Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 24, 2019

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Account Manager

Pentegra
Telecommute

Senior Retirement Plan Administrator

Professional Capital Services
Philadelphia PA

Client Relationship Manager

Goldleaf Partners
Telecommute

Vice President, Sales Consultant

Ascensus
Phoenix AZ

ESOP Consultant

Ascensus
Atlanta GA / Telecommute

Retirement Plan Advisor

Pension and Retirement Services
Saint Louis MO

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 5258: ACA Information Returns (AIR) Submission Composition and Reference Guide (PDF)

140 pages; updated Oct. 2019. "The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to all types of external transmitters about composing and successfully transmitting compliant submissions to IRS.... This document covers details on composing and submitting Forms 1094/1095-B and Forms 1094/1095-C by transmitters to IRS."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

COBRA Notice Litigation Results in Big Dollar Claims

"Can you imagine something as simple as a COBRA Notice missing a few technical requirements resulting in an employer needing to pay a 6 or 7-digit damages award? That is happening in Florida.... In these cases, a COBRA notice is provided to covered persons experiencing a qualifying event, albeit sometimes late. Yet the notice is alleged to be missing key details that are required by the COBRA regulations[.]"
Jackson Lewis P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Affirms That FMLA Runs Concurrently with Paid Leave

"[DOL Opinion Letter FMLA2019-3-A] reiterates that an employer may not delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave, even if the delay complies with a collective bargaining agreement and the employee prefers that the FMLA designation be delayed."
FordHarrison

Trends for Talent Attraction: Telecommuting and Better Healthcare Coverage

"The number one perk reported as the most important by workers across all ages, regions, and industries is remote/flexible work (41%), followed by healthcare coverage (27%)."
HR Daily Advisor

Pursuing Wellness: Steps Toward a Supportive Law Firm Culture (PDF)

"One year after the American Bar Association launched its seven-step pledge to improve mental health and well-being in the legal industry, this [article provides an update from one of] the law firms that were among the first to commit to the campaign.... Reed Smith's innovative Wellness Works included an intentional focus on addressing mental health and substance use issues as well as creating and sustaining a supportive workplace culture to help employees recognize and prioritize their personal well-being."
Reed Smith LLP

ACA Round-Up: MLR Rebates, Insurer Competition, New Guidance on EDE

"[T]he Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that insurers across the individual and group markets will issue at least $1.3 billion in medical loss ratio (MLR) rebates. This is the highest recorded rebate since the [ACA's] MLR requirement was put in place.... Also in September, [CMS] issued [new FAQs] regarding enhanced direct enrollment (EDE) and an updated list of approved EDE entities."
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

[Opinion]

The Solution for Offering 'Shoppable' Prices in Healthcare Is Coming

"[F]or decades hospitals have dealt largely with insurance companies instead of patients regarding reimbursement. Almost all of their revenue cycle processes, people and systems have been designed around facilitating payment from a middle person, not directly with the patient.... Technology that swiftly produces accurate estimates in under a minute answers both a federal mandate and the hospital’s commitment to patient care."
FierceHealthcare

Benefits in General

Health Care Costs Are Top Concern for Future Retirees (PDF)

"3 out of 4 Future Retirees say they're somewhat or very concerned about the cost of health care.... 55% of Future Retirees with an HSA available don't contribute to it.... 67% of Future Retirees wish they understood Medicare coverage better.... 47% of Future Retirees couldn't even estimate  what their annual health care costs would be in retirement."
Nationwide Retirement Institute

U.S. Employers to Focus on Employee Wellbeing, CSR Policies, and More Flexibility

"When asked about their highest priorities, 80% of respondents cited incorporating employee wellbeing into their benefit programs. That includes physical, emotional, financial and social wellbeing programs. Nearly two-thirds (64%) cited aligning benefit provisions with employee wants and needs ... 70% of employers plan to focus on enhancing corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and aligning them with their benefit strategy over the next three years, nearly double the percentage of respondents who focused on CSR policies in the past three years. ... [O]nly four in 10 respondents said their programs are effective at offering significant choice and flexibility in benefit selection, while just under half (49%) are effective at tailoring their benefit packages to support their employees' needs."
Willis Towers Watson

Press Releases

2019 ACEBC Fellows and Writing Competition Winners
American College of Employee Benefits Counsel

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

A Painful Pill to Swallow: U.S. vs. International Prescription Drug Prices (PDF)
Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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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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