Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – September 20, 2019


About this Newsletter

The Spencer’s Benefits Reports is a summary of the week’s news items posted
in the WHAT’S NEW pages of Spencer’s Benefits Reports
For questions regarding this email service, contact Customer Service at (800)449-9525.

NetNews Subscription

Want to receive these Newsletters via E-mail?

hr.cch.com Resources

About Links in this Newsletter

To access the IntelliConnect™ full text documents you must be a subscriber
to the Spencer’s Benefits Reports IntelliConnect product
(depending on the link*).

Links within news stories display full text documents including legislation, regulations,
court decisions, rulings and government reports.

The first time you click on a link you will be taken to the IntelliConnect login page, where you will need to enter your ID and password. Subsequent links will take you directly to the desired document.


If you aren’t a subscriber call 800-449-9525, or let us contact you about,

Email Us

Contact us by sending an e-mail to


Featured This Week


New Reports





Employee’s change in premium payment method during leave was not a ‘qualifying’ COBRA event

A Steak N Shake employee did not experience a “qualifying event” entitling her and her husband to a COBRA notification after the company began deducting her premium payments for her health insurance from her workers’ compensation benefits while she was on medical leave, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in reversing the district court’s grant of summary judgment in her favor, as well its award of damages, penalties, and attorneys’ fees. Because the terms and conditions of her insurance coverage did not change during her leave, the lower court erroneously found that the reduction in her hours upon her injury constituted a “qualifying event.”

        (Read Cheetah) »

Employers who offer ICHRAs can’t steer participants toward any specific health insurance plan, experts advise

About 800,000 employers are expected to offer individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (ICHRA) under final rules issued in June 2019 by the Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Health and Human Services (HHS). That’s according to Matt Litton, EBSA Employee Benefits Law Specialist, and Kevin Knopf, IRS Senior Technician Reviewer, who spoke at a recent health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) compliance assistance webcast. The speakers discussed several components of the final rules, including the ICHRA requirements, excepted benefit HRAs and the ERISA safe harbor.

        (Read Cheetah) »

HIPAA penalty caps down, but don’t put blinders on, HCCA webinar warns

Although it is good news for providers that HIPAA penalty caps have declined for certain violations, it does not mean that HIPAA enforcement will slow or that state attorney generals might not become more active. In a Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) webinar, “OCR Lowers Annual Penalty Caps for Certain HIPAA Violations,” presented by Adam Greene, J.D., MPH, Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, OCR actions and trends, consequences of changes in HIPAA penalties, what future HIPAA enforcement might look like, as well as steps to reduce penalties, were topics that were covered in-depth.

        (Read Cheetah) »

New opinion letters address FMLA, HSA questions

On September 10, the Department of Labor issued two new opinion letters that address delayed designation of FMLA leave when a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is involved, and whether employers’ contributions to employees’ health savings accounts (HSAs) are “earnings” under the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA).

        (Read Cheetah) »

FAQs finalize previous guidance on mental health parity rules

The Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (Departments) have issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). These FAQs finalize and clarify proposed FAQs, issued on April 23, 2018, which had addressed an array of issues, including experimental treatments, dosage limits, step therapy, reimbursement rates and disclosure requirements.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Employees with access to paid leave increases to 66 percent

In 2017-2018, 66 percent of U.S. workers had access to paid leave at their jobs, according to a recent analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This increased from 60 percent in 2011, and the BLS noted that the increases in access to paid leave were widespread across demographic and other characteristics. These findings come from the 2017-18 Leave and Job Flexibilities Module of the American Time Use Survey conducted by the BLS.

        (Read Cheetah) »