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Must Group Health Plans Provide Coverage for Dependent's Pregnancy?
"Some fully insured plans, even in the large group market, might cover dependent pregnancy pursuant to state insurance law; the applicable insurance contract should reflect that coverage. Based on current guidance, however, employers who sponsor self-insured plans or who offer fully insured, large-group coverage under a policy not subject to such a state insurance law requiring dependent pregnancy benefits, can continue to exclude coverage of dependent pregnancies, outside of those prenatal services that are considered preventive services under the ACA."

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A Federal Solution to the Paid Leave Compliance Maze?
"Under the 'Workforce in the 21st Century Act,' employers would need to offer paid leave to both full- and part-time employees ... to be exempt from state and local rules. The minimum amount of leave proposed would be based on employer size and the employee's years of service."

House HELP Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Workplace Leave Policies
"On Wednesday, December 6 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on 'Workplace Leave Policies: Opportunities and Challenges for Employers and Working Families.' ... Witnesses: [1] Ms. Barbara Brickmeier, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; [2] Ms. Carrie Lukas, Independent Women's Forum; [3] Mr. Hans Riemer, Montgomery County Council, Maryland; [4] Ms. Angela Schaefer, on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management."
Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives

Big Five Health Insurers' Membership and Revenue Trends
"In 2016, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for 59 percent of combined U.S. revenue for the five insurers, more than doubling since 2010, from $92.5 billion to $213.1 billion.... Despite experiencing losses in the individual market, four of the five (with the exception of Humana) reported that pretax profits either held steady or increased from 2013 through 2016, the first three years of the ACA's individual-market reforms.... The stock prices for all five insurers cumulatively increased more than 200 percent from 2011 to 2016."
The Commonwealth Fund

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Implementation of Final Rule on Disability Claims Procedures Formally Delayed
"For employers that maintain insured disability plans, communication with the insurance carrier to discuss how the new procedures will be applied and documented will be important. Employers may consider amending their retirement plans so that the definition of disability relies on the determination of a third party, such as the Social Security Administration or the employer's long-term disability carrier. In that case, the disability claims rules generally would not apply to the retirement plan."
Dickinson Wright PLLC

2017 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report Series Issued
"IRS-only questions that filers were not required to complete on the 2016 Form 5500, Form 5500-SF, and Schedules H, I, and R have been removed from the 2017 forms and schedules.... The instructions for 2017 Forms 5500 and 5500-SF have been updated to reflect an increase in the maximum civil penalty amount assessable under ERISA Sec. 502(c)(2) ... Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF have been changed to provide a field for filers to indicate that the name of the plan has changed."
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Senate-Passed Tax Reform Bill Would Change Employee Benefits
"The Act will significantly reform the Internal Revenue Code, including in the areas related to an employer's compensation and benefit plans. Some of these changes are minor, such as the removal of qualified moving expense reimbursements as a tax-free benefit. However, other changes would be extremely significant, such as the changes to the deductibility of compensation in excess of $1 million to covered employees under Code Section 162(m) and the adoption of public company-like rules for the top employees of tax-exempt organizations." [Includes side-by-side comparison of House and Senate provisions affecting employee benefits and executive compensation.]
Duane Morris LLP

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

ISS Issues 2018 Final Policy Updates and Additional Guidance on Pay-for-Performance Assessment and Equity Plan Evaluations
"The policy updates and guidance revise ISS proxy voting policies and methodologies for U.S.-listed companies in the following areas relating to executive compensation ... [1] ISS quantitative pay-for-performance assessment, [2] ISS Equity Plan Scorecard evaluation, [3] Evaluation of non-employee director compensation, [4] Problematic pledging of company stock, [5] Lack of (i) Say on Pay or (ii) Say on Pay Frequency ballot items, [6] Board responsiveness to low shareholder support on a Say on Pay proposal."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Tax Reform Now Appears Certain
"Both [House and Senate] bills would eliminate the performance-based compensation exemption from Code Section 162(m) and extend the reach of the limitations under that Section to individuals and companies not currently covered, including some private companies. Large tax-exempt organizations will now face a similar limit. (Neither bill would touch Code Section 409A.)"
Winston & Strawn LLP

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