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[Guidance Overview]

ACA Reporting Deadline Extended Once Again
"Based on the relief provided in Notice 2018-06, the deadline for issuing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C with respect to 2017 coverage is now March 2, 2018. But due to this automatic 30-day extension, the IRS states that it will no longer grant extension requests submitted on Form 8809. Unless the IRS grants further relief, coverage providers will still need to file Forms 1094-B with the IRS by April 2, 2018, and employers will still need to file Forms 1094-C by either February 28, 2018 (if done on paper), or April 2, 2018 (if filed electronically). However, the IRS notes that the option of requesting a 30-day extension of this deadline will remain available."
Spencer Fane


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Sponsored by Health Benefits Conference & Expo [HBCE]

Are you trying to improve your wellness program? Would you like to better control health care costs? Register today for HBCE and find the knowledge, solutions and tools you need to increase employee engagement and positively impact your bottom line.

Employers and Providers Now Have More Time to Issue Health Coverage Forms in 2018
"[F]or years prior to 2019, individuals must be able to demonstrate that they have health coverage or meet an exception, or pay the individual mandate penalty.... The [IRS] has stated that individuals do not need to wait until they receive their Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to file their individual taxes, and they do not need to attach the forms to their Form 1040."
Segal Consulting

Small Employers Can Help Employees with Individual Health Insurance
"[A] qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement may reimburse eligible employees for the cost of obtaining their own health insurance and certain other medical expenses. A health reimbursement arrangement is funded entirely by the employer up to $5,050 for an employee with self-only coverage and $10,250 for an employee with family coverage. These are 2018 limits."
Inside Business

The Year in Healthcare: A Focus on Cost Management
"The year in employer-sponsored healthcare centered on attempts to manage continued rising insurance and medical costs -- a trend that is not going away, ... The growth of group captives, where participating employers maintain their own self-funded plans with group stop-loss insurance to stem the risk, Madden explains, allowed smaller groups to self-fund."
Employee Benefit News

Managing the High and Rising Cost of Prescription Drug Coverage: Prior Authorization Denial Rates for Specialty Drugs Vary Widely Among PBMs (PDF)
11 pages. "The study suggests there are no industry standards for prior authorization denials.... The huge variance in denial rates [Segal] found among PBMs and the potential impact on a plan's cost and participant satisfaction strongly suggests plan sponsors should consider evaluating prior authorization approval or denial rates in their future requests for proposals from PBMs."
Segal Consulting


Complying With W-2 Rules for Reporting Health Care Benefits and HSA Reporting Rules

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Jan. 17 webinar. Learn how to properly complete applicable tax forms and how to communicate relevant tax-reporting information to employees, as well as the due dates for each form. BenefitsLink discount.

Is Your Health System Prepared to Respond to an Employer RFP?
"[E]mployers typically use a structured procurement process, including a formal request for proposal (RFP), when considering direct contracts with local health systems.... As direct contracting opportunities increase, health systems will need to learn how to compete and win in this process that involves different stakeholders, financial considerations and service expectations than traditional contracting with insurance carriers."
Willis Towers Watson

Employee Benefits: Trends Shaping 2018
"[Empower employees] with an understanding of their benefit choices in a more holistic way to help them take greater control of their own financial wellness.... Adopting flexible benefits management technology that can keep up with the ever-changing policy environment can put you a step ahead."

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Tax Reform Provisions Affecting Employer-Provided Compensation and Benefits (PDF)
"[1] Repeal of performance-based compensation exception to $1,000,000 deduction limit ... [2] Excessive compensation of non-profit covered employees subject to a 21% tax penalty ... [3] Limits and phase-out on deduction for employer-operated eating facilities ... [4] Elimination of employer deduction for certain transportation fringe benefits ... [5] Suspension of income exclusion for qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement fringe benefit ... [6] Suspension of income exclusion and employer deduction for qualified moving expense reimbursement ... [7] Extension of rollover period for plan loan offsets ... [8] Employer credit for paid family and medical leave."
Trucker Huss

Sixth Circuit Provides Lessons for What Constitutes a QDRO
"A federal appellate court has found that a divorce decree contains all the information required for a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) under [ERISA] and therefore determined that a deceased employee's life insurance proceeds go to his minor child rather than his named beneficiary. Although the case involves and employer-provided life insurance plan, it has lessons for what constitutes a QDRO for all ERISA plans." [Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada v. Jackson, No. 17-3120 (6th Cir. Dec. 13, 2017)]

IRS Releases Standard Mileage Rates, FAVR Allowances for 2017
"For all miles of business use, the standard mileage rate for transportation or travel expenses is 54.5 cents per mile (up slightly from 53.5 cents in 2017).... For purposes of computing the allowance under a FAVR plan, the maximum allowable cost in 2018 is $27,300 for cars (down from $27,900 in 2017) and $31,000 for trucks and vans (down from $31,300)."
HR Daily Advisor

Outlook 2018: EBSA Awaits New Direction from Rutledge
"At the top of the list for [EBSA], as it has been for nearly a decade, is the fiduciary rule.... Years of DOL guidance could be reversed by [a] new regulation which will likely make it easier for individuals and small businesses to join association health plans.... When [Preston Rutledge] takes the helm at EBSA, it's a guessing game as to what retirement and benefits issues he may want tackled other than the fiduciary rule and association health plans."
Bloomberg BNA

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Pay Ratio Disclosure Checklist
"While recent interpretative guidance from the [SEC] has provided additional flexibility in this process, public companies still need to consider appropriate disclosures regarding pay ratio calculations in addition to the disclosure of the pay ratio. [A] checklist of essential disclosure items to consider when drafting pay ratio disclosures is set forth [in this article]."

Year-End Checklist of Items to Review, Know, and Consider About Your Stock Compensation
"As 2017 draws to its close, the new tax-reform law is getting a lot of attention, and it will certainly affect tax rates in the future ... [D]on't forget the fundamentals of year-end planning. [This checklist] summarizes what you need for comprehensive year-end financial and tax planning with stock compensation."

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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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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