Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 31, 2019

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[Guidance Overview]

Important Updates to New York Paid Family Leave

"New York's Paid Family Leave program continues to expand in 2019 and employers should be aware of ... the increase to 10 weeks of leave, the 55% wage replacement, and the expansion of the definition of 'serious health condition' to include organ donors.... Governor Cuomo recently issued a veto memorandum outlining his reasons for rejecting the addition of bereavement leave."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

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[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Releases Draft Regs for Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

"Employers with fewer than 25 employees in the Commonwealth are not required to pay the employer portion of premiums. However, all employers having at least one employee in the Commonwealth must otherwise comply with the requirements of the PFML[.]"
Proskauer

[Guidance Overview]

Michigan's Paid Medical Leave Act Will Be Here Before You Know It

"What does the law require? ... Which employees are eligible? ... For what reasons can leave be taken? ... What is the 'benefit year' under the law? ... Is front loading permissible? ... How much leave is carried over each year? ... When can employees use accrued time? ... What should employers do now?"
Fisher Phillips

Long-Term Trends in Employer-Based Coverage

"[T]he share of the nonelderly with employer-sponsored health insurance fell by almost 9 percentage points between 1999 and 2017 ... [If] coverage rates had stayed at the 1999 level (67.3%), almost 24 million additional people would have been covered by employer-sponsored plans in 2017.... [T]he share of people with job-based coverage did rise modestly between 2013 and 2017."
The Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker

The Quiet, Steady Rise of Employer Health Coverage

"After many years of steady decline, the proportion of people under 65 with employer health coverage has started to increase. About seven million more people gained employer coverage between 2013 and 2017 -- nearly as many as the 10 million people who were covered through the [ACA]'s marketplace last year.... The size of this group is a reminder of the biggest challenge for Medicare for All: it can't be too disruptive of the health coverage people already have."
Drew Altman, via Axios

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Will the Cadillac Tax Generate Revenue?

"In May 2018, [CBO] estimated that the tax would generate $168 billion in tax revenue from 2022 to 2028. The Joint Tax Committee (JCT) and CBO assume that when employers reduce the comprehensiveness of health benefits to avoid the tax that they will in turn increase worker taxable wages such that total compensation is unchanged. Shifting the composition of compensation toward a higher proportion of taxable wages will translate into additional tax revenue. Repealing the tax would mean finding $168 billion (or the equivalent in today's dollars) in new tax revenue."
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

Hopeful Would-Be Parents Shop Jobs for In Vitro Fertilization Coverage

"[In] 2019, perhaps surprisingly given the general attenuation of benefits like vacations and pensions to the American worker, more employees at the country's largest and most prominent companies are finding that their companies' health care plans include fertility coverage."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

Provider Payments Criticized as Congress Targets High Drug Costs

"On Jan. 29, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee held hearings to identify actions Congress could take to lower drug costs for the public. The 340B discount drug program and the Medicare Part B policy that pays average sales price (ASP) plus 6 percent to providers that order the drugs both drew criticism for contributing to rising drug costs."
Healthcare Financial Management Association [HFMA]

The Impact of the ACA: Evidence from California's Hospital Sector

"[A] substantial share of the federally-funded Medicaid expansion substituted for existing locally-funded safety net programs.... [T]he expansion produced a substantial increase in hospital revenue and profitability, with larger gains for government hospitals.... [The authors] do not detect significant improvements in patient health, although the expansion led to substantially greater hospital and emergency room use, and a reallocation of care from public to private and better-quality hospitals."
National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]; purchase required for full document

Deadline Approaching to Submit Comments on Potential Updates to HIPAA in Response to Agency Request for Information

"On December 14, 2018, the [HHS] Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a broad request for information (RFI) to help the agency identify and address undue obstacles to the sharing of protected health information (PHI) among health care providers, payers, patients and caregivers. Comments are due February 12, 2019."
Akin Gump

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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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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