Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 2, 2019

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Senior Pension Administrator - Combo DB / DC Plans
Primark Benefits
in Burlingame CA / Telecommute

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Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
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Webcasts, Conferences

Turn open enrollment into your blockbuster hit of the year
July 2, 2019 WEBCAST
Buck

Introduction to Form 5500 Filing Requirements
July 16, 2019 WEBCAST
Clear Law Institute

Benefit Communications and Voluntary Benefits
July 18, 2019 in GA
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Atlanta Chapter

Washington Update Briefing - July Edition
July 25, 2019 WEBCAST
Mercer

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[Guidance Overview]

President Directs Agencies to Expand HSA and FSA Rules

"[If] an individual has a chronic condition, an HSA-compatible HDHP cannot cover any treatments for that condition until the deductible is satisfied. Many HDHPs have deductibles significantly higher than the [current] minimums ... This expansion will likely modify the 'no other plan' rule to permit pre-deductible coverage of certain treatments for chronic conditions ... The Executive Order directs the Secretary of the Treasury, within 180 days of the date of the Executive Order, to increase [the FSA] $500 carryover allotment."
Mintz

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Return on Investment for Wellness Programs

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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.


[Guidance Overview]

A New Era of HRAs Begins in 2020

"The final regulations clarify that an employer must offer the [individual coverage HRA (ICHRA)] on the same terms and conditions to all eligible employees within a 'designated' class. It is unclear whether this would prohibit ICHRAs funded in part by disparate wellness program contributions.... Since the regulations allow variations between the designated classes and within a class based on age, the IRS has indicated that future guidance is likely to exempt these differences from the Section 105(h) rules[.]"
Alston & Bird

[Guidance Overview]

Three Texas Cities Join the Mandated Paid Sick Leave Movement

"Employers must provide employees an electronic or written statement showing the amount of paid sick leave that employees have available. Employers must also inform employees about their rights and remedies and may eventually have to post a notice. The notice will be required only when the city provides an example, which neither Dallas nor San Antonio has yet done."
Foley & Lardner LLP

Paid Family Leave Is Coming to Oregon

"The Oregon bill will provide workers who make more than $1,000 a year with 12 weeks of paid leave to care for their own illness or a sick family member; for baby bonding; or to deal with issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment.... Businesses with at least 25 workers and their employees will be required to contribute to the program."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

PCORI Fee Payment Due July 31 (PDF)

"The applicable rate depends on the plan year end date: $2.39 for plan years ending between January 1, 2018 and September 30, 2018; $2. 45 for plan years ending between October 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.... The regulations permit several methods to count the average number of plan participants, but the same method must be used consistently through the plan year. It is permissible to change to one of the other approved methods for the following year."
EPIC

[Advert.]

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Sponsored by WEB - Worldwide Employee Benefits Network

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The 'Classic 105' Medical Reimbursement Scheme: An Epic Fail, Promoters Indicted

"The case serves as a reminder to employers to be wary of promoters of schemes promising too-good-to-be-true tax savings. The operators of the Classic 105 scheme had promised employers large tax savings under the guise of a medical reimbursement arrangement. The operators pleaded guilty to money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the IRS and improperly marketing a multiple-employer welfare arrangement (MEWA)."
Lockton

San Francisco Updates Contractors' Health Standards, Pay Rates

"Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, San Francisco contractors and lessees will have to comply with new health plan standards for covered employees under the Health Care Accountability Ordinance (HCAO). On July 1, 2019, a new poster and larger alternative payment takes effect for HCAO-covered employees[.]"
Mercer

More Regulation is Needed to Remove 'Surprise Factor' from Air Ambulance Bills

"One factor behind sky-high air ambulance bills is the lack of regulation, which stems from federal law prohibiting states from regulating rates, routes, and services of commercial carriers, including air ambulance providers. Additionally, air ambulances are often out-of-network -- meaning they may not be covered by insurance -- which increases the odds of a large unexpected bill."
Arnold Ventures

Benefits in General

A Deadline Is a Bright Line: Seventh Circuit Narrows 'Substantial Compliance'

"Although the court held that a plan administrator that misses a statutory deadline cannot be in 'substantial compliance' with the statute, the Seventh Circuit ... refused to abrogate entirely the doctrine of 'substantial compliance.' Rather, the court narrowly held that the doctrine does not apply to the violation of regulatory deadlines, so 'when that time is up, it's up.' " [Fessenden v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., No. 18-1346 (7th Cir. Jun. 25, 2019)]
Jackson Lewis P.C.

Considerations When Eliminating Specific Employee Benefits

"[C]ompanies can't simply continue to add benefits. Every once in a while, they might need to phase out or eliminate a benefit to put a new one in its place or because it doesn't align with the company's compensation philosophies. From a legal perspective, what should organizations be aware of when it comes to the elimination of an employee benefit? ... Are there some best practices that employers might want to consider when it comes to underutilized benefits?"
HRbartender

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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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