August 16, 2022
Hawaii Establishes a Retirement Savings Account Program
August 02, 2022
On July 12, 2022, Gov. Ige signed SB 3289 into law, establishing the Hawaii Retirement Savings Account Program. The program will be a state-facilitated payroll-deduction retirement savings plan for private sector employees in Hawaii who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. The new law also creates a new board within the Department of Budget and Finance. The board, once appointed, will determine the program’s time frames, including effective dates of employee contributions and enrollment.
Any employer who is in business in Hawaii, has at least one employee working in that state and did not maintain a tax-qualified retirement plan for employees during the preceding two years will be required to provide a notice to employees. The notice, for which we expect a model from the board, will inform employees of their right to opt into the program. If an employee enrolls, the employer will be required to withhold the contribution amount from the employee’s salary or wages. The employer will then be required to transmit the contributions to the state program on the earliest date that the amount can reasonably be segregated from the employer's assets, but no later than the fifteenth day of the calendar month following the month in which the employee's contribution amounts were withheld. Failure to comply could result in a penalty of no less than $500 for each violation or failure (up to a maximum of $5,000 per calendar year).
The default election amount will be 5% of the employee’s salary or wages. The employee may elect to contribute a higher or lower percentage as long as the amount does not exceed IRS limits. The program shall establish for each enrolled employee a Roth IRA, into which the contributions deducted from an employee's payroll shall be deposited. The board may decide to add a traditional IRA as an option. Employer contributions will not be permitted. However, there is a special fund from which the board may decide to contribute $500 for the first 50,000 covered employees who participate in the program for twelve consecutive months after initial enrollment.
This is just the latest requirement for employers with at least one employee in Hawaii. The state already has a statutory disability requirement as well as unique requirements related to medical coverage. For additional information on these requirements, please ask your advisor for details. In regard to the new retirement savings program, employers should be aware of the new requirement and continue to watch for updates in Compliance Corner.
SB 3289 »
2022 Temporary Disability Insurance Weekly Maximums Announced
December 21, 2021
The state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations recently announced the 2022 Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) maximum weekly benefit and contribution amounts.
The weekly benefits amount remains 58% of an employee’s average weekly wages. However, the maximum benefits amount was increased to $697 per week in 2022 from $640 per week in 2021.
Further, the employee maximum weekly contribution was increased to $6 per week in 2022 from $5.51 per week in 2021.
Employers with employees in Hawaii should consult with their payroll vendors and disability insurers to ensure that the appropriate contributions will be withheld starting January 1, 2022, and that the new maximum weekly benefit is reflected for the claims paid in 2022.
State of Hawaii - 2022 Maximum Weekly Wage Based and Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount »
Gender Identity Benefit Explanations
October 12, 2021
On October 6, 2021, Insurance Commissioner Hayashida issued Memorandum 2021-13H, reminding insurers to post clear and complete explanations of coverage for gender identity services applicable to their plans prior to plan year 2022. Hawaii insurance regulations explicitly prohibit discrimination in health plans with respect to participation and coverage based on actual or perceived gender identity. This lines up Hawaii law with ACA Section 1557.
Employers with plans in Hawaii should familiarize themselves with this guidance.
Memorandum 2021-13H »
Gender Identity Discrimination Prohibited
June 22, 2021
On June 10, 2021, Insurance Commissioner Hayashida issued Memorandum 2021-8H, reminding insurers that Hawaii’s insurance laws explicitly prohibit health plan discrimination based on actual or perceived gender identity. Specifically, plans issued in Hawaii may not deny, cancel or limit coverage for services related to gender transition if there is coverage for those same services when treatment is not related to gender transition.
This memorandum confirms that Hawaii law parallels ACA Section 1557. Any employer with a fully insured plan issued out of Hawaii should be aware of this prohibition.
Memorandum 2021-8H »
Voluntary Special Enrollment Period for Off-Marketplace Health Plans
March 02, 2021
On February 26, 2021, Commissioner Hayashida issued Memorandum 2021-1H, encouraging insurers to offer a special enrollment period (SEP) to permit individuals to enroll in ACA-compliant off-marketplace health plans. This SEP is encouraged as the federal marketplace will reopen for a 90-day SEP pursuant to President Biden’s executive order.
Insurers that choose to provide this parallel SEP to plans outside the marketplace should submit an informational filing with a letter and documents as required by the commissioner.
This information may be of use to employees who have not been able to enroll in other coverage. However, this SEP for non-exchange coverage would likely not give rise to a qualifying event that would allow employees to terminate their employer group health plan coverage. It is also important to note that these private health plans often meet ACA requirements, but consumers would not qualify for premium tax credits to help pay for them.
Employers with employees in Hawaii should be aware of this development.
Memorandum 2021-1H »
Voting Leave Repealed
August 20, 2019
On June 28, 2019, Governor Ige signed HB 1248 into law. Effective with the 2020 primary election, the law requires all elections statewide to be conducted by mail. Because of this requirement, an employee's absence during the day will not be necessary in order to visit a polling location. Thus, the new law also repeals the voting leave law, which provided employees with up to two hours of leave for the purpose of voting.
HB 1248 »
Revised Disability Compensation Notice
February 05, 2019
The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has issued a revised version of the “Disability Compensation Law Notice to Employees,” which must be posted in the workplace. The poster advises employees of their right to temporary disability insurance, prepaid health care and workers compensation benefits.
Revised Disability Compensation Law Notice to Employees »
August 21, 2018
On July 11, 2018, Gov. Ige signed HB 2145 into law. The new law allows for medication synchronization for participants who are taking two or medications for chronic conditions. The synchronization allows for the multiple medications to be filled at the same time by the same network pharmacy, which the new law states increases medication adherence. The new law specifically requires group health insurance policies to provide coverage for partial supplies of such medication (less than a 30 day supply) with prorated cost sharing applied. The law was effective July 1, 2018.
HB 2145 »
Restrictions on Short-Term, Limited-Duration Policies
August 21, 2018
On July 10, 2018, Gov. Ige signed HB 1520 into law. The new law prohibits an insurer from issuing or renewing a short-term, limited-duration health insurance policy for an individual who was eligible to purchase individual health insurance through the marketplace during open enrollment or a special enrollment period in the previous calendar year. Further, insurers are prohibited from issuing such a policy with a coverage period longer than 90 days. This law is more restrictive than the recently issued federal regulations related to short-term, limited-duration health insurance policies, which permits renewals for up to 36 months.
HB 1520 »