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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 20, 2022

3 New Job Opportunities 3 New Job Opportunities


Key Considerations When Offering Abortion Coverage Under a Group Health Plan

"[1] What abortion or medical travel expense does your plan currently cover? ... [2] Are you willing to take the risk of an aiding and abetting lawsuit or criminal charge? ... [3] How can you avoid a Mental Health Parity violation? ... [4] Do you want to provide abortion travel benefits under your plan to employees who are not otherwise enrolled in the plan and if so, how can you structure that? ... [5] What tax consequences result from abortion travel benefits provided under your plan? ... [6] Is there an upside to offering abortion travel benefits through a group health plan?"  MORE >>

Foley & Lardner LLP

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Fiduciary Liability Exposure After Dobbs

"Conflicts and confusion are likely to develop over the interplay between [ERISA] and other federal statutes on the one hand and the new or revived state law restrictions on the other hand.... it is possible that participants could sue if they believe the special treatment for abortion-related benefits violates laws such as the Mental Health Parity Act, or if a plan's resulting non-compliance with a law disadvantages them in some way including through tax consequences.... States (or in some cases, third-party private citizens) might investigate and ultimately sue plans and their sponsors alleging that they are violating the state anti-abortion laws."  MORE >>

Willis Towers Watson

Post-Dobbs Benefit Options and Considerations

"Consideration should be given to whether there is a mental health parity violation if an arrangement reimburses for travel related to an abortion and other medical/surgical procedures but does not reimburse for travel related to mental health benefits.... If an employee is enrolled in a high deductible health plan, the employee cannot be reimbursed for the costs of an abortion and/or related travel until the deductible has been met.... [A] taxable reimbursement arrangement may provide the greatest flexibility and avoid compliance issues."  MORE >>

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Commercial Health Insurance: Detailed 2020 Financial Results, and Trends That Emerged in 2021

24 pages. "This report provides a detailed review of the commercial health insurance industry's financial results in 2020 and evaluates changes in the market's expense structure and enrollment relative to prior years. In addition, based on calendar year 2021 statutory financial statements and first quarter calendar year 2022, the report discusses emerging financial trends for the commercial health insurance markets."  MORE >>


During Pandemic, Overall Healthcare Costs Decreased But Unit Prices Rose

"The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) reported that total medical costs for those in employer-sponsored health insurance went down by 8.9% in 2020, and out-of-pocket costs declined by 11%.... Unit prices continue to rise and pose the largest threat to health care affordability. Efforts to steer members to lower cost providers can help lower unit cost. Consolidation of providers has decreased leverage to gain discounts."  MORE >>

Willis Towers Watson

Projected 2023 Limits for Transportation Fringe Benefits and Health FSAs

"Limits for qualified transportation fringe benefits and health FSAs are expected to rise significantly in 2023, thanks to the dramatic increase in C-CPI-U for the year (an eye-popping 7.0% for the 10 months ending June 2022). The inflationary increases are the largest since indexing on the transportation fringe benefit began in 1999 and more than three times as large as the average annual increase."  MORE >>


Assessing a Plan Administrator's Discretion to Identify Severance Plan Participants (PDF)

"[A] plan sponsor can give itself too much discretion and thereby transform the plan into more of an ad hoc arrangement than an ERISA welfare benefit plan. This column looks at some recent case developments that examine how this balance can be struck in the context of severance plans."  MORE >>

Jenner & Block, via Employee Relations Law Journal

Position Community Volunteering as an Employee Benefit

"Organizations can use volunteering programs to raise employee engagement and promote retention if they think strategically about how this benefit is offered, monitored and celebrated. Employers can also be proactive in helping to guide employee volunteerism but should ensure that these efforts align with corporate goals, while also honoring and supporting employees' personal volunteer interests."  MORE >>

Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Internal Sales and Marketing Assistant
          for Atlantic Pension Services Inc. Internal Sales and Marketing Assistant

Atlantic Pension Services Inc.

Remote / Kennett Square PA / DE / MD / NJ

View job as Internal Sales and Marketing Assistant
          for Atlantic Pension Services Inc.

View job as Senior Pension Consultant
          for The Ryding Company Senior Pension Consultant

The Ryding Company

Remote / CA / HI / NC / NY / PA / TX / UT

View job as Senior Pension Consultant
          for The Ryding Company

View job as Plan Administrator
          for American Pension LLC Plan Administrator

American Pension LLC

Berkeley Heights NJ

View job as Plan Administrator
          for American Pension LLC

Selected New Discussions

HDHP and Post-Deductible Flat Dollar Copayment?

"Is there any guidance regarding whether a plan may impose a post-deductible flat dollar copayment for medical coverage? The flat dollar approach is apparently allowed for pharmacy coverage only. If that is true, then does the flat-dollar element for medical services render the plan as being no longer a qualified HDHP? If so, can anyone provide guidance to support either way."

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Press Releases

SPARK Institute Congratulates Ralph Ferraro on His Appointment to Head of Retirement Plan Services at Lincoln Financial Group

SPARK Institute

OneDigital Strengthens Integrated Offerings with Addition of IntoBenefits, Inc. in Silicon Valley


T. Rowe Price Announces Addition of Two Senior Executives to Institutional Defined Contribution Business in U.S.

T. Rowe Price

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Machine-Readable File Requirements Coming Soon


Miller Johnson

HSAs - Advanced

September 13, 2022 WEBCAST


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Avoiding Costly 'Employer Payment Plan' Status for Abortion Travel Benefits

Dickinson Wright

Compliance Considerations for Employer Reimbursement of Abortion-Related Expenses


Companies Offering to Cover Travel for Out-of-State Abortions Will Face Daunting Patchwork of Laws; free registration required

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

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