Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

May 11, 2018

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Rev. Proc. 2018-30: 2019 Inflation Adjusted Amounts for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) (PDF)

"For calendar year 2019, the annual limitation on deductions ... for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan is $3,500 [and] the annual limitation on deductions ... for an individual with family coverage under a high deductible health plan is $7,000.... For calendar year 2019, a 'high deductible health plan' is ... a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,350 for self-only coverage or $2,700 for family coverage, and the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums) do not exceed $6,750 for self-only coverage or $13,500 for family coverage."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Advert.]

Employee Health, Benefits, & Well-Being Congress | July 30-31

Sponsored by World Congress

Who is moving the needle on employee health care? This event convenes HR, benefits, and wellness executives, TPAs, Brokers, Payers, and Providers to learn and discuss strategies to enhance employee health and improve outcomes while reducing costs.


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues FAQs Clarifying New Employer Tax Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave

"The credit is calculated as a percentage of the wages paid to a qualifying employee while on family and medical leave (up to twelve weeks of leave per taxable year) ... [T]he percentage begins at 12.5% for paid family and medical leave that is 50% of the qualifying employee's normal wages. If the employer provides more than 50% of the employee's normal wages, the rate increases by 0.25% for each percentage that exceeds the 50% wage minimum (up to 25%)."
Trucker Huss

[Guidance Overview]

Seattle Proposes Revisions to Its Paid Sick and Safe Time Rules: Some Are Controversial

"While most of the proposed revisions align with the new state law, there are some key differences that Seattle employers should be aware of, including [1] holiday and premium pay; [2] occasional employee threshold; [3] frontloading; [4] increments of use; [5] written policy requirements; and [6] mandatory size of poster."
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Opioid Addiction in Employer Health Plan Populations

"[N]early 4 out of 10 people treated for opioid addiction in the country are covered in an employer plan.... [S]pending to treat opioid addiction and overdose -- stemming from both prescription and illicit drug use -- has increased sharply, rising to $2.6 billion in 2016 from $0.3 billion 12 years earlier. While the bulk of spending was for employees' children (53%) or spouses (18%), still, just under a third (29%) was for employees themselves."
Mercer

Help Is on the Way for Americans Facing High Drug Prices

"HHS has been formulating the most ambitious reform of drug pricing in the history of our country. Our blueprint for reform, which will be unveiled this week, will use four major strategies to address the problems we face. First, HHS aims to increase competition in drug markets. Second, we are going to give Medicare Part D plans better tools to negotiate discounts on behalf of our seniors -- tools that private-sector health plans often already use. Third, we will develop new incentives for drug manufacturers to lower list prices. Fourth, we develop options to lower patients' out-of-pocket spending."
The White House

[Advert.]

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): Compliance Obligations Under the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

May 30 webinar. Complex employer health care offerings can make it difficult to determine HSA eligibility. This webinar will help health plan administrators navigate this sometimes treacherous terrain. Discount for BenefitsLink readers.


Must Employers Report QSEHRA Benefits on Form W-2?

"If an employee was covered under a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA), the employer must report the total amount of the employee's permitted QSEHRA benefit on Form W-2 in Box 12, using Code 'FF' ... IRS guidance clarifies that an employer must report the amount of payments and reimbursements that the eligible employee is entitled to receive from the QSEHRA for the calendar year (the employee's 'permitted benefit'), without regard to the payments or reimbursements actually received."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Value of Employer-Provided Foreign Tax Return Preparation Not Excludable as Working Condition Fringe Benefit

"While a substantial business benefit to the employer, distinct from the payment of additional compensation, is needed to show that the expense would have been employment-related if the employee had paid and taken a business deduction, that benefit is not enough. The expense must also be of a type that the employee could have deducted under Code Section 162 ... Because Code Section 162 doesn't apply to personal tax preparation, the working condition fringe exclusion is unavailable."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Post-FMLA Leave Not Required Under ADA

"The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., which leaves standing a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision concerning the availability of extended leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).... In particular, the Seventh Circuit concluded that leave requests beyond FMLA leave that extend for more than a brief period of time are never required under the ADA." [Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., No. 15-3754 (7th Cir. Sept. 20, 2017; cert. pet. denied Apr. 2, 2018)]
The Wagner Law Group

Temp Agencies Moving to Comply with New Jersey Paid Leave Law

"Employees with temporary staffing firms typically work sporadically and with great flexibility off-site. These companies may not have systems in place to track employee hours worked toward paid leave, or paid leave used.... Multistate employers will need to pay attention to the requirements of this law ... Coordination also will be needed to align the staffing agency's policies with a client's policy[.]"
Bloomberg BNA

Costs and Consequences in the ACA Market: A Survey of Individual and Family Health Insurance Consumers (PDF)

"When it comes to choosing a health insurance plan, most respondents (58 percent) said their first consideration is an affordable monthly premium. One-quarter (25 percent) cited affordable deductibles and copayments, while 13 percent said access to their preferred doctors or hospitals was the top priority. Just 4 percent identified prescription drug coverage as most important when considering which plan to choose."
eHealth

[Opinion]

American Health Care Quality Will Continue to Erode

"[T]he federal government spent $341 billion from 2014 through 2016 on subsidizing individual coverage so that people would buy it. All this spending managed to increase private coverage by just 1.7 million people, slightly less than half of the natural increase in the civilian labor force. That's $200,000 per person."
Linda Gorman, in The Hill

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

2018 Trends and Developments in Executive Compensation

"Of CEO Pay Ratio disclosures among respondents, roughly 50% of the ratios fell at or below 100:1 ... One-half of respondents reported compensation of the 'Median' employee between $25,000 and $75,000, with an overall median of $65,000.... [A] majority of survey respondents (54%) reported that 2018 target long-term incentive grant values were greater than 2017 values."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

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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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