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January 20, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Part Time On Call Participant Counselor
for Diversified in DC, FL, IN, MI, OH, TX

Senior Actuarial Analyst
for Diversified in MA

Pension Reconciliation Assistant
for SEIU Benefit Funds in DC

Defined Benefits Requirements Analyst
for Milliman in TX

ERISA Attorney/Editor
for Buck Consultants in ANY STATE

Executive Director
for Taft-Hartley Funds in CA

Account Manager
for Ascensus in MN, PA

Consulting Actuary
for The Benefit Practice in CT

Part Time Onsite Participant Counselor - Retirement Services
for Diversified in MO

Retirement Fund Account Manager
for AAAA Benefits, Inc. in NC

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Webcasts and Conferences

How to Select an Investment Advisor: The Essential Guide Webcast
Nationwide on January 25, 2012 presented by Portfolio Evaluation, Inc.

WEB Atlanta Employee Benefits Boot Camp 2012
in Georgia on April 18, 2012 presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefit Network) Atlanta Chapter


We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe

[Guidance Overview]
Can an Employer Deny FMLA Leave to an Employee Who Is Not Yet Eligible to Take Leave?
"So, the answer is easy enough: when assessing an employee's eligibility under the FMLA, employers should make the calculation not as of the date of the request, but as of the date the leave is to begin. If an employer terminates the employee 'in order to avoid having to accommodate that employee with rightful FMLA leave rights once that employee becomes eligible,' the employee could advance an FMLA interference claim." (Franczek Radelet P.C.)


7th Annual Employer Health & Human Capital Congress   [Advert.]

Sponsored by World Congress

Find solutions to empower improved health outcomes, restructure benefits to achieve cost sustainability and implement measurable wellness and benefit designs that stand up to CFO-scrutiny. February 7-9, Washington, DC


The 2012 Presidential Candidates and the U.S. Health Care System: A CAHI 'Plank' Summary (PDF)
"Publication has been updated as of January 19, 2012, to reflect any new changes in the list of candidates and/or their policy positions." (Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Government Employees Face Benefits Changes, Study Shows
"The report, Containing Health Care Costs: Proven Strategies for Success in the Public Sector, funded by a grant from Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, identified strategies government employers are using to manage the quality and cost of their employee benefits programs." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

Health and Welfare Benefits in 2012
"This alert provides a very brief review of recent developments and matters to watch in the new calendar year." (Ballard Spahr LLP)

Is U.S. Health Spending Finally under Control?
"Now why is it reasonable to assume that excess cost growth will just have to decline to zero in the long run — that is, to assume that health spending will not eventually growth faster than G.D.P. and perhaps even more slowly?" (The New York Times; free registration required)

Wisconsin State Worker Severance Packages Scrutinized
"The joint legislative subcommittee hearing follows reports by the Pioneer Press and KSTP-TV in November about $57 mil.lion paid out in unused sick time to state employees — a practice largely unheard of in the private sector — and $32 mil.lion paid out in unused vacation time between January 2008 and June 30, 2011." (MediaNews Group, Inc.)

The Principal Financial Well-Being Index: Wellness Summary 4th Quarter 2011
"This is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the workplace of small and mid-sized (growing) businesses." (Principal Financial Services, Inc.)

Aetna Wellness Programs Available for Purchase on Best Buy Shelves
"The Hartford, Conn.-based health plan is selling credit-card-size vouchers at Chicago-area Best Buy stores, redeemable for access to online coaching programs. The pilot program stemmed from Aetna's interest in trying out retail sales of its wellness program and from Best Buy's launch of health and fitness sections in select stores in late 2011[.]" (American Medical Association)

The Positive Economic Impacts of Paid Family Leave for Families, Businesses and the Public
"To date, few studies have examined the economic effects of paid family leave as distinct from the effects of unpaid leave or no leave. As such, this is an important emerging area of research. If paid leave policies have the potential to protect women's and men's wages and long-term earnings, and perhaps even to reduce the use of state- and federally-funded public assistance, then any political or economic investment in such policies would be — quite literally — worth the cost." (Center for Women and Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)

Family and Medical Leave: The Basics
"Leaves of absence requirements are among the most vexing part of HR administration for most employers. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and related state law requirements cause practical headaches and risks of litigation for the unwary. Through a four part series, we will try to demystify family and medical leave obligations and provide a practical guide for compliance." (Foster Pepper PLLC)

How a Defined Contribution Approach Can Help Employers Control Health Costs and Give Employees Wider Range of Options
"[I]n a defined contribution approach, the employer designates a fixed amount of money, or a defined contribution, to each employee. Employees then use that money to purchase individual health care insurance, selecting products that specifically meet their needs and those of their dependents." (Smart Business Network Inc.)

California Regulators Still Have Little Power Over Insurance Rate Hikes
"California regulators last year won expanded authority to scrutinize health insurance rate hikes, but their continued lack of real power has consumers gearing up for a new battle with the insurance industry over rate regulation. The new law permits regulators to conclude a rate hike is excessive, but they can only try to persuade or shame insurers into backing off." (San Jose Mercury News)

Cost of Long-Term Care Requires Additional Financial Planning
"According to Northwestern Mutual's 'Cost of Long-Term Care Study,' while the costs vary widely based on location and type of care, the study shows that the national average daily rate for a single occupancy, private nursing home room is $246.06 per day, or almost $90,000 for one year of care." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Ernst & Young Steps Up for Same-S.ex Partners
"While the company began offering same-s.ex domestic partner benefits in 2002, like most other employers, it taxed the amount spent as income, while other family policies come out of pre-tax income. But as of January 1 this year, the company will reimburse employees for those taxes for the 2011 tax year, and for tax years going forward." (Thomson Reuters)

How to Combat the Effects of Obesity on Your Business and Improve Your Employees' Health
"Biometrics can provide a snapshot of the health of your employees. If 75 percent of your work force is classified as obese, you are looking at a very different solution than if that were 5 percent. The higher the percentage of obese employees, the more those people are costing your business." (Smart Business Network Inc.)

Cost Containment: Overcoming Challenges (PDF)
"HealthLeaders Media's annual cost-containment survey shows that the revenue cycle is regarded as the top choice (30%) of leaders seeking the greatest return in efficiency and cost reduction. That area can provide the highest yields in efficiencies and cost reduction. But revenue cycle is very general as a priority. Significant numbers of healthcare organizations are taking their revenue cycle operations to the next strategic level." (HealthLeaders Media)

[Opinion]
Bending the Health Care Cost Curve: New Era in American Health Care?
"Staying the course toward a high performance health system shows promise of at long last bending the health care cost curve. It offers a far more promising approach to containing health care costs than increasing deductibles, cutting benefits, and shifting more of the financial burden of health insurance premiums and medical bills to working families and elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries." (The Commonwealth Fund)

[Opinion]
Citizens' Council for Health Freedom Amicus Brief on Health Reform Law
"Argument on behalf of Amicus Curiae, Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, supporting the respondents, and addressing the minimum coverage provision issue." (Citizens' Council for Health Freedom)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Updated IRS Procedures for Issuing Letter Rulings, Determination Letters, and Other Employee Plan Guidance
"These revenue procedures are an important resource for anyone seeking plan-specific guidance from the IRS. Those new to employee benefits will welcome the practical tools offered in the procedures, including sample formats and checklists for letter ruling requests, definitions of basic terms, user fee schedules, and descriptions of how the 2012 procedures differ from their 2011 counterparts." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

DOL Allows Complaints and Questions to Be Submitted Online
"The [DOL's EBSA] has established a Consumer Assistance webpage that allows users to submit questions and complaints to the EBSA electronically." (Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)

Press Releases

Statement from PBGC on Bankruptcy Filing of Kodak Corporation
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

Pension Risk Transfer Index Begins 2012 with Lower Level
(Dietrich & Associates, Inc.)

Center for Health Value Innovation Names 2011 Fellows
(Center for Health Value Innovation)

EPIC Advisors Announce Staff Enhancements
(EPIC Advisors, Inc.)

U.S. Workers’ Financial Situation and Confidence in Retirement Security Improve, Towers Watson Survey Finds
(Towers Watson)

Castle Rock Investment Company Welcomes Molly Vogt Noyes
(Castle Rock Investment Company)

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP to Combine With Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP
(McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)

Kantor & Kantor, LLP Announces District Court Victory: Blue Shield Must Provide Residential Care Benefits for Substance Abuse
(Kantor & Kantor LLP)



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Jeanette Hull, News Editor
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher <davebaker@benefitslink.com>
Lois Baker, J.D., President <loisbaker@benefitslink.com>
Holly Horton, Business Manager <hollyhorton@benefitslink.com>

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