Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

May 23, 2019

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Defined Contribution Account Manager
Nova 401(k) Associates
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National Benefit Services
in West Jordan UT / Plano TX

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TPA specializing in small plans
in Fullerton CA

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[Guidance Overview]

Common FMLA Mistakes: Not Understanding All of the Reasons for FMLA Due to a Qualifying Exigency

"FMLA leave for a qualifying exigency has many facets. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for a qualifying exigency while the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, or has been notified of such ... The FMLA regulations provide several examples of what constitutes a qualifying exigency[.]"
Jackson Lewis P.C.

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DOL Annual Report to Congress on Self-Insured Group Health Plans (PDF)

18 pages. "Along with this Report, the Department is submitting two detailed appendices ... Appendix A, Group Health Plans Report: Abstract of 2016 Form 5500 Annual Reports Reflecting Statistical Year Filings, provides detailed statistics describing group health plans that file a Form 5500. Appendix B, Self-Insured Health Benefit Plans 2019: Based on Filings through Statistical Year 2016, explores statistical issues associated with Form 5500 health plan data and analyzes available data on the financial status of employers that sponsor group health plans that filed the Form 5500. Approximately 56,200 group health plans filed a Form 5500 for 2016, an increase of 3 percent from the number of plans that filed a Form 5500 for 2015.... Self-insured plans that filed a Form 5500 covered approximately 34 million participants in 2016 and held assets totaling about $82 billion."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

DOL Will Revisit FMLA Regs to Reduce Employer Compliance Burdens

"The [DOL] plans to issue a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comments from stakeholders on how it can improve its FMLA rules. The RFI, still in its pre-rule stage, is part of DOL's spring 2019 regulatory agenda; the agency said it's aiming to: [1] 'better protect and suit the needs of workers' and [2] 'reduce administrative and compliance burdens on employers.' "
HR Dive

Editor's Pick How Much U.S. Households with Employer Insurance Spend on Premiums and Out-of-Pocket Costs: A State-By-State Look

"The median, or midpoint, of annual household spending on employer insurance premium contributions ranged from $500 (Hawaii) to $3,400 (South Dakota) in 2016-2017. In 11 states, households in the top 10 percent of spending on premium contributions paid $9,000 or more.... Median annual out-of-pocket spending on medical care ranged from $360 (Hawaii) to $1,500 (Nebraska). In four states, households in the top 10 percent of out-of-pocket expenses spent $7,000 or more on these items.... The median amount spent on both premiums and out-of-pocket costs ranged from $1,500 (Hawaii) to $5,540 (South Dakota)."
The Commonwealth Fund

Can Your Company Auto-Enroll Its Employees Into an HSA?

"Auto enrolling your employees in an HSA plan is not as straightforward as a 401(k), due to the healthcare eligibility requirements.... Some HSA providers benefit from state law that provides that an HSA is automatically established on the first day of coverage under an HSA-qualified healthcare plan as long as the HSA is opened before the federal income tax filing deadline for that year. If you're considering this option, find an HSA provider that benefits from this provision."
HealthEquity

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Employer-Issued Fitness Trackers Are All the Rage -- But Are Your Privacy Practices Up to Snuff?

"While the employer-provided fitness tracker trend is growing at a significant rate, it is unlikely the law will advance as rapidly. However, there is current legislation that can affect what an employer can do with information obtained by fitness trackers, and there are best practices that employers can implement to mitigate risk."
Fisher Phillips, via Recruiter

Are Surprises Ahead for Legislation to Curb Surprise Medical Bills?

"[P]policymakers agree on the need to take patients out of the middle of the fight over charges, but crafting a legislative solution will not be easy. A hearing of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee [on May 21] quickly devolved into finger-pointing as providers' and insurers' testimony showed how much they don't see eye to eye.... As Congress weighs how to address the problem, here's a guide to the bills and what to watch."
Kaiser Health News

New Push for ACA Innovation Waivers Aims to Rekindle States' Interest

"A [May 3, 2019] request for information (RFI) on 'state relief and empowerment waivers' ... aims to encourage innovative reforms that strengthen state health insurance markets.... Employers with multistate worksites could face differing state requirements that complicate determining shared-responsibility compliance or pursuing a defined contribution approach to help employees buy individual insurance. As states pursuing waivers seek additional funds to make the reforms work, employers could end up paying new health plan assessments that vary from state to state. If a state's assessment involves self-insured employers, litigation over ERISA preemption of the new state levy could lead to further uncertainty."
Mercer

ACA Litigation Round-Up: Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

"With the final rules enjoined, the Obama-era accommodation for the contraceptive mandate remains in place. Given this, two couples and a business in Texas brought a class action lawsuit to challenge the Obama-era rules. This lawsuit is advancing quickly and could lead to a situation where both the Obama-era rules and the Trump-era rules on the contraceptive mandate are set aside in dueling preliminary injunctions. This post summarizes the current status of the litigation in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas."
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of IRS Regulatory Agenda, Spring 2019
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

DOL Regulatory Agenda, Spring 2019
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

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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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