Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 23, 2017

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Actuarial Systems Corporation
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in FL

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IRS Provides Guidance on Health Care Reporting Requirements for 2017 Income Tax Returns
"The IRS has stated that it will not accept Forms 1040 for the 2017 tax year if the taxpayer does not report on the ACA's health coverage reporting requirements. This is the first year that the IRS has put in place system changes to its Form 1040 review process that would reject tax returns during processing in instances where the taxpayer does not provide this information."
The Wagner Law Group

[Advert.]

New Parental Leave Laws in Washington D.C.

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Oct. 25 webinar. What you need to know about D.C. Paid Family Leave, from leave, notice and recordkeeping obligations to the consequences of noncompliance -- practical advice to help avoid costly penalties and litigation. Discount for BenefitsLink readers.


The Revolution of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
"[N]ew guidance consistent with [the Executive Order's instruction for expansion of HRAs] could fundamentally transform how employers provide [employer-sponsored insurance (ESI)] -- the source of coverage for over 170 million Americans ... This transformation would occur to the extent employers replace their traditional ESI plans ... with HRAs or [employer payment plans (EPPs)] that pay for individual insurance coverage on the ACA exchanges or a private exchange ... The key unanswered question, however, is just how many of 170 million or so Americans with traditional ESI will employers send to the individual market?"
Trucker Huss

Principles Disrupting the Status Quo in Employee Benefits
"[These] key principles of benefits marketplaces ... are disrupting the status quo, moving the needle on benefits innovation, and increasing employee engagement: [1] Give them money and let them shop.... [2] Provide true price transparency.... [3] Provide meaningful choice.... [4] Offer guidance in the form of decision support.... [5] Optimize the shopping experience.... [6] Ensure a cultural fit within the organization ... [7] Refine, iterate and improve."
Willis Towers Watson

For Public Employees, Health Care Premiums Just Keep Going Up
"News of the looming public pension crisis has become ubiquitous in recent years. But far less noticed or publicized is a similar phenomenon taking place with health-care plans for public employees. There's been a steady movement in many states to shift ever-larger portions of monthly premiums to the employees themselves. Deductibles have also gone up, as have copayments."
Governing

District Court Rules That Disability Claimant Is Entitled to Discovery About Insurance Company's Attorney-Client Communications
"Regarding Plaintiff's distrust of Aetna to include all relevant information in the administrative record, ... the court articulated 12 observations and rulings about discovery ... The court also considered the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege.... [and] concluded 'that the fiduciary exception permits discovery of attorney-client communications between Aetna and its in-house counsel before the lawsuit was filed and might permit discovery of post-lawsuit communications before the final benefits decision was made.' " [Johnston v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 17-20996 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 16, 2017) ]
Roberts Bartolic

[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.


States, Amici Respond in California Cost-Sharing Reduction Payment Case
"The states reiterate their argument that the text and legislative plan of the ACA demonstrate that Congress appropriated funding for the CSR payments through the ACA's premium tax credit appropriation; they also argue that the insurance markets created by the ACA cannot function on an annual appropriation basis.... The states describe again the irreparable injuries they will suffer in terms of increased insurance costs, insurer market exits, more uninsured individuals, and increased administrative burdens if the termination of CSR payments is not enjoined." [The administration had argued that Congress has never appropriated funding for the CSR payments and that the plaintiff states have not been injured at all, and thus do not have standing to sue.]
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs

Mcconnell: I'd Be Happy to Bring a Health Care Bill to the Floor If I Know Trump Will Sign It
" 'What I'm waiting for is to hear from President Trump what kind of health care bill he might sign. If there's a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the market, we need a bill the president will actually sign,' [Sen. McConnell said].... Trump slammed the [Murray-Alexander] bipartisan deal on Wednesday, saying on Twitter that he could not support 'bailing out' insurance companies, which he accused of making huge profits from ObamaCare."
The Hill

[Opinion]

What's Causing America's Rural Health Insurance Crisis?
"Rural areas have long posed a special challenge to health care policymakers, but a poorly-designed system of subsidies for rural hospital care has turned this into a crisis. It has fostered a rural hospital market structure that has crippled the ability of private insurers to negotiate reasonable payment rates, without fully securing the provision of essential care. By refocusing federal assistance on emergency care, it should be possible to restore rural insurance markets to health, while improving the affordability and access to care available to residents."
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Priority Guidance Plan, 2017-2018 (PDF)
28 pages. Starting on page 7 are 23 items relating to Retirement Benefits, followed by 17 items for Executive Compensation, Health Care and Other Benefits, and Employment Taxes.
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Is 'Respondeat Superior' Part of ERISA's Definition of 'Fiduciary'?
"Federal court rulings have been inconsistent ... in applying vicarious liability in the ERISA context... Courts have also stated that, while the common law may be a starting point for analyzing ERISA, it is not the stopping point, and the common law must yield and defer to ERISA if it is inconsistent with the act's language, structure or purpose. There are court actions ... in which the court refused to find respondeat superior liability because ERISA limits liability to named and de facto fiduciaries and expresses no intent to hold a nonfiduciary liable for a fiduciary's breach."
Marcia Wagner, via planadviser

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Executive Compensation in the Banking Industry
"A new wave of increased scrutiny on banking compensation practices has emerged, particularly sales incentive practices at lower levels of the organizations. This has spurned even greater focus on clawbacks and forfeitures of incentive pay when fraud, misconduct and bad risk behavior occurs. In fact, forfeiture policies are the fastest growing risk mitigating design feature we are seeing in response to this new crisis."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

HDHP TPA Error, HSA Ineligibility Correction
I represent a company that has an HDHP and HSA for employees. Due to a TPA error, several HDHP and HSA participants who had not yet reached their HDHP deductible were designated as though they had. Because of this designation, said participants began receiving reimbursements from the HDHP. Obviously, this would make said participants ineligible for an HSA since they are being covered by another medical plan before reaching their deductible. Is there a way for the affected participants to pay back the reimbursement monies paid by the HDHP so they could once again become HSA eligible? To further clarify, this has all happened within the 2017 calendar year.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

ASPPA Welcomes Adam C. Pozek as 49th President
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

ASPPA Honors Joan Gucciardi with Eidson Founders Award
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

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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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