Just a reminder that the deadline for employers to send these notices is October 14. If you need more information, click here or call the office.
The suit is ongoing – this is the kind of thing we work hard to avoid for our clients.
The core of the fiduciary breach complaint is summarized as follows in case documents: “Lowe’s imprudently selected and retained the Hewitt Growth Fund for the Plan, in consultation with Hewitt (which served as the plan’s fiduciary investment consultant), despite the fact that (1) the Hewitt Growth Fund was a new and largely untested fund at the time it was added to the plan; (2) the Hewitt Growth Fund was underperforming its benchmark at the time it was added to the plan and continued to underperform after it was added to the plan; and (3) the Hewitt Growth Fund was not utilized by fiduciaries of any similarly-sized plans and was generally unpopular in the marketplace.”
For the full article, click here
The complaint says the target-date funds used in the plan and as the designated default investment were underperforming since they were selected, resulting in a great loss to participants.
By Rebecca Moore / PLANSPONSOR
The complaint notes that as fiduciaries, the Walgreen defendants must prudently curate the plan’s investment options. They must regularly monitor plan investments and remove ones that become imprudent. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants breached these fiduciary duties by adding to the plan in 2013 a suite of poorly performing funds called the Northern Trust Focus Target Retirement Trusts and keeping these funds in the plan despite their continued underperformance.
Despite a market “teeming with better-performing alternatives,” the plaintiffs say, Walgreen selected the Northern Trust Funds, which already had a history of poor performance. According to the complaint, they had significantly underperformed their benchmark indexes and comparable target-date funds since Northern Trust launched the funds in 2010.
The lawsuit contends it was predictable that the Northern Trust Funds continued underperforming through the present. For nearly a decade, these investment options performed worse than 70% to 90% percent of peer funds, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs say not only does Walgreen refuse to remove the funds, it has actually added Northern Trust funds to the plan’s investment lineup, and selected the Northern Trust target-date funds as the plan’s default investment.
The IRS has issued new guidelines, expanding the field of what is considered preventive care to include an additional list of 14 new items and services. This means that certain treatments, specifically for conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, liver disease and depression, now can be covered as preventive care by a HDHP without affecting Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility.
Out-of-network healthcare can be costly and is often something patients try to avoid. But when an emergency occurs, a visit to an in-network hospital can still result in an unpleasant surprise — a highly expensive medical bill because the patient was treated by an out-of-network physician.
Surprise billing and related costs are increasing among inpatient admissions and emergency department visits to in-network hospitals. From 2010 through 2016, 39% of more than 13 million trips to the emergency department at an in-network hospital by privately insured patients resulted in an out-of-network bill, a new study published by medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine finds.
“This is becoming a bigger and bigger issue,” says Kim Buckey, president of client services at DirectPath. “We’ll probably see more employers working at state and federal level to put some pressure on their representatives to do something about this. They’re paying their share of these higher out-of-network costs and it’s hitting their bottom lines as well as their employees.”
Affordable Care Act Penalty letters are making the rounds once again. The IRS is sending out new Penalty letters, this time for 2017 enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to assessing penalties for not offering coverage or if employees went to the exchange and received subsidies, they are now also sending out penalty assessments, enforcing the rules for Timely and Accurate Filing for the required Employer filings. These are referred to as IRS Letter 972CG penalty letters. These penalties are if the filings were not submitted on time or if the employer was large enough , they had to submit electronically to the IRS. They are also cross referencing corporate tax returns to see if there are control groups who would be considered 1 employer under the ACA and did not complete filings or did not provide proper coverage to employees which would trigger Penalty A or B of the Affordable Care Act for Employers. I attached an actual letter a client has received, dated 8/5/19.
We have seen employers in New York, Pa, Tx and Illinois receive penalty letters recently in the past week or so.
This is one of the reasons we benchmark fees and monitor quarterly.
“The suit claims that, for every year between 2013 and 2017 (the same time period in the Adidas case), the administrative fees charged to plan participants was “greater than 90 percent of its comparator fees when fees are calculated as cost per participant or when fees are calculated as a percent of total assets,” and that “the total difference from 2013 to 2017 between TriHealth’s fees and the average of its comparators based on total number of participants is $7,001,443.” Moreover, they claim that the total difference from 2013 to 2017 between TriHealth’s fees and the average of its comparators based on plan asset size is $7,210,002, and that the TriHealth plan charged 401(k) fees of $328 per person in 2017, when similarly sized plans – those with between $250 million and $500 million in assets – charged an average of only $166 per person that year.
At least part of that differential was attributed to the choice of actively managed funds. The plaintiffs note that, “by selecting and retaining the Plan’s excessive cost investments while failing to adequately investigate the use of superior, lower-cost mutual funds from other fund companies that were readily available to the Plan or foregoing those alternatives without any prudent reason for doing so, TriHealth caused Plan participants to lose millions of dollars of their retirement savings through excessive fees.”
For the full Article click here.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina‘s pharmacy benefit will be administered by OptumRx.
There will be little or no effect on most members from this change. However, there are a few updates to BlueCross’ prescription drug coverage for 2020:
As part of their health plan’s regular pharmacy benefit updates, some members may also experience changes to their prescription drug coverage on Jan. 1, 2020. Any member, who is currently taking a drug that will be affected by changes taking effect on Jan. 1, will be sent a letter in mid-October describing the change and any actions needed.
LabCorp, one of the largest clinical laboratory companies in the world, is now giving consumers the option to order their own blood tests online as it positions itself for a major expansion of brick-and-mortar testing sites in Walgreens stores.
The company announced the new offering July 22 as an expansion of its “Pixel” platform. Pixel was launched last October with self-directed test kits, which allow people to screen themselves at home for colorectal cancer, diabetes risk and lipid panels.
LabCorp’s newest offering allows consumers to go online and choose from 25 different test packages, which collectively cover 90 different lab tests. Test packages are targeted at various systems like thyroid health, kidney health and women’s health. After consumers buy a package, they can visit a LabCorp location for a phlebotomist to collect a blood sample, and they then receive test results within a week through an online portal. LabCorp operates testing sites at 41 Walgreens stores and plans to expand to more than 600 Walgreens locations by 2022. LabCorp currently has a total of nearly 2,000 patient service sites.
Want to know how much? Click here for the article.
I watched the first Democratic debate last evening, and the section on healthcare very carefully. Clearly the intention of the Democratic party is generally to head towards single payor/socialized medicine.
Whether we end up there or not, forced Telemedicine may play a big role going forward. ” The internet makes it possible for specialists on the other side of the globe to participate in complex, delicate surgeries, as well as for surgeons to examine patients being treated by paramedics in an ambulance or on a living room floor. For the article click here.
Would you take unlimited 24/7 access to primary care doctors via smartphone, tablet or computer, with zero out-of-pocket co-pays, if it meant you’d have to pay a lot more money to see your regular doctor in person?”
Lets take this to the next level.
You’ve had a tennis accident and suspect the worst: a broken leg.
A telemedicine doctor-on-demand confirms your fears: You need to see a physician in person. From your phone, you nab an Uber Health ride (HIPAA-safe, affordable and reliable) covered by your CVS/Aetna health plan.
At a state-of-the-art medical mall, the wait for an X-ray is short. You barely have time to pull out your iPhone and find your secure MyChart health records—data that are owned by you, but protected by blockchain.
Like clockwork, the radiologist’s report appears in the app, an orthopedist casts your leg and you schedule both your follow-up and physical therapy appointments then and there.
Sound like the faraway future? Think again. Healthcare is on the cusp of a technology revolution. Technology is primed to disrupt healthcare more explosively than it has any other industry.