Pres. Trump Signs Executive Order Likely to Destabilize Insurance Markets

  • October 13, 2017

On Thursday, October 12, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that many experts predict will significantly undercut the viability of insurance markets regulated by the Affordable Care Act. The thrust of the executive order is aimed at easing regulations on "association health plans" or plans that allow groups of employers, typically in the same industry, to band together in order to buy low cost/minimal benefits insurance for their employees. Prior to the ACA, these types of plans were known as…

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Governor Brown Considers Bill that Would Allow Employee Benefit Trust Funds to Pursue Unpaid Contributions from General Contractors When Subs Fail to Pay

  • September 25, 2017

Assembly Bill 1701 (Thurmond) is a proposal to amend the California Labor Code to require general contractors on private projects to assume and be liable for the unpaid employee fringe benefit contributions incurred by subcontractors at any tier. A.B. 1701 creates a private right of action for claimants such as Taft-Hartley Multiemployer plans and Joint Labor-Management Cooperation Committees as against a general contractor, even if there is no direct contract between the claimant and the general. The bill would also…

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Effort to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Revives

  • September 19, 2017

New reports suggest a further effort is underway to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) drafted the surprise revival of the repeal effort. A summary of the plan by Vox News can be found here. Fitch Ratings describes the current effort as "more disruptive for most states than prior Republican efforts. States that expanded Medicaid access to the newly eligible population under the [ACA] are particularly at risk under this latest…

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Even “Skinny Repeal” Bill Could Not Make The Cut

  • July 28, 2017

In another major blow to the Trump administration, the Senate blocked a “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Act with three Republican senators, voting  “no.”    The three GOP senators included Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator John McCain of Arizona.  Details of the plan were released only hours before the senators voted on it.  The so called “skinny repeal” would have eliminated the individual and employer mandates, an integral part of the Affordable Care Act.  According…

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The Supreme Court Clarifies Circuit Split about whether ERISA Governs Church-Affiliated Benefits Plans

  • July 7, 2017

The Supreme Court again tackled ERISA in a wordy opinion based more on a “canon of construction” (interpretive tools Courts use to analyze statutes and regulations and glean Congressional intent) than substantive employee benefits law. The Court’s holding in Dignity Health v. Rollins clarifies a split amongst the federal Courts of Appeals regarding ERISA’s reach into church-affiliated benefits plans. Generally, ERISA obligates private employers offering pension plans to adhere to an array of rules designed to ensure plan solvency and…

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The Working Families Flexibility Act: A Proposal That Would Give Workers Less Flexibility and Less Pay

  • May 18, 2017

The Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180) (“the Act”), introduced by Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.), aims to “amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector” by allowing employees, through an agreement with their employers, to choose paid time off as compensation for working more than 40 hours in one week (“comp time”). Read the full official text here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1180/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22H.R.+1180%22%5D%7D&r=1   The Act would allow employers to offer comp time in…

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House Passes American Health Care Act

  • May 18, 2017

On May 4, 2017, the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Previously, the AHCA failed to garner enough support and the House ultimately passed an amended version of the bill.  The current bill allows states to waive essential health benefits, permits older enrollees to be charged more, slashes Medicaid funding and gives states the option to seek waivers that would allow insurers to charge more for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The AHCA also has provisions for lifetime and…

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Trump Administration Fails to Keep Promise to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

  • March 31, 2017

The Trump administration experienced a major setback last week, after the bill to repeal Obamacare was pulled because it was clear there was not enough support from the Republican party. House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted that President Obama’s signature health care law will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.  For now, many Democrats have breathed a sigh of relief.  However, it is not yet known what other measures the Trump Administration may take to try to dismantle the health…

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Millennial Retirement Savings Habits

  • March 31, 2017

It is no secret that many millennials will never have the chance to participate in a defined benefit pension plan. Instead, most millennials will be participants in self-directed defined contribution plans.  Are more choices better for millennials?  Not necessarily, according to a recent paper published by JP Morgan Asset Management, which looked at millennial retirement plan preferences.  The paper revealed that many millennials preferred guidance from experienced investors and even from their own employers when it comes to choosing investments…

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Shifting Gears- The Move Towards Self-Insurance

  • March 31, 2017

As companies struggle with soaring health care costs, many are now exploring alternative options instead of providing employees a traditional, fully insured health plan that may be offered by insurance giants such as Kaiser or Aetna. Through self-insurance, employers, or multi-employer plans use plan assets to pay out participant claims.  To protect an employer or a health plan from catastrophic losses, self-insured plans obtain stop-loss insurance policies.  Third party administrators are routinely utilized to administer the claims administration process.  Wohlner…

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