Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 13, 2019

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[Guidance Overview]

Draft Regs Issued for Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law; Questions Remain

"[T]he draft regulations omit any meaningful explanation of the interactions between employers' existing paid leave policies and the receipt of benefits under the law. The draft regulations are also silent about how private plans should operate. For example, is the employer allowed to make employee wage deductions at the rates promulgated by the Department? Are employers allowed to invest the funds, as in an ERISA-governed retirement plan? What if there is a shortfall in the employer's private leave benefit fund? What if there is a windfall?"
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

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[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave Issues Proposed Regs

"Employers that implement a private plan that meets or exceed the Law's requirements may apply to the Department for an exemption. The Department will accept such applications "on a rolling basis," and, if approved, the exemption will be effective for one year. An employer may apply for exemptions from medical leave coverage, family leave coverage, or both."
Epstein Becker Green

Identifying a HIPAA Privacy or Security Breach (PDF)

"In performing a HIPAA breach risk assessment, a covered entity should consider factors which include ... [1] The nature and extent of the PHI involved, including the types of identifiers and the likelihood of re-identification; [2] The unauthorized person who used the PHI or to whom the disclosure was made; [3] Whether the PHI was actually acquired or viewed; and [4] The extent to which the risk to the PHI has been mitigated."
OneDigital Health and Benefits

OCR Breach Reporting: 2018 'Small Breach' Report Due Friday, March 1st

"These small breaches should have already been reported to each of the affected individuals within 60 days of discovering the breach. The reports to OCR should include the actions the covered entity has taken to mitigate and remediate any harmful effects of such breaches, even those affecting a single individual."
Bradley

Recovering Mistaken HSA Contributions

"An IRS pronouncement released 10 years ago (Notice 2008-59) provides two instances in which the employer can recover a mistaken contribution ... A recently released Treasury Department Information Letter 2018-0033 expands the instances in which an employer can re-coup excess HSA contributions[.]"
CBIZ

Hospital Price Transparency: Making It Useful for Patients

"Crude versions of price transparency like the release of hospital chargemaster lists are unlikely to help patients get more value for their health care dollars.... Here are core elements of effective price transparency that Congress, the Trump administration, and private payers could consider in crafting policies that will effectively empower patients to be better purchasers."
The Commonwealth Fund

Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Final Report

"This project assessed changes in Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment utilization and expenditures in the employer-sponsored private health insurance market at two timepoints, 2006-2007 and 2014-2015, that mark the periods before and after implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), the [ACA], the introduction and expanded use of new opioid treatment medications, and other initiatives to expand substance use disorder treatment access."
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Out-of-Pocket Costs

"This project assessed changes in opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment utilization and expenditures in the employer-sponsored private health insurance market during 2007 and 2014. These years mark periods before and after implementation of major federal legislation enacted to increase insurance coverage and expand access to coverage of behavioral health care, the introduction and expanded use of new opioid treatment medications, and other initiatives to expand substance use disorder treatment access."
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

10 States with Highest, Lowest 2017 Employer Healthcare Spending

"Alaska saw the highest average annual healthcare spending for individuals with employer-sponsored insurance in 2017, while Hawaii saw the lowest, according to an interactive state tool from the Health Care Cost Institute."
Becker's Hospital Review

[Opinion]

Premium Subsidies, Incentives and Interconnectivity of ACA Policies

"At the end of 2018, we were left with a working ACA model -- but one that would not have been designed from a blank slate. Undoubtedly, more changes will occur as 'government intervention drives marketplace changes, which, in turn, creates a recurring need for more government intervention.' As these changes occur, it is important that we consider the holistic impact."
The Actuary Magazine

[Opinion]

368 Members of Congress Support Medicare Privatization

"The next time you hear a politician claim to support Medicare for All, it might be wise to ask if that includes supporting the private Medicare Advantage plans.... America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), has collected the signatures of 368 members of Congress for letters to encourage [CMS] to further nurture the private Medicare Advantage plans that are already displacing the traditional Medicare program -- now about 40 percent."
Physicians for a National Health Program [PNHP]

Benefits in General

Consider How Relevance Can Improve Your Financial Wellness Program

"The good news is that the risks financial stress pose are increasingly being addressed through widespread implementation of financial wellness programs. The bad news, though, is that participation rates are disappointing. And employers are struggling to find effective ways to accurately measure their value."
HR Daily Advisor

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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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