Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 27, 2017

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Webcasts, Conferences

Health Savings Accounts: Its Time to Pay Attention!!
January 23, 2018 WEBCAST
HRTrainingCenter.com

Effective Global Benefits Management: Thinking Globally - Acting Locally
January 25, 2018 in OH
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Cleveland Chapter

Tax Reform Has Passed What You Need to Know
January 18, 2018 in NY
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - New York Chapter

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[Guidance Overview]

Recent Amendments to Seattle's Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance Will Take Effect on January 1, 2018
"The [amendments adopted Dec. 15, 2017] incorporate at the local level the more employee-friendly provisions of Washington Initiative 1433, which established statewide paid sick leave.... Adds child (of any age), sibling, and grandchild.... Caps on use are not permitted. Mirrors state law provision that permits caps only on carryover, not use.... Adds language allowing use when the employee's child's school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason.... Waiting period is 90 calendar days from start of employment."
Ogletree Deakins

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[Guidance Overview]

Due Date for Furnishing IRS 2017 Forms 1095-C Extended; Transition Relief from Accuracy Penalties Also Extended
"Employers may wish to notify affected employees of any delay in furnishing Forms 1095-C ... Taxpayers do not need to wait to receive Form 1095-C before filing their returns.... The IRS also extended transition relief from penalties ... to ALEs that can demonstrate that they made good-faith efforts to comply with the Form 1095-C reporting requirements ... for 2017; both for furnishing to individuals and for filing with the IRS, and for both incorrect or incomplete information."
ADP

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Again Delays Employer ACA Reporting
"The IRS did not extend the deadline for filing the statements, along with the 1094-C and 1094-B transmittal forms, to the IRS. That deadline remains April 2, 2018, if filing electronically.... [F]ilers can obtain an automatic 30-day extension by submitting Form 8809 ... by the due date for the ACA information returns. Form 8809 may be submitted on paper or electronically, and no explanation for the extension is required."
Conduent

ACA Reporting Requirements: IRS Extends Due Date for Forms 1095-B and 1095-C
"[S]mall employers will be applicable large employer group members if they are in an aggregated group that collectively has at least 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalents).... [A] chart summarizes the filing requirements based on the size of the employer and its member status in an applicable large employer group (ALEG)."
RSM US

HHS Informal Request for Information: Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States
"HHS is interested in public comments about State and Federal laws, regulations, guidance, requirements, and policies that discourage or prevent the development and operation of a healthcare system that provides high-quality care at affordable prices for the American people, the promotion of competition in healthcare markets, and the limitation of excessive consolidation throughout the healthcare system.... This request for information specifically requests information about barriers to choice and competition ... and proposed solutions that could facilitate the development and operation of a healthcare system that provides high-quality care at affordable prices for the American people. Comments will be received until January 25, 2018."
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Study Identifies Unexpected Contributor to Rising Health Costs: Low-Cost Services
"One way to improve healthcare quality and efficiency and reduce the use of unnecessary care is to apply the principles of value-based insurance design (VBID), which aligns patients' out-of-pocket costs with the value of services."
American Journal of Managed Care

Is Disaster Brewing in New York's Small Group Market?
"From 2007 to 2016 enrollment shrank by 600,000 members, to 1.1 million. Rates were 35% higher than the national average. This, despite New York being one of the very few states to increase the size of their small group risk pool from 50 employees to 100 in 2016."
Frenkel Benefits

New Tax Law: Additional Details
"Taxability of moving expense reimbursements.... Qualified transportation fringe benefit changes.... Bicycle commuter benefits changes."
Smith & Downey, P.A.

After Harassment, Consider Counseling Services Without Deductibles
"[One attorney] recommends that companies provide access to an independent third-party advocate who would be available to employees -- at no cost to them -- under a stand-alone employee benefits plan subject to [ERISA]. The plan would also provide funds for certain health and welfare benefits, such as counseling, therapy and related services."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

New Section 162(q) Raises Questions About Deductibility of Employment Settlements
"Properly drafted, the release and confidentiality language in every settlement agreement would apply to claims of sexual harassment or sexual abuse whether or not the employee actually made such claims. The potential breadth of the new rule raises some concerns because application of the new rule seemingly does not require any obvious connection between the settlement and any particular underlying claim."
Eversheds Sutherland

Individual Obamacare Plans Could Cover Less Under HHS Proposal
"[The proposed 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters] would give states more leeway in designating benchmark health plans on which the ACA's comprehensive essential health benefits (EHB) requirements are based. That could help reduce costs and premiums, which rose sharply in 2017 and will rise again in 2018, but it could diminish the ACA aim of making the individual health insurance market more like employer group market coverage."
Bloomberg BNA

[Opinion]

Years of Attack Leave Obamacare a More Government-Focused Health Law
"By ending the tax penalty for people who do not have coverage, beginning in 2019, Republicans may hasten the flight of customers who now pay the full cost of their insurance. Among those left behind under the umbrella of the [ACA] would be people of modest means who qualify for Medicaid or receive sizable subsidies for private insurance."
Robert Pear, in The New York Times; subscription may be required

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

President Trump Signs Into Law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (PDF)
16 pages. "The changes reach far and wide and will impact every individual, nearly all domestic businesses regardless of the type of entity they operate through, many tax-exempt organizations and companies with international operations. Most of the changes take effect on Jan. 1, 2018 but a few provisions have earlier effective dates."
Polsinelli PC

Private Employer Costs for Pay and Benefits, September 2017
"Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $33.55 per hour worked for private industry workers in September 2017. Wages and salaries averaged $23.35 per hour worked and accounted for 69.6 percent of these costs. Benefits costs averaged $10.20 and accounted for the remaining 30.4 percent. Average costs for pay and benefits ranged from $42.20 per hour in the Middle Atlantic states to $25.99 in the East South Central states."
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]

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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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