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Employment Trends & Employee Benefits: The US in 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the US national unemployment rate rose by 0.1% from December 2017 to December 2018. The government shutdown accounted for an increase of 175,000 in temporary layoffs and part-time workers increased nearly 500,000. The total number of unemployed persons stands at 6.5 million, with less than 20% experiencing long-term unemployment.

Compliance Alert: EEOC’s Status Report in AARP v. EEOC Creates Uncertainty for Wellness Programs

Employers continue to face uncertainty as to wellness program incentives subject to the ADA and GINA (i.e., those with medical exams or disability-related inquiries) as the EEOC awaits confirmation of Janet Dhillon as EEOC Chair and considers “a number of policy choices available.” In other words, the EEOC may wait until the Senate confirms outstanding nominations before re-engaging in the rulemaking process, leaving wellness programs open to challenge in 2019 by employees who feel that the incentives (or penalties) are so great that they render the program involuntary.

Compliance Alert: CMS Extends Transition Relief for Non-Compliant Plans through 2019

On April 9, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a one-year extension to the transition policy (originally announced November 14, 2013 and extended several times since) for individual and small group health plans that allows issuers to continue policies that do not meet ACA standards. The transition policy has been extended to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2019, provided that all policies end by December 31, 2019.

Compliance Alert: IRS Adjusts 2018 HSA Contribution Limit – Again

The IRS has announced it is modifying the annual limitation on deductions for contributions to a health savings account (“HSA”) allowed for taxpayers with family coverage under a high deductible health plan (“HDHP”) for the 2018 calendar year. Under Rev. Proc. 2018-27, taxpayers will be allowed to treat $6,900 as the annual limitation, rather than the $6,850 limitation announced in Rev. Proc. 2018-18 earlier this year.

Looking Ahead: Considerations For The Employee Benefits Landscape In 2018

The current landscape of health care and employee benefits—which has become unrelenting in its complexities, compliance requirements, and rising costs—is requiring all of us to think and act differently. In this inaugural issue of our annual Employee Benefits Looking Ahead Guide, we highlight key trends we’re seeing, provide insight into some exciting developments that are pulling the industry forward, and share advice on how you can start thinking about your 2018 strategy.