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IRS Announces Opening Date for Electronic Filing of 2018 Forms 1094 and 1095

"The IRS has announced that electronic filing of [ACA] information returns (Forms 1094/1095) for the 2018 tax year will become available on January 15, 2019, at approximately 9 a.m. Eastern time.... Electronic filing through the IRS's ACA Information Returns (AIR) Program is mandatory for coverage providers and ALEs transmitting 250 or more individual information returns."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Massachusetts Sets Date for Publication of Draft Regulations on Paid Family and Medical Leave

"The newly-created Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has stated that it plans to publish draft regulations for the recently enacted Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law no later than January 23, 2019. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has scheduled a number of public listening sessions on the draft regulations throughout the state, beginning with a session in Boston on January 30, 2019."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

NYC Mayor Proposes Mandatory Vacation Time for Workers

"The mayor plans to pursue legislation that would require private employers with five or more employees to provide employees with up to 10 days of paid time off per year.... This paid personal time would be in addition to the five days of paid sick leave already provided to workers under the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act, which took effect in 2014."
Fisher Phillips

CMS Administrator Commends Three Health Systems for Their Price Transparency

"Three health systems that have voluntarily taken steps to promote price transparency for their patients received kudos Thursday ... CMS Administrator Seema Verma named the three systems -- UCHealth in Colorado, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and University of Utah Health -- as exemplars, urging other hospitals to similarly go above and beyond the requirements laid out in revised price-transparency guidelines that took effect this month."
HealthLeaders Media

Democrats Question Trump Administration's Use of ACA Marketplace User Fees

"As part of their inquiry, the Democrats are requesting a series of documents related to the Trump Administration's use of user fees collected, including: [1] The overall amount of user fees collected, as well as a detailed accounting of how these funds were spent in each year; [2] Detail on what capital investments have been made to improve the functioning of the Federal Marketplace in 2017 and 2018, as well as any plans for future investments; [3] A briefing on the Administration's outreach and enrollment expenditures for 2019 Marketplace plans."
Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

CMS Releases 2016 Public Use File for the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS)

"The MCBS 2016 public use file (MCBS PUF) provides a publicly available MCBS file for researchers interested in the health, health care use, access to and satisfaction with care for Medicare beneficiaries, while providing the very highest degree of protection to the Medicare beneficiaries' protected health information.... The MCBS PUF is prepared from data collected in 2016 from 12,852 community dwelling Medicare beneficiaries representing a population of 53 million and contains standard demographic variables, such as age categories, race/ethnicity and gender, as well as information about health conditions, access to and satisfaction with care, type of insurance coverage, and information on utilization, such as the number of fee-for-service claims per beneficiary for certain health care event types."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Benefits in General

The State of Employee Benefits: Findings From the 2018 Health and Workplace Benefits Survey

"Despite a tight labor market, fewer employees report that their employers are offering benefits: Health insurance remains the most frequently offered at 78 percent, followed by dental insurance at 68 percent and retirement savings plans at 67 percent.... [F]ewer workers received benefits from their employers in 2018 compared to 2017.... The percentage of employees accessing voluntary benefits is only 12 percent. Of that, 61 percent say they do so because it is less expensive to buy it through their employer than on their own -- more than the 51 percent who cited this reason in 2017."
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

ERISA Litigation Defendants Take Note: Burdens of Proof Are Becoming More Weighty

"Many parties to ERISA litigation and arbitration pay lip service to the burden of proof, put on their respective cases and leave it to the trier of fact to decide which side deserves the victory. Burdens of proof have become increasingly important, however, as procedural and substantive issues become more complex, and judges often have less time to deal with the subtleties in ERISA litigation.... Emphasizing burdens of proof can mean the difference between winning or losing, and potentially millions of dollars in damages."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

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