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July 11, 2019 logo logo
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Plan Administrator
Stones River Consulting
in Murfreesboro TN / Telecommute

Benefits Advisor
Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
in New York NY / Telecommute

Black Belt in Defined Benefit Plans
CEP Consultants, Inc.
in Melville NY

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Webcasts, Conferences

Courts, Congress & Compliance: What's New for ERISA Litigation, Benefits Legislation, and Agency Guidance for 2019?
Western Pension & Benefits Council

Better Benefits Communication: The Key to Making Open Enrollment a Success

Final HRA Regulations: Roadmap to the Future or Bridge to Nowhere?
July 16, 2019 WEBCAST
Morgan Lewis

Coming August 1, 2019: Preparing for the Texas Paid Sick Leave Wave
July 17, 2019 WEBCAST

Health Savings Accounts: Save It or Spend It?
August 6, 2019 WEBCAST
EBRI [Employee Benefit Research Institute]

32nd Annual ECFC Symposium
August 6, 2019 in OH
ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation]

REAL HR - SHRM Atlanta Symposium
August 20, 2019 in GA
SHRM - Atlanta

►See 134 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1534 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Issue Final Regs Expanding Access to Health Reimbursement Arrangements

"The final rules enlarge the definition of limited excepted benefits to create an 'excepted benefit' HRA that is limited in the annual amounts made available and the types of coverage for which premiums may be reimbursed. This newly established Excepted Benefit HRA can be used to reimburse certain medical care expenses incurred with respect to coverage that is not limited to other types of excepted benefits."


Attend the Employee Benefits Symposium on September 8-11, 2019

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

The Annual Employee Benefits Symposium is an unparalleled opportunity to learn from and alongside industry leaders. Head to New Orleans for an unique opportunity to learn and network in an exciting and forward-thinking environment!

[Guidance Overview]

Deadlines Near for Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

"On January 1, 2019, employers were required to begin collecting PFML premiums, and, as of May 6, 2019, employers could apply online for voluntary plan exemptions. Other key dates ... include ... [1] July 1 - August 31, 2019: Employers must begin reporting and remitting premiums for Quarters 1 and 2. [2] December 31, 2019: Washington's current Family Leave Act will sunset. [3] January 1, 2020: Employees are eligible to take leave.... Washington divided the rulemaking process into six phases, and the first four phases are complete."
Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

Oregon Passes Nation's Most Generous Paid Family Leave Law

"While Oregon is the eighth state in the country to pass a paid family leave law, ... the law is the most progressive in the nation's history ... [It] will not only provide 12 weeks of paid time off for new parents and those who need to care for an ill family member who has a serious health condition or for the employee's own serious health condition, it will also provide paid leave for victims of domestic violence, harassment, stalking, or sexual assault. Oregon will be only the second state after New Jersey to include victims of domestic violence in its paid family leave law."
Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

California to Expand Paid Family Leave Benefits

"On June 27, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law expanding the maximum duration of paid family leave benefits available to employees under the state-run program from six to eight weeks in 2020. Employers should review their parental and other leave policies to determine the impact of this change on existing benefit programs."

Plans Must Cover Preexposure Prophylaxis at No Cost After Expert Task Force Recommendation

"In its final recommendation, published June 11, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended that 'clinicians offer preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with effective antiretroviral therapy to persons who are at high risk of HIV acquisition,' giving the recommendation an 'A' rating.... The grade ... means that, per the [ACA], 'a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage' must provide coverage for free of items or services that the USPSTF gives an 'A' or 'B' ranking."


Health Reimbursement Arrangement Plans Update

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

July 23 webinar will review the benefits of establishing an individual coverage HRA or an excepted benefit HRA and provide you with what you need to know to establish one or both of them. BenefitsLink discount.

Final Rules Expand Availability of HRAs (PDF)

"Small employers, employers with a geographically disparate workforce, and those with a large seasonal employee population may find the Individual Coverage HRA to be particularly appealing. The Excepted Benefit HRA may be advantageous for employers that already offer health coverage to employees but experience significant numbers of voluntary coverage waivers for reasons related to high cost."
Cowden Associates, Inc.

Funding Option for Small Employers: MEWA

"In a MEWA, premium contributions from several employers are blended into a single trust or custodial account and used either to purchase insurance or pay claims directly to providers or employees.... Rates are based on a few factors like company location, plan specifics and employee demographics, each playing a role in both MEWA and ACA plans. The key difference is that MEWA's base rates on the pre-ACA rating methodology and each employee will have to complete a medical questionnaire."
OneDigital Health and Benefits

Will Prescription Drug Price Disclosures Have an Impact?

"The Colorado General Assembly recently passed new statute ... which would require pharmaceutical manufacturer marketing employees or agents to present, at the time of marketing a drug to a Colorado prescriber, the wholesale acquisition cost of any discussed products.... [T]he stated objective is better-informed physicians who can 'consider lower-cost alternatives,' which could in turn help to 'contain prescription drug costs.' "
Faegre Baker Daniels

Administration Drops Plan to Curb Drug Rebates

"The plan had been to curtail the rebates worked out between drugmakers and third parties that manage benefits for Medicare as well as Medicaid managed care, where states contract with insurers to deliver benefits. The government sought instead to redirect those discounts toward patients. The effort could have disrupted the U.S. pharmaceutical industry."
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

Creating an 'Urgent Care First' Mindset for Health Plan Participants

"Education about the benefits of primary care versus urgent care versus the ER should take place during open enrollment and throughout the plan year so members understand the medical necessity and financial implications of each option. Including the closest urgent care centers to employees, as well as a list of services they provide, can help encourage them to adopt an urgent care first mentality."
Watko Benefit Group

Employees Want Additional Help from Employers to Improve their Financial and Mental Health

"[N]early a third of employees (32%) cited financial health as the one dimension of well-being they would like their employers to address more than they do today. The top areas employees cited as wanting help to improve their financial health were with health care and prescription drug costs (34%) and housing costs (26%)."
National Business Group on Health [NBGH]

IRS is Brainstorming Other Ways to Calculate the Tax on Parking

"On May 30, 2019, Deena Devereux, IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel indicated that the IRS may reconsider allowing value as a reasonable method in determining parking expenses. Devereux also mentioned that the IRS is still determining possible ways to calculate the tax."
Schneider Downs

Benefits in General

Vendor Process Reviews Are Crucial to Retirement Plan Cybersecurity

"[M]any organizations have put cybersecurity contingency plans in place to respond to malicious attacks, but fewer have addressed the fact that as many as half or more of cybersecurity incidents do not involve any bad actors."
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Press Releases

OneDigital Acquires Carolina Benefits Group, Inc.
OneDigital Health and Benefits

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of DOL Advisory Opinion 2019-01A: Ace Hardware Plan Qualifies as AHP and MEWA (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL], Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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.

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers; we were not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.

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