Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – January 13, 2017

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January 13, 2017


ERIC cheers bill to repeal Cadillac Tax

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has applauded the recently-introduced “Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017” (H.R. 173), which would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s 40 percent excise tax on certain health benefits, better known as the Cadillac tax. In a January 5, 2017 letter to Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), along with House Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT), ERIC’s Senior Vice President for Health Policy James Gelfand said that repeal of the Cadillac tax would eliminate crushing financial burdens on employers and employees, along with time-consuming and expensive administrative tax compliance burdens….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Obama warns about dangers of ‘irresponsible’ ACA repeal without replacement

President Obama criticized Congressional Republicans’ plans to “repeal first and replace later,” calling their intention to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) without first creating a replacement plan “irresponsible.” In a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece, Obama took pen to paper for the second time in six months to publicize the benefits of the ACA. He emphasized the careful planning that went into passing the bill—“more than a year of public debate”—and warned that, without a replacement plan, “the health care system will be standing on the edge of a cliff” as stakeholders potentially remain inactive while waiting for what comes next….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 12, 2017


Current accommodation for employers objecting to contraception coverage will remain unchanged

In FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation Part 36, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (the Departments) have decided not to modify the current accommodation for employers that object to contraceptive coverage on religious grounds. No feasible approach was identified that would resolve the concerns of religious objectors, while still ensuring that women enrolled in the organizations’ health plans have access to coverage of the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS expands user fee exemption for small employer plan determination letter applications

The IRS has indicated that it will treat an application for a small employer retirement plan’s determination letter as being filed within a qualifying open remedial amendment period if the plan was first in existence no earlier than January 1 of the tenth calendar year preceding the year in which the application is filed (ten-year rule)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 11, 2017

Some ACA provisions could continue temporarily post-repeal

Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its associated taxes could come quickly but changes, possibly including changes to the ACA’s tax provisions, may not be in place until 2018 or later, a Republican member of Congress said on January 5. At the same time, Democrats in Congress continue to urge reforms and improvements to the ACA….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA policy reforms improved coverage, health care access

Between 2013 and 2015, uninsured rates for adults under 65 declined in all states, and fewer adults reported forgoing necessary medical care due to costs. An issue brief from the Commonwealth Fund titled, “A Long Way in a Short Time: States’ Progress on Health Care Coverage and Access, 2013–2015,” attributed these drastic changes to the policy reforms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The brief analyzed publicly available data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine the impact of the ACA and to provide a focal point for assessments of future policy changes by providing a baseline against which results can be measured….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Res judicata bars belated constitutional challenge to withdrawal liability assessment

Under the doctrine of res judicata, a company that signed a consent judgment to pay withdrawal liability may not file suit three years later claiming that ERISA’s withdrawal liability provision is unconstitutional, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 10, 2017


ACA repeal bill introduced

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has introduced a bill (H.R. 277) in the House to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the health-care related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. The bill, the American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 (AHCRA), includes an effective date of January 1, 2018….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

States and faith-based providers granted preliminary injunction against HHS nondiscrimination rule

Eight states and three faith-based private health care providers were entitled to preliminary injunctive relief from enforcement of an HHS regulation implementing a section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal district court in Texas has ruled. The regulation violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) by contradicting existing law and exceeding statutory authority, and likely violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) (42 U.S.C. § 2000bb)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 9, 2017


Bipartisan bill introduced to repeal Cadillac tax

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) have introduced H.R. 173, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017, which would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) excise tax on high cost health plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Failure to notify employee that proper medical release needed to return to work constituted FMLA interference

A hospital interfered with a nurse’s FMLA rights as a matter of law by failing to notify him that he wouldn’t be restored to his position without a doctor’s return-to-work release, and triable issues existed as to when he was entitled to restoration and if his subsequent discharge for purported performance issues was pretextual, a divided Sixth Circuit panel ruled in an unpublished opinion, reviving his FMLA interference and retaliation claims, which had been dismissed on summary judgment. Dissenting in part, Circuit Judge Rogers agreed with the dismissal of his retaliation claim and believed he wasn’t entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the interference issue….

(Read Intelliconnect) »