Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 20, 2017

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[Official Guidance]

Text of GASB Implementation Guide No. 2017-3: Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions
248 pages. "Questions and answers in this Implementation Guide address issues related to accounting and financial reporting for postemployment benefits other than pensions and for plans that are used to administer those benefits."
Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB]

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[Guidance Overview]

Prince George's County, Maryland Enacts Paid 'Safe' Time Law
"[Bill Number CB-87-2017] mandates that covered employees be allowed to accrue and use paid leave for absences connected to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.... The law will apply to employers operating and doing business in Prince George's County that employ 15 or more persons in the county. Any person an employer permits or instructs to work or be present in the county is considered a covered employee."
Littler

[Guidance Overview]

New Year's Surprise: Seattle Changes Paid Sick Leave Law at Last Minute
"[T]he city of Seattle has ... [amended] its Paid Sick and Safe Ordinance just this week ... Now even just one Seattle employee is enough.... [T]he law now clearly prohibits you from requiring employees to find someone to cover their shifts.... Waiting period for use reduced to 90 days.... Waivers are no longer viable, except for provisions of the Seattle law that are more generous than the state's new requirements ... You may no longer cap an employee's annual use of paid sick or save leave.... New definition of 'family.' ... Exempt employees still covered."
Fisher Phillips

Nevada Employers Prepare to Provide Leave for Domestic Violence Victims
"In the new year, Nevada employers will be required to provide workplace protections for employees who are victims of domestic violence.... [An] eligible employee is entitled to 160 hours of leave (which may be taken in a block or intermittently) during a 12-month period following the date on which the domestic violence occurs. The leave allowed under this law may be paid or unpaid."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Top 5 Things to Do If You Receive IRS Letter 226-J
"[1] [R]eview the accuracy of the information contained in the Letter 226-J.... [2] Act quickly ... [3] [M]ake sure you can access the information you need to defend against the proposed penalty.... [4] Notify the appropriate internal teams, as well as your legal counsel or tax advisor.... [5] Notify your Benefits Consultant."
Hill, Chesson & Woody

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Health Plan Action Items for Employers in 2018
"[1] Have a strategy to manage specialty costs.... [2] Protect your company from high-cost claims ... [3] Help plan members understand the cost of care at various access points.... A [continuation of the article discusses:] [4] Find the right number of medical plan choices; [5] Keep on top of paid-time off benefits; [6] Look beyond generational labels to understand what your workforce really wants."
Mercer

Outstanding Benefits Issues to Address Before the New Year
"[1] Did your organization receive the dreaded Letter 226J from the IRS this month? ... [2] Is any financial mischief occurring with your pharmacy rebates? ... [3] When's the last time you raised your short and long term group disability benefit maximums? ... [4] When's the last time your Wrap Document and Wrap Summary Plan Description were amended? ... [5] Can you easily articulate your group health plan's employee contribution strategy? How does the math work? ... [6] For non-calendar year plans, will you play chicken with the 2020 Cadillac tax? ... [7] Are you all set for the annual Form 1095-C festival when the New Year begins?"
Employee Benefit News

District Court Dismisses Class Action Challenge to UnitedHealth PBM Payments (PDF)
36 pages. "Plaintiffs allege ... that they were entitled to pay less than they were charged as copayments or coinsurance under the terms of their plans because their plans entitled Plaintiffs to receive the benefit of the discounted rate ... Plaintiffs allege that they purchased certain drugs on numerous occasions and were overcharged due to OptumRx's contribution calculations, resulting in spreads and clawbacks.... [The plans] do not entitle those ERISA Plaintiffs to the discounted rate as a 'lesser of' payment option when filling prescription drugs at retail network pharmacies. Because those ERISA Plaintiffs do not allege that Defendants violated the terms of their Plans other than by not allowing them to pay lesser, discounted rates, such Plaintiffs fail to state claims for benefits under ERISA Section 502(a)(1)(B)." [In re UnitedHealth Group PBM Litigation, No. 16-3352 (D. Minn. Dec. 19, 2017)]
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Creating Stability in Unstable Times: A Look at Risk Adjustment and Market Stabilization
"From 2014 to 2016, issuers experienced large losses as premiums were often too low or the health market did not meet issuer expectations ... Through 2017 the markets have evolved. Issuers have increased premiums to be more in line with the actual claim costs ... and risk adjustment methodological improvements have been well received as a step in the right direction. However, there are still high levels of market uncertainty and instability."
The Actuary Magazine

Benefits in General

Compensation and Benefits Provisions in the Final Tax Bill
"Recharacterizations of conversions from Traditional to Roth IRAs are no longer permitted.... Without a penalty for an individual mandate, ... it may be less likely that an employee not offered affordable coverage by his or her employer will buy coverage on an exchange and receive a tax subsidy. This may decrease the employer mandate penalty exposure for employers[.]"
Eversheds Sutherland

Comparison of House, Senate and Conference Report Versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) (PDF)
14-page chart, addressing retirement, executive compensation, fringe benefit and health benefit provisions.
Groom Law Group

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

ISS Releases Final FAQs for the 2018 Proxy Season (PDF)
12 pages. "Few new policies are introduced for 2018, but the FAQs update or clarify several outstanding compensation policies and the Pay-for-Performance Mechanics 'white paper' provides detail on the methodology behind ISS' quantitative pay-for-performance test incorporating the new Financial Performance Assessment (FPA). These policies apply to public U.S. companies with annual shareholder meetings on or after February 1, 2018."
FW Cook

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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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