Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 27, 2019

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Q&As on Information Reporting by Health Coverage Providers (Section 6055)

37 Q&As covering: [1] Basics of Provider Reporting; [2] Who is Required to Report; [3] What Information Must Providers Report; [4] How and When to Report the Required Information; [5] Extended Due Dates and Transition Relief. Updated by IRS on Mar. 26, 2019 to add questions 36 and 37.
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Q&As on Reporting of Offers of Health Insurance Coverage by Employers (Section 6056)

36 Q&As covering: [1] Basics of Employer Reporting; [2] Who is Required to Report; [3] Methods of Reporting; [4] How and When to Report the Required Information; [5] Designated Government Entity; [6] Other Third Party Service Providers; [7] Extended Due Dates and Transition Relief; [8] Additional Information. Updated by IRS on Mar. 26, 2019 to add and update questions 35 and 36 for 2017 and 2018 reporting.
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Form 1094 and Form 1095 Reporting for Expatriate Employees

"[An] expat working in the U.S. for an applicable large employer must be provided with a Form 1095-C if he or she [1] is a full-time employee or [2] is enrolled in a self-funded health plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage.... [If] the expat coverage is insured rather than self-funded, an expat enrolled in the plan will likely receive a Form 1095-B from the insurer in addition to any Form 1095-C that the employer might need to provide."
Verrill Dana, LLP

[Guidance Overview]

FMLA Leave by Any Other Name Is Still FMLA Leave: DOL Addresses Specific Designation of FMLA Leave

"While [DOL Opinion Letter FMLA2019-1-A] is an employer-friendly opinion, the opinion makes clear that the employer is responsible for determining whether an employee's request for leave is FMLA-qualifying. Your human resource professionals, supervisors and managers must be trained to identify FMLA-qualifying leave requests, address those requests timely in line with the FMLA's notice provisions, and ensure the leave time is designated properly as FMLA leave."
Bradley

Trump Administration Asks Court to Strike Down Entire ACA

"The DOJ now fully agrees that a December 2018 decision -- where a district court declared the entire ACA to be invalid -- should be affirmed and upheld by the Fifth Circuit. Because the federal government is no longer asking the Fifth Circuit to reverse any part of this decision, the DOJ intends to file its next brief on April 24 alongside the plaintiffs who are challenging the law."
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

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Administration Broadens Attack on ACA, Arguing Courts Should Reject All of It

"The Trump administration broadened its attack on the [ACA] on Monday, telling a federal appeals court that it now believe[s] the entire law should be invalidated. The administration had previously said that the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down, but that the rest of the law, including the expansion of Medicaid, should survive."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

How Health Plans Are Tackling the Opioid Crisis (PDF)

20 pages. "Recognizing that addressing the opioid crisis is complex and multi-faceted, health plans use a comprehensive approach encompassing prevention, early intervention, and treatment and recovery. [This] Playbook provides practical examples of strategies health plans have deployed for all three components of this comprehensive approach. Taken together, these strategies reflect innovative ways plans continue to combat this evolving public health crisis and the industry's demonstrated role as an integral part of the solution."
America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

As National Attention Turns to Rising Drug Abuse and Suicide Rates, Employers Slow to Act

"[O]nly 22% of employers currently have or plan to implement programs to address opioid use and suicide prevention in 2019. An additional 23% are considering initiatives to prevent opioid abuse in 2020 or 2021 while 15% are considering programs to prevent suicide over the same time frame. Employers can take action by partnering with outside vendors, offering education programs or sponsoring worksite campaigns."
Willis Towers Watson

Vision: The Must-Have Benefit for 2019

"A growing number of organizations now offer basic examinations to check visual acuity and the need for eyewear via do-it-yourself applications or through a physician-led online virtual exam.... Companies are also offering a broader array of treatment options, including laser surgery, blue light protection on lenses to reduce the impact of light emitted from digital devices, and proactive vision exams to identify risks for glaucoma, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol."
Workforce

2018 Year-End Devenir HSA Research Report (PDF)

10 pages. "The number of HSA accounts surpassed 25 million, holding $53.8 billion in assets, a year-over-year increase of 13% for accounts and 19% for HSA assets for the period ended December 31st, 2018.... HSA investment assets reached an estimated $10.2 billion at the end of December, up 23% year-over-year. On average, investment account holders hold a $14,617 total balance[.]"
Devenir

House Democrats Unveil Bill Aimed at Shoring Up ACA Patient Protections, Affordability

"Called the 'Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019,' the bill is an effort to lower health insurance premiums by expanding eligibility for premium tax credits beyond 400% of the federal poverty line and increasing the size of tax credits for all income brackets. The legislation also creates a national reinsurance program to help cover care for patients with costly conditions, and offers funding to states to establish their own state-based marketplaces."
American Journal of Managed Care

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

IRS Revises EIN Application Process, Seeks to Enhance Security

"[S]tarting May 13 only individuals with tax identification numbers may request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) as the 'responsible party' on the application.... The change will prohibit entities from using their own EINs to obtain additional EINs. The requirement will apply to both the paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, and online EIN application. Individuals named as responsible party must have either a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).... There is no change for tax professionals who may act as third-party designees for entities and complete the paper or online applications on behalf of clients."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

Valerie Sinicrope Awarded QPA Designation by ASPPA
Steidle Pension Solutions, LLC, [SPS]

PSCA Announces Innovative New Plan Sponsor Credential
PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of CMS Extension of Limited Non-Enforcement Policy through 2020 (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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