Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 8, 2018

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Webcasts, Conferences

37th ECFC Annual Conference
March 14, 2018 in DC
ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation]

Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Retirement and Health Plan Sponsors – Day 3
March 22, 2018 WEBCAST
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar
May 20, 2018 in OK
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

►See 149 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

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Massachusetts High Court Says Sick Pay Doesn't Constitute Wages
"[E]mployers are not liable under the Payment of Wages Law if they choose not to pay out accrued, unused sick pay to employees upon termination of employment.... [T]he court observed that because employees' use of sick time is conditional -- it can only be used when an employee or family member is ill -- employees 'do not have an absolute right to spend down their sick time, employees are not typically compensated for accrued, unused sick time.' Indeed, the court noted that it is common for employers to have 'use it or lose it' sick leave policies." [Mui v. Mass. Port Authority, No. 12296 (Mass. Jan. 29, 2018)]
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

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Employer Health Care Cost & Quality Congress | Washington DC

Sponsored by World Congress

4/29-5/2/2018 in Washington DC. This event brings together Employers, Brokers, and TPAs. Qualified HR & Benefits Professionals may attend as our guest – See website for details/restrictions & to apply.


Court Ruling Creates New Uncertainties for Wellness Programs
"The EEOC has told the [United States District Court for the District of Columbia] it intends to issue new proposed rules by August 2018. The new proposed rules may provide guidance on which employers could rely in designing their 2019 wellness programs. However, the new proposed rules most likely will not be finalized until sometime in mid-to-late 2019, and their effective date will likely be a year or two after that time."
Ice Miller LLP

High-Deductible Plans More Common, But So Are Choices
"For 2018, 70 percent of large employers offered at least one HDHP -- either in addition to a traditional health plan (65 percent) or exclusively as a full replacement for traditional health coverage (5 percent).... When employees at large organizations were given options, 35 percent selected an HDHP while 48 percent chose a PPO for 2018.... In 2018, the average HDHP enrollee is paying a 42 percent lower monthly premium than PPO enrollees for single-coverage plans and a 40 percent lower premium than PPO enrollees for family-coverage plans."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Bipartisan Senate Budget Deal Boosts Health Programs
"The deal does appear to include almost every other health priority Democrats have been pushing the past several months, including two years of renewed funding for community health centers and a series of other health programs Congress failed to provide for before they technically expired last year."
Kaiser Health News

National ACA Marketplace Signups Dipped a Modest 3.7 Percent This Year
"As a group, the 15 states plus the District of Columbia with state-based marketplaces, including those using the Healthcare.gov enrollment platform, exceeded last year's totals this year by 0.2 percent, while the 34 states that relied on the federal healthcare.gov marketplace saw total signups drop by about 5.3 percent.... Rhode Island (12.1%), Kentucky (10.4%), and Washington State (7.6%) saw the largest share increases in signups, while Louisiana (-23.5%), West Virginia (-19.5%), and Arizona (-15.6%) had the largest drop in shares of signups."
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

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Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Potential 'Gotchas' with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
"[The Act] narrows the ability to obtain a hardship distribution for a casualty loss.... [Employers] should check with their record keepers to ensure that they are aware of and prepared to administer the new rule.... [T]ax-exempt employers will be subject to unrelated business taxable income ('UBTI') for mass transit and parking benefits provided to their employees.... Tax-exempt employers who continue to provide on-site athletic facilities will be subject to UBTI."
Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP

What Is Driving Strong M&A Activity in the Benefit Brokerage Market?
"After a record year of mergers and acquisitions in the employee benefits sector, industry observers expect 2018 to be another great year for deals ... Some cite a strong economy and the desire of smaller benefit firms to band together in a market that remains complex, while others point to the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."
Employee Benefit Adviser

Tax Bill Affects ERISA Settlements
"Any settlement of employment litigation should take account of taxes... The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ... makes a number of changes ... The after-tax cost to defendants of a settlement has gone up. The 2018 corporate tax rate drops to 21 percent from generally 35 percent in 2017 ... If a corporate defendant settles for $100,000 in 2017, that will cost a net $65,000 after taxes. But if that settlement is made in 2018, it will cost the defendant $79,000 after taxes because the deduction saves fewer taxes."
Bob Blum Mediation

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2018 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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