Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 22, 2017 logo logo
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Consultant / Client Service Representative
Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

Actuarial Analyst
Continental Benefits Group, Inc.
in NJ, Telecommute

Manager, Retirement Plan Services
CMJ, LLP Certified Public Accountants
in NY

Account Executive/Consultant Retirement Services
Lockton Insurance Brokers
in CA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Do You Know How Much Your 401k Costs?
Association of Legal Administrators [ALA]

Inherited IRAs in Estate Planning
National Business Institute

Pension, Retirement Issues in Bankruptcy
American Bankruptcy Institute

PLANADVISER National Conference
September 11, 2017 in FL

Basic IRA Training
September 12, 2017 WEBCAST
Wolters Kluwer

NIPA - CT Fall Seminar
September 20, 2017 in CT
NIPA - CT Chapter

403(b) Comply Now
October 24, 2017 in IN
Ice Miller

2018 NIPA Annual Forum & Expo
January 20, 2018 in NV
NIPA [National Institute of Pension Administrators]

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Releases 2018 Affordability Rates
"[Rev. Proc. 2017-36] did not address the household income standard in its employer shared responsibility regulations. Instead, the IRS established a choice of three safe harbors that employers could use to demonstrate compliance with the affordability standard, all of which limit the determination of affordability to employee self-only coverage."
Willis Towers Watson


Super-Early-Bird Pricing Ends Soon!

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Don't miss your opportunity to secure 2017 prices for the 2018 Health Benefits Conference & Expo. Register by August 31 and SAVE on the education, resources and tools you need to keep your plans compliant and your employees engaged!

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Updates Amounts Used to Calculate 2017 Obamacare Individual Individual Shares Responsibility Tax Penalties
"[IRS] set the monthly national average premium for qualified health plans that have a bronze level of coverage offered through Exchanges at $272 per individual and the maximum monthly national average premium for qualified health plans with a bronze level of coverage offered through Exchanges at $1,360 for a shared responsibility family with five or more members.... Taxpayers who are not enrolled in the necessary health coverage to meet the Obamacare health coverage mandate should evaluate their shared responsibility tax penalty exposure and weigh whether it makes more sense to enroll in qualifying health coverage or prepare to pay the tax."
Solutions Law Press

2018 Employer Mandate Penalty Amounts Can Be Determined, Ahead of Formal IRS Announcement
"Since the premium adjustment percentage is already provided, all of the numbers necessary to calculate the 2018 section 4980H penalty amounts are known.... [T]he correct numbers to use when calculating the potential section 4980H penalties for 2018 are: [1] Section 4980H(a) penalty amount = $2,320; [2] Section 4980H(b) penalty amount = $3,480. The IRS will likely release these numbers soon[.]"
Accord Systems, LLC

Ninth Circuit: ERISA Preempts California's Ban on Discretionary Clauses as It Applies to Self-Funded Disability Plans
"The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the matter to the district court. It held that the employer's STD plan was 'insurance' because its principal purpose was to shift risk of financial loss due to injury from the employees to the employer and spread that risk over its workforce. Since [a California statute] invalidates discretionary clauses in insurance plans, it applies to the STD Plan, even though the Plan is self-funded.... Future litigation on this issue is going to center on what is a self-funded plan. Is a self-funded plan that is partially insured outside the protection of the deemer clause?" [Williby v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 15-56394 (9th Cir. Aug. 15, 2017)]
Roberts Bartolic

Small Business Healthcare: How Employees Are Faring (PDF)
"When looking at average annual cost per employee, small businesses actually cut a better deal even compared to their largest counterparts.... Copays, deductibles, and HSA funding (when offered) are generally in line with average employers.... Small businesses are passing nearly 6.6 percent more of the costs for single coverage and nearly 10 percent more of the costs of family coverage on to employees -- and that number increases to 17.8 percent and over 50 percent more respectively when you compare small employers to their largest counterparts.... Small businesses also have higher out-of-pocket maximums, particularly for families."
United Benefit Advisers, LLC [UBA]


Not All ACA Reporting Solutions Are Created Equal

Sponsored by HealthCostManager

Even in the second year of ACA, employers still struggled to deliver compliant reporting in a timely manner. Learn how great technology, expertise and support can make all the difference. Click to learn more or register for our weekly webinars.

Employers Take Wellness to a Higher Level
"[M]any companies today are dramatically expanding their vision of wellness.... These efforts may not always pay off quickly in cold, hard dollars saved on health care costs, but they can create happier, more productive and focused employees who are less stressed and less likely to miss work or leave the company, which may ultimately result in greater savings."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Tips for Setting Corporate Wellness Goals
"Having a corporate wellness program is vital for the health and job satisfaction of your employees, as well as your bottom line ... It's important to address what programs are working and what need improvement, as well as your future plans and vision.... Draft a mission statement and set objectives to provide a means of measuring success. Set both process and outcome objectives to achieve your desired outcomes."
Marathon Health

The Frustration of Out-of-Network Billing
"When a member receives an unexpected balance bill, most often the member places the blame on the insurance plan and feels like they've been cheated. Members rarely see that the provider is overcharging for a particular service."
Frenkel Benefits

The IRS Is Still Enforcing the Individual Mandate, Despite What Many Taxpayers Believe
"The IRS website has insisted that the mandates are still in force ... There is evidence, however, that many taxpayers do not believe it.... [As] of March 31, a third fewer taxpayers were paying the penalty than had been the case a year earlier. More importantly, insurers seem to believe that the IRS is not enforcing the mandate, or at least that taxpayers do not believe the IRS is enforcing the mandate, and are raising their rates for 2018 to account for the deteriorating of the risk pool that nonenforcement of the mandate will cause."
Health Affairs

Obamacare: What's Next for the IRS?
"The Cadillac tax is set to take effect in 2020, and ... the IRS is likely to issue some guidance on it in the near future so employers can begin planning.... The IRS is also due to move guidance on qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements, included in the 21st Century Cures Act ... The IRS in February indicated it would accept tax returns that don't indicate whether an individual had health insurance, walking back a previous decision to begin requiring an indication of coverage on returns. The agency likely won't stop accepting those so-called silent returns[.]"
Bloomberg BNA


Solving the Problem of Bipartisan Health Care Reform
"The legislative goals of this bipartisan group are short-term and sensible: to stabilize the state insurance exchanges, reduce the burdens on small employers, and mitigate the impact of higher premiums on individuals.... The bipartisan achievement of these legislative goals is critical to the viability of the current health care system.... [The author evaluates] the proposals of the Problem Solvers to amend the [ACA and offers] additional proposals that [can be seen] as consistent with group's goals."
Health Affairs

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice WV-2017-02, for Victims of Severe Storms and Flooding in West Virginia
"Victims of the Severe Storms, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides that took place beginning on July 28, 2017 in parts of West Virginia may qualify for tax relief from the [IRS].... Individuals who reside or have a business in Harrison, Marion, Marshall and Wetzel Counties may qualify for tax relief."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Transferring IRA Money to a Health Savings Account
"People who still qualify to make HSA contributions can make a one-time rollover from an IRA to an HSA, which can be a good way to build up the account if you don't have other cash to contribute. You must currently have an HSA-eligible health insurance policy with a deductible of at least $1,300 for single coverage or $2,600 for family coverage. The amount you can roll over is the same as your annual HSA contribution limit[.]"

Press Releases

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2017, 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, 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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