Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 21, 2019

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Jobs

Retirement Plan Consultant
Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.
in New York NY

ERISA Associate
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
in Washington DC

Pension Plan Administrator
DeMars Pension Consulting Services, Inc.
in Overland Park KS

Retirement Plan Services Supervisor
Alerus Financial
in Arden Hills MN

Auditor, Sr.
Alerus Financial
in Arden Hills MN / Grand Forks ND

COBRA Account Administrator
Alerus Financial
in Minneapolis MN

Wealth Management Associate, Sr.
Alerus Financial
in Minneapolis MN

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[Guidance Overview]

March 29 Deadline Approaching for Compliance with Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act

"Even an employer currently providing 40 hours of paid time off still needs to review its policy language for issues such as employee eligibility (do your part-time employees earn 40 hours of paid time off per year?), the amount of time off provided per year, how that time is provided, and whether time used under its current paid time off policy is protected from disciplinary action under its attendance policy (just to name a few!)."
Miller Johnson

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[Guidance Overview]

New Jersey Expands Family Leave Laws

"[B]eginning on June 30, 2019, employers with 30 or more employees (in total, anywhere) are required to provide those employees working in New Jersey with 12 weeks of job-protected family leave during each 24-month period. This change thus takes the NJFLA out of alignment with the federal [FMLA], which applies only to employers with 50 or more employees. The amendment also modifies the NJFLA to provide that family leave may be taken in connection with the placement of a child into foster care with the employee, not just upon the birth or adoption of a child. This change aligns the NJFLA with the FMLA."
Ogletree Deakins

Changes Proposed by HHS Will Affect Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

"For 2020, ... the out-of-pocket maximums would be $8,200 for self-only coverage and $16,400 for family coverage (compared to $7,900 and $15,800 for 2019).... HHS is also proposing to allow health plans (both fully-insured and self-funded) to exclude brand name drugs from essential health benefits if a generic equivalent is available. Plans would still need to have an exception process that would allow individuals to access the brand drugs, if necessary."
HUB International

National Health Expenditure Projections, 2018-27: Economic and Demographic Trends Drive Spending and Enrollment Growth

"National health expenditures are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent for 2018-27 and represent 19.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2027.... Prices for health care goods and services are projected to grow 2.5 percent per year, on average, for 2018-27 -- faster than the average price growth experienced over the last decade -- and to account for nearly half of projected personal health care spending growth."
Health Affairs; purchase or subscription required to view full article

When May an Employer Recover Mistaken HSA Contributions?

"Generally, if there is clear documentary evidence that an administrative or process error (by the employee or trustee) caused the excessive fund contribution, the employer may request the financial institution return the amounts to the employer, ensuring such correction places the parties in the same position as they would have been if the error had not occurred."
Compliance Dashboard

74 Medicare ACOs Depart

"The departures of 13 percent of Medicare' ACOs left 487 in the program in 2019... [A] total of 59 MSSP ACOs dropped out of the program in 2016 and 2017... 26 percent of ACOs that reached the end of their three-year agreement opted to not renew their agreement at the end of 2018."
Healthcare Financial Management Association [HFMA]

Government Report Reveals CBO Was Scandalously Off in Obamacare Estimates

"In what was literally a footnote in its annual report on national health spending projections, actuaries for the [CMS] on Wednesday estimated that the elimination of the individual mandate would have a significantly smaller impact than the CBO has long estimated. Specifically, the CMS report revealed that 2.5 million more people would go without insurance in 2019 due to the repeal of the individual mandate's penalties, and the impact would be 'smaller' thereafter."
Washington Examiner

Editor's Pick Common Multiemployer Plan Reporting Pitfalls for Employers

"Understanding common errors in benefit reporting will help you avoid shocking discrepancy letters from payroll auditors about owing unreported benefit contributions to a multiemployer plan.... Hours worked versus hours paid ... Omitted weeks ... Probationary periods and extended coverage ... Report all eligible employees ... Reconcile remittances to employee payroll deductions."
Lindquist CPA

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

The Cost of Non-Compliance: DOL Announces Increased Penalties for 2019

"[T]hese rates are for penalties assessed after January 23, 2019 with respect to violations committed after November 2, 2015, when the inflation adjustment was approved. The cost-of-living adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers, which resulted in roughly a 2.5% increase."
Winston & Strawn LLP

2018 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey: Technology Industry Addendum (PDF)

"Instead of cash bonuses, some reward employees with experiences like exotic vacations, as the experiences may be considered more valuable than bonuses in a high-compensation environment. Tech employers also offer long-term incentive plans, which are deferred, performance-related equity awards. Technology employers realize the need to regularly review compensation and benefits and adjust when necessary."
Gallagher

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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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