Aon Washington Report
June 12, 2017
House Approves Bill Reversing Some of Dodd-Frank Banking Regulations; Senate Passage
On June 8, 2017, the House passed with a 233–186 vote the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10). The bill would replace a number of the regulations signed into law as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The bill moves to the Senate, where passage is uncertain.
The full text of H.R. 10 is available here.
HHS and OCR Provide Quick-Response Cyber-Attack Checklist and Infographic
On June 8, 2017, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a checklist and a corresponding infographic that explains the steps for a HIPAA-covered entity or its business associate to take in response to a cyber-related security incident.
The cyber-security checklist is available here.
The cyber-security infographic is available here.
CMS Seeking Public Input on Reducing the “Regulatory Burdens of the ACA”
On June 8, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking recommendations and input from the public on how to create a “more flexible, streamlined approach to the regulatory structure of the individual and small group markets,” as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS stated the goal is to identify and eliminate or change regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective; impose costs that exceed benefits; or create inconsistencies that otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies.
“We are looking for valuable feedback on how to change existing regulations in ways that put patients first, promote greater consumer choice, enhance affordability and return more control over healthcare to the states,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Through this step, CMS is asking consumers to send us innovative ideas that will help stabilize and strengthen the individual and small group health insurance markets.” Comments on the RFI are due by July 12, 2017.
The news release is available here.
The RFI is available here.
DOL Withdraws Joint Employment, Independent Contractor Informal Guidance
On June 7, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the withdrawal of its 2015 and 2016 informal guidance (Administrator's Interpretation No. 2016-1 and Administrator's Interpretation No. 2015-1) on joint employment and independent contractors. According to the DOL, removal of the Administrator Interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the DOL’s regulations and case law. The DOL stated it will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
The news release is available here.
Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-1 (joint employment) is available here.
Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1 (independent contractors) is available here.
SCOTUS Affirms Church-Affiliated Plans Are “Church Plans” Exempt From ERISA
On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) unanimously held in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton that the ERISA exemption for a “church plan” includes a plan maintained for employees of an organization the “principal purpose” of which is the administration or funding of a church plan, provided the organization is “controlled by or associated with a church.” The case was brought by three employers that were church-affiliated nonprofit corporations that ran hospitals and other healthcare facilities and offered their employees a defined benefit pension plan.
The Aon bulletin which discusses the SCOTUS opinion is available here.
New SBC Templates for 2017, New Disability Claims Procedures for 2018
New claims procedures will apply to disability claims filed on or after January 1, 2018, under any ERISA-covered welfare or pension plan that provides benefits based on a finding of disability. The new rules align the claims procedure requirements for disability claims with the enhanced claims and appeals requirements that are already in place for group health plans.
Employers should review their plan documents, summary plan descriptions, claims forms, denial notices, and claims procedures to ensure that they are in compliance with the new disability claims requirements by January 1, 2018.
The Aon bulletin which summarizes the highlights of the final disability claims regulations is available here.