Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 26, 2017

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Jobs

401(k) Account Manager
ABG Retirement Plan Services
in IL, Telecommute

Retirement Plan Administrator - Cash Balance Plans
Great Lakes Pension Associates, Inc.
in MI

Senior Defined Contribution Administrator
CrossPlans
in CA

Associate Client Manager
Jim Hallinan Pension Consulting, LLC
in CT

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[Guidance Overview]

Update on Washington State Paid Sick Leave, Effective January 1, 2018
"Beginning January 1, 2018, all employers in Washington State must provide non-exempt employees with paid sick leave under a new state law, Initiative 1433. The [state's] Department of Labor and Industries recently released ... [final rules which] clarify that employers may not impose caps on accrual or use of sick leave required by the law. The rules also require that employers promulgate written policies if they intend to require verification of illness (only allowed after three consecutive absences), or if employees must provide advance notice of the need for leave."
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

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Federal Judge Denies Bid to Force Feds to Resume ACA Subsidies
"U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria wrote that 'the emergency relief sought by the states would be counterproductive.' He said the vast majority of states have already prepared for the termination of the payments and already 'devised responses that give millions of lower-income people better health coverage options than they would otherwise have had.' " [State of California v. Donald J. Trump, No. 17-5895 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 25, 2017)]
Kaiser Health News

Federal District Court Provides Updates for Proceedings in CSR Case, State of California v. Donald J. Trump
"Due to the level of interest in this case, this web page has been created to notify journalists and interested members of the public of important news and information about access to proceedings and to case information."
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Equitable Tolling of COBRA Election Applies Only for Period Beneficiary Is Incapacitated
"Just before the 60 day election period ran out, employee was in an accident and was admitted to UC Davis Medical Center, where he received treatment for 10 days.... The hospital argues that the employee was not provided adequate time to elect for continued coverage due to the employee's 10-day incapacitation. While the court agreed that the employee's incapacitation might trigger equitable tolling, the court did not agree with the hospital's application of equitable tolling to this situation." [Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Stidham Trucking, Inc. No. 16-2835 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 1, 2017)]
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Two Seventh Circuit Decisions Scale Back an Employee's Right to Take Additional Leave After FMLA Is Exhausted
"In analyzing [one] ADA claim, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that a 'brief' period of leave to deal with a medical condition could be an accommodation in some situations. But, the court also made clear that long-term leaves of absence fit securely within the 'domain' of the FMLA, not the ADA. And in doing so, it set out a fairly bright-line rule ... [W]eeks after [this] was decided, the same appellate court doubled down on its position that the ADA was not a leave of absence statute and that leave beyond a couple of weeks simply is not required under the ADA."
FMLA Insights

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IBM Beefs Up Family Benefits, Doubles Paid Parental Leave
"The tech giant announced Wednesday that paid parental leave for new mothers is increasing from 14 to 20 weeks, while fathers, partners and adoptive parents will get a boost from six to 12 weeks. The extended leave applies to both full- and part-time U.S. workers, and retroactively applies to parents whose children were born after November 2016. IBM said employees can choose to take the bonding leave any time during the first year after the birth or adoption."
Employee Benefits News

Trending in Telehealth: Behavioral Health Services
"Consumer demand for and access to telebehavioral health services continues to trend upward as increasing numbers of health care professionals become more and more interested in using telehealth platforms to connect with their patients.... On a nearly nationwide basis, states have laid out a fairly comprehensive regulatory framework within which telehealth providers can operate."
Epstein Becker Green

CBO Sees Small Savings, No Significant Coverage Effects from Alexander-Murray ACA Proposal
"The CBO projects that the legislation would reduce the deficit by $3.8 billion over the 2018-2027 budget window and would not substantially change the number of people with health insurance coverage.... The CBO believes that the changes that the stabilization package would make in [ACA] section 1332 state innovation waiver rules would not have a significant net budgetary effect."
Health Affairs

ACA Silver Plan Premiums Jump an Average of 34%
"The 34 percent average increase is for silver plans in states using HealthCare.gov. Premiums also are going up by double digits for plans with different levels of coverage, including bronze (18 percent), gold (16 percent), and platinum (24 percent). Many states had higher increases for silver plans, the most commonly purchased. Only three states will see declines."
InsuranceNewsNet.com

[Opinion]

Testimony of ERIC to Council of the District of Columbia About DC's Paid Leave Law
"ERIC urges the Council not to adopt any proposed legislation that would further increase the administrative and compliance burdens on large employers already providing paid leave benefits to their employees. Likewise, large employers' flexibility and ability to design their own leave benefits that meet the needs of their business and workforce should not be infringed."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

Benefits in General

Statement by Secretary Mnuchin on Assistant Secretary David Kautter's Designation as Acting IRS Commissioner
"Current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's term expires on November 12, and Kautter's designation as Acting Commissioner will take effect at that time. Kautter joined Treasury as Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy in August 2017. He will continue to carry out his Assistant Secretary duties, including working on tax reform, while serving as Acting Commissioner."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

IRS News Release IR-2017-180: 2018 PTIN Renewal Period Underway for Tax Professionals (PDF)
"The [IRS] today reminded the nation's more than 727,000 federal tax return preparers that they must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) for 201 [8] All current PTINs will expire Dec. 31, 2017.... For those who have a 2017 PTIN, the renewal process takes a few moments online."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

Steven H. Sandell Grant Program
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Dissertation Fellowship Program
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

IRI Honored by ACORD with Implementation Journey Award
Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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