Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 28, 2019

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KB Pension Services
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Ubiquity Retirement + Savings
in San Francisco CA / AZ / CO / DC / FL / IL / MA / NJ / NV / NY / OR / TX / Telecommute

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Alerus Financial
in Excelsior MN

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Growing TPA firm
in IL

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Webcasts, Conferences

FMLA Intermittent Leave Issues: Strategies for Preventing Abuse
April 1, 2019 WEBCAST
Clear Law Institute

Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar
May 1, 2019 in ID
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

►See 166 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

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[Guidance Overview]

New Guidelines and Resources for Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave

"[C]larifying and other noteworthy pieces of information provided by the [Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) include] ... [1] Online applications for private plan exemption available April 29.... [2] July 1, 2019 commencement of payroll deductions.... [3] Quarterly reports beginning in October 2019.... [4] Employer contributions to trust fund to start October 31, 2019.... [5] July 1, 2019 mandatory workplace poster requirements.... [6] July 1, 2019 written notice to workers.... [7] Contributions calculator and other resources."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Advert.]

Register for a Free Webcast on Building Resilience

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Celebrate National Employee Benefits Day by learning about the importance of building resilience in your employees. Register for a free webcast on April 2: Building Resilience: Practical Tools to Help Your Workplace Thrive. Learn More.


[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Releases Paid Family and Medical Leave Employer Guide, Workplace Poster

"The Department's mandatory workplace poster for employers provides information on the weekly benefits available, defines covered individuals and their rights to job protection, and describes the anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination provisions of the law and the option for private plans. Employers must display the poster in a conspicuous place at each of their Massachusetts premises. This poster should be displayed immediately."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

New Tax Law Takes Bite Out of Employer Deductions for Transportation Fringe Benefits

"Employers can no longer deduct payments for qualified transportation fringes unless they are provided for the safety of an employee. The loss of the deductions also impacts not-for-profit employers by creating unrelated business taxable income.... The TCJA now requires the employer to forfeit the salary deduction for the amount that the employees elect to exclude on a pre-tax basis."
EisnerAmper

Dependent Care FSA: Is Your Plan in Compliance?

"If your plan is not in compliance, you can proactively stop 2019 contributions by HCEs. If shut off in time, your 2019 Dependent Care FSA plan will pass the 55% Average Benefits Test. If not caught in time, you can process refunds to the HCEs or treat the remainder of their plan benefits as taxable income."
Chelko Center for Benefits Management

Employers Overwhelmingly Support Preserving Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions

"[T]he vast majority of respondents -- 95% -- believe it's important that Congress preserve coverage for pre-existing conditions should the ACA be overturned. Before the ACA was signed into law, the majority of larger employers voluntarily offered group health plans that covered pre-existing conditions for individuals who lacked prior continuous creditable coverage (even though such coverage could have been delayed under pre-ACA HIPAA rules)."
Mercer

[Advert.]

Now is a great time to join Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB)

Sponsored by WEB - Worldwide Employee Benefits Network

Worldwide Employee Benefits Network represents more than 30 areas of expertise within the Benefits Industry. Join today.


House Democrats Introduce Bill to Strengthen the ACA

"Among other changes, the new bill would expand the availability of ACA subsidies to additional income brackets, make ACA premium tax credits (PTCs) more generous, eliminate the 'family glitch,' rescind recent rules on non-ACA coverage, fund outreach and navigators, fund state-based reinsurance or subsidy programs, and rescind recent guidance on state waivers under Section 1332."
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

The Battle for a National Paid Leave Law Is On

"The Democratic plan, embodied in the Healthy Families Act, would allow employees to earn up to one week of paid leave to use for any number of reasons ... Employees would be allowed to carry over any unused paid sick leave from year to year, so long as they did not exceed 56 hours of accrued paid sick leave at any point.... Republicans ... [have introduced] the Child Rearing and Developmental Leave Empowerment (CRADLE) Act, which would grant three months of paid parental leave to employees who are new parents.... An employee would elect anywhere from one to three months of paid parental leave in exchange for delaying Social Security benefits by double the number of months of parental leave taken."
Troutman Sanders

[Opinion]

ERIC Responds to RFI on Grandfathered Health Plans

"[T]he Departments' rules for maintaining grandfathered plans prevented plan sponsors from making even routine plan design decisions involving benefits, cost-sharing, and contributions. Employers were effectively tasked with the choice of maintaining their 2010 plan designs (free of certain ACA requirements) versus implementing new plan designs (subject to those ACA requirements) with greater promise to control costs and tailor benefits for changing workforces.... We surveyed our members to determine if they had specific comments on the RFI. What we heard back was a collective shrug of the shoulders."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

Benefits in General

Editor's Pick Arbitration: What's Different About ERISA? (PDF)

27 presentation slides, from ABA Employee Benefits Committee 2019 Midwinter Meeting. Topics: [1] How did we get here? [2] Types of benefit claims that can be arbitrated. [3] Where are we now? [4] Considerations for fiduciaries and plan sponsors. [5] Hypotheticals.
Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB], American Bar Association

Editor's Pick Will the States Step Into the Benefits Void? (PDF)

26 presentation slides, from ABA EBC 2019 Midwinter Meeting. Topics: [1] State-Sponsored Retirement Plans; [2] City Auto-IRA Programs; [3] ERISA Advisory Committee v. Read (D. Or.); [4] California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act; [5] HJTA litigation against CalSavers; [6] Regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Manager Practices; [7] Nevada State Law 'Fiduciary Rule'; [7] Does ERISA Preempt Nevada 'Fiduciary Rule'; [8] State Paid Leave Laws.
Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB], American Bar Association

Press Releases

PSCA 2019 Signature Award Finalists Announced
PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

How Health Plans Are Tackling the Opioid Crisis (PDF)
America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
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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