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February 3, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

401(k) Sales Consultant
for Diversified Financial Service Firm in NJ, NY

Senior Benefits Administration & Technology Consultant
for The Segal Company in CA

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Webcasts and Conferences

"Cash Balance Plans for 401(k) Practitioners" A 3-part Web Seminar
Nationwide on February 7, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

Lifetime Income Options for Retirement Plans: Where Do We Go from Here?
Nationwide on March 1, 2012 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Money Market Mutual Funds: Implications of the European Debt Crisis
in Missouri on February 16, 2012 presented by Pension Consultants, Inc.


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

[Guidance Overview]
EEOC Issues Final Rule Extending Title VII And ADA Recordkeeping Requirements to GINA
"The EEOC issued a final rule extending the existing recordkeeping requirements under Title VII and the ADA to entities covered by Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). Effective April 3, 2012, employers with 15 or more employees must retain all personnel and employment records for at least one year, and must retain documents relevant to charges filed under GINA until their final disposition." (Practical Law Company)


Ensure your Plan Participants are Prepared for a Secure Retirement   [Advert.]

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Defined Contribution Conference, March 11-13, in Miami. Learn from your peers through presentations and discussions on plan design, communications, investment options and more. FREE registration for qualified plan sponsors. Click here for more.


[Guidance Overview]
Ninth Circuit Holds That Federal HIPAA Preempts Montana's 'Little HIPAA' Law
"Due to preemption of the state law, the state law claim was defeated on its merits. The court, however, noted that it was not expressing an opinion as to whether its holding would apply to a state HIPAA-type statute that provided additional protection beyond the federal HIPAA statute." (Haynes And Boone)

Administration and Catholics Tangle Over Mandatory Contraception Coverage
The administration will not reconsider the decision, White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday, according to the Associated Press. (AP via Washington Post)

Domestic Policy Council Director's Statements on White House Blog About Mandatory Contraception Coverage
"Over half of Americans already live in the 28 States that require insurance companies cover contraception: Several of these States like North Carolina, New York, and California have identical religious employer exemptions. Some States like Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin have no exemption at all." (The White House Blog, written by Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council)

Seven Companies With Unique Employee Health Benefits
"Home-improvement retailer Lowes established a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to offer heart surgery procedures at no cost to full-time employees and dependents enrolled in its self-insured medical plan. Lowe's covers all medical deductibles and coinsurance amounts, as well as travel and lodging expenses for the patient and a companion." (Mother Nature Network)

[Opinion]
Comments of American Academy of Actuaries on HHS' Research Brief Entitled 'Actuarial Value and Employer-Sponsored Insurance' (PDF)
"The American Academy of Actuaries' Health Practice Council appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the recently released [HHS] research brief, 'Actuarial Value and Employer-Sponsored Insurance.' . . . There are additional factors that should be considered when interpreting the results and formulating policies to regulate [actuarial value] calculations for [employer-sponsored insurance]: . . ." (American Academy of Actuaries)

[Opinion]
Comments of American Academy of Actuaries on HHS' Essential Health Benefits Bulletin (PDF)
"[T]here are a few implications of allowing the flexibility to create multiple benefit sets that should be considered. Such flexibility in benefit design could create confusion for consumers; result in situations in which insurers design benefit packages to minimize certain risks; and have a material effect on premium rates, particularly in the individual market. . . . Clarification of the use of the terms 'actuarial equivalence' and 'substantially equal' as used in the context of essential health benefits is needed as well." (American Academy of Actuaries)

[Opinion]
Georgia's Tax Breaks to Increase Use of Health Savings Accounts Did Not Expand Health Coverage
"New data show that an approach to covering the uninsured that Newt Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation (CHT) largely designed and heavily promoted to Georgia policymakers — and that Georgia adopted in 2008 — has failed to produce the promised results." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

[Opinion]
Health Care Consumers Have Uphill Battle in Pushback Against High Prices
"To an economist it is astonishing that Americans have been content for so long to allow an economic sector that has absorbed an increasing portion of their incomes — 18 percent of their gross domestic product now and 20 percent before too long — to operate without any meaningful price transparency." (New York Times; free registration required)

[Opinion]
Patients Facing Unaffordable Premiums And Consumer Advocates Launch Historic All-Volunteer Signature-Gathering Effort for Health Insurance Rate Regulation Initiative
"The Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act will reform an unaccountable insurance industry by requiring health insurance companies to open their books, publicly justify rate hikes, and get approval before an increase can take effect. 35 states have the power to reject unjustified health insurance rate increases but California does not." (Consumer Watchdog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Estoppel in ERISA: Simple Mistakes Can Lead to Costly Litigation
"Even if the participant ultimately fails in proving the elements of estoppel, defending against such claims is costly and time-consuming. Accordingly, employers and plan administrators should take the following steps to protect themselves from these types of claims: . . . ." (Employee Benefits Law Report)

SEC Reporting Trap and Setting Performance Goals
"In a series of correspondence with Verizon, the SEC took a surprising position on the Summary Compensation Table disclosure of performance-based equity awards in situations where the Compensation Committee retained authority to adjust performance-based equity awards based on non-objective criteria." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

For 11 States and Puerto Rico, Cost of Employee Benefits Is One of Three Top Fiscal Issues for 2012 (PDF)
"Dealing with unfunded liabilities, increasing employee contributions and making significant reforms lie in the year ahead for state lawmakers." (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Providence Is Now on 'the Brink of Bankrup.tcy,' Mayor Taveras Warns
"Taveras said the city's retirees must accept reduced pension and health care benefits to save the city from financial ruin. A decree signed in 1991 by Mayor Buddy Cianci pushed the city's pension liability 'into the stratosphere' by giving annual cost-of-living increases of 5% and 6% to more than 600 retirees, he said." (WPRI.com)

Annual Statistical Supplement, 2011, Published by the U.S. Social Security Administration
"The Supplement is a major resource for data on our nation's social insurance and welfare programs. The majority of the statistical tables present information about programs administered by the Social Security Administration -- the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, known collectively as Social Security, and the Supplemental Security Income program. In addition, data are presented on the major health care programs -- Medicare and Medicaid -- and social insurance programs, including workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance, Black Lung benefits, and veterans' benefits. The Supplement also includes program summaries and legislative histories that help users of the data understand these programs." (U.S. Social Security Administration)

Providence, R.I., Mayor Proposes Benefit Cuts to Avert Bankrup.tcy
"Mayor Angel Taveras, a Democrat, outlined plans to reduce pensions for retired municipal workers and vowed to appeal a recent state court ruling preventing the city from forcing its retirees to switch to the federal Medicare health insurance program when they turned 65." (New York Times; free registration required)

Mayor Says Pensions and Benefits for Uniformed Workers Will Cost New York City More Than Their Actual Salaries
"Pensions and fringe benefits for uniformed workers are going to cost the city more next year than their actual salaries, Mayor Bloomberg revealed [on Thursday, Feb. 2] as he made another strong pitch for Albany to enact pension reforms." (NYPOST.com)

[Opinion]
Where the CBO Report on Federal Pay Went Wrong
"[The federal] employees that the report claims may be overcompensated are hardly those whom people would think of as 'government bureaucrats in Washington.' No, these 'bureaucrats' are among the lowest-paid federal employees, doing unglamorous but critical work around the country." (Washington Post)

Press Releases



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