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The Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l
in VA

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Johnson Bank
in WI

Implementation Specialist
BlueStar Retirement Services, Inc.
in FL

Relationship Manager - Operations
Strategic Retirement Partners
in IA, RI, Telecommute

Product Manager
in NY

Managing Attorney - Employee Benefits
in OK

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[Guidance Overview]

Hurricane Harvey and the FMLA: Are Your Employees Eligible for Leave During a Natural Disaster?
"FMLA does not, in itself, require employers to give employees time off to attend to personal matters arising out of a natural disaster, such as cleaning a flood-damaged basement, salvaging belongings, or searching for missing relatives.... However, an employee would qualify for FMLA leave when, as a result of a natural disaster, the employee suffers a physical or mental illness or injury that meets the definition of a 'serious health condition' and renders them unable to perform their job, or the employee is required to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition who is affected by the natural disaster.... If your business activity has temporarily ceased and employees generally are not expected to report for work for one or more weeks, these days do not count against the employee's FMLA leave entitlement."
FMLA Insights


The New CEBS.

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Workers Still Doubt High-Deductible Health Plans
"High-deductible health plans are gaining traction with employers, says one new report ... Another report concludes that growth in adoption of these plans has leveled off. Both reports, however, say many workers are not yet sold on the plans."
HRE Daily

Wellness Plans Currently Under Scrutiny by DOL
"The DOL recently brought suit for various violations under [ERISA] against Macy's Inc. -- along with the third-party administrators of Macy's health plan. The suit alleges that Macy's wellness plan does not meet the applicable wellness plan non-discrimination requirements because the plan failed to provide a reasonable alternative standard for participants to avoid the tobacco surcharge levied by the wellness plan, and continued to charge participants a tobacco surcharge even when they participated in the tobacco cessation program offered under the plan."
Winston & Strawn LLP

Wellness Program Design Tips
"The four health conditions with the highest rate of prescription drug use-high blood pressure (84 percent), high cholesterol (66 percent), gastrointestinal disease (78 percent) and diabetes (79 percent) can be directly impacted by diet. 52 percent of employees eat two or less servings of fruit/vegetables per day. 52 percent of employees lack interesting and challenging situations in their lives. 30 percent of employees experienced a major life or work change in the past year[.]"
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Multinational Pooling: Save Money While Improving Employee Benefits
"[S]aving money without compromising the quality of the healthcare benefits you offer your staff can be challenging. One effective way of achieving this is by implementing a multinational pooling strategy, which ... can produce average premium savings of 15%. It involves combining your group's insurance contracts for employee benefits in different countries under one financing arrangement. Not only will this create savings through leveraging scale, it will also help you to assess your employee benefits risks on a regional or global basis."
Willis Towers Watson


2017 Health Savings Accounts Facts

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More Are Insured Under ACA, But Have More Out-of-Pocket Costs
"Those most likely to choose a high-deductible plan are also the least able to afford unexpected medical costs: low-income Americans.... [T]hey're more likely to choose coverage with high out-of-pocket costs because those plans generally have a lower monthly premium.... [A]bout half of the estimated 20.5 million Americans who gained coverage under the ACA did so through their state's expansion of eligibility for Medicaid[.]"

The ACA's Transitional Reinsurance Program (PDF)
"This report provides an overview of ... the transitional reinsurance program.... [The] report [1] provides background information on reinsurance and the ACA risk-mitigation programs ... [2] describes the components of the transitional reinsurance program, as well as implementation of and experience with the program ...[3] discusses questions regarding the scope of HHS's authority to administer the transitional reinsurance program, including those raised by a 2016 [GAO] report." [Report R44690, Aug. 23, 2017]
Congressional Research Service

Review of CMS Proposed 2018 Risk Adjustment Changes to CSR Plans (PDF)
"Wakely reviewed CMS' proposed 2018 risk adjustment changes to cost-sharing reduction (CSR) plans and modeled the impact of the changes based on collected 2016 data. [The] modeling with national data shows that relative risk will decrease around 10% for the 87% and 94% CSR plans while all other plans' relative risk will increase at varying levels to offset the changes to CSR plans."
Wakely Consulting Group

Reinstate CSR Subsidies, State Officials Say
"Democrats, health-care industry stakeholders, and a number of Republicans -- including HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) -- have called for appropriating the cost-sharing reduction subsidies ... But getting Republicans in Congress to agree to reinstate the reinsurance program, which required fees on employer-sponsored plans, will likely be more difficult as many Republicans oppose what they call an insurer bailout."
Bloomberg BNA

An Untapped Opportunity for Health Care Progress: Redesigning Care for High-Need Patients
"Currently, 1 percent of patients account for more than 20 percent of health care expenditures, and 5 percent account for nearly half of the nation's spending on health care ... Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, a new publication ... says successful models generally share a number of common features across four dimensions: [1] Focus of service setting.... [2] Care and condition attributes.... [3] Delivery features.... [4] Organizational culture."
Health Affairs

Solving Healthcare's Revenue Cycle Challenges Using Technology-Enabled Communications
22 pages. "Managing overdue payments is one of the top challenges facing healthcare organizations. Patients are struggling to pay medical bills, and more than half of patients are delaying payments. High insurance deductibles and confusion regarding insurance coverage are the primary reasons patients delay healthcare payments.... Healthcare providers can maximize reimbursements by prioritizing chronic disease management."

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice TX-2017-09, for Victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas
"Individuals who reside or have a business in Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Wharton Counties may qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after Aug. 23, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

How to Launch an Employee Compensation, Bonus or Benefits Plan Internationally
"Geographical differentials in remuneration arise out of market forces and laws. Wage rates run highest in rich, developed economies with high standards of living. And employee benefits dovetail with local laws.... Yet in recent decades business drivers have pushed multinationals to align or harmonize certain pay, bonus and benefits offerings internationally ... [T]oday's cross-border project teams and instantaneous internal communications motivate employers to extend certain compensation and benefits offerings across borders."

Press Releases

NTSA Mourns Suzanne Baldino Jones
National Tax-Deferred Savings Association [NTSA]

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