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Informed Employer: October 11, 2017 Informed Employer: October 11, 2017

Informed Employer: October 11, 2017

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High Court Split Over Workers' Rights to File Class Action Suits
Liberal U.S. Supreme Court justices defended the right of workers to bring class-action lawsuits against companies but their conservative counterparts, who are in the majority, sounded skeptical in the biggest business case of the court's new term. The case focused on whether employers can require workers to sign arbitration agreements that curb their ability to bring class-action claims.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-10-02) Read the full article
High Court Takes on Mandatory Fees in Collective Bargaining Suit
The U.S. Supreme Court said it will try for a second time to decide whether five million government workers can refuse to pay union fees, accepting a case that could deal a major blow to the labor movement’s finances and clout. The court will consider overturning a 1977 ruling that lets public-sector unions in 22 states demand fees from workers who aren't members.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2017-09-28) Read the full article
States Urged to Mimic California Law Letting Workers Sue Bosses
A decade-old California law allows people to act as "private attorneys general," bringing cases against companies on behalf of the government. Activists are urging other states and cities to follow suit.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2017-09-29) Read the full article
DOJ Says Law Banning Sex Bias Doesn't Protect Transgender Workers
The U.S. Department of Justice has reversed course on whether federal law banning sex discrimination in the workplace provides protections for transgender employees, saying in a memo that it does not. The memo sent to U.S. Attorneys' offices by Attorney General Jeff Sessions says Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 only prohibits discrimination on the basis of a worker's biological sex, and not their gender identity.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-10-05) Read the full article
House Advances Bill to Rescind Definition of Joint-Employer
Legislation to repeal an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board ruling that made companies and franchisors potentially liable for labor law violations committed by their subcontractors or franchisees advanced in the House. The legislation would rescind the National Labor Relations Board's 2015 ruling that redefined a joint-employer.
(Source: The Hill, 2017-10-04) Read the full article
Workers Want Employers to Offer Identity Theft Protection Benefit
Identity theft protection is emerging as a vital employee benefit, a new survey shows. According to the IdentityForce Progressive Benefits Survey, 68% of HR professionals say identity theft benefits are growing in importance.
(Source: HR Dive, 2017-10-02) Read the full article
Most Companies Will Continue to Offer Birth Control Coverage
It's unlikely most employers will stop paying for birth control after Donald Trump took steps to reverse the federal mandate for employers to cover it, benefits analysts say. "For larger employers, there will likely be little impact," said Aon's J.D. Piro, who leads the health legal practice at the employee benefits consultancy, which works with some of the nation's largest employers and health insurance companies.
(Source:, 2017-10-07) Read the full article
EEOC Unveils New Programs Aimed at Creating Respectful Workplaces
Creating a respectful workplace environment is the focus of new training by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) beginning in October, the agency announced Oct. 4. The programs are the outgrowth of the EEOC's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace and the task force's report released in June 2016.
(Source: SHRMOnline, 2017-10-06) Read the full article
New Office Layouts Have Workers Moving Desks Often
New office designs are coming to a workplace near you, with layouts meant to cater to the variety of tasks required of modern white-collar workers. Put another way, it means people don't sit in just one place.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-10-06) Read the full article


New Medicare Cards Are Coming, Are You Ready?

Ann Stewart

After much discussion and anticipation, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the design of the new Medicare cards it will begin sending to beneficiaries in April 2018. The effort to remove any personal identifiers related to the Medicare beneficiary is referred to as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI). This initiative is designed to reduce identify theft and fraud. The new Medicare cards will include a new Medicare number (known has the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)). The MBI will be randomly-generated numbers and letters, not linked to the Medicare beneficiary. CMS is making additional changes to the card to simplify the information and remove reference to gender.

How does this change impact Medicare Secondary Payers?

The new cards will not impact the Medicare Secondary Payer Section 111 reporting obligations.  CMS will revise the reporting system to update the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) field to accommodate the MBI. We suggest insurers and third-party administrators review their processes to obtain and incorporate the new numbers as they are issued in the second quarter of 2018. All Medicare cards will be updated by April 2019.


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