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Older News | April 18, 2014
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Executive Compensation Clawbacks: 2013 Proxy Disclosure Study (PDF)
PricewaterhouseCoopers More items by PricewaterhouseCoopers
4/17/2014

18 pages. Excerpt: "This study presents [an] analysis of 2009 through 2012 year-end proxy disclosures for 100 large public companies relative to their compensation recoupment or 'clawback' policies.... Of the companies in [this] study, 92% have policies to recoup compensation if there's a restatement of financial results.... 27% require repayment in the event of a restatement without personal accountability.... Another prevalent reason for recoupment of incentives was misconduct (84%), which includes breaking a company's code of conduct or ethics policies, being convicted of a criminal offense, or other transgressions[.]"
President Obama's 2015 Budget Proposes Changes to Employer Benefits
Towers Watson More items by Towers Watson
4/17/2014

"The budget calls for new limits for tax-preferred retirement plans, caps on tax preferences for health and retirement benefits, and higher PBGC premiums. While the full proposal is unlikely to gain legislative traction, revenue-raising provisions could be attached to other legislative proposals. The budget would establish automatic payroll deduction IRAs -- a long-standing proposal from the administration and some lawmakers."
Retirement Security Tops List of Employee Concerns
Towers Watson More items by Towers Watson
4/17/2014

"Older DC plan-only participants are more likely to expect most of their retirement income to come from Social Security. Almost seven in 10 workers were happy with their health plans in 2007, but satisfaction rates dropped to 59% in 2013. Sixty-two percent would give up some pay for a guaranteed retirement benefit, and more than half would sacrifice pay for a more generous benefit."
Text of Social Security Notice of Discontinuation of the Letter Forwarding Service
Social Security Administration More items by Social Security Administration
4/17/2014 [Official Guidance]

"In recent years, the internet offers a rapid expansion of locator resources via free social media Web sites and for pay locator services. The public now has widespread access to the Internet and the ability to locate individuals without relying on our letter forwarding services. Based on the availability of the alternative locator resources and the effects it would be as a cost saving measure, we are discontinuing the letter forwarding service. This decision is in line with the Internal Revenue Service, which successfully eliminated part of its letter forwarding workload as of August 31, 2012."
Can an Employer Force an Employee Onto FMLA Leave When the Employee Wants to Continue to Work?
FMLA Insights More items by FMLA Insights
4/17/2014

"[W]hen you have a reasonable belief that your employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job (including when you are faced with mental health issues ...), you can keep the employee off work until you have that confirmation.... [E]ven if an employer wrongfully forces an employee to take FMLA leave ... the employee cannot successfully raise an FMLA interference claim unless the employee seeks FMLA leave at a later date and the leave is not available because the employee was wrongfully forced to use FMLA leave in the past."
Labor-Force Participation Rates of the Population Ages 55 and Older, 2013
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] More items by Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]
4/17/2014

"The labor-force participation rate for those ages 55 and older rose throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, when it began to level off but with a small increase following the 2007-2008 economic downturn.... [A]mong those ages 65 or older, the rate increased for both males and females over that period. This upward trend in labor-force participation by older workers is likely related to workers' current need for continued access to employment-based health insurance and for more years of earnings to accumulate savings in defined contribution (401(k)-type) plans and/or to pay down debt."
Characteristics of the Population with Consumer Driven and High Deductible Health Plans, 2005-2013
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] More items by Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]
4/17/2014

"The population of adults within consumer-driven (CDHPs), high-deductible (HDHP) and traditional health plans was split about 50-50 between men and women in 2013. The CDHP population was more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to be in households with $150,000 or more in income in every year except 2006, 2009 and 2010. They were also more likely to be in households with $100,000-$149,999 in income in most years. CDHP enrollees were roughly twice as likely as individuals with traditional coverage to have college or post-graduate educations in nearly all years of the survey."
State Marketplace Design and Policies
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities More items by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
4/17/2014

"In an effort to ensure independence in governance and policy setting, avoid conflicts of interest, and ensure long-term viability, 11 states created a quasi-governmental agency to operate their marketplaces. Governing boards composed of experts and key stakeholders oversee the new agencies; the majority of states prohibit insurers and/or brokers from serving on the board.... [S]everal require that issuers offer a standardized plan design to enable consumers to more easily compare plans based on price and provider networks.... States used a variety of interactive web features to provide a customer-friendly application and shopping experience, including allowing consumers to browse plans before creating an online account or submitting an application."
Text of CBO Cost Estimate for PBGC Proposals in the President's 2015 Budget (PDF)
Congressional Budget Office More items by Congressional Budget Office
4/17/2014

"The President's Budget proposes to give PBGC the authority to set premium rates in both the single employer and multi-employer programs, but does not specify how to allocate the premium increase across the two programs. For this estimate, CBO assumed that 75 percent of the increase would be for the single employer program and 25 percent for the multi-employer program. CBO projects that the multi-employer revolving fund will be exhausted in 2021."
Text of Letter from American Academy of Actuaries to Congressional Leaders on on Risks of Using Pension Provisions as Revenue Offsets (PDF)
American Academy of Actuaries More items by American Academy of Actuaries
4/17/2014 [Opinion]

"In evaluating the current [PBGC] premium level and structure, as well as possible changes thereto, primary consideration should be given to the risks inherent in the pension system and the effects on all stakeholders. These issues are not being appropriately considered when premium-increase proposals are added to unrelated legislation as a 'pay-for' to enable other priorities. Further premium increases will increase the cost of plan sponsorship and could accelerate the rate of plan closures, plan terminations, and other sponsor efforts to transfer risks to participants, which include offering lump sum distributions to current retirees."
Is a DB Plan Right for Your Organization?
Towers Watson More items by Towers Watson
4/17/2014

"The decision to move away from DB plans raises two key questions: [1] Are those organizations that have abandoned their DB plans missing out on significant workforce planning opportunities? [2] If an organization that sponsors a DB plan lowers its financial risks through, for example, liability-driven investing, would it gain the workforce management advantages of a DB plan and the costs and risks similar to a DC plan? ... This paper outlines how various employees would fare based on participation in a DB plus DC versus a DC-only plan. It also provides information to address whether the workforce planning advantages of DB plans justify the cost and risk of plan sponsorship."
Why Plan Participants Change Their Planned Retirement Date (PDF)
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] More items by Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]
4/17/2014

"Workers who report a change in their expected retirement age in 2014 most often cite the poor economy (25 percent)... Other reasons cited included the inability to afford retirement (18 percent), a change in their employment situation (17 percent) and health care costs (12 percent)[.]"
New Data Signal Smaller Jump in Health Care Costs for 2015
USA TODAY More items by USA TODAY
4/17/2014

"Statisticians working with insurers to project next year's insurance premium rates say they expect to see an average increase of about 7%, well below the feared double-digit increases making recent headlines.... [As] insurers dig through the new health exchange enrollees to figure out their ages and health conditions to determine next year's premiums, [Dave Axene, a fellow with the Society of Actuaries] expects an overall increase of 6% to 8.5%.... Before the [ACA], premiums rose an average of 7-10% a year."
Obamacare and the Early Retiree: Health Law Offers Relief
Morningstar Advisor More items by Morningstar Advisor
4/17/2014

"The system was designed to make health-care costs comprehensive and affordable at all income levels. Right or wrong, by ignoring assets as a criteria, the system can also provide benefits for those who are relatively affluent. Whether or not the early retiree is eligible for subsidies or prefers to shop outside the exchanges, advisors now have better tools for predicting future health-care costs than in the past."
The Risks of Derisking DB Plans
Milliman, via Actuarial Digest More items by Milliman, via Actuarial Digest
4/17/2014

"Assets that left the plan early in 2012 and 2013 missed out on the double-digit return potential of those years. When participants are offered a lump sum election opportunity, those in poor health are more likely to accept the offer ... Thus, the plan may be subject to more unfavorable mortality experience ... [A] lump sum transaction is likely to decrease a plan's funded status ... and will have to maintain a certain funding level in order to avoid lump sum restrictions. The lower funded status will generally result in higher plan sponsor contribution costs. It may also result in a higher PBGC variable-rate premium."
Paid Family Leave: Can a State-by-State Approach Work?
The Pew Charitable Trusts More items by The Pew Charitable Trusts
4/17/2014

"After lobbying state by state for years, some supporters of paid family leave say it's time for a federal solution. A proposal in Congress ... would export the models used in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island nationwide. Those are the only three states with their own paid leave laws."
PBGC Announces 'My PAA' is Ready for 2014 Premium Filings
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] More items by Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]
4/17/2014

"My PAA has been updated to reflect recent changes to the premium regulation (first effective for 2014 plan years) as described in the 2014 premium filing instructions. Comprehensive filings for plan years beginning in 2014 may now be electronically submitted via My PAA. Information about how to e-file via My PAA (e.g., Demos and FAQs) is on the Online Premium Filing with My PAA page ... A reminder[:] the new rules have no impact on premium filings for plan years beginning in 2013 (e.g., small calendar plans whose 2013 premium filing is due April 30th, 2014)."
The Flexibility Bias
Human Resource Executive Online More items by Human Resource Executive Online
4/17/2014

"What the flexibility bias literature shows us is that using work/life policies for other kinds of reasons -- such as for a personal health-related reason or even using it to do things like training for a marathon, are not stigmatized in the same way as taking leave for family care-related responsibilities."
Average Retiree Health Costs Could Overtake Social Security Benefits
InvestmentNews More items by InvestmentNews
4/17/2014

"Retirement health care costs will increase from 69% of Social Security benefits for a couple retiring next year to 98% of Social Security benefits for a healthy couple retiring 10 years from now ... For couples retiring two decades from now, the gap will be even more dramatic. They would need 127% of average Social Security benefits to cover their health care costs in retirement."
Helping Plan Participants to Choose Between Annuities and Lump Sums
Reuters More items by Reuters
4/17/2014

"If his main retirement goal is to be happy, have him take the pension or a similar lifetime annuity. A 2012 report ... found that among retirees of similar wealth and health, those with annuitized incomes were happier than those without annuities. Any financial adviser worth her credentials would argue that this happiness is likely to be short-lived, though.... There's another angle. Pensions don't generate commissions or asset management fees; rollovers do. So how do you help clients make informed decisions and manage the inherent conflict of interest?"
Best Practices for Investment Menus in 401(k)/403(b) Plans
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants More items by Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants
4/17/2014

"[1] Offering 12 to 15 core fund options, which do not include managed fund choices; [2] A set of professionally managed investment options ... with the most common offering being target date funds; ... [3] At least 4 conservative fund choices ... Although the average number of investment options offered in 401(k) plans has risen to 15 ... the average number of investment funds used by participants has remained consistent over time at 3."
Report and Recommendations for Price Transparency in Health Care
Healthcare Financial Management Association [HFMA] More items by Healthcare Financial Management Association [HFMA]
4/17/2014

24 pages. Excerpt: "Transparency tools for insured patients should include some essential elements of price information, including: [1] The total estimated price of the service; [2] A clear indication of whether a particular provider is in the health plan's network and information on where the patient can try to locate a network provider; [3] A clear statement of the patient's estimated out-of-pocket payment responsibility; [and] [4] Other relevant information related to the provider or the specific service sought (e.g., clinical outcomes, patient safety, or patient satisfaction scores)."
California Makes It Harder for Insurers to Deny Autism Treatment
Reuters More items by Reuters
4/17/2014

"In tightening its rules on covering behavioral intervention for children with autism, California is tackling a problem encountered by numerous states seeking to improve access to therapies for children with autism ... The new rules make it clear that insurers must cover behavioral interventions for children with autism at the same level that they cover visits to a medical doctor[.]"
Unions Want to Use $100M in Federal Housing Relief Money to Plug Detroit Pension Hole
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required More items by The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required
4/17/2014

"Under the plan being discussed, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr would get access to $100 million earmarked for Michigan from a fund the U.S. Treasury Department established in 2010 to provide relief in the wake of the housing crisis. Michigan would send the federal money to Detroit for blight reduction, as has been done in the past. Mr. Orr then could take other funding already earmarked for blight elimination and use that in a plan to help make up a $3.5 billion shortfall in the retirement system for city workers[.]"
Knowing Your Account Value Isn't Enough
Alliance Bernstein More items by Alliance Bernstein
4/17/2014

"The rule of thumb in the retirement industry is that, assuming you remain well invested, you can withdraw about 4%-5% of your initial savings each year and have a good chance that the money will last for the rest of your life.... But only 27% of our survey participants got that right ... More than one-fourth said they didn't know, and about half guessed too high.... More than one-third of our respondents said you could withdraw 10% or more."
Provider Sponsored Health Plans: Five Necessities for Launching a Successful Plan
Advance Healthcare Network More items by Advance Healthcare Network
4/17/2014

"[H]ospitals are discovering [that] serving as both provider and insurer often gives them the best chance to lower the cost of care, prevent unnecessary hospitalizations through patient tracking, unearth new market share potentials, and truly create a healthier community. What's more, they know that if done properly such a strategy will allow them to capture and retain dollars that otherwise would end up in the pockets of the insurance companies with whom they have historically contracted and often battled."
It's Time to Gear Up for Employer Reporting Under the ACA (PDF)
Wilkins Finston Law Group More items by Wilkins Finston Law Group
4/17/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"Employers should determine which reporting requirements apply to them and their plans. While much of the information required by section 6055 and 6056 is duplicative, there are differences and employers should familiarize themselves with the requirements so they know what information they must provide and, if necessary, implement steps to start collecting that information now."
New York City Earned Sick Time Act Expanded Before Taking Effect on April 1
Morgan Lewis More items by Morgan Lewis
4/17/2014

"Under the revised Act, employers must provide written notice to all existing employees by May 1, 2014 in addition to the original Act's requirement that employers provide written notice to new employees hired on and after April 1, 2014....[A] model notice ... is available in English, Spanish, Italian, and Russian ... The amendments expand the Act's coverage to more employers by reducing the threshold number of employees from 15 to five.... [A]ll covered New York City employees must start accruing sick leave on April 1, 2014 (at an accrual rate of at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked)."
Same-Sex Marriage Developments: Recent Guidance from CMS and HHS (PDF)
Buck Consultants More items by Buck Consultants
4/17/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"This FAQ addresses a requirement for issuers of health insurance, not employer group health plans or employers. Employers are free to control the terms and conditions of the group health plan. The FAQ reiterates that [the ACA's guaranteed availability requirement] does not direct the definition of spouse and the terms of eligibility for group health plans. If a group health plan chooses to offer coverage to same-sex spouses, this FAQ clarifies that an issuer may not decline to cover that same-sex spouse on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex spouses."
Early Estimates Indicate Rapid Increase in Health Insurance Coverage Under the ACA
Urban Institute More items by Urban Institute
4/17/2014

"[N]either the Marketplace enrollment figures nor the CMS Medicaid report provide an accurate picture of how many uninsured people have gained coverage since open enrollment began, because both sets of enrollment figures may include newly insured people as well as those who had other sources of coverage before 2014. [The authors] use the March 2014 Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS) to examine changes in health insurance coverage in early March 2014 relative to coverage over the prior year, including more disaggregated information on coverage changes and additional details on the statistical precision of the estimates."
Analysis of Enrollment, Premiums and MLR by Product (Individual, Small Group and Large Group) and by State for Every Health Plan
CitiResearch More items by CitiResearch
4/17/2014

199 pages. Excerpt: "[The] industry still lost 2.0 million risk lives in 2012, as commercial risk enrollment fell from 80.5 million to 78.5 million, a drop of 2.5%. The drop reflects the significant attraction many employers have for non-risk products....[S]ince 2002, risk enrollment at the publicly traded plans has fallen by over 14 million lives on an organic basis ... [L]osing 2 million risk lives hurts revenue by $8 billion, while the enrollment decline hurts potential commercial risk earnings by an estimated $400 million ... Despite losing 2 million lives, commercial risk premiums still increased in 2012, albeit by only 0.2%, to $317 billion."
Bay Area Approves Mandatory Commuter Benefits Pilot Program
Mazursky Constantine, LLC More items by Mazursky Constantine, LLC
4/17/2014

"By September 30, 2014, employers with 50 or more full-time employees in the San Francisco Bay Area will be required to offer commuter benefits to their employees.... Employers will need to select one of the following benefit options to offer to covered employees: [1] Pre-Tax Benefit.... [2] Employer-Provided Subsidy.... [3] Employer-Provided Transit.... [4] Alternative Commuter Benefit Program."
CMS Overview of Cost-Sharing Reduction Advance Payments Process for 2015 (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services More items by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
4/17/2014

29 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] The new methodology for determining CSR advance payments in 2015, which was finalized in the 2015 HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters final rule (2015 Final Payment Notice); [2] The role of the Marketplace and CMS in calculating CSR advance payments; and [3] The effects of this new methodology on CSR advance payment amounts.
Text of CMS FAQs on Risk Corridors and Budget Neutrality (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services More items by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
4/17/2014 [Official Guidance]

"We anticipate that risk corridors collections will be sufficient to pay for all risk corridors payments. However, if risk corridors collections are insufficient to make risk corridors payments for a year, all risk corridors payments for that year will be reduced pro rata to the extent of any shortfall.... We anticipate that risk corridors collections will be sufficient to pay for all risk corridors payments over the life of the three-year program. However, we will establish in future guidance or rulemaking how we will calculate risk corridors payments if risk corridors collections (plus any excess collections held over from previous years) do not match risk corridors payments as calculated under the risk corridors formula for the final year of the program."
CalPERS Raises Pension Contribution Requirements for State, Schools
CalPERS More items by CalPERS
4/17/2014

"The State will pay a total of approximately $4.3 billion towards pensions and schools will pay $1.2 billion. These required contributions are an increase by more than $450 million for the State and $55 million for school employers over current rates. New demographic assumptions adopted by the CalPERS Board in February have the largest impact on rates for the State plan due to public employees living longer."
HHS OIG Advisory Opinion 14-04 on Medigap Premium Credits Provided for Policyholder Use of Preferred Network Hospitals (PDF)
Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services More items by Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
4/17/2014 [Official Guidance]

"We are writing in response to your request for an advisory opinion regarding the use of a 'preferred hospital' network as part of Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance (Medigap) policies, whereby [name redacted] would indirectly contract with hospitals for discounts on the otherwise-applicable Medicare inpatient deductibles for its policyholders and, in turn, would provide a premium credit of $100 to policyholders who use a network hospital for an inpatient stays.... Although the Proposed Arrangement could potentially generate prohibited remuneration under the anti-kickback statute if the requisite intent to induce or reward referrals of Federal health care program business were present, the [OIG] would not impose administrative sanctions on [name redacted] under sections 1128(b)(7) or 1128A(a)(7) of the Act (as those sections relate to the commission of acts described in section 1128B(b) of the Act) in connection with the Proposed Arrangement. In addition, the OIG would not impose administrative sanctions on [name redacted] under section 1128A(a)(5) of the Act in connection with the Proposed Arrangement."
New York Court Guts a Unique Health Care Fund for Taxi Drivers
The Washington Post; subscription may be required More items by The Washington Post; subscription may be required
4/17/2014

"In 2012, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission had voted to take six cents on every fare for a fund that would ... [provide] upwards of $300 per week in assistance as soon as a driver could produce a doctor's note.... [T]he approach of creating a communal benefits pool to supplement commercial plans by levying independent workers in a regulated industry is actually unique, and an example of how alternative labor groups can provide services for people who aren't represented by traditional unions.... The court decision is a serious blow, and makes several assumptions."
Rhode Island Loses Bid to Have Pension Reform Lawsuit Tossed
Reuters More items by Reuters
4/17/2014

"A lawsuit by retired Rhode Island public employees over the state's sweeping 2011 pension system overhaul will continue after a judge on Wednesday rejected a move by state officials to have the case thrown out. Superior Court Associate Justice Sarah Taft-Carter found that the retirees' pension benefits, for which they had previously bargained, suggested enough of a contractual relationship with the state for their claims to continue."
Detroit Pension Deal Approved by One Retirement System
Reuters More items by Reuters
4/17/2014

"The tentative settlement with the General Retirement System ... would cut pensions for general city workers and retirees by 4.5 percent and eliminate cost-of-living adjustments ... The tentative deals represent much smaller decreases in benefits than Detroit had been seeking."
Examining Perceptions and Expectations Among Target Date Investors and Non-Investors (PDF)
ING Retirement Research Institute More items by ING Retirement Research Institute
4/17/2014

12 pages. Excerpt: "The gap in confidence levels between [target-date fund (TDF)] investors and non-TDF investors suggests that TDFs are doing what they are supposed to be doing: providing a diversified investment option for plan participants that reallocates over time to make investment planning easier to execute--- and retirement goals easier to reach.... TDF investors report contributing a full 2% more of their pay to their retirement plans than non-TDF investors. In fact, 42% of TDF investors report contributing over 10% of their income (vs. 23% of non-TDF investors)."
Program Audio and Presentations from 2014 ICI Retirement Summit: 'A Close Look at Retirement Preparedness in America'
Investment Company Institute [ICI] More items by Investment Company Institute [ICI]
4/16/2014

Includes links to audio recordings (mp3) and PDF of presentations titled: [1] Americans' Retirement Resources; [2] Consumption During Retirement; [3] Social Security Financial Status: Benefit Options; [4] Medical Spending in Later Life; [5] A New World of Retirement Risks; [6] Raising Retirement Security in a Heterogeneous Population; [7] Are Retirees Falling Short? Reconciling the Conflicting Evidence; [8] A Close Look at Retirement Preparedness in America; [9] Measuring Optimal Savings Using a Life-Cycle Model of Consumption; [10] Economic Preparation for Retirement; and [11] Four Views of Retirement Preparation.
PBGC Secures $208M for Saint-Gobain Retirees
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] More items by Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]
4/16/2014

"Under a settlement with the [PBGC], Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc., has made $207.5 million of additional contributions to its pension plan.... The settlement will help preserve the plan and resolves PBGC's concerns about the plan's sponsor being sold to a company with fewer financial resources.... PBGC pressed the parties for better funding because the sale put retirement benefits at risk by moving the plan from a financially strong sponsor to Ardagh [(a Luxembourg-based glass and metal packaging company)], which carries a high level of debt. When the parties [had] declined to provide financial protection for the plan, PBGC took steps to terminate the plan to protect retirement benefits."
What's Going on With Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance?
Reason.com More items by Reason.com
4/16/2014

"RAND's survey results don't match up to what almost anyone expected, but unlike the CBO, which is crunching outside data to make a projection, RAND is relying on their own measurements taken on the ground. If RAND is right, though, then Obamacare's effects will look quite different from what anyone assumed, and the exchanges will be much less of a factor than the law's designers planned."
Same-Sex Spouse Health Coverage: Recent State Tax Developments
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP More items by Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
4/16/2014

"Several states have issued guidance addressed to individual taxpayers, informing them that while the state uses the federal income definition as the starting point for state income tax liability, same-sex spouses will not be treated as spouses at the state level.... However, this guidance does not address the responsibility of employers for imputing income on health benefits provided to same-sex spouses. Four states -- Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin -- have issued agency guidance that suggests employers impute income on health benefits provided to same-sex spouses. The income would be imputed for purposes of state income tax, but not for purposes of federal income tax."
Statement by Census Bureau Director on Improved Health Insurance Questions in the Current Population Survey
U.S. Census Bureau More items by U.S. Census Bureau
4/16/2014

"The recent changes to the Current Population Survey's questions related to health insurance coverage is the culmination of 14 years of research and two national tests in 2010 and 2013 clearly showing the revised questions provide more precise measures of health insurance through improved respondent recall. This change was announced in September 2013 and implemented because the evidence showed that reengineering the questions provides demonstrably more accurate results."
BrightScope Goes on Hiring Spree to Capture Revenues from Hot New Market
RIABiz More items by RIABiz
4/16/2014

"[T]he ultimate proof that BrightScope may finally have gotten on track to a bright future as a data company are late developments about who is seeking the better data that it sells -- the 401(k) providers and recordkeepers themselves. The firm has 25 enterprise clients described as recordkeepers and asset managers who want BrightScope, Inc. to clean up their fragmented data making it cleaner and easier to read. They also want BrightScope to help them use the data to increase sales. By the end of the year, BrightScope hopes to have 40 of these big clients[.]"
Accountable Care Organizations, Explained
Kaiser Health News More items by Kaiser Health News
4/16/2014

"While ACOs are touted as a way to help fix an inefficient payment system that rewards more, not better, care, some economists warn they could lead to greater consolidation in the health care industry, which could allow some providers to charge more if they're the only game in town.... As hospitals position themselves to become integrated systems, many are joining forces and purchasing physician practices, leaving fewer independent hospitals and doctors. Greater market share gives these health systems more leverage in negotiations with insurers, which can drive up health costs and limit patient choice."
How Will the ACA Affect Liability Insurance Costs?
RAND Corporation More items by RAND Corporation
4/16/2014

"This report identifies potential mechanisms through which the ACA might affect claim costs for several major types of liability coverage, especially auto insurance, workers' compensation coverage, and medical malpractice. The authors discuss the conceptual basis for each mechanism, review existing scholarly evidence regarding its importance, and, where possible, develop rough estimates of the size and direction of expected impacts as of 2016.... Overall, expected short-term effects of the ACA appear likely to be small relative to aggregate liability insurer payouts in the markets in question. However, under reasonable assumptions, some mechanisms can generate potential cost changes as high as 5 percent or more in particular states and insurance lines."
Jobs, Income Inequality and Taft-Hartley Benefit Plans (PDF)
Kraw Law Group, via Bloomberg Pension & Benefits Daily More items by Kraw Law Group, via Bloomberg Pension & Benefits Daily
4/16/2014 [Opinion]

"Necessary policy and regulatory changes include permitting the plans to participate directly in the health-care exchanges, allowing low-wage plan participants access to ACA subsidies and giving the retirement plans greater flexibility to adjust benefits and contribution rates.... Federal policy is chiefly focused on compliance issues for the plans, with little effort to encourage their growth in spite of their proven ability to train and maintain workforces. A better approach would be for the federal government to provide the financial resources necessary to address the plans' challenges, both through tax benefits to health-care plans and regulatory relief to pension plans."
Employee Ownership Update for April 15, 2014
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO] More items by National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]
4/16/2014

Topics include: [1] Supreme Court hears oral arguments on presumption of prudence; [2] Definitive study of ESOP survival published; and [3] New data on employee ownership in Europe.
When Can I Contact Employees on FMLA Leave?
von Briesen & Roper, s.c. More items by von Briesen & Roper, s.c.
4/16/2014

"The court found that the employer did not interfere with the executive's FMLA rights by requiring her to perform de minimis tasks associated with her job transfer while on leave. Additionally, the Court found that the employer had a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for terminating her employment: the employee had refused to execute the required non-compete agreement by the deadline that was provided prior to commencement of FMLA leave." [O'Donnell v. Passport Health Communications, Inc., No. 13-2607 (3d Cir. Mar. 28, 2014; noted as 'not precedential')]
Deadlines Coming for Multinationals' Retirement Plans and U.S. Taxpayers with Foreign Financial Interests
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP More items by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
4/16/2014

"The enforcement mechanism for FATCA is a new 30 percent withholding tax on U.S. source investments of [foreign financial institutions (FFIs)], including investments of foreign retirement plans. The tax applies not just on dividends, but on the gross proceeds of the plan's U.S. investments and not just on the U.S. taxpayer participant's interest in the plan, but rather on the plan's total U.S. source income. Paying agents will start withholding on July 1, 2014, unless given notice that the recipient foreign retirement plan is in compliance with FATCA. Funded foreign retirement plans are considered to be FFIs subject to FATCA, with some important exceptions."
Substantial Risk of Forfeiture Guidance Clarifies When Section 16 Short Swing Profit Liability Can Defer Taxation of Equity Compensation Awards
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP More items by Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
4/16/2014

"One question from the prior regulations was whether a subsequent non-exempt purchase could further extend this substantial risk of forfeiture. A new example in the final regulations explains that the IRS and Treasury do not respect this strategy. The example states that any options granted in a non-exempt manner will be considered subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture only for the first six months after the date of grant.... What this clarification really means is that the risk of disgorging any profits under Section 16(b) generally will not have any impact on the substantial risk of forfeiture analysis."
Survey Results: The Effect of the ACA on Small Businesses and Health Reform
Mathematica Policy Research More items by Mathematica Policy Research
4/16/2014

"In general, the percentage of employers offering health insurance grew as firm size increased. In all five states, about half of the smallest firms -- those with 3 to 9 employees -- offered coverage, compared with more than 90 percent of those with 50 to 100 employees. The relationship between firm size and the likelihood of offering coverage varied across the states, however. In Alabama and New York, this likelihood was significantly greater among firms with 10 to 24 staff compared to those with fewer staff, whereas in Colorado and Oregon, the biggest difference was between firms with 10 to 24 staff and those with 25 to 49 staff. In Minnesota, there was a steady increase from the smallest to the biggest firm."
Survey Results: What Kinds of Health Insurance Do Small Businesses Offer?
Mathematica Policy Research More items by Mathematica Policy Research
4/16/2014

"Alabama and Minnesota were the two outliers in terms of offering high-deductible plans -- only 8 percent of the small businesses in Alabama offered them, whereas almost half of those in Minnesota did. The majority of high-deductible plans offered had savings account features associated with them.... Only a minority (37 percent) of the small businesses in Minnesota that offered coverage offered some form of managed care plan (HMO, EPO, PPO, or POS). In the other four states, it was the most common type of coverage offered. The share of businesses offering one or more types of managed care plans ranged from 72 percent in Oregon to 91 percent in Colorado[.]"
Text of Comments by American Benefits Council to Treasury Department on Proposed Liquidity Shortfall/Funding Regs (PDF)
American Benefits Council More items by American Benefits Council
4/16/2014 [Opinion]

"[T]he proposed regulation, Section 1.430(j)-1(f), Example 11, Paragraph (iii), states that ... the contribution continues to be required even though the shortfall no longer exists, contrary to the applicable statutory language ... Application of such a rule would lead to plan sponsors having to make disproportionate contributions, in many cases contributing for the exact same shortfall multiple times. This is not consistent with the statute, prior interpretations of the same language, or sound administration of the law."
Wall Street Journal is Wrong About Public Pensions
CalPERS More items by CalPERS
4/16/2014 [Opinion]

"[CalPERS] relied on IMPLAN, the most widely employed and accepted regional economic analysis software for predicting economic impacts.... [They input] total benefits paid in California (more than $12.7 billion) into IMPLAN to arrive at a 2.39 economic multiplier and the 113,664 jobs created.... CalPERS benefits (retirees spending their pensions) returned $10.85 in economic activity to California for each taxpayer dollar (public funds) contributed to the system. The total economic revenue generated by CalPERS benefits was more than $30.4 billion."
State Health Insurance Marketplaces Look to More Standardized Plans for 2015
Bloomberg BNA More items by Bloomberg BNA
4/16/2014

"Employers who want to control their expense allocation for health plans and want to promote consumer-driven plans are enthusiastic about buying plans on marketplaces, [Kevin Counihan, chief executive officer of Access Health CT,] said. 'But it's a minority of the market ... It's a passionate minority, but it remains the minority,' he said. The Connecticut SHOP marketplace only has 39 accounts with an average size of 3.3 subscribers[.]"

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