Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 21, 2018

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Jobs

ESOP Administrator
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
in VA, Telecommute

Benefits & HRIS Specialist
Simons Foundation
in NY

DC Plan Administrator
Northeast Professional Planning Group, Inc.
in NJ, NY

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Webcasts, Conferences

Tax Reform Basics for Employers
RECORDED
IRS [Internal Revenue Service]

FMLA Intermittent Leave Issues: Strategies for Preventing Abuse
November 26, 2018 WEBCAST
Clear Law Institute

Guidance on Balancing the Reasonable Accommodation Process and the ADA / FMLA / Workers' Compensation Overlap
December 4, 2018 WEBCAST
Clear Law Institute

Power Lunch: Gearing Up for 2019: Benefits Strategies to Recruit and Retain Talent in an almost Zero Unemployment World
December 6, 2018 WEBCAST
University Conference Services

What Does the Future Hold for Health Care Reform?
December 13, 2018 WEBCAST
ConnectYourCare

Wellness & Caregiving: Healthy Minds, Healthy Employees, Healthy Company
January 15, 2019 in WI
The Alliance

Northern Illinois Self-Funded Employer Forum
April 11, 2019 in IL
The Alliance

►See 75 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1437 Recorded Webcasts


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Guiding Your TPA to Do the Right Thing for Your Employees

"[1] Have a health plan advisory board that includes employees.... [2] Make sure the TPA is instructed to treat employees fairly.... [3] Avoid endorsing a TPA mindset of, 'The more money my TPA saves for the employer, the better the employer will like my TPA.' ... [4] Create a policy for pre-authorization.... [5] Remember, the TPA works for you."
The Alliance

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Engaging Employees in Health Benefit Design Increases Satisfaction With Coverage Options

"[E]mployees were more willing to have less robust coverage in areas like dental, vision, and diagnostic benefits so that the group could have access to more comprehensive mental health and maternity services."
American Journal of Managed Care

Employers with Massachusetts Employees Must File Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure Form by November 30

"The FAQs do not specifically establish a penalty for failing to meet the annual November 30 deadline. There is also a possibility that a court could determine that [ERISA] preempts the HIRD requirement, meaning that employers would no longer be required to file the form if the requirement were challenged in court."
McDermott Will & Emery

ACA Litigation Round-Up: Texas, Maryland, Short-Term Plans, and Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

"This post discusses the latest developments in litigation over the individual mandate in Texas and Maryland, as well as separate litigation over recent federal regulations that expanded access to short-term plans and allowed for broadened religious and moral exemptions to the contraceptive mandate."
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

Deposit Interest Rates in Health Savings Accounts

"Recent averages suggest providers may not be feeling much pressure to raise HSA deposit rates, with the largest providers feeling even less pressure as they focus on creating account value through other means."
Devenir

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Genomic Medicine and Employers: Separating the Hope from the Hype (PDF)

13 pages. "Employers usually provide benefits coverage for standard forms of genetic testing -- screening for Down syndrome in high-risk mothers, for example -- but in general, benefits consultants don't recommend coverage of consumer genetic tests.... Employers should ask how testing will be integrated with health-care delivery and make sure doctors ordering the tests do not have financial relationships with genetic testing vendors."
Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH]

The Market Disruptor of Health Plans

"Managing supply chains to control cost is critical to the overall health of a business. That principle applies in the context of healthcare costs, too. Implement an effective, long-term healthcare cost solution and the CFO can then refocus on the rest of the business. Fully-insured plans offer a CFO few, if any, meaningful cost control options."
Financial Executives International Daily

ACA: Limits, Fees and Penalties Through 2019

"The [ACA] contains a number of limits and penalties that apply to employers.... Employers use one of the three allowable safe harbor compensation methods to determine affordability ... Penalties for failure to comply with the Employer Shared Responsibility provision.... Flexible Spending Accounts ... Health Savings Account (HSA) ... Transportation Fringe Benefits ... Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCORI)".
OneDigital Health and Benefits

Self-Funding Can Give Employers More Control Over Every Aspect of Their Medical Insurance Programs (PDF)

"To gain control over the ever-increasing cost of employee health insurance, more and more employers are discontinuing their fully insured coverage and switching to self-funded models. Basically, this is an unbundled approach that separately hires all of the required functions -- medical provider networks, carrier or third-party administrator (TPA), pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), stop-loss insurer, and consultants -- subject to competitive bidding. Significant cost reductions in the neighborhood of 5% to 10% are typical."
Milliman

Potential Cure Coming for Local Paid Sick Leave in Texas

"[T]he Third District noted that because the Austin PSL Ordinance increases the pay of employees using paid sick leave, it establishes a TMWA-defined wage. As such, the Third District held the TMWA preempts the Austin PSL Ordinance as a matter of law, thereby making it unconstitutional.... [O]utside the judicial arena, Texas State Legislators have developed a potential paid sick leave cure of their own."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Opinion]

American Benefits Council Comment Letter to IRS on Notice 2018-71, Employer Tax Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave

"While the credit is only available for 2018 and 2019 under current law, we believe it is possible Congress may extend the credit in future years. Accordingly, we think it is valuable for the IRS and Treasury to issue proposed regulations that are consistent with Congress' intent to encourage adoption of paid family and medical leave programs."
American Benefits Council

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of EBSA Guidance and Relief for Employee Benefit Plans Impacted by the 2018 California Wildfires (PDF)

"The Department recognizes that these wildfires may impede efforts by plan fiduciaries, employers, labor organizations, service providers, and participants and beneficiaries to comply with [ERISA] over the next few months.... [Guidance now being issued addresses this topics:] [1] Verification procedures for plan loans and distributions ... [2] Participant contributions and loan repayment ... [3] Blackout notices ... [4] ERISA claims compliance guidance ... [5] Filing relief."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Protected Health Information Included in Bills to Participants

Is emailing a bill for COBRA, FSA and HRA with the names of the participants in violation of the rules against disclosure of Protected Health Information? Do we need to send the bills in a secure mode of communication?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of EBSA FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries Following the 2018 California Wildfires (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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