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Associate Director of Pension Benefits
Sheet Metal Workers' National Pension Fund
in VA

Employee Benefits Associate
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
in CT

Retirement Plan Services Supervisor
Alerus Financial
in MI, NH

Chief Executive Officer/Administrator
Southern CA UFCW and Food Employers Joint Benefit Funds
in CA

Retirement Plan Administrator
Equity Trust Company
in OH

Defined Benefits Administrator
Primark Benefits
in CA, Telecommute

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
Southern California TPA Firm
in CA, Telecommute

Vice President, Business Development - Retirement Sales
in IL, Telecommute

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Judge Freezes Trump Administration Contraception Rule

"U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr. ruled the policy would cause harm to the Democratic states suing over the rules, and he issued an order staying the rules from going into effect while the lawsuit proceeds. His temporary block is limited to just the 13 states plus the District of Columbia involved in the lawsuit. However it's possible that a court in Pennsylvania, considering a similar request for an injunction, could issue a broader national order." [California v. Azar, No. 17-5783 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2019)]

Healthcare Industry Reminded to Heed Cybersecurity: New 'Industry Standard' Guidance

"HHS in partnership with the healthcare industry has released 'Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients' ... This four-volume publication addresses voluntary, best cybersecurity practices for healthcare organizations of all sizes.... The resource should not be read to override other healthcare security obligations (such as under [HIPAA]) but may help fill interpretation gaps where there's discretion on how to meet a specific HIPAA security standard. It may also be grounds to show lack of reasonable security in support of legal claims under other laws beyond HIPAA."
Womble Bond Dickinson

ACOs Should Plan for Shorter Path to Greater Risk in CMS' Overhauled Medicare Shared Savings Program

"In an analysis of Medicare data for 560 [Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP)] ACOs to estimate where they would fall in CMS' new two-prong model, two out of three ACOs had the shorter window before they would be expected to take on greater risk."

Democrats Roll Out Big Health Care Proposals in the States

"The Democratic proposals fall short of providing universal health care, a goal of many Democrats but also an elusive one because of its cost. In recent years, California, Colorado and Vermont have all considered and then abandoned attempts to create state-run health care systems. Still, many Democrats are eager to take steps that get them closer to that."
ABC News

Appeal in Texas v. Azar Stayed Due to Government Shutdown

"In the Fifth Circuit, the DOJ's response to the House's motion to intervene was due on January 17, 2019. Citing the shutdown, the DOJ asked that the Fifth Circuit delay this deadline until 10 days after the shutdown has ended. It also asked for briefing on the merits of the appeal to be stayed until after the DOJ is funded again. The intervenor states and the House opposed the delay; the plaintiffs took no position. On January 11, the Fifth Circuit granted the DOJ's request." [Texas v. U.S., No. 18-167 (5th Cir. order granting stay of proceedings, Jan. 11, 2019)]
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs


Public Retirees Being Shifted to Private Insurance Exchanges

"Instead of paying a 70 percent premium subsidy towards the government-sponsored health plan, Memphis is paying into the HRAs an amount that reduces their post-employment benefit obligation by $300 million, a savings for Memphis of 42 percent! That's great for their city budget, but what does that do for the retirees?"
Physicians for a National Health Program [PNHP]


High Prices Drive High Health Care Spending in the U.S., But So Too Do Other Factors

"[T]he prices that US providers negotiate with insurers are aberrantly high and that the level of providers' commercial prices differentially raises health spending in the US compared to other nations. However, it is crucial to note that the regulated prices US providers are paid by the Medicare and Medicaid program are not hugely out of sync with the regulated prices set in other countries."
Health Affairs

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2019, 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, 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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