Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 5, 2018

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[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Enacts Paid Medical Leave Law

"Beginning in 2021, most employees will be eligible to take up to 12 weeks of protected paid leave ... Employers may apply to the [newly created Department of Family and Medical Leave within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development] for approval to meet their paid family and medical leave obligations through a private plan. In order to be approved as meeting an employer's obligations under this law, a private plan must, at a minimum, confer all of the same rights, protections and benefits provided to employees who receive family and medical leave benefits through the Department."
The Wagner Law Group

Consider State Laws When Measuring FMLA Eligibility

"The FMLA sets the minimum standards, which means that states can opt to provide more-generous leave options for employees. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C., each have their own family and medical leave laws. Some state laws expand the amount of leave that may be taken or add to the definition of covered family members."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Legislation Would Provide Paid Leave for Federal Civilian Employees Who Have or Adopt a Child for the First Time

"The bill marks the latest of a long string of efforts, thus far unsuccessful, to provide federal workers with paid parental leave. Last year, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced a bill that would provide six weeks of paid leave to [federal workers who are] new parents, with an option to take an additional six weeks of unpaid leave."
Government Executive

To Bring Health Information Privacy Into the 21st Century, Look Beyond HIPAA

"Even though HIPAA remains 'surprisingly functional,' significant gaps persist. These gaps, however, derive not from HIPAA per se, but from the patchwork of health information privacy rules outside of HIPAA.... [O]ne element of this patchwork: the complex rules around and new challenges created by big data analytics. [Additional examples are] ... Social Media ... The Role of States ... Veterans ... Following the European Union's Lead."
Health Affairs

Questions to Ask Your Health Benefits Broker to Make Sure the Price Is Right

"Just as in retirement plans, in the health benefits market there can be conflicts of interests between providers that drive up costs for employers and employees and result in decisions being made that are not in the best interest of participants.... [If] employers ask, 'What kind of commissions and bonuses do you receive from carriers, in total?' they will learn what kind of incentives are driving broker and adviser underlying decisions."
PLANSPONSOR

How to Show on Form 5500 That a Welfare Benefit Plan Is Going Above or Dropping Below the 100-Participant Threshold

"Plans going under and over the threshold like this should not, in Part I of the main body of the Form, check the 'final return/report' or 'first return/report' boxes on line B. And do not confuse this exemption with the so-called '80-120' rule, which permits a plan that is not exempt from filing Form 5500 to continue filing the same financial Schedule (Schedule H for large plans or Schedule I for small plans) so long as it has at least 80 covered participants but not more than 120."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

CMS Marketplace Reports Show Increases In Subsidy-Eligible Enrollees, Effectuated Enrollment Rate

"10.6 million individuals effectuated their coverage for February 2018 ... a higher proportion of marketplace enrollees received premium subsidies relative to 2017; and those who selected a plan during the 2018 open enrollment period were more likely to effectuate their coverage compared to 2017. Premium affordability, however, remains a concern, and CMS devotes an entire report to documenting a decline in individual market enrollment among consumers who are not eligible for advance premium tax credit (APTC)."
Health Affairs

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Division of HSA Assets upon Divorce; HSA Custodian Refuses to Make Direct Transfer

A client's employee is going through a divorce, and HSA assets were divided. The former spouse set up a new HSA to receive her share of the funds and to make future contributions. The employee is being told by the bank that holds his HSA has said that they will only issue a check to the former spouse directly, and not to the institution where she has set up her new HSA. Does anyone have any specific guidance on this issue?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Form 5500 Due Date for 'Wrap' Plan Covering Programs Having Different Years?

When you have a wrap document covering a health plan (6/1/2017 to 5/31/2018) and a separate dental plan (11/1/2017 to 10/31/18), where each benefit has a different contract date and the Form 5500 is due 7 months after the plan year end, which date do you use to figure out the PYE of the required 5500 (over 100 utilizing the benefit) and when the 5500 has to be filed?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Prepayment of COBRA Premiums using Final Paycheck

Say an employee is terminating shortly, but will receive a last paycheck -- possibly including severance pay. Can the employee elect to "prepay" the next 6 months of COBRA premiums out of the last paycheck?
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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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