Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 11, 2019

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Pension Plan Administrator
American Pension Advisors, Ltd.
in Indianapolis IN

Part-Time ERISA Attorney
Latitude
in Atlanta GA / Telecommute

Client Relationship Manager - Group Benefits Advisory
Plante Moran
in Auburn Hills MI

Regional Sales Associate - Midwest
July Business Services
in Waco TX / Telecommute

Regional Sales Associate - Northeast
July Business Services
in Waco TX / Telecommute

Retirement Plans Business Development Officer
1st Source Bank
in South Bend IN

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[Guidance Overview]

Dallas Jumps on the Paid Sick Time Train

"On April 24, 2019, Dallas became the latest and third Texas city to pass an Ordinance requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The Law is scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2019, for employers with more than five employees, and on August 1, 2021, for employers with five or fewer employees in the previous 12-month period. The Law closely mirrors the Austin Earned Sick Time Ordinance (previously scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2018, but currently enjoined) and the San Antonio Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (also scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2019)."
Epstein Becker Green

[Advert.]

Return on Investment for Wellness Programs

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

July 17 webinar identifies various types of wellness programs and examines what return on investment businesses can actually expect in terms of hard measurable returns and softer returns that present measurement challenges. BenefitsLink discount.


CVS Caremark Service Aims to Help Employers Manage Nontraditional Benefit Options

"CVS' pharmacy benefit manager launched a vendor benefit management service allowing its employer clients to offer nontraditional tools aimed at improving employee health. The program ... will allow employers to contract and manage their relationship with third-party vendors that offer employee benefits, which could be both digital and non-digital tools. The first third-party vendor in the program and available for CVS Caremark members to adopt is Sleepio, a digital program aimed at improving sleep sold by Big Health."
HealthcareDIVE

Improving the Accuracy of Health Plan Provider Directories

"[A] study compared the accuracy of four sources of provider information from five U.S. counties ... Extensive inaccuracies were found across all four sources of information. The inaccuracy rate for phone numbers ... ranged from 25 percent to 48 percent. Insurance carriers offering both MA and ACA exchanges did not report the same addresses 31 percent of the time.... In addition to incentivizing health plans to adopt machine-readable directories, federal policymakers should consider establishing a federal 'source of truth' for provider information, perhaps by revamping the Medicare National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) file."
The Commonwealth Fund

Association Health Plans Work for Cannabis Companies

"[A recent article] discussed the difficulties of Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD companies in affording their employees 401(k) plan access. These companies confront the same difficulty in accessing health benefits for their employees. Unequivocally, Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD companies (and thus their employees) are entitled to participate in AHPs."
FisherBroyles LLP, via Lexology; free registration required

Recent Settlement Highlights Importance of Gender-Neutral Application of Parental Leave Policies

"[T]he company offered 'primary caregivers' 16 weeks of paid parental leave ... The policy itself did not include any gender-specific terminology regarding who qualified for primary and non-primary caregiver status.... After his child was born in May 2017, [the employee] requested 16 weeks of paid parental leave as a primary caregiver. The company denied his request, and allegedly informed him of the informal 'policy' that restricted fathers' eligibility to be primary caregivers. The plaintiff could not demonstrate that his wife had returned to work, however, because she was a teacher and had the summer off."
Vorys

Registered Investment Advisors Are Missing the Mark on HSAs (PDF)

"Almost 60% [of advisor surveyed] are still not offering HSAs, despite the benefits HSAs provide for both advisors and their clients 36% of advisors say they do not fully understand how an HSA works. And 40% claim that clients don't fully understand HSAs either. Nearly half say that HSAs are perceived only as spending accounts"
HSA Coach

[Opinion]

Gruber and Sommers Tell What We've Learned from 10 Years of ACA

"The authors tell us that we need ongoing studies of potential solutions such as 'a public option on the insurance marketplace, moving more Medicaid beneficiaries to private coverage, and -- most dramatically -- 'Medicare-for-All' in various configurations.' So just what studies do we need?"
Physicians for a National Health Program [PNHP]

[Opinion]

The Proliferation of Voluntary Products

"College guidance, meditation / mental health, financial wellness, college debt repayment, fitness studio networks, claims advocacy, eldercare assistance, infertility services, and on and on. The number of voluntary products that are now available is overwhelming. And there is a flood of venture capital money fueling the growth of this sector."
Frenkel Benefits

Benefits in General

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck Out of a Severance Release

"In a recent Iowa case, an employee who signed a release in connection with a severance agreement later attempted to bring an ERISA claim for breach of fiduciary duty against the employer's ESOP plan.... Because the employee's acceptance of the release was knowing and voluntary, and because it was broad enough to cover the trustee as a fiduciary of the ESOP and to cover ERISA claims for breach of fiduciary duty, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the trustee." [Innis v. Bankers Trust Co. of South Dakota, No. 16-650, (S.D. Ia. Apr. 30, 2019)]
Hawley Troxell

Underreporting of Self-Employed Income Affects Social Security and Medicare

"[M]ore than 3 million self-employed people -- construction contractors, small business owners, and other independent contractors -- did not disclose some or all of their earnings to the IRS in 2014. This under-reporting translated to unpaid self-employment taxes of $3.9 billion to Social Security and another $900 million to Medicare. An additional 2.3 million Americans sell goods and services on platforms like Airbnb, Lyft, and Etsy every month.... Their under-reporting resulted in an estimated non-payment of $2 billion to Social Security and $500 million to Medicare in 2014."
Squared Away Blog, by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

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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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