Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – January 27, 2017

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New Reports




January 27, 2017


Patient Freedom Act introduced to repeal and replace ACA

An ACA repeal and replacement plan was introduced January 23 by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La, and Susan Collins, R-Me. The “Patient Freedom Act of 2017” (S. 191) would generally allow states to continue to use the infrastructure of the ACA state or federal Marketplaces, or to create new Marketplace portals. The GOP senators also proposed to create Roth Health Savings Accounts (Roth HSAs) funded by tax credits….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Companies report increase in productivity measures through focus on employee health

A survey of corporate real estate executives at large corporations conducted by CoreNet Global and CBRE Group, Inc. has found that when a company focuses on employee health and wellness, workers report increases in engagement and retention rates and absenteeism declines. The survey saw responses from 211 senior level executives in the corporate real estate profession: 66 percent were corporate real estate end-users (occupiers), 25 percent were in technology firms, and 23 percent were in financial services firms. Eighty-nine percent of the firms represented in the survey reported that they are focused on health and wellness initiatives….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 26, 2017


HHS nominee Price pushed on Cadillac tax, ACA at hearing

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of Health and Human Services, was pressed during his nomination hearing on whether repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) taxes would only benefit the wealthiest Americans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS provides guidance on the de minimis safe harbor from information reporting penalties

The IRS has provided guidance regarding the de minimis safe harbor from information reporting penalties under Code Secs. 6721 and 6722, as well as guidance regarding the payee election to have the safe harbor not apply. Code Secs. 6721 and 6722 apply to Form 1099-R, among other information returns. The safe harbor was established by Section 202 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-113, PATH Act)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 25, 2017

HHS nominee says ACA replacement will not trigger loss of coverage

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a January 18 confirmation hearing on Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “There has been a lot of talk about people losing coverage [after repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)]; that is not our goal, desire or plan,” Price said. Trump has said that his ACA replacement plan would be unveiled after Price’s confirmation as HHS secretary….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

More Americans with pre-existing conditions insured due to ACA

Between 2010 and 2014, the share of Americans with pre-existing conditions who went without health insurance all year fell from 13.8 percent to 10.7 percent, a drop of by 22 percent, according to an analysis by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). This drop means that 3.6 million fewer people with pre-existing conditions were uninsured. In addition, while data for individuals with pre-existing conditions are available only through 2014, the ASPE believes that because the uninsured rate has fallen by an additional 22 percent through mid-2016, those with pre-existing conditions have likely seen similar additional reductions….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 24, 2017


President Trump signs executive order on ACA

Within hours of being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) “minimizing the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA proposes class exemption for insurance intermediaries

The Employee Benefits Security Administration is proposing a class exemption for insurance intermediaries in connection with its controversial “fiduciary” rule, published on April 8, 2016. The provisions at issue generally prohibit fiduciaries with respect to employee benefit plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) from engaging in self-dealing and receiving compensation from third parties in connection with transactions involving the plans and IRAs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 23, 2017


Protected health info and HIPAA are focus of HHS discussion

With 2017 just beginning, covered entities, such as health plans and most health care providers, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (P.L. 104-191) need to be aware of current trends in the realm of protected health information (PHI). In a Health Care Compliance Association webinar titled “What’s New on the HIPAA Front?” Vaniecy Nwigwe and Debbie Campos of HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) presented an overview discussion of PHI designation and authorization, PHI breaches, enforcement matters, and marketing….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Uninsured numbers, premiums projected to rise with ACA repeal

Enactment of the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3762), which would repeal portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), would cause the number of uninsured Americans and the insurance premiums in the non-group market to rise immediately. With a new Congress and presidential administration, the previously rejected legislation will likely be revisited. According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report in collaboration with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and by request from Senate minority leaders, the number of uninsured Americans would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment and premiums in the non-group market would increase by 20 to 25 percent in that same year. The legislation would repeal portions of the ACA related to penalties and subsidies, but leave the ACA’s insurance market reforms intact….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

State university is an arm of the state, immune from FMLA suit

Montclair State University (MSU) is an arm of the state of New Jersey and, as such, is immune from federal suit under the FMLA, the Third Circuit held in a case of first impression, resolving a split among its district courts and dismissing a university employee’s FMLA suit on Eleventh Amendment immunity grounds. Citing the “near unanimity” among the federal circuits that state-affiliated colleges enjoy immunity, the appeals court detailed the “constitutional underpinnings” and case law that have shaped its own arm-of-the-state analysis in a lengthy decision. Left unanswered: whether Congress has abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity for FMLA claims, or whether New Jersey has waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court with regard to the employee’s state-law claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »