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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 15, 2022

5 New Job Opportunities 5 New Job Opportunities

 

[Guidance Overview]

Qualified Parking Compensation Reductions Unused Due to COVID-19 Cannot Be Transferred to Health FSA

"[T]he Code prohibits cafeteria plans from offering qualified transportation fringe benefits, and IRS rules do not permit unused compensation reduction amounts under a qualified transportation plan to be transferred to a health FSA under a cafeteria plan.... Because some risk of loss due to changing circumstances is unavoidable, employers should clearly articulate that risk to employees before they make compensation reduction elections." [IRS Information Letter 2022-0002 (Feb. 25, 2022)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

District Court Dismisses Most State Law Claims Against UnitedHealthcare Over Denial of Mental Health Coverage

"[California district court judge Jeffrey White found] that all claims stemming from plans governed by [ERISA] were preempted by federal law. He also narrowed the claims stemming from non-ERISA plans, tossing misrepresentation and concealment claims for lacking sufficiently detailed support, though plaintiffs will have a chance to replead them." [Meridian Treatment Serv. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 19-5721 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 13, 2022)]  MORE >>

Reuters; free registration may be required

Less Is More: Ninth Circuit's Brevity Is the Soul of Wit?

"The Ninth Circuit's breezy eleven-page opinion (including cover page and concurrence) overturned a massive lower court ruling -- both in impact on behavioral health law and volume ... The Wit litigation influenced behavioral health care nationwide inspiring similar litigation, spurring additional state regulatory actions, and even legislation.... It is unclear how much the Ninth Circuit's ruling will affect Wit's influence. It may serve as the rallying cry for additional action or signal a shift in how courts and regulators should evaluate coverage guidelines." [Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, Nos. 20-17363, 21-15193, 20-17364, 21-15194 (9th Cir. Mar. 22, 2022; unpub.)]  MORE >>

Sheppard Mullin

Obesity, Diabetes, and Racial Health Equity: What Employers Can Do (PDF)

40 pages. "Obesity and diabetes have long been top conditions of concern for employers because of their prevalence, connection to other serious illnesses, and high direct and indirect costs. People with obesity and diabetes have suffered complications and poor outcomes from COVID-19 at rates that highlight the need for employers to address these conditions in their employee populations with renewed focus. BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) populations suffer from obesity and diabetes in disproportionate numbers, so it is critically important to pursue strategies aimed at reducing inequities in care and treatment."  MORE >>

Northeast Business Group on Health

The CFO Perspective on Health Care Costs (PDF)

13 pages. "[O]ver two-thirds of respondents (69%) indicate that health care costs are a significant concern -- including 16% who say they are a very significant concern. Respondents from the largest organizations (those with 5,000 or more employees) were the most likely to cite a high level of concern -- 85% say health care costs are a significant concern.... Only 39% of CFOs felt very or reasonably confident that the long -- term benefit cost management strategies being implemented are saving money, and nearly a fourth didn't feel they had enough information to say."  MORE >>

Mercer

Why Is Investing in Drugs to Treat Rare Diseases an Attractive Investment for Drug Companies?

"In recent years, ... the number of so-called 'orphan drugs' has increased. In the 1970s, only 10 orphan drugs were approved. Between 1983 until 2019, there have 564 orphan drugs that had been approved by the FDA. Why the change? The primary reason was the passage Orphan Drug Act (ODA), which created financial incentives to encourage companies to develop new drugs for rare disease. What were these incentives?"  MORE >>

Healthcare Economist

Big Litigation Win for UBH, But Mental Health Parity Risks Continue

"[T]he Ninth Circuit, while ruling in [United Behavioral Health's] favor, may have left the door open for similar class actions, depending upon the facts involved. The Ninth Circuit upheld the plaintiffs' standing to sue and the lower court's decision to certify the class, and expressly declined to resolve the issue of whether reprocessing of claims is an appropriate remedy." [Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, Nos. 20-17363, 21-15193, 20-17364, 21-15194 (9th Cir. Mar. 22, 2022; unpub.)]  MORE >>

Mercer

Benefits in General

[Opinion]

Letter from to DOL Industry Associations Concerned About DOL's Increasing Use of Subregulatory Guidance (PDF)

"[We] are troubled by what we perceive to be a trend at EBSA away from rulemaking based on a robust notice and comment process, including review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). We are very aware that the line between helpful sub-regulatory guidance and indirect rulemaking is not a clear one. But we respectfully suggest that recent sub-regulatory guidance has been more in the nature of rulemaking in need of notice and comment and OIRA review, such as with respect to recent best practices guidance."  MORE >>

American Benefits Council and 10 Other Employer and Industry Associations

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Senior Manager, Pre Retirement
          for GuideStone Financial Resources Senior Manager, Pre Retirement

GuideStone Financial Resources

Dallas TX

View job as Senior Manager, Pre Retirement
          for GuideStone Financial Resources

View job as Senior Manager, Retirement Customer Solutions
          for GuideStone Financial Resources Senior Manager, Retirement Customer Solutions

GuideStone Financial Resources

Dallas TX

View job as Senior Manager, Retirement Customer Solutions
          for GuideStone Financial Resources

View job as Benefits Program Strategic Analyst 4
          for University of California Office of the President Benefits Program Strategic Analyst 4

University of California Office of the President

Remote / Oakland CA

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
          for Prime Pensions Northwest, LLC Retirement Plan Administrator

Prime Pensions Northwest, LLC

Remote

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
          for Prime Pensions Northwest, LLC

View job as Plan Administration Team Leader, Production
          for The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA, Inc.) Plan Administration Team Leader, Production

The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA, Inc.)

Remote

View job as Plan Administration Team Leader, Production
          for The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA, Inc.)

Press Releases

Kantor and Kantor, LLP Hires on Scott M. Lempert, Esq. as One of Their New Partners for 2022

Kantor & Kantor LLP

DOL Announces Leadership, New Members to Advisory Council on Employee Welfare, Pension Benefit Plans for 2022

Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Employee Benefits in Mergers and Acquisitions National Institute 2022

May 17, 2022 WEBCAST

American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Recent Extension of the National Emergency Period Impacts Employee Benefit Plan Administration

Bond, Schoeneck & King

Federal Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) Process: Guidance for Disputing Parties (PDF)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]; U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; and U.S. Treasury Department

Washington State Enacts Changes to Long-Term Care Law

Mercer

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587.

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