HSA plans should resist offering overlapping investment strategies.... Plans that receive positive scores offer investment strategies in core asset classes and have limited redundancy of investment options."
Morningstar Advisor

Assessments, Policies, and Training Are Key to HIPAA Compliance
"Periodic risk assessments, updated policies and procedures, and ongoing training are critical to HIPAA compliance ... The urgency of these has been driven home by the recent rise in big-ticket HIPAA settlements obtained by [HHS].... The OCR still sees insufficiency in the scope of risk assessments ... [which] they should cover everywhere PHI is located and all of its vulnerabilities."
HRDailyAdvisor

Tracking EEOC Rules for Wearables in Wellness Programs
"FitBits and Apple watches, among other wearables, not only count steps but provide data including activity levels, sleep patterns and heart rates. As these devices become central to workplace wellness programs, it is especially important that employers understand that many of the new EEOC rules govern privacy and security issues associated with the collection, storage and sharing of individual data collected through workplace wellness programs."
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Health Care Spending Today and in the Future: Impacts on Federal Deficits and Debt
"CBO projects that federal spending on the major health care programs would grow larger than spending in any other category if current laws generally remained unchanged. Driven particularly by growth in Medicare outlays, spending on those programs would account for 40 percent of federal noninterest spending in 2047, compared with 28 percent today. Two factors explain the projected growth in spending on major health care programs: aging of the population and rising health care costs per person (that is, excess cost growth)."
Congressional Budget Office [CBO]

International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care
"This report uses recent data to compare health care system performance in the U.S. with that of 10 other high-income countries and considers the different approaches to health care organization and delivery that can contribute to top performance."
The Commonwealth Fund

Rover at Work: Pet-Friendly Workplaces?
"Many employers are starting to realize the potential benefits that pet-friendly policies can reap for attraction and retention and are taking Rover into consideration when developing workplace policies and benefits. In light of this, ... employers are beginning to see the value in benefits such as pet insurance (9%), allowing pets in the office full-time (7%) and take your pet to work days (2%). These numbers may seem small, but represent a growing number of employers embracing their employees' personal needs at work."
Willis Towers Watson

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Final Reg: Special Enrollment Examination User Fee for Enrolled Agents
"This document contains a final regulation changing the amount of the user fee for the special enrollment examination to become an enrolled agent. The charging of user fees is authorized by the Independent Offices Appropriations Act of 1952. The final regulation affects individuals taking the enrolled agent special enrollment examination."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Shifts in Benefit Allocations Among U.S. Employers
"What changes have employers made to their benefit programs to adjust to these economic realities, and how well do these changes align with employee preferences and needs? This analysis examines trends in employer costs for benefit plans since 2001 by examining a proprietary database of retirement and health care programs at over 500 employers with at least 200 employees. The analysis also addresses employees' concerns, expectations and desires around benefits, and suggests solutions that can help employers deliver benefits more closely aligned to their employees' priorities."
Willis Towers Watson

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Company Discretionary Offer of Voluntary Separation Agreements Did Not Create ERISA-Covered Severance Plan
"[T]he District Court found that having an administrative scheme by itself did not establish an informal ERISA-covered severance plan.... [T]he Court found that a reasonable person could not determine the class of intended beneficiaries, the intended benefits or the process to request VSA benefits. Accordingly, Quest did not create an informal ERISA plan." [Mance v. Quest Diagnostics Inc., No. 12-7361 (D.N.J. Feb. 21, 2017; unpub.)]
Jackson Lewis P.C.

Discussions on
the BenefitsLink Message Boards

COBRA and Exchange Special Enrollment Periods
"Does termination of an employer contribution towards a former employee's COBRA coverage create a special enrollment period to enroll in exchange coverage for the former employee? Assuming the former employee drops the COBRA coverage once the employer contributions end and is otherwise eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit, does termination of employer contributions towards a former employee's COBRA coverage that results in the COBRA coverage being 'unaffordable' under Code section 36B and 26 C.F.R. Section 1.36B-2 create a special enrollment period to enroll in exchange coverage for the former employee because the former employee would be newly eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit (which creates a special enrollment period pursuant to 45 C.F.R. Section 155.420(d)(i)(6)(iii))?"
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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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