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Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Associate
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
in Atlanta GA / Charlotte NC / Columbia SC

Employee Benefits Associate
Willcox & Savage, P.C.
in Norfolk VA

Compliance Administrator III
Associated Pension Consultants
in Chico CA / Telecommute

Retirement Plan Administrator
Davis Moore & Associates, Inc.
in Bellevue WA

Actuary -DH
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
in Washington DC / Telecommute

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Webcasts, Conferences

Employee Benefits Benchmarking - Trends & Insights You Can Use
August 27, 2019 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

2019 Employee Benefits Law Update: 16th Annual Advanced Seminar
September 16, 2019 in GA
Institute for Applied Management & Law, Inc.

2019 HSA Conference
October 3, 2019 in IL

►See 134 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1536 Recorded Webcasts


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[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Update to Technical Guidance 01-2018: Standards for Self-Insured Non-Federal Governmental Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Offering Group and Individual Health Coverage Using the HHS-Administered Federal External Review Process (PDF)

"This Technical Release replaces the technical guidance issued January 11, 2017 with updated notice requirements ... CMS is requiring that all plans and issuers participating in the HHS-administered Federal external review process update notices ... in order to properly inform policyholders and beneficiaries of their three options for requesting an external review (via email, mail, fax, or through the online portal). This Technical Release also replaces the technical guidance issued September 11, 2018, with a revised address where a claimant can make an online request for external review."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

New Regs Expand Use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements

"The rule is generally effective for plan years beginning on and after Jan. 1, 2020. The guidance regarding the premium tax credit is applicable for tax years beginning on and after Jan. 1, 2020, and the guidance regarding special enrollment periods applies beginning Jan. 1, 2020, as well."

[Guidance Overview]

Oregon Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

"[Oregon] has the distinction of being the first to require that low-income workers be paid 100% of their wages while on leave -- up to 65% of the state average weekly wage ... with benefits capped at 120% of the state average weekly wage."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

Reminder: PCORI Fee Due July 31

"The PCORI fee is now due for plan years ending in 2018. For plans with plan years ending in October, November, and December 2018, the PCORI fee due July 31, 2019, will be the final payment. Plans with plan years ending in the months of January through September 2019 will make their final PCORI fee payment in 2020."

New HRA Regs Spark Controversy

"Since the new HRAs will be more affordable than traditional group health coverage, these new options are expected to make it easier for small businesses to compete with larger businesses for talent. The most ardent supporters also believe that the expected increase in the individual market will spur competition, resulting in better options for consumers. Others have expressed several areas of concern with regard to the new regulations."

Could You Be Supporting a Hidden Retiree Health Plan?

"[If] you could calculate a hypothetical premium rate for just the retiree group, it would be much higher due to their ages. The difference between the hypothetical premium level and the 'full' active premium charged for medical coverage is called a 'hidden subsidy.' ... [The] promise of future benefits can trigger a liability to recognize on the balance sheet and an annual expense that runs through the income statement."

Health Plan Deny Your Claim? You Can Fight Back

"In 2017 ... enrollees in federally run [ACA] marketplace plans appealed fewer than one-half of 1% of denied medical claims ... If you do appeal, your chance of getting the health plan's decision overturned is a lot better than you might think.... Getting to 'yes' with your health plan can be an ordeal, and you may need help from friends, family members, your doctor, insurance counselors, even legal aid societies."
Kaiser Health News

How to Help Employees Return from Parental Leave

"Parental leave is often taken at a time when an employee is under a lot of stress. The family is growing, and even in the absence of any medical issues or problems along the way, this is a huge transition. Employers can do a lot to help."
HR Daily Advisor

Executive Order Targets Healthcare Price and Quality Transparency

"Agencies will likely rely on existing authority ... to require reporting and disclosure and impose other transparency mechanisms ... Any agency working on transparency initiatives will have to weigh the additional burdens of increased reporting and disclosure against the needs of individuals to make informed and cost-effective decisions about medical care."

House Expected to Easily Pass 'Cadillac Tax' Repeal

"The House plans to vote Wednesday on legislation that would roll back the so-called 'Cadillac tax' under the 2010 health care law known as Obamacare.... The bill will be considered under suspension of the rules, an expedited procedure that limits debate and requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. With 359 co-sponsors, the bill is expected to easily sail through the House."
Roll Call


There Is No Single, Best Policy for Drug Prices

"A majority of Americans prefer greater regulation of prescription drug prices, meaning government intervention to lower them. But don't count on a single policy to address a nuanced problem.... Outside of a few government programs ... low-priced drugs are alike in that competition is the sole source of downward pressure on prices.... In contrast, high-priced drugs lack competition for various reasons[.]"
Austin Frakt via The New York Times; subscription may be required

Benefits in General

SHRM's 2019 Survey Reveals Most Popular Employee Benefits

"[No] more than 3% of organizations reported benefits decreases in any category. The biggest increases (20%) to benefits were in the health and wellness benefits categories.... A majority of surveyed organizations (70%) reported that they maintained their health care benefits at existing levels this year.... Almost all the surveyed employers said they offer some kind of retirement plan, with 93% offering traditional 401(k) plans.... Many employers also reported offering services designed to help employees with financial decisions,"
Xpert HR

Press Releases

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions Elects New Board Officers
National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue, Inc.
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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.

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