Alden Bianchi

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Alden J. Bianchi is an experienced Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation lawyer who advises corporate, not-for-profit, governmental and individual clients on a broad range of executive compensation and employee benefits matters, including qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans. Read Alden Bianchi's full bio.

Group Medical Captives, Level Funding and US Healthcare Policy


By on Jun 18, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

In a recent article in Managed Healthcare Executive, Peter Wehrwein examines the trend of self-funding of group health benefits by smaller employers who used to depend mainly or entirely on fully insured programs. The shift to self-funding, the article explains, is grounded in the Employee Retirement Income Security (ERISA), which exempts self-funded plans from state...

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The Impact of the ACA 1557 Final Regulations on Pregnancy and Abortion


By on Jun 6, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, or any combination thereof, in a health program or activity, any part of which is receiving federal financial assistance. On May 6, 2024, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for...

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HHS Final Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Regulations: Gender-Affirming Care and the Role of Carriers Under ASO Arrangements


By , and on Jun 5, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

On April 26, 2024, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule (press release, fact sheet, FAQs) reinterpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, or any combination thereof, in a health program or activity, any part of which...

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The Impact of the ACA 1557 Final Regulations on Gender-Affirming Care


By on May 30, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, or any combination thereof, in a health program or activity, any part of which is receiving federal financial assistance. On May 6, 2024, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for...

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The ACA 1557 Final Regulations: Plans and Plan Sponsors as Covered Entities


By on May 21, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

In a recent On the Subject (available here), we reported on the impact of the final rule (final rule) interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on self-funded group health plans that contract with licensed health insurance issuers to provide administrative services. That article considered instances in which neither the plan sponsor nor...

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IRS Announces 2025 Limits for Health Savings Accounts, High-Deductible Health Plans and Excepted Benefit HRAs


By , and on May 9, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced (see Revenue Procedure 2024-25) cost-of-living adjustments to the applicable dollar limits for health savings accounts (HSAs), high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and excepted benefit health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) for 2025. All of the dollar limits currently in effect for 2024 will change for 2025, with the exception of one...

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Lessons from Ryan S. v. UnitedHealth Group for the 2023 MHPAEA Proposed Rule


By on Apr 18, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans, Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

A recently decided US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit case, Ryan S. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., offers some useful insights on the enforcement by private litigants of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Like other similar cases, the case invites questions about the impact of potential changes under the proposed...

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How Pending Fishing Boat Cases at the Supreme Court Could Rock the Benefits Plan Boat


By , , and on Mar 12, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits

If the US Supreme Court strikes down the established doctrine of significant judicial deference to certain government agency interpretations in two upcoming fishing boat cases, this decision could have ripple effects on employee benefit plan sponsors and fiduciaries. Such a decision would rock the boat and create more uncertainty in administering employee benefits. Read more...

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Gender-Affirming Benefits: Best Practices for Group Health Plans


By , and on Mar 5, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

Group health plan sponsors, third-party administrators and other health plan service providers must navigate a shifting legal landscape as they determine how to offer gender-affirming benefits, including whether − and to what extent − group health plans must cover gender-affirming medical or surgical treatments, especially regarding minors. In this On the Subject, we discuss recent...

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The MHPAEA Proposed Rule: ‘Meaningful Benefits’ and the ‘Scope of Services’


By on Feb 20, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans, Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

This post continues our consideration of comments submitted in response to proposed regulations under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Our previous MHPAEA content is available here. Under current law, if a plan provides any mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits in any classification of benefits, benefits for that condition or use disorder...

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