Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

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Legal Counsel - Health & Welfare Benefits Plans
Fidelity Investments
in NC, TX

IRA Expert
Ed Slott and Company, LLC

Defined Contribution / 401k Retirement Plan Administrator
Pension Consultants, Inc.
in CT

Senior Retirement Plan Analyst
Dart Container Corporation
in MI

Retirement Plan Consultant
Schenck, SC
in WI

►See 141 Jobs

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Webcasts, Conferences

HIPAA for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans
September 27, 2017 WEBCAST
Illinois State Bar Association

7th Annual Health Benefits Conference & Expo
January 22, 2018 in FL
Health Benefits Conference & Expo

►See 187 Upcoming

►See 1223 Recorded


New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Comments and Topics

All Topics, Grouped by Forum

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Court Orders EEOC to Reconsider 'Voluntary' Definition in Wellness Regs, Including Choice of 30% Incentive Level
"EEOC does not appear to have considered any factor that actually speaks to whether a given incentive level is voluntary or coercive. Because of this, the Court concludes that EEOC's interpretation of the ADA 's voluntariness requirement is neither reasonable nor supported by the administrative record.... EEOC's explanation for its chosen interpretation of 'voluntary' in the GINA rule fares no better than its explanation in the ADA rule -- principally because EEOC relies primarily on its decision in the ADA rule as the basis for its decision here.... It is far from clear that it would be possible to restore the status quo ante if the rules were vacated; rather, it may well end up punishing those firms -- and employees -- who acted in reliance on the rules.... Thus, for the present, the Court will remand the rules to EEOC for reconsideration without vacatur." [AARP v. EEOC, No. 16-2113 [D.D.C. Aug. 22, 2017)]
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

[Advert.] -- Our New Welfare Plan Documents are Available!

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

We have made extensive enhancements and added new features to our Cafeteria and POP Plan Documents, including a new IDP version of the Cafeteria Plan! Register here for this FREE webinar. Date: Tues, August 29, 2017 Time: 1 pm CT

Court Throws Monkey Wrench Into Wellness Programs
"[T]he court found that the EEOC failed to explain the reasoning behind its decision that an incentive of up to 30% of the cost of self-only coverage would not make participation involuntary. Although the court recognized that it must defer to the agency's decision 'if the agency has offered a reasoned explanation,' the court concluded that it 'could find nothing in the administrative record that explains the agency's conclusion that the 30% incentive level is the appropriate measure for voluntariness.' ... [T]he court has allowed the EEOC's final rules to remain in effect pending the EEOC's review." [AARP v. EEOC, No. 16-2113 (D.D.C. Aug. 22, 2017)]
Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center

2017 Benefits Strategy and Benchmarking Survey: Medical Benefits (PDF)
"Medical and drug coverage is the cornerstone of benefit offerings and key to talent recruitment and retention for nearly two-thirds (63%) of employers. Ninety- two percent (92%) agree their health benefits provide access to quality medical services, and the majority (61%) also believe employees are satisfied with their options. Seventy-one percent (71%) see these benefits as competitive within their region, industry or both."
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

How to Educate Employees During Open Enrollment (PDF)
"[1] Communicate contribution limits.... [2] Communicate plan extensions and deadlines.... [3] Explain how to track expenses.... [4] Teach them about eligible expenses.... [5] Reduce paperwork with an FSA or HSA debit card.... [6] Anticipate common questions.... [7] Explain investment opportunities."
FSA Store

Senate Committee Looks at Stabilizing Health Insurance Markets
"The Senate health committee will hold two hearings early next month on how the nation's individual health insurance marketplaces can be stabilized ... Before Congress departed for its August recess, health committee chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and that panel's top Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, said they would try writing a bill aimed at steadying the individual marketplaces. Alexander has said he'd like the bill to include a one-year continuation of federal payments to insurers who reduce costs for lower-earning customers."


Now is a great time to join Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB)

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Govs. Kasich and Hickenlooper Prepare Obamacare Fixes to Present to Congress
"One specific they agree on and would discuss: changing the [ACA] mandate that employers with 50 or more employees provide insurance coverage. The governors say that number is too low, which deters hiring at small companies. They also agree that the possibility of national single-payer coverage is not on the table in their discussions."
National Public Radio


Why Bernie Sanders' Single-Payer Health Care Bill Would Be a Disaster
"The 'Medicare for All' moniker is politically attractive, due to the existing program's popularity among seniors. But traditional Medicare is neither a purely single-payer system (e.g., most participants rely on private plans to fill crucial gaps in coverage), nor is it without problems."
The Heritage Foundation

Benefits in General

Seventh Circuit Enforces ERISA Forum Selection Clause
"[T]he Seventh Circuit found the Sixth Circuit's reasoning ... to be convincing. The court was not persuaded by Mathias' citation to 'an obscure decision of the Supreme Court' ... that is often relied upon by plaintiffs in forum selection clause cases. In 2016, the same issue was raised in a petition for writ of mandamus to the Eighth Circuit under facts similar to Mathias. The Eighth Circuit denied the petition without explanation.... The secretary of labor filed an amicus brief in support of the participants in each of the three appellate cases, but none of the circuit courts were persuaded." [In re Mathias, No. 16-3808 (7th Cir. Aug. 10, 2017)]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

How to Boost the Value of NQDC Plans
"Future liabilities with respect to each executive in a company's NDQC plan rise and fall with the changing notional value of plan investments that the executive chooses. One [way] of hedging that volatility is purchasing the same funds in the same amounts as the investments that executives make in their own NDQC accounts.... The other common hedging method is purchasing company-owned life insurance ... With a [total return swap (TRS)] ... a company enters into a contract whereby it pays a bank LIBOR plus an additional fee in exchange for the returns on a basket of mutual funds."

Press Releases

Hancock Appoints Nick McParland National Sales Manager
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services

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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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