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January 25, 2018 in IL
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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Proposes Expansion of Association Health Plans
"AHPs may be formed by employers that are engaged in the same trade, industry, line of business, or profession, or that are located in the same state or metropolitan area (even if the metropolitan area crosses state lines).... [An] AHP may be created solely for the purpose of providing health coverage to the employees of its members. AHPs may also be established by employers who meet 'commonality of interest' criteria under existing guidance that would allow their association to sponsor a single health plan for its members.... [No] size limit applies to employers seeking to form or join an AHP."
Ballard Spahr LLP


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.

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues Proposal on Association Health Plans
"[E]xamples of a 'metropolitan area' include the 'Greater New York City Area/Tri-State Region covering portions of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; the Washington Metropolitan Area of the District of Columbia and portions of Maryland and Virginia; and the Kansas City Metropolitan Area covering portions of Missouri and Kansas.' Smaller geographic regions, such as a single city or county, would also suffice. The DOL is seeking public comment on whether additional clarification is needed to better define what constitutes a metropolitan area.... [Comments] are due by March 6, 2018."

Congress Eyes Several Health Care Reform Priorities, Including Delay of Cadillac Tax
"[S]everal health care legislative priorities ... are expected to be voted on before Memorial Day. These include bills aimed at reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs in the ACA's individual market [and] a bipartisan package of HR Policy-supported bills that would delay a number of ACA taxes ... Meanwhile, Democrats will press for legislation to reduce drug costs, continue to build support for a single-payer system, and possibly enact state level individual mandates."
HR Policy Association

HHS Says New York May Have Misallocated Obamacare Exchange Funds
"The New York State Department of Health may have misallocated nearly $19.6 million in federal establishment grants to create its [ACA] exchange, the [HHS] Office of Inspector General said in a report Dec. 29. In addition, the state claimed unallowable fees of nearly $3.8 million paid to the state's exchange contractor, Maximus Inc., [the OIG report] said."
Bloomberg BNA

Association Health Plan Proposal: Experts Wary of Consumer Protections, Oversight Issues
"Association health plans can't charge higher premiums or deny coverage based on health status ... But because AHPs would be subject to large-employer market rules, they wouldn't have to cover the list of essential health benefits that the [ACA] mandates. The upshot ... is that insurers could legally weed out those with costly conditions while still complying with regulations that bar them from denying those individuals coverage or hiking their premiums."


Online Learning Course: COBRA

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Even with ACA coverage easier for individuals to obtain, group health plans must continue to offer COBRA coverage. This course explains technicalities of COBRA, including who is entitled and how to administer.


DOL Rule on Association Health Plans Could Devastate Small-Group Markets
"Because the rule would subject AHPs to substantially weaker standards than ACA-compliant plans in the small-group and individual markets, they could -- and likely would -- be structured and marketed to attract younger and healthier people, thus pulling them out of the ACA-compliant small-group market and leaving older, sicker, and costlier risk pools behind."
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of EBSA News Release Announcing April 1, 2018 Applicability Date for Final Rule Amending Claims Procedure for Disability Benefit Plans
"[The DOL] announced [on January 5] its decision for April 1, 2018, as the applicability date for employee benefit plans to comply with a final rule under [ERISA] that will give America's workers new procedural protections when dealing with plan fiduciaries and insurance providers who deny their claims for disability benefits.... The Department received approximately 200 comment letters ... The information provided in the comments did not establish that the final rule imposes unnecessary regulatory burdens or significantly impairs workers' access to disability insurance benefits."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

2018 Tax Reform: Executive Compensation Changes for Publicly Held Entities
"[Publicly traded] employers will no longer be constrained by strict requirements ... in setting and approving performance goals and can make adjustments to performance goals at the conclusion of a performance period that increase compensation payable where appropriate.... [Employers will] need to reevaluate their performance metrics to take into account the impact of the reduction of the corporate tax rate to 21%. In some cases, performance metrics affected by this reduction may be permitted or required to be adjusted."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

Impact of Tax Reform on Some Private Company Equity Awards: Limited Income Tax Deferral Opportunities for Employees
"Additional guidance is needed to clarify, among other things, [1] the scope of the term 'transferable' in the context of transferability to employer corporations (including whether an exception will apply for customary provisions, such as an employer's right to repurchase an employee's stock after his or her employment relationship is terminated); [2] under what circumstances the provision requiring immediate income inclusion upon an individual's qualified stock becoming 'transferable' applies in light of the provision deferring income inclusion for five years after the first date on which the rights of the individual in the qualified stock become 'transferable'; and [3] when the holding period for qualified stock begins if a Section 83(i) election is made."
Perkins Coie LLP

Initial Tax Disclosures Regarding 162(m) in Proxy Statements
"[T]he Section 162(m) deduction limit for performance-based compensation has been repealed ... effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 ... This leaves the question about what to say about Section 162(m) during the upcoming proxy season. [This article provides] some examples from recent proxy statements[.]"

With Participation Rates Flat, Some NQDC Plan Sponsors to Make Changes
"The overall rate of companies offering nonqualified deferred compensation plans (NQDCPs) increased to 85% in 2017 from a survey low of 77.2% in 2015 ... 87% of respondents don't plan on making any changes to their NQDCPs.... Average participation rates were relatively flat at 47% ... Participation rates were notably higher in plans offering matching contributions (60%), while plans not offering a company contribution had an average participation rate of 37%."

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2018, 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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