Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 27, 2020

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses (Including the Health Coverage Tax Credit) for Use in Preparing 2019 Returns (PDF)

27 pages; Jan. 21, 2020. "This publication explains the itemized deduction for medical and dental expenses that you claim on Schedule A (Form 1040 or 1040-SR). It discusses what expenses, and whose expenses, you can and can't include in figuring the deduction.... This publication also explains how to treat impairment-related work expenses, health insurance premiums if you are self-employed, and the health coverage tax credit that is available to certain individuals."

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Propose Price Transparency Requirements for Group Health Plans

"The proposal would require that a group health plan timely disclose information about costs related to covered items and services to participants and beneficiaries and to the public. The detailed information required to be disclosed includes the negotiated amount for each in-network provider for a particular covered item or service and the allowed amount for out-of-network providers."

Cheiron

[Guidance Overview]

Updated 2020 Federal Poverty Levels Can Impact Employer Shared Responsibility Affordability Calculation

"[T]he 2020 FPL safe-harbor monthly employee contribution limits for the lowest-cost, self-only MEC with minimum value are: Noncalendar-year plans beginning in 2020: $103.99 ... 2020 calendar-year plans: $101.79[.]"

Mercer

Ditching Insurance Companies Doesn't Help Employers Cut Health Care Costs

"The average family premium for fully insured firms last year was a whopping $20,627. For larger self-insured firms, it was $20,739. There hasn't been a meaningful difference for the past 20 years. ... Self-insured firms would seem to have an advantage because they cut out the middleman.  ... Most large insured firms have implemented similar strategies. And they buy insurance from the same companies that administer self-insured plans."

Drew Altman, via Axios

Selected State Health Developments, Fourth Quarter 2019

"Insurance activity near year-end focused on a range of topics: balance-billing, prescription drug cost limits, mental health parity, reproductive health and association health plans (AHPs). Paid leave laws also garnered states' attention, along with various issues that have benefit implications, such as employee vs. independent contractor classification, employer health plan reporting, state tax limits on commuter fringe benefits and coordination of benefits with automobile insurance."

Mercer

The ACA Expanded Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives -- And Then Prices Soared

"Before the mandate took effect -- i.e., during a period when consumers more often paid for oral contraceptives directly -- price changes for hormones and oral contraceptives generally followed a path similar to that of non-prescription drugs ... Prices for hormones and oral contraceptives actually fell by 12 percent in real terms. As the mandate began to take effect and as the ACA made oral contraceptives seem 'free' to more purchasers, prices for hormones and oral contraceptives began to rise. By the time the mandate took full effect in early 2014, prices for hormones and oral contraceptives reversed five years of real reductions and caught up to the 17 percent growth in real prices for other prescription drugs."

Cato Institute

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Generation X: How to Retain These Key Workers (PDF)
Welltok; free registration required

New Online Search Tool for Form 5500s Filed with the DOL
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

HHS Issues Notice of Violation to California for Its Abortion Coverage Mandate
Office of Civil Rights [OCR], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2020 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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