State Legislative Changes – July 2017

July 2017 Update

Indiana
Health Benefit Mandates—Effective July 1, 2017, insured group health plans must provide coverage for health-care services delivered through telemedicine.

Telemedicine means delivery of health-care services using electronic communications and information technology, including secure videoconferencing, interactive audio using store and forward technology, or remote monitoring technology when plan participants are located at originating sites and health-care providers are located at distant sites.

Iowa
Unemployment Insurance—Effective for 2018, the taxable wage base is $29,900.

Maryland
Health Insurance Marketplace—Effective June 1, 2017, provisions related to employee open enrollment periods for selecting or changing qualified health benefit plans offered by employers through the Small Business Health Options Program are revised.

Employee Enrollment and Responsibilities—Eligible employees of qualified employers can, but aren't required to, enroll in qualified health benefit plans offered by employers through the SHOP.

Annual open enrollment periods—Qualified employees can enroll in the SHOP and select or change qualified health benefit plans during annual open enrollment periods that occur before the end of employers' plan year.

Open enrollment periods—
Employees who become eligible employees outside annual open enrollment periods can enroll in the SHOP and select or change qualified health benefit plans during open enrollment periods. Open enrollment periods last at least 30 days and are triggered when eligible employees or their dependents:

  • lose minimum essential coverage;
  • adequately demonstrate that the qualified health benefit plan in which they are currently enrolled substantially violated a material provision of the plan's contract with employees or their dependents;
  • gain access to new qualified health benefit plans because they move and (effective June 1, 2017, either had minimum essential coverage for one or more days during the 60-day period before the date of the permanent move or were living outside of the U.S. or in a U.S. territory at the time of the permanent move);
  • demonstrate that eligible employees or their dependents meet other exceptional circumstances in accordance with federal Department of Health and Human Services' or SHOP guidelines;
  • become ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP; or
  • lose pregnancy related or medically needy coverage as provided by the Social Security Act.

Open enrollment periods also are triggered if eligible employees' or their dependents' enrollment or disenrollment in qualified health plans is determined by the Exchange to be unintentional, inadvertent, or erroneous and the result of the error, misrepresentation, misconduct, or inaction of an officer, employee, or agent of the Exchange, HHS, its instrumentalities, or a non-Exchange entity providing enrollment assistance or conducting enrollment activities. Open enrollment periods also are triggered if eligible employees are Native Americans as defined by the Federal Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

Effective until June 1, 2017, open enrollment periods also are triggered if eligible employees or their dependents lose coverage under noncalendar year group or individual health benefit plans, regardless of whether eligible employees or their dependents have the option to renew coverage under such plans. Loss of coverage under noncalendar year group or individual health benefit plans is considered to occur on the last day of the plan or policy year.

Effective June 1, 2017, open enrollment periods also are triggered if eligible employees or their dependents:

  • adequately demonstrate to the Exchange that their decision to purchase qualified health benefit plans through the Exchange was influenced by a material error related to plan benefits, service area, or premiums; or
  • are enrolled in minimum essential coverage, but are victims of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment and want to enroll in coverage that is separate from the individual that caused the abuse or abandonment.
  • open enrollment periods also are triggered if eligible employees or their dependents:
  • apply for coverage through the individual Exchange during annual open or special enrollment periods;
  • are determined by the Exchange to be potentially eligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program or the Maryland Children's Health Program; and
  • are determined by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to be ineligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program or the Maryland Children's Health Program, either after open enrollment has ended or more than 60 days after the qualifying event.

Open enrollment periods also are triggered if eligible employees or their dependents apply for coverage through the Maryland Medical Assistance Program or the Maryland Children's Health Program during annual open enrollment periods and are determined to be ineligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program or the Maryland Children's Health Program after open enrollment has ended.

Open enrollment periods also are triggered for dependents of victims of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment if victims are eligible to enroll in qualified health benefit plans.

Special enrollment periods—Qualified employees can enroll in the SHOP and select or change qualified health benefit plans during special enrollment periods. Special enrollment periods occur when individuals experience certain events, including when qualified employees add dependents through marriage, birth, adoption, placement for adoption, placement for foster care, or as the result of issuance of a child support or other court order. At the option of the SHOP exchange, qualified eligible employees (or their spouses) who lose a dependent or are no longer considered to be a dependent due to death, divorce, or legal separation, can enroll during special enrollment periods.

Special enrollment periods also occur if qualified employees or their dependents were covered under employer-sponsored plans or group health benefit plans at the time coverage was previously offered and:

  • eligible employees state in writing that previous coverage was the reason for declining enrollment in employers' plan, if statements are required by plans;
  • Coverage was provided under COBRA and that coverage was exhausted, or coverage wasn't provided under COBRA and was terminated either as a result of loss of eligibility or employer contributions towards coverage were terminated; and
  • eligible employees request enrollment not more than 30 days after either the date of COBRA exhaustion, termination of coverage, or termination of employer contributions.

Employees and their dependents must be provided not less than 31 days from the date special enrollment periods are triggered to select qualified health benefit plans through the Exchange. Special enrollment periods begin on the later of the date:

  • Dependent coverage is made available; or
  • Of marriage, birth, adoption, placement for adoption, placement for foster care, issuance of child support or other court order, divorce, legal separation, or death.
  • Effective dates of coverage for employees or their dependents who enroll in coverage during the first 31 days of special enrollment periods are:
  • no later than the first day of the first month after the date completed enrollment requests are received in the case of marriage;
  • the date of birth, adoption, placement for adoption, or placement for foster care; and
  • the date a child support order or other court order is effective, or if the SHOP Exchange plan permits eligible employees to select an effective date based on the date the SHOP Exchange receives plan selections, the first day of the following month for plans selected between the first and the 15th day of any month and the first day of the second month for plans selected between the 16th and the last day of any month in the case of dependents added due to a child support order or any other court order.

If the SHOP exchange plan permits special enrollment periods in the case of eligible employees (or their spouses) if employees lose a dependent or employees' dependents are no longer considered to be dependents due to death, divorce, or legal separation, effective dates of coverage are the first day of the:

  • month following plan selections in the case of employees or dependents' death, or if the SHOP exchange plan permits eligible employees to select an effective date based on the date the SHOP Exchange receives plan selections, the first day of the following month for plans selected between the first and the 15th day of any month and the first day of the second month for plans selected between the 16th and the last day of any month in the case of death of employees or their dependents; and
  • following month for plans selected between the first and the 15th day of any month and the first day of the second month for plans selected between the 16th and the last day of any month in the case of divorce or legal separation.

Missouri
EEO Enforcement—Effective Aug. 28, 2017, the administration and enforcement of Missouri's fair employment practices law is amended to modify the definition of employer, require employees and applicants to file discrimination complaints with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights before filing lawsuits, and impose caps on damages in employment discrimination awards.

http://www.senate.mo.gov/17info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=57095378

Equal Employment Opportunity—Effective Aug. 28, 2017, employees and applicants who sue for unlawful discrimination under Missouri fair employment practices law must show that their protected class status was the motivating factor in an adverse employment action, rather than a contributing factor in the action.

http://www.senate.mo.gov/17info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=57095378

Whistle-Blowing—Effective Aug. 28, 2017, covered employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who report their employers' unlawful acts, their employers' serious misconduct that violates a clear mandate of public policy, or who refuse to carry out employers' unlawful directives.

http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills131/biltxt/commit/HB0320C.htm

New Hampshire
Effective Sept. 3, 2017, employee tip-pool participants voluntarily may provide a portion of the tip pool to other employees who serve customers.

New Jersey
Effective from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, temporary disability insurance tax rates for experienced employers range from 0.1 percent to 0.75 percent. Additionally, the temporary disability insurance tax rate for new employers is 0.5 percent.

Effective from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, unemployment insurance tax rates for experienced employers range from 0.5 percent to 3.6 percent for positive-rated employers and from 5.1 percent to 5.8 percent for negative-rated employers. Additionally, the tax rate for new employers is 2.8 percent.

Ohio
Effective from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, assessments are not in effect for the first disabled workers' relief fund or the second disabled workers' relief fund.

Payroll assessment—first disabled workers' relief fund rate: The first disabled workers' relief fund is designed to provide at least a minimum level of income to workers with a permanent total disability because of an on-the-job injury or illness that occurred before Jan. 1, 1987. All employers are subject to assessments for this fund. The rate of contributions is annually established, often in March. The rate generally is at least 5 cents, but not more than 10 cents, per $100 of payroll. However, the board of directors of the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation can cancel the assessment for a 12-month period if the board determines that the first disabled workers' relief fund has a sufficiently high balance for the assessment to not need to be in effect.

The workers' compensation tax for this fund is assessed on payments made to employees working in the state of Ohio, regardless of where they reside.

Effective from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, the workers' compensation payroll tax applicable for private state fund employers for the first disabled workers' relief fund is not in effect. The tax also was not in effect from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017.

Private fund employers pay assessments for this fund semiannually on their gross payrolls for the preceding six months, with assessments due by the last day of February and by the last day of August.

Payroll assessment—second disabled workers' relief fund rate: The second disabled workers' relief fund is designed to provide at least a minimum level of income to workers with a permanent total disability because of an on-the-job injury or illness that occurred Jan. 1, 1987, or later. All employers are subject to assessments for this fund. The rate of contributions is annually established, often in March. The rate of the workers' compensation payroll tax applicable for private state fund employers for the second disabled workers' relief fund generally equals a percentage of the base rate of the state workers' compensation insurance fund premium. The board of directors of the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation can cancel the assessment for a 12-month period if the board determines that the second disabled workers' relief fund has a sufficiently high balance for the assessment to not need to be in effect.

Effective from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, the workers' compensation payroll tax applicable for private state fund employers for the second disabled workers' relief fund is not in effect. The tax also was not in effect from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017.

Private fund employers pay assessments for this fund semiannually on their gross payrolls for the preceding six months, with assessments due by the last day of February and by the last day of August.

Oregon
Effective Jan. 1, 2018, employers must not require employees to create, file, or sign documents with false information related to hours worked or compensation.

Rhode Island
Effective July 5, 2017, employers may not make deductions from employee wages for cash shortages, misconduct, losses and fines for tardiness, quitting without notice, breakage, or spoiled food.

Vermont
Effective July 5, 2017, employers may not make deductions from employee wages for cash shortages, misconduct, losses and fines for tardiness, quitting without notice, breakage, or spoiled food.

Washington
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, a state insurance program offers paid family and medical leave benefits to eligible employees for bonding after the birth or placement of a child, because of a family member's serious health condition, for a military exigency, or for an employee's own serious health condition. The benefits will be funded by employee payroll deductions that begin on Jan. 1, 2019.

http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/201718/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Passed%20Legislature/5975-S.PL.pdf

Select content in this document is provided by HR Workplace Serivces and presented to you by Crystal & Company without further verification. Other information in this document is based on publicly available information and from third party sources without further verification. We cannot and do not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of such information for any particular purpose. Please be advised that this document is neither intended to be an interpretation of any policy language nor is it to be construed as a contract or providing legal or tax advice.

Crystal & Company (www.crystalco.com) is the home for talented insurance professionals: creative, committed to their clients and driven to deliver extraordinary results. The company drives the strategy and execution behind insurance and employee benefits programs for businesses that want to be smart about risk. Crystal & Company is the insurance brokerage of choice for leading financial institutions, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Headquartered in New York City, the firm has 11 regional offices throughout the United States. Crystal & Company is an equity owner of Brokerslink, a global broking company with members in more than 95 countries around the world.

Contact Us