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Retirement Plan Administrator
PlanTech, LLP
in AL, Telecommute

401(k) Administrator
Capital Retirement Plan Services, Inc.
in PA

Consultant - Defined Contribution Practice
in CT, FL, MO, NJ, NY

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Webcasts, Conferences

Latest Compliance Updates for ERISA, Notices, COBRA, HIPAA & FMLA
October 19, 2017 in AZ
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Phoenix Chapter

Governmental and Church Group Health Plans: What Rules Apply?
October 25, 2017 WEBCAST
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Evaluating Your Third-Party Administrator: Are You Getting What You're Paying For?
November 9, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

ERISA Wrongful Denial of Benefits Claims: Procedural Prerequisites and Key Defenses
November 21, 2017 WEBCAST

New COBRA Audit Guidelines
November 28, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

Update for Nonprofit and Governmental Employers: Retirement and Deferred Compensation
October 12, 2017 in MN
Gray Plant Mooty

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[Official Guidance]

Text of 2017 IRS Form 8882: Credit for Employer-Provided Childcare Facilities and Services (PDF)
Rev. Dec. 2017. "Employers use Form 8882 to claim the credit for qualified childcare facility and resource and referral expenditures. The credit is part of the general business credit. You may claim the credit any time within 3 years from the due date of your return on either an original or amended return."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


Discover What CEBS Can Do For You

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Fall CEBS instructor-led online classes are now underway. Whether it's the structured time frame or the assurance of an expert instructor that you're looking for, you're sure to benefit from an online class. Learn more!

[Official Guidance]

Text of 2017 IRS Form 1095-A with Instructions: Health Insurance Marketplace Statement (PDF)
"You must complete Form 8962 and file it with your tax return (Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR) if any amount other than zero is shown in Part III, column C, of this Form 1095-A (meaning that you received premium assistance through advance credit payments) or if you want to take the premium tax credit. The filing requirement applies whether or not you're otherwise required to file a tax return."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Worker Fired for Leaving Store Without Telling Managers May Have Given Timely FMLA Notice a Day Later
"A deli worker, who was fired for job abandonment the day she left the store without giving managers notice, raised triable issues on whether she provided 'adequate and timely notice' that she was requesting FMLA leave based on evidence that her father called the next day to say she was seeking medical care and provided documentation two days after she left ... The same set of disputed facts prompted the court to also deny the employee's motion for summary judgment on the employer's affirmative defense that she abandoned her job." [Stringfield v. Cosentino's Food Stores, No. 15-693 (W.D. Mo. Sept. 5, 2017)]
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Appeals Court Upholds Minneapolis' Citywide Sick-Leave Ordinance
"Minneapolis employers still have to provide their workers with paid sick time ... The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a January Hennepin County District Court ruling in an unpublished opinion that said the city can proceed with the ordinance, which took effect July 1, but for now can apply it only to Minneapolis-based employers.... The [Minnesota Chamber of Commerce] has argued that state law already covers paid leave, and so prohibits Minneapolis from adding another requirement. The city has countered that the state and municipal policies don't conflict." [Minn. Chamber of Comm. v. City of Minneapolis, No. 16-15051 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 18, 2017)]
Star Tribune

High Prescription Drug Cost Trends Projected to Be Lower for 2018
"Drug trends for actives and early retirees are expected to remain in the double-digits, continuing to be much higher than medical trend. Price inflation -- not utilization -- is the leading driver of trend... [T]he cost increases of pharmacy benefits now exceed the cost increases of inpatient hospital claim expenses or physician claim expenses ... [O]nce specialty Rx paid through the medical plan is added to Rx paid through PBMs, the cost of Rx is larger than inpatient, outpatient and professional services for some plans."
Segal Consulting


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Senate Finance Hearing to Consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Proposal
Hearing scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, at 2 p.m. Includes testimony from: [1] The Honorable Lindsey Graham (R-SC); [2] The Honorable Mazie Hirono (D-HI); [3] The Honorable Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La); [4] The Honorable Rick Santorum, Former U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania; [5] Mr. Dennis G. Smith, Arkansas Department of Human Services; [6] Ms. Teresa Miller, Department of Human Services, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; [7] Ms. Cindy Mann, Former Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services; [8] Mr. Dick Woodruff, American Cancer Society.
Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate

Updated Text and State-by-State Numbers Released for GCHJ Healthcare Proposal
"Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) released updated legislative text, section-by-section, and an HHS state-by-state impact table for the updated version of Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson."
U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

Today CBO Aims to Issue Preliminary Analysis of H.R. 1628, Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Health Reform Bill
"In response to a request from the Senate Budget Committee, later this afternoon CBO aims to publish a preliminary analysis of the direct spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1628, an amendment in the nature of a substitute ..., which was posted this morning on Senator Bill Cassidy's website. That assessment, which is being prepared with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, will include estimates of whether the legislation would reduce on-budget deficits by at least as much as was estimated for H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, as passed by the House on May 4, 2017; whether Titles I and II in the legislation would each save at least $1 billion; and whether the bill would increase on-budget deficits in the long term."
Congressional Budget Office [CBO]


Do Americans Expect Too Much from Health Insurance?
"Americans expect at least three things from the health care system: [1] Health insurance to protect them from unpredictable and significant financial risk stemming from accidents or illness; [2] affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions; and [3] access to routine and often relatively low-cost services, such as annual check-ups and preventive care.... [I]nsurance, a product designed primarily for risk protection, is the vehicle being used to try to achieve all of these goals. Relying on insurance may not be the most efficient or affordable approach to achieving broader societal objectives."
RAND Corporation


American Academy of Actuaries' Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Proposal (PDF)
10 pages. "In the near term, GCHJ would not address cost-sharing reduction (CSR) funding and would eliminate the individual mandate. As a result, it would exert upward pressure on premiums. GCHJ would fund short-term financial assistance to states in 2019 and 2020. Depending on how it is used, this funding could offset some of the upward premium pressure. But overall, premiums would likely increase, enrollment would likely decline, and more insurers may withdraw from the market."
American Academy of Actuaries


The Graham-Cassidy Plan: Sweeping Changes in a Compressed Time Frame
"[The authors] describe some of Graham-Cassidy's key provisions ... [and offer] thoughts on the bill's substantive and political implications. Because Graham-Cassidy is so complex and far-reaching, ... more time is needed to understand and debate its merits, and the legislation would benefit from a traditional mark-up in committee where serious amendments could be considered. Moving too fast risks significant unintended consequences and public resentment."
Joseph Antos and James Capretta, in Health Affairs


State of the Health Plan TPA Industry and Forecast for 2018
"A trend seems to be evolving ... to shift existing programs (and/or) existing & new powers to states, perhaps in a single-payer format, such as 'Medicare-for-all'.... The risk is that this could cause chaos in the employee benefits system.... If states are formally given new authority by Congress, the new state rules/laws would technically be implemented under federal authority, and ERISA does not preempt other federal laws! ... [S]tates might well mandate that everyone ... and/or every employer/plan in the state must sign up with the state system. This would make current plans unworkable, and perhaps be the tilting factor to the trend forecast[.]"
Society of Professional Benefit Administrators

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice VI-2017-02, for Victims of Hurricane Maria in U.S. Virgin Islands
"Individuals who reside or have a business in the Islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas may qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 16, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018. With some exceptions, many of these deadlines were postponed by the IRS following the disaster declaration for Hurricane Irma[.]"
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice PR-2017-02, for Victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
"Individuals who reside or have a business in any of the 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico may qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 17, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018. With some exceptions, many of these deadlines were postponed by the IRS following the disaster declaration for Hurricane Irma[.]"
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Employee Benefit Plan Hurricane Relief: Available Reporting and Funding Extensions
"The IRS, DOL and PBGC recently provided various forms of relief intended to help employees and employers impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Hurricane Irma. In this [article the authors] review funding and reporting relief and take a brief look at Vacation/PTO donation programs."
Baker McKenzie

[Guidance Overview]

Here in 14 Weeks: New Rules For Disability Benefit Claims (PDF)
"Improvement to basic disclosure requirements ... Right to claim file and internal protocols ... Right to review and respond to new information before final decision ... Avoiding conflicts of interest ... Deemed exhaustion of claims and appeal processes ... Certain coverage rescissions are adverse benefit determinations subject to the claims procedure protection ... Notices written in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner."
Cowden Associates, Inc.

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Releases New Pay Ratio Guidance
"The SEC acknowledges in the interpretive release that some imprecision is inherent in the preparation of pay ratio disclosures given that the data-gathering process and performance of the calculations involve several layers of estimation, adjustments, and statistical sampling. Accordingly, so long as issuers use reasonable estimates, assumptions, or methodologies, the pay ratio itself and the corresponding disclosure will not provide the basis for an SEC enforcement action, unless the disclosure was made or reaffirmed without a reasonable basis or was provided other than in good faith."
Winston & Strawn LLP

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Provides More Clarity on CEO Pay Ratio
"The Division of Corporate Finance clarified that companies may use a combination of statistical sampling and other reasonable methods in order to identify the median employee.... In addition, the Division of Corporate Finance provided examples of situations where other reasonable methods may be appropriate ... [and] provided examples of other reasonable methods[.]"
Winston & Strawn LLP

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Provides Further Guidance on Pay Ratio Disclosure Rule (PDF)
"The new guidance underscores that companies have broad latitude in complying with the disclosure requirement. The proposed sampling techniques and hypothetical examples will be particularly helpful to companies as they devise strategies for identifying the median employee's total compensation. The key takeaways from the new guidance are summarized [in this article]."
Sidley Austin LLP

Can You Accelerate Payouts Under Your Deferred Comp Plan?
"The termination of a deferred compensation plan involves both termination of employer and employee deferrals (unless otherwise already frozen) and the acceleration of the payment of accrued benefits. Such permitted plan terminations can only occur in one of three ways: in connection with the employer's insolvency, change in control of the employer, or in accordance with the 409A general plan termination rules."
Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP

on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Advance Notice Required for Amendment of a Health Reimbursement Account?
"There is no advance notice requirement for amendment of an HSA, even if ERISA applies, correct? Certainly any eligible expenses incurred prior to the amendment would need to be covered, but I am seeing no legal requirement for an advance notice to the participant."
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Use of Veba to Fund Employer HSA Contributions
"Can an employer establish a VEBA for the purpose of making employer contributions to employee HSAs? I don't see why not, though doing would seem to make the HSA subject to ERISA. Thanks for your thoughts!"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

IRI Congratulates Newly Elected Members of the Board
Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

Connect   LinkedIn logo   Twitter logo   Facebook logo, Inc.
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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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