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January 10, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

401k Wholesaler
for AXA Equitable in OR, WA

Operations Associate
for Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group in MA

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Bethesda, MD based financial services firm in MD

Associate Consultant for Compensation Advisory Services Group
for Verisight, Inc in IL, MN, WI

Key Account Manager/Relationship Manager
for Verisight, Inc in IL

Benefits Administrator
for Findley Davies, Inc. in OH

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Atlanta
in Georgia on January 26, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Costa Mesa
in California on January 24, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Houston
in Texas on January 31, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor- Charlotte
in North Carolina on February 2, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

I'll See You in Court! ERISA Litigation Update 2011/2012
in California on January 19, 2012 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Orange County Chapter


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[Guidance Overview]
Form W-2 Information Reporting of Health Care Costs (PDF)
"Employers may now want to review that their payroll providers have taken appropriate steps to prepare for this new obligation. Failure to comply can result in a penalty of $200 per Form W-2, up to a maximum of $3 mil.lion." (Reinhart)


Certificate Series – Earn One of Five Certificates This March   [Advert.]

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Learn innovative strategies to stand out from the crowd. Attend the International Foundation’s Certificate Series and earn a Certificate in Benefits Management, Retirement, Health Care, Plan Administration or Public Sector Benefits. Register Now!


[Guidance Overview]
IRS Notice 2012-9 Modifies Form W-2 Reporting on Group Health Plan Coverage
"The Notice clarifies that the cost of coverage that is includible in the income of a highly compensated individual under Code section 105(h) — or payments or reimbursements of health insurance premiums that are includible in the income of a two percent (2%) shareholder-employee of an S corporation — are not included in the aggregate reportable cost." (Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)

[Guidance Overview]
San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance: New Notice Obligations
Free recorded 2-hour webcast. Topics include: [i] Overview of the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance requirements and enforcement; [ii] New notice obligations and surcharge rules; [iii] Administering the 'rolling 24-month carryover' and other HRA requirements; [iv] Compliance options and plan designs that work with federal health care reform; [v] Possibility of ERISA preemption. (Nixon Peabody)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Releases 2011 Form 8941 and Instructions for Claiming Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
"Once calculated, the tax credit is claimed as a general business credit on Form 3800 (or by tax-exempt small employers as a refundable credit on Form 990-T). As background, employers with fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000 per employee that offer health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35% of the nonelective contributions they make toward premium cost." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Soda Tax: What Can a Penny Do?
"A nationwide penny-per-ounce tax . . . would reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption by 15 percent. [The authors of a new study] say that modest reduction will lead to modest weight loss, which in turn leads to modest reductions in diabetes." (KQED News)


Nat'l Health Benefits Conf & Expo (HBCE) Jan.31-Feb.1, Clearwater Bch, FL   [Advert.]

Sponsored by Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE)

Dr. Oz praises books from speakers - hear from IBM, Sprint, Intel, Yahoo!, L.L. Bean, First Energy Corp., governmental employers, universities, more. Low cost, high quality!
More info and complete program: www.HBCE.com Ph: 941-484-1430 info@HBCE.com


'Value' in Health Insurance Acquires New Meaning
"National reform will further encourage value-based insurance design in 2014, when it allows employers to reimburse employees up to 30% of health insurance costs if workers meet health and wellness goals. The current reimbursement rate is 20%. . . . Value-based insurance adjusts out-of-pocket costs based on an assessment of the clinical benefit value — not simply the cost — to a specific patient population . . . ." (California Healthline)

Few With Diabetes Risk See Need for Lifestyle Counseling
"Many patients who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes do not perceive the need for lifestyle counseling, and even among those who see the need for counseling, less than half actually attend lifestyle interventions . . . . 'Altogether, preventing diabetes would seem to require action from policy makers in all sectors and at all levels, not just from the health care system,' the authors [of the study] write." (Physician's Briefing)

PSA Screening Doesn't Prevent Cancer Deaths, Study Says
"[R]esearchers found that more men in the screening group had been diagnosed with prostate cancer after 13 years — but there was no difference in how many had died from it. The results [are] consistent with recent draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommending that average-risk men not undergo regular PSA screening . . . ." (Reuters Health)

To Reduce Health Care Costs, Large Employers Try Domestic Medical Tourism
"International medical tourism, where patients cross borders for less expensive care, never really took off. Some employers are looking closer to home as a means of controlling health care costs and improving outcomes. . . . Several cities, including Miami and Las Vegas, are starting to market themselves as destinations for health care services." (American Medical News)

Growth in U.S. Health Spending Remains Slow in 2010
"U.S. health care spending grew only 3.9 percent in 2010, reaching $2.6 tril.lion or $8,402 per person, just 0.1 percentage point faster than in 2009. . . . 'We have worked hard since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to lower health care cost growth,' said Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator." (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

Recession-Hit U.S. Health Spending Barely Rose in 2010
"The data are likely to play prominently in the political debate over U.S. government spending as President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare reform law approaches challenges from the Supreme Court and he fights for reelection in November." (ChicagoTribune.com)

Growth in U.S. Health Spending Stays Slow; Experts Cite Lagging Economy
"[D]espite claims from Republicans that the federal health overhaul, signed into law in March 2010, is already causing health spending to surge, these numbers don't bear that out, says lead author Anne Martin [of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services]." (NPR)

Health Spending Held Down By Recession
"While the recession crimped spending by consumers, employers and state and local governments, the federal government picked up the slack. Federal health spending shot up 40 percent in three years, to $743 bil.lion in 2010, from $530 bil.lion in 2007, the report said." (New York Times; free registration required)

HHS Approves More Mini-med Health Care Plan Waivers
"The Department of Health and Human Services has approved 229 new waivers for sponsors of mini-med and other limited health care plans from meeting minimum dollar coverage amounts for essential benefits each year." (Business Insurance)

Texas Asks Feds to Delay Health Insurance Medical Loss Ratio Rebates
"Seventeen states asked the federal government for relief from the new 80 percent rule. The feds analyzed their insurance markets; six states were granted permission to phase-in the new rule gradually. But eight states were turned down. A decision on the Texas request is expected any day now." (NPR)

Has Obama Waged a War on Religion?
"If you're looking for evidence that the Obama administration is hostile to faith, conservatives say, the new health care law is Exhibit A. The law requires employers to offer health care plans that cover contraceptives. Churches don't have to, but religiously affiliated charities, hospitals and colleges do." (NPR)

Yale to Provide Tax Relief for Same-S.ex Couples
"Under the new policy, employees will be reimbursed $125 each month if their partners are not offered coverage by their own employers and receive health benefits through the University instead . . . ." (Yale Daily News)

[Opinion]
Amicus Brief of Texas Public Policy Foundation and Cato Institute, Arguing Against Severability in Constitutional Challenge to Mandated Health Insurance Coverage (PDF)
"Various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act impede state sovereignty and individual liberty, limiting states' ability to chart their own course on matters relating to health care. Holding the entire Act unconstitutional would thus vindicate Amici Curiae's missions." (Texas Public Policy Foundation)

[Opinion]
AARP Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Competition in Prescription Drug Market
"AARP's brief in Caraco v. Novo Nordisk, filed by attorneys with AARP Foundation Litigation . . . . parses the language of the [Hatch-Waxman Act and its 2003 amendment], reviews the debates leading up to its enactment, details the skyrocketing escalation of pharma.ceutical drug costs and the devastating effect these costs have on public health, and reviews the 'gamesmanship' brand name manufacturers use to protect their exclusivity." (AARP)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Pay for Performance Drives Year Two of Say-on-Pay, While Activists Target CEO Pay in Tax Reform
"Given the still struggling economy and that 2012 is an election year, we would expect to see a continued focus on stock options and federal contractors' pay as well as the deductibility of executive compensation used as a political foil. The Center will be advocating for consistent tax treatment among all forms of compensation." (HR Policy Association)

Milliman's Monthly Benefit News and Developments, January 2012 (PDF)
The newsletter provides a summary of the previous month's legislative, regulatory, and judicial information on employee benefits and upcoming key dates. (Milliman, Inc.)

Press Releases



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Jeanette Hull, News Editor
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