Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 5, 2019

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Draft 2019 Instructions for IRS Form 8889: Health Savings Accounts (PDF)

"Use Form 8889 to: [1] Report health savings account (HSA) contributions (including those made on your behalf and employer contributions), [2] Figure your HSA deduction, [3] Report distributions from HSAs, and [4] Figure amounts you must include in income and additional tax you may owe if you fail to be an eligible individual."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Sponsored]

HBCE Early Registration Ending Soon -- Register Now

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

The 29th Annual Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE) is being held on January 20-22, 2020 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Don't miss out on the education you need to reduce costs and increase employee engagement. Register by December 19, 2019 to SAVE! Learn more


[Guidance Overview]

Georgia Releases Broad 1332 Waiver Application

"Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia released a new draft waiver application under Section 1332 of the [ACA] that, if approved, would reshape the state's insurance market. The application reflects a two-phase approach: a state-based reinsurance program to begin in plan year 2021, followed by a transition to the 'Georgia Access' model beginning in plan year 2022. Both components of the waiver application would extend through plan year 2025."
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

[Guidance Overview]

Westchester County Paid Safe Leave Law Goes Into Effect

"With the law now in effect (as of October 30, 2019), the County has published lists of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for both employers and employees, as well as a model notice of employee rights in both English and Spanish. The FAQs are a good resource for employers and provide some clarity on key aspects of the law[.]"
Fox Rothschild LLP

Active vs. Passive Open Enrollment: Weighing the Pros and Cons

"[E]mployers may believe passive enrollment is superior because it takes less work on the side of the employer or plan manager, offers less opportunity for employees to miss the enrollment deadline and is considered the path of least resistance.... [M]any others believe that active enrollment is preferable since it requires employees to reevaluate their current lifestyle, family status and other health factors -- while socializing new offerings.... Here's a useful breakdown of the pros and cons to help your organization make the best decision for your workforce."
OneDigital Health and Benefits

Is Your Voluntary Benefits Program Really Exempt from ERISA?

"Most employers want their 'voluntary insurance plans' to steer clear of an 'ERISA Plan' designation, because exempt voluntary insurance plans are not subject to the ERISA's extensive reporting, disclosure, and fiduciary duty requirements.... [E]mployers often find themselves at odds with an insurer that concluded it to be in their best interest to argue the safe harbor exemption does not apply."
Findley

[Sponsored]

Now is the time to become a member of ECFC

Sponsored by ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation]

ECFC is dedicated to maintaining and expanding employee benefit programs on a tax-advantaged basis. Members include employers, TPAs, health plan providers, brokers, payers, providers, payment networks, processors, and financial institutions. Learn more


CMS Issues Final Rule on Basic Health Plan Methodology

"The main change in the final rule is that CMS will include a new 'metal-tier selection factor' to account for the impact of consumer plan selection. Although CMS had proposed applying this factor to both 2019 and 2020, the final rule applies it only for 2020. This change is expected to decrease federal funding for the BHP by about $151 million for 2020."
Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

Jackson Health System Slammed With $2.15 Million Penalty for Privacy Breaches

"The [HHS] Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has collected over $2.15 million in civil penalties from Miami-based Jackson Health System (JHS) for multiple violations of the Security and Breach Notification Rules under HIPAA.... This is the first publicized imposition of civil monetary penalties under HIPAA in recent years, in contrast to the many publicized settlements of alleged violations, indicating that JHS' violations were severe."
McGuireWoods, LLP

As Congress Works to Curb Surprise Medical Bills, New York's Fix Gets Examined

"According to an analysis of newly released data from New York’s Department of Financial Services, the New York model is making health care substantially more expensive in the state. In fact arbiters are typically deciding on dollar amounts above the 80th percentile of typical costs."
Kaiser Health News

[Opinion]

Factors That Employers Should Consider in Reviewing Any 'Medicare for All' Proposal.

"In the U.S., voluntary employer-based health plans preceded broad federal public health plans by several decades ... Medicare does not currently include an out of pocket limitation and other benefits commonly provided under employer-based health plans ... Employees generally favor their employer-provided health care."
Thompson Coburn

Benefits in General

You've Been Put on Notice

"As we enter the fourth quarter of 2019, it's important for sponsors of calendar year retirement plans to be mindful of certain required participant notices.... Sponsors with calendar year plans that extended their Form 5500 deadline to Oct. 15 may be able to align the delivery of any applicable notices into a single mailing event."
Strategic Benefit Services

Press Releases

Kaitlin Smith Awarded CRPS Designation by CFFP
Steidle Pension Solutions, LLC, [SPS]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Extreme Couponing: How Manufacturer Coupons Impact Health Plans
Thompson Hine, via Lexology; free registration required

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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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