Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 7, 2017

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Jobs

Defined Contribution Regulatory Testing / Reporting Specialist
Bank of America
in NJ

Senior Plan Administrator
MGA Consultants
in MD, NC

Defined Benefit Operations Specialist
Charles Schwab
in TX

Paralegal 2 - ERISA
Wells Fargo
in MN

Retirement Plan Administrator
Advanced Benefits Consulting
Telecommute

Team Lead / Retirement Plan Consultant
DWC - The 401K Experts
Telecommute

401(k) / Pension Administrator
Legacy Retirement Solutions
in PA

►See 153 Jobs

►Post a Job


Webcasts, Conferences

What You Need to Know About ERISA - Health Care Reform and the Affordable Care Act
RECORDED
Bloomberg BNA

Thinking About Telemedicine or an Onsite Clinic for Employees? Be Aware of Potential Problems
September 7, 2017 WEBCAST
HRWebAdvisor

Paid Sick Leave: Complying with the Growing Number of State and Local Requirements
September 14, 2017 WEBCAST
HRWebAdvisor

Fringe Benefits Blitz: Taxing and Reporting Fringe Benefits
September 22, 2017 WEBCAST
ComplianceOnline

Supplemental Health & Protection Conference
September 25, 2017 in MD
Society of Actuaries

Medicare and Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Know the Rules and Avoid Problems
September 26, 2017 WEBCAST
HRWebAdvisor

HSA University
October 5, 2017 WEBCAST
Ascensus

Expanding World of HSAs
October 10, 2017 WEBCAST
Ascensus

Construction Industry Benefits Conference
November 13, 2017 in CA
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

►See 213 Upcoming

►See 1244 Recorded


Discussions

New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Comments and Topics

All Topics, Grouped by Forum


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[Guidance Overview]

Healthcare Reform Questions and Answers for Employers (PDF)
162-page compilation of Q&As covering all aspects of the ACA. Updated through Sept. 5, 2017.
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

[Advert.]

ACA Reporting Requirements and Lessons Learned

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Sept. 15 webinar. Despite the uncertainty of the ACA's future it remains the law of the land. This webinar covers lessons learned from the past two years and identifies focus areas to prevent problems next year. CE credits. Discount for BenefitsLink readers.


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Allows Employees to Donate PTO Value for Hurricane Harvey Victims
"[E]mployers may contribute the value of the PTO contributed by their employees as Harvey relief to a non-profit organization and will be entitled to a deduction that may be treated as a business expense, rather than a charitable contribution, as long as the donations are specifically for the relief of Harvey victims and are made by January 1, 2019. The employees who make the donations will not be entitled to take charitable deductions, but will not be subject to income or Social Security taxes on the amounts donated."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Can a Health Plan Impose a 'Fail-First' Requirement for Opioid Use Disorder Treatments?
"A 'fail-first' requirement is a health plan provision that excludes coverage of higher-cost treatments until a participant demonstrates that a lower-cost treatment is not effective.... To comply with the federal mental health parity rules, your plan cannot impose a fail-first requirement on [medication assisted treatment (MAT)] coverage for opioid use disorder unless the processes, strategies, standards, and other factors considered by the plan in designing and imposing the requirement are comparable to, and applied no more stringently than, those used in applying fail-first requirements to medical/surgical prescription drug benefits."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Don't Forget the Possibility of ACA Retaliation Claims
"[E]mployer mandate taxes that accrued in January of 2015 must be assessed by January of 2018. The statute requires that notices be provided to employers at least 60 days prior to the end of the year.... It would not be good to let the time limit to appeal an assessment expire.... [It] is against the law to retaliate against an employee for receiving a subsidy.... OSHA is the agency charged with retaliation investigations, and OSHA, unlike the IRS, is more than adequately staffed to enforce anti-retaliation requirements."
Ogletree Deakins

Employees Poised to Spend an Average of $5,200 on Health Care in 2018
"The average health care cost increase for U.S. employees is projected to be 7.2 percent in 2018, up from 6.9 percent in 2017. Average health care costs for U.S. employees (including employee premiums and out-of-pocket costs) are projected to be $5,248 in 2018, up from $4,895 in 2017. Employee premium costs are projected to be an average of $2,678 in 2018. This is 18 percent of the total health care cost, which is consistent with cost sharing percentages over the past seven years."
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

[Advert.]

Online Learning Course: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Learn how to avoid common administration mistakes, implement best practices and be aware of interactions with other laws.


GAO Report: IRS Should Mitigate Limitations of Data to Be Used for the Age and Gender Adjustment for the Tax on High-Cost Health Plans
"Starting in 2020, the [ACA] is scheduled to impose a 40% tax on high-cost health plans when an employee's annual cost of coverage exceeds a certain dollar limit. The limit may be adjusted if an employer's workforce -- based on age and gender -- is likely to have higher than average health costs. The adjustment is to be made based on the costs of the federal employee BlueCross BlueShield Standard plan, but [GAO] found that an adjustment based on this plan's costs alone may not be effective due to the relatively high costs incurred by its young members." [GAO-17-661, published and released Sept. 6, 2017]
U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO]

State Insurance Commissioners Talk Reinsurance, CSR Payments at Senate ACA Stabilization Hearings
"Some common themes emerged at the first of four hearings: [1] Continue funding cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments -- and not just for one year. [2] Invest in reinsurance programs and set up high-risk pools. [3] Reverse cuts to navigator programs and funds for marketing the individual exchanges. [5] And give states more freedom to run health insurance programs, with or without federal help."
FierceHealthcare

2018 Projected Health Insurance Exchange Coverage Map, Updated Sept. 6, 2017 (PDF)
[CMS] has posted an update to the Health Insurance Exchanges Issuer County Map. This map is of projected issuer participation on the Health Insurance Exchanges in 2018 based on the known issuer public announcements through September 6, 2017. Participation is expected to fluctuate and does not represent actual Exchange application submissions.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Following the ACA Repeal-and-Replace Effort, Where Does the U.S. Stand on Insurance Coverage?
"The uninsured rate among 19-to-64-year-old adults was 14 percent in 2017, or an estimated 27 million people, statistically unchanged from one year earlier. Uninsured rates ticked up significantly in three subgroups: 35-to-49-year-olds, adults with incomes of 400 percent of poverty or more (about $48,000 for an individual), and adults living in states that had not expanded Medicaid. Half of uninsured adults, or an estimated 13 million, are likely eligible for marketplace subsidies or the Medicaid expansion in their state. Four of 10 uninsured adults are unaware of the marketplaces. Adults in marketplace plans with incomes below 250 percent of poverty are much more likely to view their premiums as easy to afford compared with people with higher incomes."
The Commonwealth Fund

Benefits in General

Comprehensive FAQs for Employers on Hurricanes and Other Workplace Disasters
"This list of frequently asked questions was originally prepared ... in response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. It has been updated several times over the course of the past 12 years, most recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey striking Texas and Louisiana in August 2017, and in anticipation of Hurricane Irma striking Florida in September 2017. This article addresses many employment-related issues facing employers in the wake of hurricane-related disasters; ... in addition to federal laws, [it covers] certain state laws, especially those in the Gulf Coast area."
Fisher Phillips

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Get Ready for the Pay Ratio Disclosure Rule (PDF)
"[C]ompanies should be working on the assumption that pay ratio disclosure will be required for 2018 proxy statements.... While it is still possible that the SEC could delay the implementation date for pay ratio disclosure, there have been no public announcements from the SEC that this is under consideration. In addition, it does not seem likely that the SEC would take action on the pay ratio requirement before any of the currently vacant commissioner positions are filled."
Mayer Brown

Executive Compensation Priorities, Fall 2017
"Preparations for CEO pay ratio disclosures should be underway.... Check equity plans and bonus plans to determine whether shareholder reapproval is necessary.... Review the performance metrics and targets used for 2017 annual and long-term grants to determine whether changes should be made for 2018 grants.... Review compliance with Section 409A of the IRC.... Ensure that 'top hat' plans continue to be limited to a select group of management or highly compensated employees."
Morgan Lewis

Press Releases

NAPA Announces the Retirement Industry’s Top DC Wholesalers
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
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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