Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 10, 2019

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Webcasts, Conferences

ERISA Litigation - Are You Bullet-Proofed for the Inevitable?
January 11, 2019 WEBCAST
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Dangerous Intersections: The Unwelcome and Largely Unintended Collision Between Federal Benefits Laws and Routine Healthcare Programs
January 29, 2019 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

Legislative and Regulatory Benefits Update
February 7, 2019 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicagoland Chapter

Facing the Dual Demands of Employment and Caregiving
February 13, 2019 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Houston Chapter

►See 163 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1462 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

Is the Proposed Expansion of Health Reimbursement Arrangements a Game Changer for Employers?

"The proposed regulations may be especially useful for small and medium-sized companies that want to be able to define the costs that they are willing to pay towards employee health insurance coverage by using HRAs with a fixed annual employer contribution and that have a small enough workforce to satisfy some of the consistency requirements of the proposed regulations."
Epstein Becker Green

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[Guidance Overview]

Guidance on Parking Expenses as Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits

"Notice 2018-99 requires employers to determine the total parking expenses it paid or incurred to provide the parking benefits. Specifically, the Notice provides that the deduction disallowed under Code Section 274(a)(4) involves the expense of providing parking benefits and not the value of the parking provided to employees."
The Wagner Law Group

EEOC Removes Incentive Rules Under ADA and GINA

"[T]he rules being removed only apply under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The separate rules under [HIPAA] continue to apply. The EEOC is now saying that new proposed rules on incentives under the ADA and GINA will not be released until June 2019, at the earliest. Even that date could shift."
HUB International

Health Care in 2019: Five Key Trends to Watch

"Not only will the push to value-based care continue, it will accelerate.... 2019 will likely be the year where physicians more actively participate in these programs.... More than half [of consumers surveyed] expressed a willingness to receive care in a non-traditional setting if the care was less costly and more convenient.... [M]any health systems have embarked on integration efforts of their own to expand their networks, often across a broad geographic area ... [T]echnology is bringing profound change to the health care experience."
Health Affairs

Sen. Sanders, Rep. Cummings to Introduce Bill to Lower U.S. Drug Prices

"The Sanders and Cummings bill would peg U.S. prescription drug prices to the median price from five countries -- Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Japan -- where drug costs are typically far lower because of government price controls.... The bill would also allow the U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate prices in Medicare Part D ... The proposal would also end a ban that keeps Americans from buying medicines at lower prices from Canada and other countries."
Reuters

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Washington State's Paid Family and Medical Leave to Begin Funding in 2019

"Effective January 1, 2019, Washington employers must begin funding the state program through an employer and employee payroll tax of 0.4% of employee gross wages. Leave under the new program will be available starting January 1, 2020."
Keller Benefit Services

Governor Cuomo Vetoes Bill to Expand New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law

"In vetoing the bill, Governor Cuomo cited concern that including bereavement as a permissible reason to request PFL benefits would necessitate an increase in the amount of employee contributions needed to fund the cost of PFL benefits."
Nixon Peabody LLP

Is Health Club Membership an ERISA Benefit?

"In relatively rare situations, membership in a health club or access to an on-site fitness center may be offered to employees as part of an arrangement, such as a disease-management program, that includes diagnostic, therapeutic, or preventive care or "coaching" for specific health conditions or risks. This type of health club arrangement may be considered to provide a medical benefit, potentially making it subject to ERISA and applicable group health plan rules either on its own or as an element of a larger plan, depending on how the arrangement is structured."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

[Opinion]

Not Your Grandmother's Risk Adjustment

"Developing an equitable risk-adjustment model in the ACA realm is a challenging endeavor, as is projecting a relative risk score for a participating health plan. This is primarily due to the dynamic population, the multitude of factors in the transfer formula and the budget neutrality requirement that necessitates the average risk being determined prospectively by the enrolling population."
The Actuary Magazine

Benefits in General

$28 Trillion and Personal Liability: ERISA Roars Back

"[T]he 10 highest ERISA class action settlements in 2017 with respect to employer-sponsored retirement plans totaled nearly $1 billion.... In recent years, ERISA fiduciary litigation has increasingly focused on excessive plan fees and expenses... Looking ahead, fiduciaries' decisions about monitoring costs and who they appoint and hire to administer health plans will be important drivers of ERISA litigation -- and often, companies are not fully aware of this growing threat."
Crowell Moring

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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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