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[Guidance Overview]

Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury Grants Relief for Employer Qualified Disaster Assistance Payments to Employees Affected by Hurricane Maria
"On October 4, 2017, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury issued Administrative Determination No. 17-21 granting temporary income tax exemptions for payments and certain benefits provided by employers to their employees for relief due to the passing of Hurricane Maria through Puerto Rico, provided such payments are considered 'Qualified Payments Made for Disaster Assistance' and certain requirements are met.... Employers making Qualified Payments Made for Disaster Assistance must comply with certain reporting requirements due by January 31, 2018." [BenefitsLink note: Access to the website for the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury has been intermittent since the arrival of Hurricane Maria.]

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[Guidance Overview]

Retiree HRAs Receiving More Attention from California Public Employers
"Retiree-only HRAs [RHRAs] can provide significant tax-free health benefits and, if structured properly, can help [California] public employers address budgetary and compliance problems ... An RHRA can be used to automatically and, on a mandatory basis, convert some or all of the accumulated PTO into nontaxable retiree health benefits. [California agencies] that wish to eliminate or cut back their FLSA/overtime exposure can offer RHRA contributions in place of current cash-in-lieu benefits."
Best Best & Krieger LLP

Transitional Reinsurance Fee Payment Due November 15
"[C]alendar year 2016 was the last year for which the [transitional reinsurance fee (TRF)] was required.... For those employers who elected to pay the TRF in two separate payments, the second remittance is due by November 15, 2017."
Willis Towers Watson

Employers Want Small Fixes to ACA
"The survey of 300 health benefit professionals found that just 35 percent say they favor repeal and replace ... 95 percent would favor simplified ACA employer shared responsibility reporting rules.... 92 percent favor permitting higher contributions to [HSAs], and nearly as many (87 percent) would like to allow contributions up to the level of the out-of-pocket maximum."
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Increases in Cost-Sharing Payments Have Far Outpaced Wage Growth
"[B]etween 2005 and 2015, average payments for deductibles and coinsurance rose considerably faster than the overall cost for covered benefits, while the average payments for copayments fell.... [O]ver this time period, patient cost-sharing rose substantially faster than payments for care by health plans as insurance coverage became a little less generous."
The Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker


New York State Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFL)

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Oct. 25 webinar. Covers employers and employees to whom the PFL applies, qualifying circumstances and events for PFL benefits, and how the PFL interacts with other leave laws. Discount for BenefitsLink readers.

The Potential Impact of Association Medical Insurance Plans
"If the ERISA regulations are relaxed, more association insurance plans may be implemented -- especially targeting those industries or associations employing a younger and healthier population. The healthier demographics will lead to lower association medical insurance premiums and may provide a significant benefit for those participants."
Hill, Chesson & Woody

As Benefits Homogenize, Will Tailored Voluntary Packages Help Companies Stand Out?
"The value proposition for employers that offer voluntary benefits alongside core benefits like health and disability insurance, is widely acknowledged. But what's increasingly coming into focus is the need for made-to-order benefits packages that address the unique needs of a specific workforce."
HR Dive

21st Century Analytics Improve Costs and the Employee Benefit Experience
"Through the advancement of true cross-vendor analytics, prescription, engagement and measurement (all of which are brought on by the democratization of big data) will allow employers, brokers and consultants to improve the performance of their benefits plans. Delivering on the dual objectives of providing great benefits while controlling compensation costs will require no less than the application of these latest advancements in technology and process. But first, let's understand why this revolution hasn't happened yet."


Can Association Health Plans Accomplish the ACA Repeal Congressional Efforts Could Not?
"[If] the federal government reverses its longstanding approach to AHPs and finds that insurance sold through an association of small employers or individuals is, in effect, a large-group health plan, the AHP would have to comply with far fewer standards.... While each small business and individual would purchase a separate insurance policy, the association sponsoring the health plan would be regulated under the same standards as a large employer."
The Commonwealth Fund

Benefits in General

DOL Proposes Delaying Implementation of Disability Claim Regs
"There will be a 15-day period for comments on the proposal to extend the applicability date. There will also be a 60-day period to submit 'comments providing data and otherwise germane to the examination of the merits of rescinding, modifying, or retaining the rule' ... Carriers insuring approximately 18 million LTD plan participants estimated that the Final Rule would cause average premium increases of 5% to 8% in 2018, which would be expected to result in an equivalent reduction in covered employees."
Robinson & Cole LLP

How to Reduce Your ERISA Risks, and the Role of Fiduciary Liability Insurance (PDF)
28 pages. "[This report provides] an overview of the most prevalent (and serious) types of ERISA claims currently being filed ... discusses a variety of plan-drafting and plan administration measures that plan sponsors and fiduciaries should consider to mitigate litigation exposure ... [and] considers why fiduciary liability insurance should be deemed an integral part of any employee benefits program[.]"
Groom Law Group, for Chubb

Report: White House to Nominate EBSA Assistant Secretary
"A published report says the Trump administration is prepared to nominate a new Assistant Secretary for the [DOL]'s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Politico Pro says that the much-anticipated nod will go to Preston Rutledge, currently Senior Tax and Benefits Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee under Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) -- a position he has held since 2011."
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Official Guidance]

Text of Instructions for IRS Forms 3921 and 3922: Exercise of an Incentive Stock Option Under Section 422(b) and Transfer of Stock Acquired Through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan Under Section 423(c) (PDF)
Rev. Oct. 2017. "Every corporation which in any calendar year transfers to any person a share of stock pursuant to that person's exercise of an incentive stock option described in section 422(b) must, for that calendar year, file Form 3921 for each transfer made during that year.... Every corporation, which in any calendar year records, or has by its agent recorded, a transfer of the legal title of a share of stock acquired by the transferor (person who acquires the shares pursuant to the exercise of the option) pursuant to the transferor's exercise of an option granted under an employee stock purchase plan and described in section 423(c) (where the exercise price is less than 100% of the value of the stock on the date of grant, or is not fixed or determinable on the date of grant), must, for that calendar year, file Form 3922 for each transfer made during that year."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

PSCA to Host Two NQDC Webinars; Opens NQDC Survey
PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

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