Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 18, 2019

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Jobs

Account Manager
Major Retirement Services Provider
in MA

Employee Benefits Attorney
Krieg DeVault
in Indianapolis IN

Sales Director - Retirement Income Solutions
MetLife
in New York NY / Tampa FL / Saint Louis MO

Plan Administrator for Retirement Plans
TPA Firm
Telecommute

Retirement Plans Specialist
The First National Bank in Sioux Falls
in Sioux Falls SD

Senior Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
United Retirement / MGA Consultants
in Ellicott City MD

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Webcasts, Conferences

What's All the Buzz About? Cutting Through the Noise to Find the Right Benefits Strategy
April 25, 2019 WEBCAST
Hodges-Mace

Workplace Health - Changing Minds and Behaviours
April 25, 2019 WEBCAST
Mercer

Association Health Plans - Recent Legal Ruling - What is Possible?
April 30, 2019 WEBCAST
Mercer

12th Annual Employer Leadership Summit
May 2, 2019 in MN
Minnesota Health Action Group

Pharmacy 101: Best Practices for Plan Design and Cost Management
May 9, 2019 in OH
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Greater Cincinnati Chapter

Employee Benefits Briefing
May 9, 2019 in CA
Nixon Peabody LLP

New ERISA Regulations for Disability Claims and Appeals
May 23, 2019 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

Benefit Plans in M&A: Transitioning Pension, Savings and Welfare Plans
July 16, 2019 WEBCAST
Strafford

►See 182 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1516 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave: What Employers Need to Know Before July 1, 2019

"The law requires employers with 25 or more employees to make contributions toward these leave benefits. Employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals must submit contributions on behalf of their workers to cover a portion of the PFML contributions, but they are not required to pay the employer share.... Although employees will not have access to paid leave benefits until 2021, on July 1, 2019, employers must begin deducting contributions from wages and payments made to covered individuals."
Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

New Pregnancy Accommodation Law for Kentucky Employers

"[T]he new law amends the [Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA)] and now requires employers to go one step further and provide reasonable accommodations for an employee's limitations due to her pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. This requirement ... is more expansive than the requirement to provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act ... and to provide leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) where the employee is unable to perform job duties due to a serious health condition."
Thompson Hine

Employers Balancing Competitive Benefits While Managing Costs

"83% of respondents offer a choice of plans with the majority (76%) including a traditional plan (PPO, HMO) option.... 2% of respondents are currently utilizing reference-based pricing for targeted services and an additional 10% are considering it in the future.... Only 50% of employers offer a well-being program.... About 50% of the employers surveyed are expanding coverage to new eligibility groups like domestic partners, rather than limiting coverage through dependent eligibility audits (33%) or spousal carve-out for working spouses with coverage elsewhere (9%)."
Lockton

How to Improve Your Open Enrollment Process This Year

"Employees need help understanding their benefits, so you need a strategy that takes your employees' key questions into account, and that provides a seamless and painless experience to access information.... Make messaging simple, timely, and available across channels ... Make information easy to access ... Make it easy for employees to get help."
Ceridian

Two Recent HIPAA Breach Cases Highlight Importance of Compliant Business Associate Agreement

"HHS noticed and focused on the fact that the business associate agreements and the processes they outlined between the healthcare providers and the data processing and storage companies were out of date or nonexistent."
Hall Benefits Law

How Has the Quality of the U.S. Healthcare System Changed Over Time?

"This collection of charts explores trends in quality metrics in the United States over time. A related chart collection shows quality measures in the U.S. compared to peer countries."
The Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker

33% of U.S. Workforce Using Prescription Pain Medications

"One in three workers reported using prescription pain relievers -- the majority under treatment of a physician. Males and millennials were the most impacted by substance use disorders.... Abuse and dependence of alcohol is reported at higher rates than pain relievers and other prescription medications.... On average, non-problematic use of pain relievers was associated with 0.8 days of excess absences per month per person compared with non-users. The problematic use of pain relievers was associated with 2.0 absences, or 1.2 excess days per month compared with non-users."
Integrated Benefits Institute

Court Rules Level-of-Care Criteria Are Inconsistent with Accepted Medical Standards

"Not only does [this ruling] purport to show that courts can determine 'generally accepted medical standards' for a range of conditions over a multi-year period, but it also purports to set forth those standards and give them the authority of caselaw. This may be problematic, since the court's findings were based on the opinions of a handful of paid experts. In any event, future plaintiffs may use these findings to challenge health plans' coverage determinations and standards for developing coverage criteria." [Wit v. United Behavioral Health, Nos. 14-2346, 14-5337 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2019)]
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Scope of Corporate Well-Being Programs Continues to Expand

"Companies across the country are expected to spend an average of $3.6 million on well-being programs in 2019 to help create healthier and more productive workforces ... The average per-employee incentive decreased slightly to $762 for 2019, down from $784 in 2018, but is still nearly three times the average employee incentive of $260 reported in 2009.... While many employers (57%) provide financial incentives to employees by reducing their health care plan premiums, more than a third (34%) of employers provides incentives by funding an employee's health care account, such as a health savings account (HSA)."
National Business Group on Health [NBGH]

High-Deductible Insurance Linked to Delays in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

"Women with low incomes who had high-deductible insurance plans waited an average of 1.6 months longer for diagnostic breast imaging, 2.7 months for first biopsy, 6.6 months for first early-stage breast cancer diagnosis and 8.7 months for first chemotherapy, compared with low-income women with low-deductible plans."
National Public Radio [NPR]

National Compensation Survey: Health Plan Provisions for Private Industry Workers in the United States, 2018 (PDF)

52 pages. "This bulletin presents 2018 estimates of the detailed benefit provisions of employer-sponsored health plans in private industry by worker and establishment characteristics.... Health benefits detailed provisions: [1] Annual individual and family deductibles, coinsurance percentages, annual individual and family out-of-pocket maximums, eligibility requirements; [2] Annual individual deductible for high and nonhigh deductible health plans [3] Coverage and limits for hospital room and board benefits, physician office visits, mental health care benefits, substance abuse treatment benefits; and [4] Outpatient prescription drug benefits: types of coverage and limits for generic and brand-name drugs."
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]

Benefits in General

Global Benefits Governance and Operations Study, 2018-19 (PDF)

67 pages. "Increasing costs and risks posed by employer-sponsored benefits programs around the world continue to drive centralization trends in global benefits management. Yet companies struggle to make decisions in the absence of ready access to information and the necessary infrastructure to execute their benefits strategy. This new study explores best practice in global benefits management and offers insights into what companies can do to improve alignment of benefits with organizational strategy and better manage the costs and risks of global benefits."
American Benefits Council

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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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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