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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 16, 2024


Popular Employee Benefits to Implement This Year

"70% of millennials experiencing fertility difficulties say that they would switch employers for fertility treatment coverage in their healthcare ... [C]onsider adding on adoption reimbursement ... Over 80% of employees say that they would stick with a company for five years if the company assisted them in paying off their student loans  ... Mental health coverage is becoming less of an option and more of a must for many employers ... especially if you're able to add telehealth coverage[.]"  MORE >>

HR Daily Advisor

Study Finds Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Is Flattening Worker Wages, Contributing to Income Inequality

"[R]esearchers found that the cost of employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) health care benefits increased much faster than workers' wages since the late 1980s, and likely reduced wages by an average of about $9,000 per year by 2019. They also found that the percentage of worker compensation going toward premiums was substantially higher for Black and Hispanic workers and lower-income workers, and likely contributed to income inequality."  MORE >>

Medical Xpress

The Drugs That Got More — and Less — Expensive This January

"January is when drug makers typically hike their prices. This year, there's a mixed bag of price increases and a few notable declines, such as on some forms of insulin." [3-minute audio]  MORE >>

National Public Radio [NPR]

The Impact of the Work from Home Era on Vision Care

"Despite being often overlooked in health care benefits, vision care is pivotal in identifying and addressing key medical issues early on. With the new year underway and January marking National Eye Care Month, now is the ideal time for benefits advisors to start conversations about ancillary products like vision."  MORE >>

BenefitsPro; free registration required

District Court's Disability Benefits Ruling Holds Claim Evaluation Lessons

"[T]he court found that 'even when accorded only ordinary weight,' the treating doctors' findings persuasively established that Haynes was unable to perform the requirements of her occupation.... Unless there is some evidence that would undermine a claimant's reports of pain and fatigue, the insurance company has no basis for disregarding such complaints.... [A] favorable Social Security determination is relevant evidence in support of a claim for disability insurance benefits." [Haynes v. Principal Life Ins. Co., No. 22-2499 (N.D. Texas January 3, 2024]  MORE >>

DeBofsky Law

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

DOL and PBGC Announce Retirement Plan Civil Penalties for 2024

"[A chart] shows DOL's maximum 2024 penalties for single-employer defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) plans, with 2023 penalties shown for comparison. The increased amounts apply to penalties assessed after Jan. 15, 2024, for violations occurring after Nov. 2, 2015.... PBGC's 2024 maximum penalty under ERISA Section 4071 for single-employer DB plans is $2,670 a day (up from $2,586 in 2023) for each day a filing, notice or other information is overdue. The higher rate applies to penalties assessed after Jan. 12, 2024."  MORE >>


The Excellent Fiduciary: Traits of Effective Committee Members (PDF)

"The architecture of employee benefit plan committees, also known as plan fiduciary or plan oversight committees, is as diverse as the organizations that sponsor them. There is, however, essential consistency in the skills and experiences of the individuals employers appoint to serve as committee members."  MORE >>

Roland Criss, via Journal of Compensation and Benefits

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Resolving to Simplify Healthcare Benefits



Retiree Drug Plans: Creditable Coverage, EGWP, and Changes Under the IRA

February 21, 2024 WEBINAR

Conference of Consulting Actuaries

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

A Change Would Do You Good, But Do the Section 125 Cafeteria Plan Rules Permit It?

Holland & Hart LLP

Fast-Approaching Deadlines for ACA Reporting and Similar State Reporting

Venable LLP

Ninth Circuit Finds Assignment of Rights Gives Surgery Center Authority to Sue Anthem for Non-Payment of Benefits

Roberts Disability Law

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

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