Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 11, 2019

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Webcasts, Conferences

WEB Atlanta Annual Holiday Social
December 5, 2019 in GA
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Atlanta Chapter

COBRA: Simple Concept - Complicated Rules
January 16, 2020 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

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[Official Guidance]

CMS Announces 2020 Medicare Parts A and B Premiums and Deductibles

"The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $144.60 for 2020, an increase of $9.10 from $135.50 in 2019. The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $198 in 2020, an increase of $13 from the annual deductible of $185 in 2019.... The Medicare Part A inpatient hospital deductible that beneficiaries will pay when admitted to the hospital will be $1,408 in 2020, an increase of $44 from $1,364 in 2019."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Sponsored]

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Funding

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

This guide provides you with a comprehensive look at self-funded plans, offering plan sponsors, administrators, attorneys and other professionals practical guidance concerning plan design and administration. Order your copies now! Learn more


[Guidance Overview]

Treasury Department and IRS Propose Individual Coverage HRA Affordability Safe Harbors

"Traditionally, employer-sponsored group health plans use the cost of a single plan (i.e., the lowest cost plan providing minimum value that the employer offers to the employees), which does not vary by employee.... In contrast, the affordability test for ICHRAs is based on the cost of the applicable lowest cost silver plan for each employee, which will vary by employee, based on an individual's residence and age. This means that coverage for older workers will be more expensive than coverage for their younger counterparts[.]"
Mintz

[Guidance Overview]

New York Paid Family Leave in 2020

"The PFL program was designed to be fully phased in over four years -- meaning that we will continue to see changes to the allotted leave periods, benefit levels, and other components of the statutory scheme through 2021. This post summarizes the key changes that take effect on January 1, 2020."
Mintz

[Guidance Overview]

Duluth, Minnesota Issues Paid Sick and Safe Leave Rules and Revises FAQs

"The Ordinance takes effect January 1, 2020 for employers with five or more employees, regardless of whether they work in Duluth.... [T]he rules [1] address whether and how employers can comply using non-traditional paid leave policies like unlimited or untracked leave ... [2] allow employers to cash out accrued but unused SST instead of carrying it over.... [3] establish notice standards for unforeseeable absences.... [4] limit how frequently employers may request documentation under certain circumstances[.]"
Littler

29% of Couples Have Separate Health Insurance

"[A]bout 11% of companies do not allow spousal enrollment if they have other coverage ... For those employers who do allow enrollment, 33% charge a spousal surcharge, which averages $1,200 a year.... [If] one partner has access to an employer-based insurance plan that's less than $100 a month, you're probably paying more for the convenience of being on the same plan. "
CNBC

Compromise Could Be Brewing on Surprise Billing Legislation

"Stakeholders expect the surprise billing package will blend the main structural components from the bills introduced in the House Energy and Commerce and Senate [HELP] committees: a federal standard determining payment for out-of-network providers, and some form of a dispute resolution process. Instead of forcing the choice between the two measures, lawmakers are optimistic about striking a balance, as opposing industry groups have acquiesced to a solution that will thread the needle."
Morning Consult

How to Do External Reference Pricing

"The advantage of reference pricing is that it is a tool to drive down prices. The disadvantage is that it may increase cost for lower income countries or drug manufacturers may elect not to enter a market to avoid a price decrease in a richer market. The time to market is slower with reference pricing ... But how does one implement ERP in practice?"
Healthcare Economist

Replacing Confusion with Engagement During Open Enrollment

"[1] Grab attention with a colorful theme ... [2] Break down the language barrier ... [3] Communicate the month before your launch ... [4] Don't communicate in a vacuum ... [5] Communicate your benefits year-round."
OneDigital Health and Benefits

How Do Economic Shocks Affect Family Health Care Spending Burdens?

"[This study finds] evidence that the change in the out-of-pocket spending burden is sensitive to income shocks, and that income changes rather than changes in health spending per se appears to drive changes in the out-of-pocket burden."
National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]; purchase required for full document

[Opinion]

The Employer-Health Insurance Connection: An 'Accident of History'

"Why is the connection between employment and health insurance so strong in the U.S.? It seems the union of these two institutions was an unintended consequence of the World War II price controls, which explains why some historians denote it as an 'accident' of history."
The Hill

Benefits in General

High Hopes for Consistency and Guidance from New DOL Secretary

"A new [DOL] secretary with a background in ERISA, combined with a recent reorganization of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, could bring more needed guidance and uniformity in how regulations are enforced[.]"
Pensions & Investments

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

CMS Releases SBC Materials and Supporting Documents Authorized for Use for Plan or Policy Years That Begin on or After January 1, 2021
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

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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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