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Internal Sales - Qualified Plans
Dedicated Defined Benefit Services
in CA

Compliance Specialist
Haynes Benefits PC
in MO

Retirement Account Administrator II
Alerus Financial
in MI, MN, ND, NH

401(k) Plan Administrator
Compass Retirement Consulting Group
in NH, Telecommute

Retirement Relationship Manager
Alerus Financial
in MI

Client Services Manager
Alerus Financial
in MN, ND

Retirement Plan Regional Sales Director
Retirement Plan Consultants LLC
in AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

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Webcasts, Conferences

FMLA Absences: How to Manage Reduced and Intermittent Leave and Avoid Abuse
Business and Legal Resources [BLR]

FMLA Self-Audits: Find and Fix Problems with Your Leave Practices Before the Feds Do
Business and Legal Resources [BLR]

Self-Funded Health Benefit Plans: How to Evaluate Cost, Suitability and ERISA and Related Legal Compliance
Business and Legal Resources [BLR]

COBRA Compliance & Common Tripwires: Health Coverage Continuation Administration
Business and Legal Resources [BLR]

Open Enrollment for 2018: Group Health Plan Design and Administration Tripwires to Avoid Amid Changes to Compliance Obligations
September 28, 2017 WEBCAST
Business and Legal Resources [BLR]

New York State Paid Family Leave and Beyond
October 4, 2017 in NY
Jackson Lewis LLP

How to Use Wrap Documents: Meet Form 5500 Filing Requirements Under ERISA and Avoid Compliance Mishaps
October 12, 2017 WEBCAST
Business and Legal Resources [BLR]

1094-C and 1095-C Reporting Requirements for 2018: What to Do Now to Get a Jump on Upcoming ACA Compliance Deadlines
October 18, 2017 WEBCAST
Business and Legal Resources [BLR]

Structuring Equity and Nonqualified Deferred Compensation: Achieving Tax and Legal Objectives
November 9, 2017 WEBCAST

►See 165 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1293 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

Standard Measurement Period Cannot Start on October 1 Without Special Adjustments
"Employers who sponsor a calendar year plan and who have adopted the look back measurement method will soon be reaching the end date of the standard measurement period.... [M]any employers have set up standard measurement periods that start prior to October 3 of the particular year in question, in this case October 3, 2016. This article explains why starting a standard measurement period prior to October 3 creates a problem and addresses a few potential solutions."


Online Learning Course: COBRA

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Even with ACA coverage easier for individuals to obtain, group health plans must continue to offer COBRA coverage. This course explains technicalities of COBRA, including who is entitled and how to administer.

[Guidance Overview]

Group Health Plan Audit Requirement: Whom Do You Trust?
"If employee contributions are used for any purpose other than paying group health or HMO premiums, then benefits are not deemed to be paid solely from the employer's general assets -- and the audit requirement would apply.... [I]t seems clear that the audit requirement does not turn entirely on the question of whether or not the plan is funded through a trust. But note Q&A 18 published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants which states that relief from the audit requirement for contributory self-funded welfare plans with more than 100 participants is based on whether or not the plan is funded through a trust[.]"
Golan Christie Taglia

ACA Cheat Sheet for 2017 and 2018
"[This article provides] a cheat sheet with affordability safe harbor thresholds, applicable large employer penalty tax amounts, and out-of-pocket maximums for 2017 and for fast-approaching 2018."
E is for ERISA

Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs: State Pathways and Design Options (PDF)
28 pages. "[S]tates seeking to implement paid family and medical leave in the future face a range of program design choices with regard to system structure, funding, and administration. This brief discusses the growing need for paid leave, the pathways to existing paid leave programs in the U.S. and abroad, and design options and challenges facing states seeking to adopt new systems in the coming years."
National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI]

Trump Plans to Issue Executive Order Allowing Interstate Sale of Health Insurance
"In remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Trump said he is preparing to issue an executive order that would allow people to cross state lines in order to 'buy their own healthcare.' ... The idea, [Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)] said, would be to modify [ERISA] by expanding the definition of who can form 'associations.' Corporations that operate in multiple states are already allowed to purchase insurance across state lines under ERISA, and Trump could authorize individuals to do the same."


2017 Health Savings Accounts Facts

Sponsored by The National Underwriter Company

Turn to 2017 Health Savings Accounts Facts to obtain vital HSA questions and answers right at your fingertips. Use code BENLINK for 10% discount.

The Health Reform That Employers Would Like to See
"Just 35% of all respondents say they favor repeal and replace, with 51% opposed and 14% expressing no opinion. Respondents from smaller organizations (fewer than 500 employees) were more likely to favor repeal and replace (59%).... 95% said they would favor simplified ACA employer shared responsibility reporting rules ... More than 9 out of 10 respondents (92%) favor permitting higher contributions to health spending accounts, and nearly as many (87%) would like to allow contributions up to the level of the out-of-pocket maximum."

Obamacare Repeal Isn't Dead as Long as Republicans Control Congress
"The last few bills Republicans have tried, and failed, to pass were wildly unpopular, rejected by health care groups and scored poorly by the Congressional Budget Office. Still, the party believes that it must make good on its seven-year promise to repeal the law. Republican voters say it's a priority, and donors do too."

CMS Did Not Provide Effective Oversight to Ensure That State Marketplaces Always Properly Determined Individuals' Eligibility for Qualified Health Plans and Insurance Affordability Programs
"Although CMS provided oversight and technical assistance, it did not ensure for the 2014 through 2016 coverage years that all State marketplaces [1] had the system functionality to verify individuals' eligibility for QHPs and insurance affordability programs and resolve inconsistencies in eligibility data according to Federal requirements and [2] had or used the system functionality to perform the process for determining ineligibility for individuals who had not filed a tax return to reconcile the premium tax credit. Further, CMS did not ensure that all of the marketplaces completed required independent audits."
Office of Inspector General [OIG], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]


Actuaries Continue to Urge Stabilization Measures for the Individual Health Insurance Market
"The Academy's Health Practice Council urges policymakers and regulators to focus on the following actions that would help stabilize the health insurance market: [1] Permanently fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) reimbursements; [2] Enforce the individual mandate; [3] Support enrollment outreach and education; [4] Provide external stability funding; and [5] Avoid legislative and regulatory actions that increase market uncertainties."
American Academy of Actuaries


Redefining Employee Benefits
"This emerging market demand to help people through their workplace has resulted in a significant amount of capital being invested in new companies providing products and services to fill the need. These solutions include wellness, nutrition and smoking cessation programs, financial fitness, college loan payment support, employee loan programs, help with bad credit, and more."
Joe Markland

Benefits in General

House Passes Legislation to Deliver Immediate Tax Relief to Hurricane Victims
"Today, the House passed the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 (H.R.3823), which includes House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady's (R-TX) bill to deliver targeted tax relief to the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria."
Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

Hurricane-Related Relief: It's About Time and Money
"The IRS, [DOL] and [PBGC] have all announced changes to their usual compliance and enforcement regimes that will allow employers and employees some wiggle room in the aftermath of the storms.... This [article] provides an outline of hurricane-related relief gathered in one place[.]"
Bloomberg BNA

Supreme Court May Have First ERISA-Free Term in Six Years
"The last time the Supreme Court went a full year without hearing an ERISA case was the 2011-2012 term. Although another ERISA-free term may be in the cards, a handful of pending petitions raise questions that could pique the justices' interest."
Bloomberg BNA


Tax Reform Must Preserve Employer-Sponsored Benefits
"[T]ax reform should build on the current successful incentives in the tax code that encourage employers and workers to maximize retirement security.... Tax reform is also an opportunity to improve the tax rules governing Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and high-deductible plans, to ensure that beneficiaries have access to supplemental benefits, improve savings incentives and opportunities, and maximize flexibility in HSA-eligible plan design."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

New SEC Guidance Emphasizes Reasonableness and Flexibility in CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure
"[R]egistrants can use reasonable beliefs, estimates, assumptions, methodologies and statistical sampling in determining median employee compensation, including: [1] Using existing internal records that are reasonably reflective of annual compensation ... to determine median compensation ... as well as to determine if its non-US population is de minimis ... and thus excludable. [2] Ascertaining whether an individual is an independent contractor according to another 'widely recognized test' (e.g., the 20-factor test commonly used by the IRS)[.]"
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Issues Pay Ratio Guidance
"The guidance provides specific examples of permissible sampling methods, situations where the use of reasonable estimates are appropriate, and other reasonable methodologies an issuer may use. It emphasizes that the rule is intended to provide substantial flexibility in how the pay ratio is determined, but notes that the sampling or other methodologies used must be reasonable and tailored to the issuer's particular set of facts and circumstances."

on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

403(b)(7) vs. 403(b)(9)
"How can I definitively determine whether a church plan is a 403(b)(7) or 403(b)(9) account? As far as I know, for the client in question, all of the plan assets are in mutual funds on the American Funds platform. The existing plan document does not reference investments. To be an RIA, it seems that you have to specify this in the plan document, but there was not an option to specify this is our plan document, although there will be with the updated pre-approved version. Can this RIA designation be made elsewhere, such as in the service contract with the investment company? Also, if the plan only allows employees to invest in mutual funds with American Funds, can it still be an RIA?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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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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