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Finding Winning Opportunities In Every Phase Of Life
April 18, 2019 in GA
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Atlanta Chapter

Be Secure: Corporate & Individual Responsibilities of Data Protection
April 30, 2019 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

Biometrics: Incorporating Health Risk Assessments and Outcome Based Wellness Incentives Into Your Health Plan
June 5, 2019 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

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[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave Issues Highly Anticipated Regs

"As of January 1, 2021, private employers with Massachusetts employees will be required to provide covered individuals with paid medical leave, and as of July 1, 2021, such employers will need to provide covered individuals with paid family leave. Both types of leave are funded through a new payroll tax, which goes into effect July 1, 2019."
Nixon Peabody LLP

[Guidance Overview]

New Jersey Becomes First State to Require Employers to Offer Pre-Tax Transportation Fringe Benefits

"[E]very employer subject to New Jersey's unemployment compensation law that employs at least 20 employees is required to offer Transit Benefits to all employees who are not currently covered by a collective bargaining agreement.... The Law also requires that the Transit Benefits be provided 'at the maximum benefit levels' allowable under federal law, to be deducted for those programs from an employee's gross income pursuant to Section 132(f)(2) of the Code.... The Law became effective immediately upon signature on March 1, 2019, but states that it is 'inoperative' ... until the earlier of March 1, 2020, or the effective date of implementing rules and regulations[.]"
Epstein Becker Green

Court Invalidates Rule on Association Health Plans

"The court's decision included a number of choice words but repeatedly described the final rule's changes as 'absurd.' ... [The court concludes that the] bona fide association standard ... violates Congress's intent that only an employer association acting 'in the interest of' its members falls under ERISA.... By extending the rule to include working owners, the DOL impermissibly extended ERISA to plans outside of an employment relationship.... Instead of invalidating the entire rule, Judge Bates remands the rule to DOL to consider how the rule's severability provision affects the remaining portions." [State of New York v. U.S. Department of Labor, No. 18-1747 (D.D.C. Mar. 28, 2019)]
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

Court Vacates New Rules on Association Health Plans

"The Court concluded that the 2018 Final Rule provided no meaningful limit on what associations needed to demonstrate to qualify as 'employers' under ERISA, failed to show why geographic proximity was connected to common employer interest essential for coverage under ERISA, did not require members of associations to be sufficiently aligned, and allowed owners without any employees to 'absurdly' count themselves as both employers and employees in order to suggest an employment relationship justifying coverage under ERISA. The Court found these interpretations were contrary to ERISA's text and purpose[.]" [State of New York v. U.S. Department of Labor, No. 18-1747 (D.D.C. Mar. 28, 2019)]
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

HHS MHPAEA Enforcement Report for the 2018 Federal Fiscal Year (PDF)

"During the 2018 Federal fiscal year, CMS closed three investigations related to MHPAEA, all of which concerned non-Federal governmental plans' compliance with HIPAA opt-out requirements.... CMS determined that two non-Federal governmental plans did not properly submit an opt-out election to CMS and/or failed to properly notify enrollees of the plan's election to opt out of MHPAEA. CMS determined these plans' opt-outs to be invalid[.]"
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

New House ACA Fix Bill Could Require Employers to Inquire About Family Income

"The 'family glitch' is the ACA rule that bases eligibility for a family's premium subsidies on whether available employer-sponsored health benefits for individual coverage is affordable for the employee (9.86 percent of their W-2 pay), even if the employer's offer of family coverage is not actually affordable.... The ACA fix bill would eliminate this glitch, but employers would likely have to collect family income data from employees to ensure their family coverage is affordable and thus avoid significant ACA penalties."
HR Policy Association

Growth in Telehealth Outpaces Other Health Care Venues

"From 2016 to 2017, private insurance claim lines for services rendered via telehealth as a percentage of all medical claim lines grew 53% nationally ... From 2016 to 2017... national usage of urgent care centers increased 14%, of retail clinics 7% and of ASCs 6%, while that of EDs decreased 2%."
American Journal of Managed Care

Cities Struggle to Cut Retiree Healthcare Costs

"Retiree health care costs and debt are rising rapidly in some cases ... due to increasing health care costs, longer life spans, and aging workforces. Many cities have taken steps to curb costs.... Thirteen of the 15 cities in the study are prefunding retirement health care, putting money in a pension-like investment fund to help pay future costs as recommended by the governor's commission in 2008. Fresno is still pay-go, only covering the annual cost."


Federal Court Strikes Down 2018 Association Health Plan Rules

"The court's decision, if it stands on appeal, is simply the coup de gras to the new AHP rules, which were already hamstrung by the ability of the states to decline to honor them. The reluctance of a handful of key states to play along had already frustrated national associations of unrelated employers (like a national chamber of commerce or small business federation) from establishing nationwide AHPs for their members." [State of New York v. U.S. Department of Labor, No. 18-1747 (D.D.C. Mar. 28, 2019)]

Benefits in General

Editor's Pick Ethics for Employee Benefits Lawyers (PDF)

50 presentation slides, from ABA EBC 2019 Midwinter Meeting. Topics: [1] Legal privileges; [2] Engagement letters; [3] Sexual harassment, Gender Bias; [4] Social media; [5] Advertising.
Employee Benefits Committee [EBC], American Bar Association

Shaping a Flexible Total Rewards Experience

"Don't make assumptions about employee preferences -- whether in their career paths or in how/where they work.... Technology supports flexibility and choice in Total Rewards across many dimensions: ... Leaders and managers must promote a culture that values flexibility, empowers employees and trusts them to do the right thing whether this involves pursuing a lateral career path, opting for a voluntary benefit or working on a flexible schedule."
Willis Towers Watson

Press Releases

An Advisor Friendly HSA Solution
ABG Retirement Plan Services [ABG]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

What ERISA Practitioners Need to Know About Accounting for Benefit Plans (PDF)
Employee Benefits Committee [EBC], American Bar Association

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2019, 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, 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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