Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 7, 2019

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Senior Pension Administrator
Scholz & Friends Enlightened Retirement Group, Inc.
in TX

Sr. Pension Administrator
Lafayette Life Insurance Company
in OH

Retirement Plan Regional Director-West Coast
Retirement Plan Consultants
in AZ, CA, NV, UT

Defined Benefit Analyst
Columbus, Ohio Benefits Company
in OH

Senior Retirement Compliance Consultant
CUNA Mutual Group
in WI

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[Guidance Overview]

Michigan Enacts Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law

"Employees accrue leave at a rate of at least one hour of leave for every 35 hours worked ... An employer is not required to allow an employee to accrue more than one hour of leave in a calendar week. An employer may limit an employee's accrual of leave to not less than 40 hours per 'benefit year,' which is any consecutive 12-month period used to calculate an employee's benefits.... Leave begins to accrue upon the later of March 2019 or commencement of an employee's employment."
Vorys

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Workers with High Deductibles Curb Health Care Spending

"Those enrolled in plans with deductibles of at least $1,350 for self only and $2,700 for families were more likely to take costs into account when making health care decisions ... HDHP enrollees also were more likely to take preventive measures to preserve health, including enrolling in wellness programs."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Policy Options for Increasing Generic Drug Competition Through Importation

"Although overall generic drug prices have slowly decreased since 2010, off-patent drugs with few or no competitors, such as pyrimethamine (Daraprim) and lomustine (Gleostine), have been subject to sudden, large price increases. Bolstering competition by importing versions of these off-patent drugs from abroad may help prevent the dramatic price increases that have grabbed recent headlines, particularly if the working group establishes permanent importation channels with comparable foreign regulatory agencies and targets a wider selection of off-patent drugs with insufficient competition."
Health Affairs

Editor's Pick Prescription Drug Policy: The Year in Review, and the Year Ahead

"Democratic members of Congress, many of whom will now serve in leadership positions in the new Congress, have introduced a flood of bills on the topic of drug pricing.... All of these bills go beyond the comprehensive legislation already introduced by Democrats into both houses in 2017[.]"
Health Affairs

How Well Do Employees Understand and Engage with Their Health Accounts?

"Even the most financially literate employees struggle to understand the value of and differences between health accounts. While encouraging long-term saving to HSAs is important, employers cannot lose sight of the fact that HSAs are largely used as a spending account by most employees. Employees look to account providers for excellent customer service, enhanced decision support, personalized online tools and other services to help them better understand and use their health accounts."
Willis Towers Watson

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Should Employers Cover Bike-Share and Electric-Scooter Rentals?

"Providing a general transportation or parking stipend to all employees to use however they want would be more inclusive than providing a specific commuter benefit ... The potential employer liability changes dramatically when employees use bikes or scooters during work hours ... It may be better to have employees use a company bike to ensure coverage and control over maintenance and safety issues[.]"
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Texas v. U.S. ACA Decision Could Impact Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

"Given the District Court's decision to stay the ruling, it is unlikely that consumers, insurers or employers will see changes to the ACA in the short term. The entry of a final judgment on December 30 paves the way for reconsideration by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. However, during the pendency of any appeals, the future of the ACA remains uncertain not only for the public, but also for employer-sponsored plans that are subject to the ACA's group health plan provisions." [Texas v. U.S., No. 18-167 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 14, 2018; order granting stay and partial final judgment filed Dec. 30, 2018)]
Eversheds Sutherland

California Governor Cut Retirement Debt Bigger Than Pensions

"[As] Gov. Brown leaves office, ending what he called the 'anomaly' of retirees paying less for health care than current workers is part of one of his accomplishments ... The state no longer pays for Medicare Part B. And five more years of service are needed to receive state payment of retiree health care premiums, beginning with 50 percent after 15 years and increasing 5 percent a year to 100 percent after 25 years.... [T]he major part of Brown's retiree health care reform applies to workers hired before the reform, not just new hires. All workers are beginning to contribute to a pension-like investment fund to help pay future retiree health care costs."
Calpensions

Two Hundred Years of Health and Medical Care: The Importance of Medical Care for Life Expectancy Gains

"There is a stronger case that personal medicine affected health in the second half of the twentieth century than in the preceding 150 years.... [The authors] consider whether medical care productivity decreases over time, and find that spending increased faster than life expectancy, although the ratio stabilized in the past two decades."
National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]

[Opinion]

All Workers Should Have a Few Paid Sick Days. The President and Congress Can Make It Happen

"[The Healthy Families Act] would set a national standard, allowing workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven paid sick days each year to be used to recover from illnesses, access preventive care, provide care to a sick family member, or attend school meetings related to a child's health condition or disability."
Karl Polzer, in Health Affairs

[Opinion]

Why a 'Passive' Health Approach Can Produce the Most Action

"A $100 billion dollar health care package was proposed by congressional Republicans this past summer, and afterward endorsed by some Democrats. It aims to save money by encouraging you to make big life changes. But the package will probably fail to achieve its goals for a simple reason: scarcity. Chances are you don't have the time, money or bandwidth to follow through."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Is Life Insurance Value Reportable as a Plan Asset on Form 5500 Schedule H?

I'm a CPA working on a Form 5500 audit (it's a new account for us). The plan is a defined contribution profit sharing plan that owns four life insurance policies with a total cash surrender value that comprises ~40% of plan assets. Are these contracts required to be reported on Form 5500 at cash value?
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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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