Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 5, 2017

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Jobs

401k Service Administrator
Retirement Direct
in NC

ERISA Attorney
Transamerica
in MD

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Pentegra
in NY

Pension Plan Administrator
E.H. Thomson & Co., Inc.
in NJ

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Benefit Plans Plus, LLC (BPP)
in IL, IN, MO

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Webcasts, Conferences

All You Need to Know to Comply with the New York State Paid Family Leave Law
September 28, 2017 in NY
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - New York Chapter

ADA & FMLA Compliance Update
April 26, 2018 in IL
National Employment Law Institute

►See 205 Upcoming

►See 1236 Recorded


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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2017-48: Treatment of Amounts Paid to Section 170(c) Organizations Under Employer Leave-Based Donation Programs to Aid Victims of Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Harvey (PDF)
"The [IRS] will not assert that cash payments an employer makes to Section 170(c) organizations in exchange for vacation, sick, or personal leave that its employees elect to forgo constitute gross income or wages of the employees if the payments are: [1] made to the Section 170(c) organizations for the relief of victims of Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Harvey; and [2] paid to the Section 170(c) organizations before January 1, 2019. Similarly, the Service will not assert that the opportunity to make such an election results in constructive receipt of gross income or wages for employees. Electing employees may not claim a charitable contribution deduction under Section 170 with respect to the value of forgone leave excluded from compensation and wages."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Draft Instructions for 2017 IRS Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (PDF)
18 pages. "Several forms of transition relief were available to some employers under section 4980H for 2016. No section 4980H transition relief is available for 2017. Therefore, these instructions have been revised to remove discussion of section 4980H transition relief, and Form 1094-C has also been revised. Specifically, Form 1094-C, line 22, box C is designated 'Reserved'; Part III, column (e) is designated 'Reserved'; and the entry rows in Part III, column (e) are shaded."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Official Guidance]

Text of 2018 Instructions for IRS Form 1099-H: Health Coverage Tax Credit Advance Payments (PDF)
"Section 6050T requires that if you are a provider of qualified health insurance coverage ... and you receive advance payments from the Department of the Treasury on behalf of eligible recipients pursuant to section 7527 [HCTC payments], you must file Forms 1099-H to report those advance payments. You must also furnish a statement reporting that information to the eligible recipient."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Releases ACA Affordability Rates for 2018
"For 2018, the required contribution percentage has decreased to 9.56% (from 9.69% in 2017). This means that if an employee's share of the premium for employer-provided coverage (in 2018) is more than 9.56% of his or her household income, the coverage is not considered affordable for that employee and the ALE may be liable for a penalty if that employee obtains a premium tax credit through an Exchange."
The Wagner Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

Forms 1094-C and 1095-C Draft Instructions Released -- Minimal Changes But Problems Still Exist
"Most of the changes made in the draft instructions are the elimination of discussions related to the transition relief provisions that applied in previous years, but can never apply for the 2017 Forms.... This article provides a brief summary to the changes and new notes added to the draft instructions for the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, discusses key dates, and provides a brief overview of penalties associated with the Forms. The article concludes by discussing a problem that persists related to the code 2F on line 16 of the Form 1095-C."
Accord Systems, LLC

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What Employers Can Expect with the Return of the Health Insurance Providers Fee in 2018
"[A] moratorium was placed on the fee for the 2017 calendar year. This exclusion had the desired outcome for the insurers as the fee for 2017 was scheduled to be $13.9 billion. The Health Insurance Providers Fee is scheduled to return in 2018 and is estimated to cost $14.3 billion.... The return of the fee will add roughly 3% on fully insured plans to the overall premium costs which will be a pass-through fee from the insurance companies that will hit the total premium cost for employers."
Hill, Chesson & Woody

Eleventh Circuit: Healthy Pregnancy Is Not a Pre-Existing Condition for Disability Caused By Stroke (PDF)
"Bradshaw had a healthy pregnancy and no other pre-existing medical conditions when she bought a disability-insurance policy ... [N]ine days after Bradshaw gave birth to her daughter, tragically, Bradshaw suffered a debilitating stroke. So Bradshaw filed a claim for long-term disability benefits with Reliance, which Reliance denied ... because of Bradshaw's healthy pregnancy at the time she purchased her policy; Reliance asserted that qualified as a pre-existing condition that 'contributed to' Bradshaw's stroke.... Reliance's determination was unreasonable. So we reverse and remand the case to the district court for an award of ERISA benefits." [Bradshaw v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., No. 16-11125 (11th Cir. Aug. 31, 2017; unpub.)]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Seventh Circuit Finds ERISA Preempted State Unpaid Leave Claim
"An employee's unpaid leave claim under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act was completely preempted by ERISA because the employer's leave policy was dependent on the terms of its VEBA plan ... In affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment for the employer, the appeals court found that the employee's claim did not implicate a duty that was independent of ERISA." [Studer v. Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital, No. 16-3728 (7th Cir. Aug. 10, 2017)]
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Regulatory Capital Strategies in an Evolving Health Insurance Landscape (PDF)
"A health plan's required capital depends on how it contracts with providers. An effective contracting strategy can have a favorable financial effect by reducing the amount of required capital. Reduced capital can increase return-on-equity (ROE) or create available capital for other purposes."
Milliman

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How Employers and Employees Can Help Those in Need Due to Hurricane Harvey
"[F]our types of employer-sponsored relief programs that allow employers to provide assistance on a tax-advantaged basis: [1] Charitable leave donation programs; [2] Disaster assistance leave banks; [3] Qualified disaster relief programs; [4] Employer-sponsored charitable organizations. The first program is targeted at broad-based relief to victims of disasters like Hurricane Harvey, and the last three programs are methods to assist an employer's own employees who have been directly impacted by this major disaster."
Morgan Lewis

Senate Turns Bipartisan Attention to Individual Health Insurance Market (PDF)
"The Senate's leading health policy committee has scheduled four hearings over the next two weeks in an effort to craft bipartisan legislation to stabilize the nation's individual health insurance markets. But a new attempt at a broad [ACA] repeal and replace effort seems impossible in the short term, as time to make such an effort is now all but exhausted."
Lockton

[Opinion]

ERIC Comments on Washington State's Proposed Paid Sick Leave Rule
"The Proposed Edited Rules require employers to allow employees to carry over, at minimum, forty hours of accrued but unused leave from one benefit year to the next. Despite the statutory mandate,ERIC believes there is still room for employer flexibility while still ensuring that Washingtonians are guaranteed adequate paid sick leave. This can be achieved by adopting new regulations that mandate carryover only in instances where the employer does not frontload the paid sick leave."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

Benefits in General

Educate Your Employees on Using HSAs In Retirement Planning
"With healthcare open enrollment season quickly approaching, 401k plan sponsors may want to spend some time educating participants on the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). If you offer a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to your employees, they probably have the ability to contribute to HSAs.... [N]early everyone eligible to contribute to an HSA should max out their HSA contributions each year. Here's why."
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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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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