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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 7, 2024

2 New Job Opportunities 2 New Job Opportunities


[Official Guidance]

Draft IRS Publication 969: Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans (PDF)

24 pages; Feb. 6, 2024.  "For use in preparing 2023 returns.... What's New: ... Notice 2023-37 addresses the announced end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic ... Notice 2023-37 also clarifies whether certain items and services are treated as preventive care under section 223(c)(2)(C). S"  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Official Guidance]

Draft of 2023 Instructions for IRS Form 7206: Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction (PDF)

Feb. 6, 2024. "What's New: This form and its separate instructions have replaced the Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction Worksheet that was previously published as a worksheet in Pub. 535, Business Expenses. Use this form and its instructions to determine any amount of the self-employed health insurance deduction you may be able to claim and report on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 17." [Also available: 2023 Form 7206]  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Roundup of Selected State Health Developments, Fourth-Quarter 2023 (PDF)

"Massachusetts modified its paid family and medical leave (PFML) law, while Colorado and Oregon issued guidance as PFML benefits became available in September 2023 and January 2024, respectively. Significant paid sick leave (PSL) changes occurred, with four cities amending ordinances and Minnesota providing resources for its earned sick and safe time law, which took effect Jan. 1. Prescription drug (Rx) issues arose in California, Hawaii and New York. California and Michigan enacted health insurance laws. California also authorized a study on universal healthcare financing. Illinois delayed a new pay/benefit parity law for temporary employees."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Provide A New Optional Approach for Providing Contraceptive Coverage

"Under the optional new approach, a plan must cover, without cost sharing, all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and drug-led devices in a particular category .. except those that have at least one therapeutic equivalent."  MORE >>

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

[Guidance Overview]

Correcting Improper Health FSA Payments

"IRS guidance outlines a multi-step correction procedure to address improper FSA payments. Although the employer is the plan sponsor directly responsible for compliance, the FSA third-party administrator (TPA) may apply the correction procedures on the employer's behalf. If all the available steps are unsuccessful in correcting the error, the final step is to include the amount of the improper payment in the employee's taxable income in the year of the correction."  MORE >>


Multiemployer Health and Welfare Fund Statistics: 2023 Report

"This year's report includes data for 1,226 plans covering approximately 4.6 million members as of 2021, the most recent year for which data is available.... The average plan could pay for approximately one year and three months of benefits and expenses with its net assets, a decrease of approximately one month of total expenses from last year."  MORE >>


HELP Committee Majority Staff Releases Report Revealing Big Pharma's Business Model

"The [14-page] report documents how [U.S. pharmaceutical companies] make billions of dollars by charging Americans the highest prices in the world. The profits they make selling some drugs in the U.S far exceeds the money they make in the rest of the world combined. The report also systematically analyzes the launch prices of innovative prescription drugs ... to reveal how these companies are charging exponentially higher prices in the U.S. than they did twenty years ago." [Also available: 4-page summary.]  MORE >>

Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, U.S. Senate

Benefits in General

Selected Problems with Multiemployer Plan Reciprocity (PDF)

"Many multiemployer employee benefit plans use reciprocity agreements to allow workers to have benefit contributions earned by traveling workers transferred back to their home plans.... [P]lans may misunderstand how [these agreements] work.... Plan fiduciaries can reduce their risks in connection with reciprocity by requiring travelers to sign a reciprocity authorization agreement that includes a waiver of claims against the plan. Plan fiduciaries should establish policies to ensure that they have a sensible and defensible reciprocity program."  MORE >>

benefits magazine, a publication of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Stress Rx: Treat HR Burnout with Better Benefits Administration

"Embracing a modern benefits administration solution, particularly through a knowledgeable partner, proves to be a powerful strategy in combating HR burnout. By reducing the administrative load, improving budget efficiency, enhancing the employee experience, smoothing knowledge gaps and providing data-based insights, HR leaders can not only reduce burnout within their teams but also contribute to a healthier, more productive workplace on a broader scale."  MORE >>


401(k) and HSA Account Balances Increased in 2023

"[A]verage 401(k) account balances rose 15% to $86,280 in 2023, increasing from $75,045 at the end of 2022, due to a combination of participants contributing higher amounts to their plans, and increases in the value of investments.... [Y]ear-end 2023 Health Savings Account balances increased 11% over the prior year.3"  MORE >>

Merrill Lynch

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Manager, Defined Contribution for MGKS

Manager, Defined Contribution


AZ / Hybrid

View job as Manager, Defined Contribution for MGKS

View job as Internal Wholesaler for Alerus

Internal Wholesaler


Hopkins MN

View job as Internal Wholesaler for Alerus

Selected New Discussions

Offering Full-Cost Health Plan Coverage to New Employees During Eligibility Waiting Period

"Small employer group health policies have, since ACA, been allowed to impose no more than a 90-day waiting period on new employees before they must be offered coverage. 42 U.S.C. 300gg-7. Can a small employer offer coverage in that time frame to a new employee, but it would require the employee to pay all of the premium expense until say 1 or 2 years of employment have passed?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Experienced Employee Benefits, ERISA Lawyer Craig Spenner Joins Armstrong Teasdale

Armstrong Teasdale

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Health and Welfare Compliance: An Overview of Common Compliance Items and Deadlines

February 20, 2024 WEBINAR


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

ERISA Fiduciary Suit Challenges Johnson & Johnson Health Plan Prescription Drug Costs

American Retirement Association [ARA]

IRS Releases Final Guidance on Penalty Exceptions for Failure to File Correct Information Returns or Furnish Payee Statements


Lawsuit Alleges Johnson and Johnson Mismanaged Company's Health Plan Prescription Costs

Seeking Alpha

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

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