Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 10, 2018

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Webcasts, Conferences

FMLA FAQs: Answers to Employers' Common Questions
RECORDED
Ogletree Deakins

Ethics in a Digital World
November 13, 2018 WEBCAST
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

ERISA Remedies: Key Enforcement Provisions and Scope of Equitable Relief for Benefit Claims
November 27, 2018 WEBCAST
Strafford

20th Annual Best Practices Conference
December 11, 2018 in MA
New England Employee Benefits Council

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[Guidance Overview]

Final Instructions for the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C Released with Few Changes

"This article provides a brief summary of the most important change, the enforcement of the employer mandate which was not occurring when previous final instructions were released, discusses the few substantive changes and key dates, and provides a brief overview of penalties associated with the Forms. The article concludes [with] discussion of a problem that persists related to the code 2F on line 16 of the Form 1095-C."
Accord

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, Part 2

"How much are employees paid when using sick leave? ... Can employers require advance notice and documentation from employees? ... Can an employer impose any limits on the use of sick time? ... What happens to unused sick leave at the end of the benefit year?"
Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Roadmap for Paid Leave Tax Credit

"For 2018 only, employers can retroactively amend their leave policies to match the technical requirements of Code section 45S.... For 2019, the policy changes must be in place before the leave is taken. That means employers must amend their leave policies by December 31, 2018, in order to properly claim the tax credit for both 2018 and 2019."
ERISAfire

No More Secrets: Congress Bans Pharmacist 'Gag Orders' on Drug Prices

"President Donald Trump was expected to sign two bills [on October 10] that ban 'gag order' clauses in contracts between pharmacies and insurance companies or pharmacy benefit managers -- those firms that negotiate prices for employers and insurers with drugstores and drugmakers. Such provisions prohibit pharmacists from telling customers when they can save money by paying the pharmacy's lower cash price instead of the price negotiated by their insurance plan."
Kaiser Health News

Employer Benchmarking Survey: Family Benefits and Autism (PDF)

22 pages. "48% of employers offer paid parental leave for baby bonding. 36% of those who do not offer a paid parental leave for baby bonding are considering offering it next year.... 50% said that any parent is eligible for the paid parental leave for baby bonding (which 64% say they must be full time; 29% said part-time employees are eligible). 18% of employers let the employee choose if they'd like to take the leave benefit consecutively or intermittently."
Midwest Business Group on Health

The Impact of Adolescent Mental Health and Substance Use on Employers

"One in three Americans is engaged in a personal battle with addiction or is affected by a loved one who is fighting addiction. For employees and their family members, it is often a silent struggle, unseen and unaddressed, due to stigma and helplessness, lack of effective support services and limited availability of high-quality treatment programs. For employers, addiction's impact is insidious and intensifying, with rising healthcare costs for emergency care, hospitalizations and residential treatment facilities."
Lockton

Doctors Give Medicare's Proposal to Pay for Telemedicine Poor Prognosis

"The Trump administration wants Medicare for the first time to embrace telemedicine across the country by paying doctors $14 for a five-minute 'check-in' phone call with their patients. But many physicians say the proposed reimbursement will cover a service they already do for free. And the Medicare reimbursement -- intended to motivate doctors to communicate with patients outside the office -- could have a chilling effect on patients because they would be required to pay a 20 percent cost-sharing charge."
Kaiser Health News

[Opinion]

Baldwin Resolution Would Expose Sick Patients to Higher Premiums, Cancelled Coverage, Denied Care

"The Senate appears poised to vote soon on a Congressional Review Act resolution sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) that would rescind the Trump administration's final rule on 'short-term limited duration insurance.' ... The Baldwin resolution.... [1] would increase the number of uninsured.... [2] would reduce protections for the sick.... [3] would not reduce ObamaCare premiums and could increase them.... [4] would make short-term plans less comprehensive.... [5] would gut conscience protections.... [6] would not protect people with preexisting conditions."
Cato Institute

[Opinion]

The Unfinished Business of Health Reform: Reining in Market Power to Restrain Costs Without Sacrificing Quality or Access

"[T]here are steps policymakers could adopt in the nearer term that would allow many of the virtues of single-payer to be realized more quickly and that could serve as useful stepping stones to even more ambitious reform: [1] Extend already existing public plans and incorporate a 'public option' into ACA exchanges. [2] Adopt 'all-payer rates'--mandating that the same prices apply regardless of who is paying--to allow private insurers to benefit from the bargaining power of Medicare. [3] Pursue policies that would diminish the intellectual property rights monopolies of key health care sectors, like pharmaceutical companies. [4] Increase antitrust scrutiny of consolidation of hospitals and physician networks."
Economic Policy Institute

Benefits in General

True-up, Catch-up, What's Up -- for 401(k) Plans, 403(b) Plans, and HSAs

"It's time to take immediate action if: [1] Your plan has a 'true-up' provision and allows flexibility in contribution rates. Issue a specific, targeted communication to encourage workers to increase contributions as needed to obtain the full employer match. [2] Your plan does not currently offer true-up provisions. it is not too late to add them this year -- announce the change with great fanfare, then process the contribution manually after the year ends."
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]

Designing Employee Benefits to Address Educational Debt

"[A] small percentage of private-sector employers offer student loan repayment assistance for expenses incurred prior to employment, which is taxable and includible in wages under current law.... There has been interest in finding a way to coordinate student loan repayments with employer contributions to defined contribution plans, such as the 401(k) plan, in order to avoid the immediate inclusion of such contributions in income.... Under tax code Section 127, employers can offer employees educational assistance tax-free up to $5,250 per calendar year pursuant to a written program."
Westminster Consulting

Hidden Costs in Service-Provider Contracts: What You Don't Know May Cost You (PDF)

10 presentation slides. "Know the contract currently in place ... Establish list of needs and objectives ... Seek referrals from other similarly situated employers ... Request sample contract for review ... Perform request for proposal ... Question all assumptions in pricing ... Push service provider on structure."
McDermott Will & Emery

Press Releases

Retirement, LLC. is Certified to Industry Best Practices
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence [CEFEX]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Time to Revisit the Work Relationship
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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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