Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 1, 2017

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Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
Christian Financial Services Firm
in FL

Actuary
Benefit Consultants
in OH

DC / 401(k) Plan Administrator
Cleveland Area Financial / TPA Firm
in OH, Telecommute

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Webcasts, Conferences

Ethical Considerations for the Employee Benefits Practitioner
December 5, 2017 WEBCAST
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

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[Guidance Overview]

Employer Mandate Penalties to Be Issued in November
"Last week, the Boston Business Journal ... reported that the IRS would be issuing employer mandate penalty notices in November. If the report is true, this would continue the IRS' more stringent enforcement of the [ACA] in 2017 ... This article explores some scenarios as to why the IRS may be contacting an employer with an employer mandate penalty notice."
Accord

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Releases Final 2017 ACA Reporting Forms and Instructions (PDF)
"Reporting entities must furnish individual statements (Form 1095-B or 1095-C, or a substitute form) to all full-time employees, as well as any individuals covered under self-insured health plans, on or before January 31 of the year immediately following the calendar year to which the statements relate. Reporting entities must file Form 1094 and Forms 1095 with the IRS by February 28 if filed by paper, and by March 31 if filed electronically. In 2018, electronic filings are due by April 2 since March 31 is a Saturday."
EPIC

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Expand Exemptions from ACA Contraceptive Coverage Mandate
"The first interim final regulation expands the exemption for religious employers to all nongovernmental employers with a religious objection to covering contraceptives. The interim regulations do not address how (or even whether) to document eligibility for the religious or moral exemption from covering contraceptives. The departments are accepting comments on the interim final regulations through December 5, and several legal challenges are already in the works."
Willis Towers Watson

Checklist of Key 2018 Requirements for Health and Welfare Benefit Plan Sponsors (PDF)
"Complying with the many rules that govern health and welfare benefits can be a challenge for benefits administrators.... [T]his compliance checklist [will] help administrators manage their 2018 benefits compliance efforts."
EPIC

A Quarter of People with Employer Health Insurance Plans Are Underinsured
"Twenty-eight percent of working-age adults in the United States who had health insurance all year were underinsured in 2016, up from 23 percent in 2014, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. More than half of the underinsured (52%) had medical bill problems and 45 percent went without needed health care because of cost.... For lower-income families, ['underinsured'] means spending 5 percent or more of income on health care, while for higher-income families it means spending 10 percent or more."
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

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Large Health Plans Bank on Telemedicine
"More and more health insurers representing all sizes, geographic regions and niche offerings have expanded their benefits to cover telehealth services. In fact, the largest plans -- Aetna, Anthem, CIGNA, Humana, United Healthcare and most BlueCross BlueShield state affiliates -- operate robust telemedicine operations of their own."
FierceHealthcare

The Workforce is Aging: Have You Given Your Benefit Plan a Proper Checkup?
"[E]nrollment in Medicare Part A conflicts with the HSA rules and they are no longer permitted to deposit money into this type of account. The individual may defer enrollment into Part A, but many individuals are not aware of this option.... [Life and disability] benefits often have age reduction schedules that come into play when individuals turn 65, 70 and beyond.... Keeping your wellness plan in tune with an aging workforce is also important."
Hill, Chesson & Woody

Obamacare's Rising Premiums Will Hurt the Middle Class the Most
"For some lower-income people in Obamacare, the rising premiums President Donald Trump has talked so much about will barely be felt at all. Others, particularly those with higher incomes, will feel the sharp increases when insurance sign-ups begin Wednesday."
Bloomberg

Factors Underlying CBO's Long-Term Outlook for Federal Health Care Spending
25 presentation slides, Nov. 1, 2017. "CBO projects that federal spending on the major health care programs would grow larger than spending in any other category if current laws generally remained unchanged. Spending on those programs would account for 40 percent of federal noninterest spending in 2047, compared with 28 percent today. Two factors explain the projected growth in spending on major health care programs: aging and rising health care costs per person (also known as excess cost growth)."
Congressional Budget Office [CBO]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of Revised IRS Notice 2017-64: 2018 Limitations Adjusted As Provided in Section 415(d), etc. (PDF)
"For a participant who separated from service before January 1, 2018, the participant's limitation under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(B) is computed by multiplying the participant's compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2017, by 1.0197." [Explanation from an IRS email distributed on Oct. 31: "This document provides a revised factor for adjusting a participant's high-3 compensation limitation under Internal Revenue Code section 415(b)(1)(B) for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. The revision is necessary due to the [BLS] adjustment of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the months of July and August 2016, which are used in the calculation of the factor. After taking into consideration the adjustments made by the BLS, the factor is 1.0197."]
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Treasury Announces 2017-2018 Regulatory Agenda for Employee Benefits
"The IRS Business Plan includes six new initiatives, 18 pending items addressing retirement benefits, and 17 pending items addressing executive compensation, health care and other benefits." [A chart describes each item.]
Eversheds Sutherland

A Buyer's Post-Closing To-Do List for Employment and Benefits Issues
"Detailed employment and benefits diligence likely identified numerous potential liabilities and differences between the buyer and the target company, and it is now time to integrate the acquisition into the buyer's established business or portfolio.... Where is a buyer to begin, and what post-closing employment and benefits issues should be prioritized?"
Fisher Phillips

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

A Question and Answer Guide to Internal Revenue Code Section 409A (PDF)
14 pages; 33 Q&As. "This guide provides, in question-and-answer format, a digest of the major features of Internal Revenue Code Section 409A that clients and nontax lawyers may need to know. (This guide has been updated as of October 2017 to reflect guidance issued to date.)"
Sullivan & Worcester

[Guidance Overview]

Trigger Question on the Rebuttable Presumption for Executive Compensation
"Form 990, Part VI, line 15 asks how an organization determines compensation for its various executives. These questions are based on the rules establishing the rebuttable presumption as outlined in [Treasury] Regulation Section 53.4958-6. If these rules are followed, a compensation arrangement is presumed to be at fair market value. The burden of proof that a compensation arrangement isn't at fair market value is then moved from the taxpayer to the IRS."
Schneider Downs

Supplemental Benefit Planning for Tax-Exempt Employers (PDF)
"Tax-exempt employers face a matrix of tax and disclosure issues in designing an appropriate supplement retirement program. [This] article aims to be a resource to that design activity by examining the income tax, payroll tax, and Form 990 reporting aspects of the major plans currently available to tax-exempt employers and then examines those major plans from the reference point of several major design considerations."
McDermott Will & Emery, via Employee Benefit Plan Review

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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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