Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 5, 2017

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Jobs

Client Service Associate (Nonqualified Division)
Milliman
in TX

Regional Client Manager
Ameritas
in CT, MA, Telecommute

Administrative Consultant for Qualified Retirement Plans
PenSys, Inc.
in CA, NC

Client Service Consultant
Beneco
in AZ

Cash Balance Plan Administrator
Cash Balance Actuaries, LLC
Telecommute

Associate Attorney
Well Established Detroit Area Law Firm
in MI

Litigation Attorney
Well Established Detroit Area Law Firm
in MI

Retirement Call Center Specialist
Alerus Financial
in MN

Plan Service Consultant
OneAmerica
in IN

►See 155 Jobs

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Webcasts, Conferences

Health Savings Account Training
October 26, 2017 WEBCAST
Wolters Kluwer

Medicare and COBRA: Understanding the Interaction and Avoiding Common Mistakes
November 9, 2017 WEBCAST
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Proposed New Audit Requirements for Employee Benefits Plans
November 30, 2017 WEBCAST
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

►See 167 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1300 Recorded Webcasts


Discussions

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New Comments and Topics

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Time to Prepare for 2017 ACA Information Reporting
"Most of the changes made in the instructions involve the elimination of discussions related to the transition relief provisions that applied in previous years ... Among these: [1] Form 1094-C: A box in Line 22 called 'Section 4980H Transition Relief' has been removed. It is not applicable in 2017. [2] Forms 1095-B and 1095-C: A paragraph called 'Additional information' in the instructions for recipients directs individuals to an IRS webpage providing information on the individual and employer shared-responsibility provisions and premium tax credits."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

[Advert.]

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.


New Bipartisan Proposal to Revamp ACA Employer Reporting Requirements
"On October 3, 2017, ... Senators Portman (R-OH) and Warner (D-VA) introduced a bill that ... would first require the [IRS], in coordination with other federal agencies, to establish, effective January 1, 2019 a voluntary reporting program ... Employers that filed these prospective returns would be deemed to have met the reporting requirements of the ACA if they furnish each employee whose name has been provided by the exchange as having exchange coverage with a statement as to the coverage the employer had offered, and file a copy of that statement with the IRS. Employers could contract with third-party contractors to handle their filings." [Also see: Fact Sheet for the Commonsense Reporting Act of 2017]
Health Affairs

EEOC Provides Timeline for Revising Wellness Regs
"According to the newly issued status report, the EEOC intends to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking by August 2018 and issue a final rule by October 2019.... [t]he EEOC indicates in a footnote that, in order to give employers time to come into compliance with a new rule, any substantively amended rule on wellness programs would likely not be applicable until the beginning of 2021."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Self-Funding Health Plans Is Hot, But Could Get Tougher to Do
"Increasing regulation of self-funded health plans is complicating the efforts of some employers as they seek an alternative to plans offered under the [ACA] ... Most of the stiff regulation involves stop-loss, the reinsurance that protects employers from catastrophic losses. The regulatory hurdles still are not enough to deter many employers who see self-funding as the better option[.]"
HealthLeaders Media

Most HSAs Rolled Over Money at the End of 2016
"[O]ver 90 percent of HSAs with individual or employer contributions in 2016 ended the year with funds to roll over for future expenses. Two-thirds of account holders ended 2016 with positive net contributions, meaning annual contributions were higher than annual distributions ... As of the end of 2016, the average HSA balance among account holders with individual or employer contributions in 2016 was $2,532, up from $1,604 at the beginning of the year."
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

[Advert.]

Now is a great time to join Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB)

Sponsored by WEB - Worldwide Employee Benefits Network

WEB members represent more than 25 professions and 30 areas of expertise within the pension and benefits industry -- administrators, consultants, attorneys, accountants, investment managers, communications experts and benefits managers. Join today.


Health Savings Accounts: The Tax Code's Next Sleeper Hit
"The tax treatment of HSA contributions can help ease the potential burden of these higher out-of-pocket costs. Combined with the HSA's flexibility, these tax breaks are attracting people interested not only in paying for health care, but also in saving for long-term goals such as retirement or a child's education. Enrollment in HDHPs, and thus access to HSAs, is growing rapidly."
Vanguard

Who Is Most at Risk for High Out-of-Pocket Health Spending?
"While the majority -- over 60% -- of insurance enrollees had less than $500 in out-of-pocket expenses in 2015, nearly a quarter spent $1,000 or more on health care services and more than 1 in 10 workers spent over $2,000. This represents a growing fraction of patients over the last decade, with the share spending $1,000 or more rising from 17% to 24%."
The Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation

Insurers Are Slow to Approve Pricey New Cholesterol Drugs
"During the first year an expensive class of new cholesterol-lowering drugs was on the market, only one in three patients with a prescription actually received the therapy due to lack of insurance approval and high copays ... The drugs, known as PCSK9 inhibitors, ... can cost up to $14,000 per year[.]"
Reuters

Wisconsin Governmental Entities Now Prohibited from Offering Domestic Partners Benefits
"[T]he official passage of the 2017-2019 biennial budget [included] the creation of Wis. Stat. Section 66.0510, which prohibits all municipalities, counties, and school districts from offering employee benefit plan coverage to domestic partners of employees as of January 1, 2018.... [T]he Legislature pointed to the State's recent legalization of same-sex marriage as eliminating the need for government employers to offer benefit plans which cover domestic partners."
von Briesen & Roper, s.c.

Will You Be Able to Find Affordable Obamacare Coverage in 2018?
"With just a 10% projected annual rate increase for 2018, families of three in 47 of 50 major cities would have no access to coverage that meets Obamacare's affordability criteria and would likely be exempt from the Obamacare tax penalty.... [T]he average family of three earning slightly too much to qualify for subsidies in 2018 would need to increase its household income by nearly $29,000 before health insurance became 'affordable' based on Obamacare criteria."
eHealth

[Opinion]

The Health Reform That Hasn't Been Tried: Lowering the Cost of Care
"Republicans have now failed twice to repeal and replace ObamaCare. But their whole focus has been wrong. The debate centered, like ObamaCare, on the number of people with health insurance. A more direct path to broadening access would be to reduce the cost of care. This means creating market conditions long proven to bring down prices while improving quality--empowering consumers to seek value, increasing the supply of care, and stimulating competition."
The Wall Street Journal; subscription required

[Opinion]

Reducing the Externalities Caused by Limited Benefit Plans
"These plans practice an extreme form of cherry picking that governs both entry and exit. While they may be affordable to the people who buy them, this is largely because they are free-riding on the ACA-compliant market.... The business practices of limited benefit plans create negative externalities in the ACA-compliant market, which make that market smaller and more expensive than it would otherwise be. It seems reasonable to consider some strategies for minimizing these spillover effects. One approach to externalities is regulation."
Health Affairs

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Helpful Recent SEC Guidance on CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure
"To identify the median employee, companies may use existing internal records, such as tax or payroll records, which reasonably reflect annual compensation, even if those records do not include every element of compensation, such as equity awards widely distributed to employees.... Previous guidance indicated that companies may apply statistical sampling and other methods to identify the median employee. The SEC has clarified that companies are permitted to combine methods, applying the ones that best suit the facts and circumstances."
Morgan Lewis

Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Put a Check Mark on Schedule H, Line 4i(A)?
"When are we required to put a check mark for Schedule H -- Line 4i(a)? The instruction simply states, 'In column (a), place an asterisk (*) on the line of each identified person known to be a party-in-interest to the plan.' Is there a different meaning for 'a party-in-interest' to the plan when it comes to Form 5500?"
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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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