Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 25, 2017 logo logo
Get Retirement News | Advertise | Unsubscribe | Previous Issues | Search


Employee Benefits Consultant
Lockton Insurance Brokers
in CA

WV Consolidated Public Retirement Board
in WV

►See 145 Jobs

►Post a Job

Webcasts, Conferences

2017 Farewell (Or, What Am I Forgetting This Year-End?)
November 3, 2017 WEBCAST
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Negotiating and Drafting Successful Executive Employment Agreements
American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Group [ALI CLE]

►See 134 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1316 Recorded Webcasts


New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Comments and Topics

All Topics, Grouped by Forum

Subscribe Now to This Newsletter (free)

We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe Now

[Official Guidance]

IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service Provides Self-Help Tools to Assist Taxpayers with Complex ACA Requirements
"Whether the taxpayer is an individual or employer, [the Taxpayer Advocate Service has] several tools available to assist in estimating credits and payments related to the ACA. Keep in mind that they only provide estimates, rather than accurate calculations, to use as a guide in making decisions regarding the taxpayer's tax situation.... Tools for Individuals: The Premium Tax Credit (PTC) Change Estimator ... Individual Shared Responsibility Provision (ISRP) -- Payment Estimator ... Tools for Employers: Employer Shared Responsibility Provision (ESRP) Estimator ... Small Business Health Care Tax Credit (SBHCTC) Estimator."
Taxpayer Advocate Service, Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


Online Learning Course: HSA and HRA Basics

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

This e-learning course will provide an in-depth look at HSA and HRA programs as well as how these programs interact with an HCFSA.

[Guidance Overview]

Health & Welfare Plan Update, October 2017 (PDF)
35 pages. Topics include: [1] Dealing with disaster: issues and relief for employee benefit plans; [2] Preparing for open enrollment; [3] FAQs about Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Implementation and the 21st Century Cures Act, Part 38; [4] Form to Request Documentation From an Employer-Sponsored Health Plan or an Insurer Concerning Treatment Limitations; and [5] Lawsuits are focused on wellness program compliance. Are you?
Alston & Bird LLP

[Guidance Overview]

NY City Council Passes Bill to Expand Coverage Under the Earned Sick Time Act
"The New York City Council has passed a bill that would amend the NYC Earned Sick Time Act to expand the covered reasons for leave to include situations where an employee or an employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual offenses, stalking or human trafficking. The bill would also expand the definition of a covered family member under the law. The bill ... is now before Mayor Bill deBlasio for signature. The amendments would take effect 180 days after signing."

How to Evaluate a Provider Network for Your Health Benefit Plan in Three Steps
"[1] Figure out how the networks differ so you can evaluate what matters.... [2] Use industry standards to determine whether you are objectively comparing and contrasting each network.... [3] Ask the right questions ... How are discounts calculated? ... Does the discount evaluation use billed charges or paid charges? ... Is the impact of your plan design included in the savings projections? ... Did the evaluation use the average area discount or a specific discount for a specific provider?"
The Alliance

Anthem's In-House Drug Plan: What Should Employers Expect?
"Anthem's move shows a trend of larger insurers taking the PBM capabilities in house, instead of contracting with PBMs separately, something that can help when it comes to managing costs.... It could make it easier to have specialty care managed under one umbrella.... There's potential for more transparency over pricing[.]"
Bloomberg BNA


New COBRA Audit Guidelines

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Nov. 28 webinar. In addition to general COBRA compliance, we'll review the IRS Audit guidelines, to help you identify and prepare for the areas of focus in an IRS COBRA audit. Discount for BenefitsLink readers.

HHS Withdraws Rules for Certifying Compliance with HIPAA Transaction Standards
"Employer groups had been among the harshest critics of the certification rules, which were designed to implement a provision of the [ACA]. As proposed, the rules did not specifically address the extent to which employer plans would have to submit these certifications if they were delegating transactions such as claims processing to another entity."
HR Daily Advisor

Out-of-Pocket Spending Increased for Employees in Large Group Plans
"About one in four people (24 percent) covered by large employer plans spent more than $1,000 out-of-pocket on health care in 2015, an increase of seven percentage points from 17 percent in 2005 ... About one in 10 people in such plans (12 percent) paid more than $2,000 out-of-pocket in 2015[.]"
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Is an 'Honest Belief' of FMLA Misuse Enough for Termination?
"The court concluded that it is enough if the employer provides evidence that the reason for the adverse employment action was an honest belief that the employee was misusing FMLA leave, regardless of whether that belief turned out to be true." [Capps v. Mondelez Global, LLC, No. 15-3839 (3rd Cir. Jan. 30, 2017)]
Pepper Hamilton LLP

How to Choose the Right Employer Sponsored Pet Insurance Plan
"Key factors to consider when selecting a pet insurance plan include: What types of pets are covered? ... Is preventive care covered? ... How are rates determined? ... How are veterinary claim reimbursements determined? ... Are pre-existing conditions covered?"

Congressional Leaders Propose Bicameral Agreement to Pair ACA Reforms with Temporary CSR Extension
"The agreement ... includes: [1] Funding for CSRs through 2019, with pro-life protections. For 2018, carriers must meet certain conditions to receive CSRs.... [2] Relief from the individual mandate from 2017-2021.... [3] Relief from the employer mandate from 2015-2017. Employers would be exempt from penalties if they did not provide coverage based on requirements of the mandate. [4] Expansion of HSAs to increase the maximum contribution limit."
Employers Council on Flexible Compensation [ECFC]

Expanding Association Health Plans: Which Agencies Need to Do What
"[The DOL] could fairly quickly expand access to 'single plan' AHPs through informal interpretations of ERISA ... It would be another matter entirely should the [DOL] seek to expand AHPs to cover collections of self-employed individuals with no common law employees. This would require a change to an existing final regulation ... [A]ny attempt to enable groups of unrelated self-employed individuals with no common law employees to participate in an AHP would require publication of a proposed rule with a notice period and opportunity for public comment."
Mintz Levin

CBO Cost Estimate: The Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017
"CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that implementing the legislation would reduce the deficit by $3.8 billion over the 2018-2027 period relative to CBO's baseline. The agencies estimate that the legislation would not substantially change the number of people with health insurance coverage, on net, compared with that baseline projection."
Congressional Budget Office [CBO]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Announcement SC-2017-01, for Victims of Hurricane Irma in South Carolina
"Victims of Hurricane Irma that took place beginning on Sept. 6, 2017 in parts of South Carolina may qualify for tax relief ... Individuals who reside or have a business in Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Edgefield, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, McCormick, Oconee, and Pickens Counties may qualify for tax relief."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Announcement LA-2017-03, for Victims of Tropical Storm Harvey in Louisiana
"Victims of Tropical Storm Harvey that took place beginning on Aug. 27, 2017 in parts of Louisiana may qualify for tax relief ... Individuals who reside or have a business in Acadia, Allen, Assumption, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, DeSoto, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Natchitoches, Plaquemines, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, St. Charles, St. Mary, Vermilion and Vernon Parishes may qualify for tax relief."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Proxy Advisors and Investors Announce How They Will Use CEO Pay Ratios in 2018
"CEO pay ratios will not have any impact on ISS's analysis or vote recommendations in 2018. However, ISS will include the information in its reports.... Glass Lewis confirmed that it does not intend to incorporate the pay ratio into its assessment and analysis of Say on Pay proposals in 2018, but also will include pay ratios in its reports."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Document Needed in Addition to Executive's Employment Agreement?
Employment agreement plainly says "Executive gets $50,000 a year for 5 years credited to a book account with no money actually set aside. The Executive only gets the money if he is actively employed all the way through the 5 year anniversary date and is paid immediately thereafter." So neither 409A nor 457(f) applies because there is no deferral of income beyond when the substantial risk of forfeiture lapses. Do I need any documentation other than the employment agreement? I guess I need a top-hat filing to avoid a 5500 filing requirement. Anything else?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Connect   LinkedIn logo   Twitter logo   Facebook logo, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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.

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers; we were not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.

Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy