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[Guidance Overview]

California Law Requiring FSA Notices Poses ERISA and Plan Design Issues

"A new California law requires employers who sponsor flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to notify employees of any deadline that requires them to withdraw FSA funds before the end of the plan year. Although the law is only three sentences long, it raises significant questions about how to comply, not to mention questions concerning ERISA preemption."
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


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[Guidance Overview]

The Latest Paid Leave Mandate

"Maine recently became the first state requiring private employers to provide paid time off (PTO).... Maine's law does not tie the leave to specific needs or limit the reasons for which eligible employees can use it. Nevada enacted a similar 'no reason' PTO law shortly thereafter. In August, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, became the first local jurisdiction to enact a PTO mandate, while a bill that would require employers to provide paid personal time off remains under consideration by the New York City Council."

[Guidance Overview]

Recent Health Plan Developments: Indexed Penalty Amounts, ICHRAs, and Prescription Drug Coupons

"In [Rev. Proc. 2019-29], the [IRS] released certain affordability standards for 2020 as they apply to the [ACA] ... The IRS issued implementation regulations for establishing [individual coverage] HRAs on June 20, 2019. These rules apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2020.... On August 26, 2019, the Departments of HHS, Labor and Treasury issued a set of FAQs, stating ... that the governing agencies will not pursue any enforcement action against an insurer or group health plan if a plan excludes coupons from cost-sharing limitations, even if there is no medically-appropriate generic prescription drug available."

Editor's Pick 2019 ERISA Welfare Plan Checklist for Participant Disclosures (PDF)

"[Many employers] sponsor ERISA welfare benefit plans and are currently undergoing their open enrollment process and issuing related participant communications. ... [This] Participant Disclosures Checklist [can be used] during open enrollment and throughout the plan year."
Bass, Berry & Sims PLC

Editor's Pick Medical Stop-Loss Premium Survey (PDF)

"The occurrence of truly catastrophic claimants -- in excess of $1 million -- is further verified with 31% of respondents reporting such a claimant in the last two policy years. Stop-loss remains the primary focus of risk management, with 71% of respondents sharing no interest in alternate approaches. Additional updates are provided on individual stop-loss deductible by employer size and other coverage provisions, including aggregate stop-loss. The primary focus of the survey remains current premium rates ... Stop-loss premium reflecting over 940,000 covered employees is measured."
AEGIS Risk and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS]

Teaching Employees About the Retirement Benefits of HSAs

"Participation in HSAs skyrocketed in 2018, climbing to 81 percent of eligible employees from 50 percent the year before ... Workers are starting to better understand these benefits but are still not tapping their full potential.... [T]he real value of HSAs is the ability to accumulate larger dollar amounts over several years in anticipation of much-higher costs of medical care in retirement."

A Look Inside Bon Secours Mercy Health's New Employer Solutions Company

"Harness Health Partners will unite a slew of solutions for employers including well-being programs, pharmacy management tools and on-site clinics. The company will also work with interested employers to launch custom solutions or mold existing initiatives to fit the needs of their individual workforces. The goal, according to the health system, is to better reach workers across seven states with these programs."

Retroactive Enrollment: A Feasible Way to Bring Auto-Enrollment to the Individual Market

"This [article] explores a 'retroactive' approach to automatic enrollment in private health insurance, and it describes analogous features in other social programs to illustrate why a retroactive approach would be politically feasible."
Health Affairs

Benefits in General

Employers Try a New Perk: Matching Student Loan Payments With 401(k) Contributions

"Eight percent of the 2,763 employers the Society for Human Resource Management surveyed in April offered assistance with student loans, up from 4% in 2018 and 3% in 2015. According to a survey of 250 companies last year by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 11% of employers offered student-loan repayment subsidies and another 13% planned to add it."
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

Press Releases

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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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