Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 7, 2018

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Jobs

Retirement Plan Consultant / Administrator
Bronfman Rothschild
in WI

Sr. Implementation Consultant - LMNG
Great-West Financial
in CO, KS, MA, Telecommute

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Webcasts, Conferences

Health Benefits Laws Seminar
July 24, 2018 in WI
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

31st ECFC Annual Symposium
August 7, 2018 in CA
ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation]

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Discussions

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[Guidance Overview]

Rhode Island Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act: What Employers Need to Know Now

"On July 1, Rhode Island joins its neighbors, Connecticut and Massachusetts, in requiring certain employers to provide paid sick and safe time leave to their employees.... Employers with fewer than 18 employees ... are required to provide unpaid sick leave to their employees. Employers with 18 or more employees will have to provide paid sick leave.... The Act applies to out-of-state employers that have employees who primarily work in Rhode Island."
Nixon Peabody LLP

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New Jersey Enacts Individual Health Insurance Mandate

"The State's shared responsibility payment is based on the [ACA] calculation which, for 2017, was the greater of 2.5% of a taxpayer's income over the applicable filing threshold or $695 ($347.50 for those under 18 years of age)."
WithumSmith+Brown, PC

Another Circuit Holds That Anti-Assignment Provisions Are Enforceable

"[T]he Third Circuit joined the First, Second, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals in holding that an anti-assignment provision effectively prevents a plan participant from assigning her right to sue for benefits under ERISA to a third party." [American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine v. Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 17-1663 (3d Cir. May 16, 2018)]
Verrill Dana LLP

The HSA in Your Future: Defined Contribution Retiree Medical

"The HSA's tax preferences coupled with current and future use options may make it more valuable to workers than contributing a similar amount of take home pay to a 401(k) or 403(b) ... Only a minority of workers have access to an HSA-qualifying health option. Only a subset of those eligible actually select the HSA-capable option. Even fewer who select that option contribute to the HSA. And, only a miniscule minority of those who contribute invest HSA assets."
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]

Tracking 2019 Premium Changes on ACA Exchanges

"This analysis looks at preliminary lowest-cost bronze and second lowest-cost silver premiums ... [Tables] show [1] premiums for a major city in each state with currently public data ... [2] monthly premiums after applying a tax credit for the lowest-cost bronze and second lowest-cost silver plans insurers have proposed offering next year ... [3] the range of proposed rate changes across all ACA-compliant plans offered by insurers that have proposed participating on the exchange in each state."
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

[Advert.]

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

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HHS to Continue to Allow Insurers' Workaround on 2019 Prices

"Federal officials will not block insurance companies from again using a workaround to cushion a steep rise in health premiums caused by President Donald Trump's cancellation of a program established under the [ACA], Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday. The technique -- called 'silver loading' because it pushed price increases onto the silver-level plans in the ACA marketplaces -- was used by many states for 2018 policies. But federal officials had hinted they might bar the practice next year."
Kaiser Health News

[Opinion]

The Myth of Medicare's Projected Insolvency

"Every year the Medicare trustees project the year in which the funds for Part A of Medicare will be inadequate to pay the full costs for that year, based on anticipated revenue and spending. Each year the media then report the pending insolvency of Medicare. This is nonsense."
Physicians for a National Health Program [PNHP]

[Opinion]

ECFC Statement Submitted to House Subcommittee Hearing on Consumer-Directed Health Plans (PDF)

"Congress should take steps to stop the impact of the Cadillac Tax on consumer-directed health plans.... If full repeal of the excise tax is not feasible, we would advocate that employee contributions to FSAs and HSAs be exempted from the calculation of the Cadillac Tax or any direct limitation that may be proposed on employer-provided coverage."
Employers Council on Flexible Compensation [ECFC]

[Opinion]

Fiduciary Responsibility in Healthcare Plans, Part Five

"How can a fully-insured employer ever hope to peek behind the carrier's curtain to utilize any transparency-of-information, when carriers might actually have a legitimate proprietary right to their pricing, sales and related practices? ... [If] the plan sponsor can't get at its own claims data ... how can the plan sponsor make a reasoned judgment about fees? What is the employer's responsibility for investigating these types of arrangements and addressing them in their own agreements with the carrier? ... What obligations do administrators have, if any, to participants for balance billing under ERISA?"
Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC

Benefits in General

Choice and Flexibility: The Win-Win Approach to Employee Benefits

"[E]mployees said they'd be willing to pay to protect those benefits, with three in five saying they'd pay for more generous guaranteed retirement benefits. That goes for millennials as well as baby boomers.... Less than half of employees believes their benefits packages offer sufficient choice and flexibility and less than a third think it meets their needs for financial or health and wellbeing.... [W]hen an employer offers greater choice and flexibility of benefits to their employees, work engagement doubles."
Willis Towers Watson

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Insurance Company Wants to Sell 'Section 162' Plan to My Client

Insurance company trying to sell a 162 plan to a client. From what I can tell, the company can pay premiums on a whole life life insurance policy for an executive. The premiums paid are taxable to the executive and the executive owns the policy personally. Why is this different than giving the executive a bonus and having the executive go out and buy a life insurance policy on his or her own?
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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
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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