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September 9, 2019 logo logo
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Pension Consultant and Administrator
BFP Associates, Inc.
in West Springfield MA / Telecommute

Retirement Plan Administrator
in Jacksonville FL / Telecommute

Retirement Plan Analyst 1
Retirement Plan Solutions, Inc.
in Cary NC / Telecommute

ERISA Attorney
Barclay Damon
in Syracuse NY

MEP Team Leader
Nova 401(k) Associates
in Houston TX / Dallas TX / Austin TX / Scottsdale AZ / Telecommute

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[Guidance Overview]

Two New HRAs Coming in 2020 (PDF)

"The new rules make it easier for employers to provide health coverage to their employees through HRAs. In some cases, employers now have the option to offer some or all of their employees either a traditional group health plan or a defined contribution to an HRA to reimburse employees for the purchase of individual or Medicare health coverage."

Kushner & Company


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.

Business Associates' Use of Information for Their Own Purposes

"HIPAA allows covered entities to share PHI with business associates to assist the covered entity in performing authorized activities for or on behalf of the covered entity, but with very limited exceptions, the same limits that apply to the covered entity also apply to the business associate ... The data aggregation exception.... The management and administration exception.... De-Identification."

Holland & Hart LLP

Renewal Considerations for 2020

"The triumphant return of the [ACA] premium tax (the health insurer provider fee).... Ensure your renewal timeline includes all vendor decision deadlines.... Amending your health plan for the new HSA-eligible expenses.... Amending your health plan for the new prescription drug coupon regulations.... Is your group life plan in compliance with the Section 79 nondiscrimination rules?... Is your group life maximum benefit higher than the guaranteed issue amount?... Double-check that you haven't unintentionally disqualified participant health savings accounts (HSAs)."

Watko Benefit Group

Streamline Your Open Enrollment Process

"Decision-support tools (included in most enrollment systems) that help individuals and families identify the best benefits for them can be extremely valuable.... In today’s digital world, paper enrollments are nearly extinct. Consider the electronic options available internally or through your broker/consultant. ... Ensure that you have year-over-year data on what benefits are being used (and not used) and how employees make decisions when selecting benefits. "


Employers Recognize Need to Improve Employee Health Experience

"58% of survey respondents reported that employees are unaware of the company-provided health benefits that they are entitled to and 63% said employees do not know enough about leveraging their benefits.... Only 28% of respondents reported that employees engage with all of the benefits that are offered, and only 27% of organizations said that employees use the full range of benefits."

American Journal of Managed Care


Why Your Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance May Ultimately Not Be Good for You

"Because they are easy to enter and so heavily subsidized, they attract millions of workers -- including young and healthy employees who might resist buying insurance in the individual market -- into vast pools where risk can be managed. But they don't insure everyone. They keep employees from experiencing the full price of their benefits, and thus don't put pressure to economize on care. There is also evidence these plans contribute to flat growth in wages. They can retard career progression by tying workers to a company since policies are not portable -- a phenomenon known as 'job lock.' "

greenwich time


What the Left Gets Wrong About Health Spending and Outcomes

"Our health access and outcomes are not the worst in the industrialized world. Americans spend more on health care for many reasons, and many of those costs, often generated by bad government policies, are indeed wasteful and inefficient. Access to health insurance coverage is not the same as the provision of high quality medical care."

The Heritage Foundation

Benefits in General

Designing Benefits Packages That Attract and Retain Employees

"Designing such comprehensive, competitive benefits packages means looking beyond the old standards -- health insurance, retirement, paid time off (PTO) -- and embracing forward-thinking options like non-traditional and voluntary benefits, and improvements to a company's work environment and culture."


A Tale of Two Fiduciaries

"The court found that SmartCore had misappropriated plan participant contributions and used those funds for corporate purposes, resulting in the plan’s inability to pay medical claims.... SmartCore paid the balance on the medical claim the day before trial, but the court found that any payments made more than three years later do not constitute full compensation.... This case should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who acts as a fiduciary to an ERISA benefit plan. " Kinsinger v. SmartCore, LLC, No. 17-643 (W.D.N.C. Aug. 27, 2019)]


Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of Agency Final FAQs, Part 39: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Implementation and the 21st Century Cures Act (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS}; and U.S. Department of the Treasury

How Your Employer Uses Perks to Control Your Life
Elizabeth Tippett and Jesse Paul, for The Colorado Sun

Employer Trends in Self-Insured Health Plan Coverage (PDF)
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI], 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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