Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 23, 2019

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Retirement Plan Administrator
McHenry Advisers, Inc.
in New Albany OH

Experienced Plan Consultant
Randall + Hurley
in Helena MT

401(k) Plan Services Sales Representative
San Francisco - Bay Area TPA firm
in Burlingame CA

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[Guidance Overview]

When Parent-Teacher Conferences Qualify for FMLA Leave

"While the DOL’s opinion letter was examining a specific set of circumstances ... the Department specifically noted that its analysis would apply to 'any meeting held pursuant to the IDEA, and any applicable state or local law, regardless of the term used for such meeting.' It also determined that a doctor did not need to be present at the meeting for it to qualify for FMLA leave."

McAfee & Taft

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Employer Makes $1.3 Million FMLA Mistake by Firing Worker After Mexico Trip

"In reviewing punitive and liquidated damages awards, the state high court found that the employer, while honest in its belief that it was complying with the FMLA, was not objectively reasonable in its belief. The trial court found that the employer ignored the plaintiff's medical records and FMLA application and instead made its decision based on 'shock, outrage and offense' that the employee might request additional FMLA leave for knee surgery." [DaPrato v. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, No. SJC-12651 (Mass. Sup. Ct. Jun. 5, 2019)]

Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

Maximizing a Pharmacy Benefit Program: Innovative Solutions for Employers

"Once a plan sponsor has a deep understanding of their pharmacy program and PBM contract and has gone through industry benchmarking, they can begin to set and address goals to manage costs while still providing a reasonable and sustainable pharmacy benefit to their employees."

CBIZ

Certain Genetic Testing Services Qualify as Code Section 213(d) Medical Care

"In [Private Letter Ruling 201933005 (May 16, 2019)], the IRS has concluded that certain genetic testing services will qualify as medical care under Code Section 213(d). The letter responds to a health FSA participant seeking to purchase genetic testing services and reports regarding ancestry and health."

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

DC Details Employer Reporting for Individual Health Coverage Mandate

"The reporting requirement encompasses any employee for whom the employer withholds DC taxes. Reporting also applies to any employee who has a DC mailing address, even if the employer doesn’t withhold and report DC taxes. Employers that furnish covered employees with MEC notices for federal purposes don’t have to provide duplicate notices for DC."

Mercer

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Employee Benefits During Leave of Absence

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August 28 webinar. It is critical for employers to understand when and how they are required to continue employee benefits while an employee is out on leave, and when they are not required -- or even permitted -- to do so. BenefitsLink discount.


San Francisco Posts 2020 Health Care Expenditure Rates

"Covered employees include anyone employed for more than 90 days who regularly works at least eight hours a week in San Francisco. To determine workforce size, employers must count all employees, no matter where they live or work. However, the expenditure applies only for hours worked in San Francisco. "

Mercer

Employers Are Helping Clear the Haze on Health Care Prices

"[E]mployers have become the most powerful force today driving health-care reforms.... [T]hey're fighting back against high medical costs, in part by harnessing increasingly powerful databases to identify who the bad actors are in health care -- hospitals, doctors, medical equipment companies and others who charge high prices and deliver substandard care."

PBS

Health Care Costs as Much as a New Car

"Health care for a family covered by a large employer cost, on average, $22,885 last year. That's $2,000 more than the sticker price for a brand-new Volkswagen Beetle.... Roughly $15,000 of that $22,885 comes from employers' contribution to their workers' premiums.... Workers chip in an average of $4,706 per year premiums, and then spend an additional of $3,020 out of pocket. Combined, that's almost 4 times more than the average family spends on gas in a year."

Drew Altman of Kaiser Family Foundation, via Axios

Why Are More Workers Eligible for Health Coverage When Fewer Employers Offer It? (PDF)

"The percentage of workers eligible for health benefits increased in the past five years despite the fact that slightly fewer employers offered benefits. This suggests that workers are migrating to jobs that offer health coverage."

Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

Tips to Improve Benefits Implementation and Utilization

"Offer several forms of communications that are tailored to your unique workforce.... Providing examples of scenarios that might apply to your workforce will help them paint a picture of the benefits plan that might work best for them. ... Provide a glossary of terms.... Identify and leverage the existing information from the online tools provided by insurance carriers."

OneDigital Health and Benefits

How to Communicate Benefits to a Culturally Diverse Population

"Ask yourself these questions while brainstorming your communications: Where do your people come from, and which region(s), specifically? What are the retirement and health care systems like there? What types of benefits, if any, were available to them previously? What language(s) or dialects do they speak and read? What is their overall education level? How do they prefer to receive information (in print, by email, on the web, etc.)?"

Segal Benz

Benefits in General

Editor's Pick Life Expectancy in 2019 (PDF)

"One page shows life expectancies for people who are age 65 in 2019. The other page shows life expectancies for people who are age 25 in 2019. Differences in life expectancy between the ages reflect two competing forces[.]"

Society of Actuaries

How Employers Can Help With Student Debt

"Get to grips with the student debt situation at your business by finding out the following: [1] What proportion of your workforce is dealing with student loan debt? [2] If they have student debt, is it their own, or are they working parents who are also borrowing to send their kids to college? [3] What is more important to your employees: saving for retirement, or paying off student loans? [4] What level of student debt are your employees generally dealing with? [5] What student debt solutions are your employees already using?"

ForUsAll

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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.

Links to web sites other than BenefitsLink.com and EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com 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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