Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 10, 2017 logo logo
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Webcasts, Conferences

ERISA Compliance for Health and Welfare Plans
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HSAs, HRAs and Consumer-Driven Health Care
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Complying With W-2 Rules for Reporting Health Care Benefits and HSA Reporting Rules
January 17, 2018 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

Executive Compensation in ESOP Companies
December 12, 2017 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

►See 106 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1337 Recorded Webcasts


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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2017-70: Treatment of Amounts Paid to Section 170(c) Organizations Under Employer Leave-Based Donation Programs to Aid Victims of the California Wildfires (PDF)
"The [IRS] will not assert that cash payments an employer makes to Section 170(c) organizations in exchange for vacation, sick, or personal leave that its employees elect to forgo constitute gross income or wages of the employees if the payments are: [1] made to the Section 170(c) organizations for the relief of victims of the 2017 California Wildfires ; and [2] paid to the Section 170(c) organizations before January 1, 2019. Similarly, the Service will not assert that the opportunity to make such an election results in constructive receipt of gross income or wages for employees."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


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.

[Official Guidance]

Text of 2017 IRS Form 1095-C: Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage (PDF)
"You are receiving this Form 1095-C because your employer is an Applicable Large Employer subject to the employer shared responsibility provision in the [ACA]. This Form 1095-C includes information about the health insurance coverage offered to you by your employer. Form 1095-C, Part II, includes information about the coverage, if any, your employer offered to you and your spouse and dependent." [Posted on IRS website Nov. 9, 2017]
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Montana Mental Health Parity Law Not Preempted by ERISA, Applies to Disability Income Replacement Benefits
"A participant ... [asserted that] plan terms limiting benefits for mental illness to 24 months ... violated Montana's mental health parity law. The plan's insurer argued that ERISA preempted the state law ... [T]he court acknowledged that the law is aimed at hospitalization, treatment, and similar benefits but cited several reasons why it is not limited to those benefits.... Also, the law expressly excludes other types of coverage, such as workers' compensation, leading the court to conclude that the state legislature would have expressly excluded disability income replacement benefits had it so intended." [Sand-Smith v. Liberty Life Assur. Co. of Boston, No. 17-004 (D. Mont. Oct. 23, 2017)]
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

ACA Penalties Are About to Hit Employers
"2015 was a phase-in year and an Applicable Large Employer was required to offer minimum essential coverage which also met the minimum value standard to at least 70% of full-time employees and their eligible dependents as defined under the rules. Those employers who [didn't] will need to add up their full-time employees in each non-compliant month and subtract 80 (there is an exempt amount), then multiply by $173.33. The total for all 12 months will be the non-deductible excise that the IRS will seek to collect."
Frenkel Benefits

Breaking Down Employer Cost Experience in 2017
"[M]ore small employers -- those with 10-499 employees -- reported steep increases than mid-sized and large employers (500 or more employees). That's not surprising, given that the majority of small employers are fully insured and typically have fewer resources to devote to managing their health benefits. In addition, in smaller groups, a few large claims can have an outsized impact on per-employee cost in a given year."


Online Learning Course: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Learn how to avoid common administration mistakes, implement best practices and be aware of interactions with other laws.

DOL Gives Kiss of Death to MEWA Fiduciaries in 'Healthcare Madoff' Scheme
"At its height, the MEWA covered approximately 14,000 participants and beneficiaries. These participants worked for more than 560 employers in 36 different states. However the increased backlog of unpaid claims created significant problems for many members as doctors refused treatments because of unpaid bills and many members were sent to collections accounts, according to the DOL."
AVYM Healthcare Revenue Consultants

The 2018 Open Enrollment Period Extensions
"[M]any states have extended their Open Enrollment Period, which means that anyone living in these states will have additional time to enroll.... California: November 1, 2017-January 31, 2018; Colorado: November 1, 2017-January 12, 2018; Connecticut: November 1, 2017-December 22, 2017; District of Columbia: November 1, 2017-January 31, 2018; Massachusetts: November 1, 2017-January 23, 2018; Minnesota: November 1, 2017-January 14, 2018; New York: November 1, 2017-January 31, 2018; Rhode Island: November 1, 2017-December 31, 2017; Washington: November 1, 2017-January 15, 2018."

Benefits in General

ERISA Fiduciary Update (PDF)
45 pages. Topics: [1] DOL Fiduciary Rule: Arbitration agreements and prohibition on waiving right to participate in class action; [2] Tibble v. Edison Int'l: The tab for choosing retail over institutional shares of mutual funds; [3] Health Plan TPAs as Fiduciaries: Fee disputes; [4] Cross-plan offsetting in health plans; [5] Attacks on arrangements between Financial Engines and recordkeepers; [6] The 'Vanguard' of fee, and other investment, litigation; [7] Surprise! Defendants win in Tatum v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; [8] Proof of causation and burden-shifting in fiduciary breach cases; and [9] Standing: Defined benefit plan fiduciary claims.
Utz & Lattan, LLC

Text of Ninth Circuit Opinion: Attorney Fee Award Considers Entire Litigation, Not Limited to Specific Issue on Appeal (PDF)
"[In] analyzing a party's request for appellate attorney's fees under the Hummell test, a court must consider the entire course of the litigation, rather than focusing exclusively on the prior appeal. Weighing the five Hummell factors in light of all of a defendant's conduct, from its wrongful denial of the plaintiff's claim for ERISA benefits to its filing of a petition for a writ of certiorari, the panel held that the moving party was entitled to attorney's fees for the prior appeal, in which the panel had affirmed an award of litigation attorney's fees." [Micha v. Sun Life Assurance of Canada, Inc., No. 16-55053 (9th Cir. Oct. 31, 2017)]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Description of the Chairman's Mark of the 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act'
253 pages. "The Senate Committee on Finance has scheduled a markup on November 13, 2017, of ... the 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act' ... This document ... provides a description of the Chairman's Mark[.]' " [Includes descriptions of employer fringe benefit provisions at page 97; executive compensation provisions at page 125, and retirement savings provisions at page 177. JCT has also released a report of estimated revenue effects of the legislation.]
Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT], U.S. Congress

2018 Inflation-Adjusted Limits Affect Many Employee Benefit Plans
"[Rev. Proc. 2017-58] sets out the 2018 inflation adjustments for ... health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), qualified transportation fringe benefits, qualified adoption assistance programs, penalties related to the [ACA] individual mandate and qualified long-term care (LTC) premiums. The limits also include ... the qualified retirement plan limits released in Notice 2017-64 and the recently announced Social Security taxable wage base. The 2018 tax limits may affect design, administration, communication and tax reporting for these benefits."
Willis Towers Watson

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

House-Proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Would Send Executive Comp Back to the Stone Age
"If adopted, these provisions would significantly limit U.S. businesses in their flexibility to design competitive compensation programs tied to their specific business needs. It will push companies towards annual-only performance periods, time-vesting conditions for longer periods, and less use of equity compensation ... As proposed, Section 409B would effectively end -- or require dramatic redesign of -- many common compensation arrangements used today:"
K&L Gates

Press Releases

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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.

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