Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 4, 2019

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Webcasts, Conferences

ERISA Fiduciary Institute: Know Your Responsibilities
April 4, 2019 in DC
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Annual Seminar: Finding the Value in High-Value Primary Care
May 21, 2019 in WI
The Alliance

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►See 1463 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

Maintaining a Lawful Parental Leave Policy in Light of Recent EEOC Scrutiny

"The Estee Lauder settlement and pending JP Morgan claim are reminders for employers to evaluate whether their parental leave policies comply with both federal and state law. Updating and maintaining compliant leave policies requires a multi-faceted approach -- employers must understand how leaves intersect and overlap with each other, as well as which federal and state laws apply to a particular leave."
Mintz

[Advert.]

Utilizing Opt-Out Incentives to Cut Health Care Costs

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Jan. 29 webinar. Although these programs may seem simple enough, they are rife with multiple 'compliance landmines' that can trip up unwary employers. Learn how to spot problem spots and develop compliant and effective programs. BenefitsLink discount.


As Hospitals Post Sticker Prices Online, Most Patients Will Remain Befuddled

"As of Jan. 1, ... [CMS] required that all hospitals post their list prices online. But what is popping up on medical center websites is a dog's breakfast of medical codes, abbreviations and dollar signs -- in little discernible order -- that may initially serve to confuse more than illuminate.... To figure out what ... a trip to the emergency room might cost, a patient would have to locate and piece together the price for each component of their visit -- the particular blood tests, the particular medicines dispensed, the facility fee and the physician's charge, and more."
Kaiser Health News

How Employers Are Controlling Health Care Costs

"[E]mployers are focusing on a short list of top priorities: [1] Concentrating on clinical conditions to reduce high-cost claims ... [2] Improving management of pharmacy costs ... [3] Encouraging greater use of high-performance networks, centers of excellence and telemedicine ... [4] Considering the addition of low-point-of-care cost plans as an option ... [5] Improving employee total wellbeing ... and connecting these efforts to corporate culture and the employee value proposition (EVP)."
Willis Towers Watson

2019 Health Plan Compliance Calendar (PDF)

"Employers must comply with certain filing and disclosure requirements each year in connection with their group health plans. This chart summarizes some of the key requirements and is designed to be used as a tool to help facilitate annual compliance."
Cowden Associates, Inc.

HIPAA and Health Care Data Privacy: 2018 Year-in-Review

"Though there were fewer resolution agreements than in 2017, 2018 brought us the largest fine since OCR began enforcing HIPAA (Anthem's payment of $16 million in October). With this year's resolution agreements ... we see many of the same enforcement themes we have seen in previous years, including: [1] the importance of conducting an accurate and thorough risk assessment; [2] the necessity of business associate agreements; and [3] the need to be good at the 'basics' of HIPAA compliance."
Mintz

[Advert.]

Sponsored by BenefitsLink.com

For over 20 years, we've helped employers find the best-informed candidates to fill their benefits job openings -- learn more!


Activating Employees in Discussions of Health Care Trade-Offs: It Can Be Done

"[E]mployers must also consider trade-offs pertaining to which health care products and services their employer-sponsored health benefits will cover -- but notably, these decisions are often made with little or no input from employees. [A] recent case study ... explored how an employer could engage employees in an open and constructive dialogue related to both the population level and coverage-level trade-offs that must be considered when designing an organization's health care benefit."
Health Affairs

Texas Ruling Invalidating ACA Is Appealed to the Fifth Circuit; U.S. House Moves to Intervene

"The plaintiffs -- Republican attorneys general from 19 states, the Governor of Maine, and two individual plaintiffs from Texas -- sought a declaration (in Count I of their amended complaint) that the ACA's individual mandate was no longer constitutional because it no longer triggers a tax.... [T]he U.S. House of Representatives, under Democratic control as of January 3, submitted a motion to intervene in the litigation -- as to the plaintiffs' claims other than Count I.... The House acknowledged, however, that it cannot intervene as to Count I, because the intervenor states' notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit means the district court can no longer grant intervention concerning Count I."
Thompson Reuters Practical Law

States Appeal ACA Ruling to Fifth Circuit

"A growing coalition of Democratic state attorneys general that stepped in to defend the [ACA] against a legal challenge filed an appeal Thursday ... Colorado is the 17th state to join the California-led coalition ... Nevada ... is expected to join the ... coalition with backing from the incoming Democratic governor ... Democrats elected as attorneys general in Michigan and Wisconsin could be limited in their ability to join the lawsuit, due to actions by Republican-controlled legislatures in each state."
HealthLeaders Media

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of GASB Exposure Draft: Implementation Guide -- Fiduciary Activities

37 pages. Includes amendments to existing Q&As, along with new Q&As covering: [1] Identifying fiduciary activities; ... [2] Reporting fiduciary activities in fiduciary funds ... [3] Statement of fiduciary net position ... [4] Statement of changes in fiduciary net position.
Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB]

Habits to Create an Effective Benefits Strategy and Open Enrollment, Part 1

"Share your vision with your executive team early in the process to make sure you are staying aligned with the overall objectives of the company and meeting their expectations to prevent misguided efforts and work.... Never underestimate the importance of designating time for planning and prep work to prevent the urgent crises in the future -- make communicating early and often a top priority."
Benefitfocus

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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 2019 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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