Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 3, 2019

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Plan Administrator
Retirement Plan Administrators, LLC
in Atlanta GA / Telecommute

Sales - 401(k)/DB
Farmer & Betts, Inc.
in Tualatin OR / FL / GA / IN / MO / OH / TX

Financial Management Specialist - DE
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
in Washington DC / Telecommute

Defined Benefits Consultant
Loren D. Stark Company
in Houston TX / Telecommute

Call Center Specialist
Ingham Retirement Group
in Miami FL / Telecommute

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Editor's Pick The Individual Coverage HRA Revolution Begins January 1, 2020 (PDF)

40 presentation slides. Topics: [1] Current state of the law prohibiting [individual coverage HRAs (ICHRAs)] or any similar alternative; [2] The new final ICHRA regulations and seven main requirements for compliance; [3] Special rules for notices, ERISA, class distinctions, and mid-year enrollment; [4] How the ACA employer mandate rules apply to ICHRAs; [5] What are the estimated effects, and what is likely to develop in the near to mid-term future.

ABD Insurance & Financial Services

[Advert.]

Best Practices for Navigating Employee Benefits After Termination

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Sept. 30 webinar covers different arrangements available after employment terminates related both to retirement and health, including COBRA, life and disability insurance, and various retirement plan arrangements. BenefitsLink discount.


Departments Delay Enforcement of Drug Coupon Rule

"As a result of the confusion created by the rule, for the 2020 plan year, plan sponsors may have decided to: [1] drop 'true accumulator programs' involving brand-name drug manufacturer coupons, [2] scramble to adjust their programs to comply with the rule or [3] resolve to take on risk by continuing to exclude the value of the coupon even when a generic is not available. Terminating or reducing these accumulator programs is costly for plan sponsors.... The application of the NBPP to employer group health plans should be confirmed by the departments in future guidance."

Buck

Rethinking Telemedicine

"An estimated 96 percent of large employers offer telemedicine services to their employees.... Health plan sponsors have added these programs to combat the rising cost of emergency room and urgent care services. However, as employer adoption of telemedicine grows, it hasn't become any easier to determine if the goal of reducing cost is being achieved. In fact, some research shows that telemedicine may actually be increasing health plan costs."

Chelko Center for Benefits Management

Connecticut Enacts Paid Family and Medical Leave

"Connecticut has enacted a paid family and medical leave law that will be 100% employee funded, with contributions starting Jan. 1, 2021. Beginning in 2022, covered employees will be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave ... The state-run program will provide wage replacement of up to 95% of base period earnings ... but employers will have the option to establish private plans."

Mercer

Spending for ACA, Medicare and Other Programs to Rise Each Year Through 2029

"[CBO] projects that Social Security and the major health care programs ... will grow at an average annual rate of 6 percent over the next ten years.... [T]he programs will account for 10.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 but will increase to 12.5 percent of GDP by 2029.... The aging population and the rising costs of health care are the main reasons for the projected increases[.]"

Wolters Kluwer; free registration required

Supporters of Releasing Privately Negotiated Health Plan Rates Dominate Public Comments

"Halfway through the 60-day comment period on a controversial proposal to require hospitals to release their privately negotiated rates for health plans, nearly all the public comments submitted so far have come from supporters of the transparency proposal.... National hospital groups said they also were putting together their responses to the transparency proposal, which many industry officials worry could complicate negotiations with health plans, carry large logistical challenges and high costs, and provide little benefit to consumers."

Healthcare Financial Management Association [HFMA]

Market Saturation and Utilization Data Tool

"Market saturation ... refers to the density of providers of a particular service within a defined geographic area relative to the number of beneficiaries receiving that service in the area. The data can be used to reveal the degree to which use of a service is related to the number of providers servicing a geographic region.... The tool includes interactive maps and datasets that show national-, state-, county-, and Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA)-level provider services and utilization data for selected health service areas."

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Health Savings Accounts Hold Over $61 Billion for Future Medical Expenses

"There are now over 26 million health savings accounts, holding $61.7 billion in assets, a year-over-year increase of 12% for accounts and 20% for HSA assets for the period ending June 30th, 2019.... Strong market tailwinds propelled HSA investment assets to an estimated $13.3 billion at the end of June, up 35% year-over-year. On average, investment account holders hold a $15,982 total balance (deposit and investment account)."

Devenir

Benefits in General

Three Benefits Job Seekers Can't Afford To Overlook

"It's easy to get distracted by the excitement of unusual perks. Nonetheless, it's essential (especially for 20- and 30-somethings) to pay close attention to three important, seemingly obvious employer offerings -- the ones that translate into a strong personal brand built on true stability, not fads that may end up giving you the jitters.... [1] Robust retirement plans ... [2] Opportunities for promotions and raises ... [3] Health, life, and disability insurance."

Forbes

Press Releases

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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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