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February 8, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefit Services Specialist
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Manager-Employer Sponsored Retirement Plan (ESRP)
for Edward Jones in MO

Senior Defined Contribution Consultant
for MetLife in NJ

Employee Benefit Senior Associate
for Allen, Gibbs & Houlik L.C. in KS

Retirement Plan Services Officer
for Lubbock National Bank in TX

Director, Actuary - Retirement Plan Strategy
for Prudential in CT

Operations Associate
for retirement advisory services corp in PA

Relationship Manager
for ASPire Financial Services, LLC in FL

Defined Contribution Peer Reviewer and Compliance Resource Specialist
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc. in ANY STATE

ERISA Attorney
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc. in RI

"Virtual" Defined Contribution (including ESOP) Pension Plan Administrator
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc. in ANY STATE

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Webcasts and Conferences

Clawbacks, Non-competes and Corporate Governance Webcast
Nationwide on February 27, 2012 presented by McDonald Hopkins

Free Webinar - Avoiding Common DC Plan Errors
Nationwide on March 8, 2012 presented by University Conference Services

Healthcare Reform Developments and Strategies
in California on February 21, 2012 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - San Diego Chapter

Webcast: Form 5500/8955-SSA Update
Nationwide on March 28, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators


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

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Updates Form 8928 for Self-Reporting of Excise Taxes Owed for PPACA Failures
"PPACA created several new reporting and compliance standards for plans and employers. The [chart in this document] lists some of those new requirements and their effective dates. Failure to meet any of these must be reported on Form 8928 starting in 2012 as of the due date of the employer's federal income tax return. In general, the penalty assessed under Code § 4980D is $100 per day, per affected participant for as long as the plan is non-compliant." (Faegre Baker Daniels)


Earn your CEBS (Certified Employee Benefit Specialist) Designation   [Advert.]

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

CEBS is the most respected benefits designation in the industry. Co-sponsored by the International Foundation and the Wharton School, the program is an essential step for those who want to advance in the employee benefits industry. Learn More.


[Guidance Overview]
Audits Heat Up HIPAA Liability: What to Do Now to Mitigate Risk
"In November 2011, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) began audits to assess compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Breach Notice, and Security Rules. The OCR compliance audits will be conducted by KPMG LLP and generally will consist of an initial document request, an onsite visit by the auditors, and then negotiation of an audit report." (Poyner Spruill)

[Guidance Overview]
ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, February 6, 2012 (PDF)
Read this week's update on health care reform legislation, regulations, and initiatives. (ML Strategies)

[Guidance Overview]
Effect of New Michigan Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act on Group Health Plans
"Employer plan sponsors with Michigan employees should discuss payment of the HICA tax with their medical, dental, vision, prescription drug and wellness TPAs. Plan sponsors may want to review their service agreements with their TPAs to determine whether the plan sponsor has any obligation to reimburse the TPAs for the tax." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Addresses Effect of Indian Health Services Eligibility on HSA Eligibility
"This Notice finally answers an HSA eligibility question that was especially troubling because, as with certain veterans benefits, the right to obtain medical services from an IHS facility is determined by status (e.g., membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe), and not by choice. The IRS approach resembles the one used to determine HSA eligibility for those eligible for VA medical benefits — a solution that some of us anticipated as the best fit." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)


9th Annual World Health Care Congress: Strategy, Innovation and Execution   [Advert.]

Sponsored by World Congress

What can we do as an industry now, to fix health care. The 2012 Congress brings together multi-disciplinary CEO panels from health systems, health plans, purchasers, state policy and government. Long-term strategic planning and practical solutions.


White House Might Compromise on Contraception Decision
The White House may be open to compromising on a new rule that requires religious schools and hospitals to provide employees with access to free birth control, a senior strategist for President Obama said on Tuesday morning. (The New York Times; free registration required)

Employer Retiree Groups Will Move To Medicare Advantage, but How Soon Is the Question
"Employer groups stand to become a much bigger contributor to Medicare Advantage growth than they are now, but any big move probably won't occur until 2013 and beyond." (AISHealth)

Obama Aides Seek To Calm Storm Over Contraceptive Rule
"Administration suggests there may be ways to meet religious groups' concerns but insists that the president is committed to the policy." (Kaiser Health News)

Small Businesses Could Buy Health Insurance for Nearly 10 Mil.lion Workers through ACA's Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges
"The reform law grants states considerable flexibility in designing their exchanges, such as allowing them to combine their small business and individual exchanges, limiting enrollment to companies with 50 or fewer employees or opening to firms of up to 100 employees through 2015, or reducing the ability of insurers in the exchange to charge premiums on the basis of age beyond what the law allows." (The Commonwealth Fund)

You Don't Have to be an 800-pound Gorilla to Create a Better Health Plan for Employees — But It Sure Helps
Self-funded companies can do a lot to improve employee health through wellness programs and creating 'micro health delivery systems' ... with goals tailored to the firm's employee population. (Smart HR Manager)

How to Manage Pharmacy Benefits Plans: Getting the Plan Design Right
"As pharmacy plan costs have risen and the economy has deteriorated, many employers have made significant changes in their pharmacy benefits plan designs. Two key plan design trends have emerged during the past 5 years, which were validated in the findings of our 2011 Prescription Drug Benefit Survey Report: 1. A shift from 2-tier to 3-tier cost sharing to encourage plan members to switch to lower-cost generic drugs and formulary brand drugs. 2. A shift from flat-dollar co-pays to co-insurance to minimize cost-shifting to the employer as drug costs rise." (Buck Blog)

Effects of Pharmacy Benefit Carve-in on Utilization and Medical Costs (PDF)
"A study finds that plan sponsors offering health care benefits that include a carved-in pharmacy benefit are likely to experience significant medical cost savings over carving out the pharmacy benefit." (Benefits Magazine)

Senate Medical Loss Ratio Bill Aims to Give Agents and Brokers Some Relief
"U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., have introduced S. 2068, the Access to Independent Health Insurance Advisors Act, a companion bill and a shot in the arm for a medical loss ratio bill in the House that has many supporters but has gained no traction." (ProducersWEB.com)

Health Insurance, Health Care and Labor Supply by Older Adults (PDF)
"Early workforce exits are publicly costly due to foregone payroll taxes and disability benefit payments, but also costly to workers, whose SSDI benefits are typically lower than their earnings, and who lose the additional contributions to retirement benefits and Social Security earnings credits associated with paid work. Despite a large literature that has shown the importance of health status and disability on work and retirement decisions of older workers, relatively little is known about the role of health care utilization in preventing or delaying workforce exit." (University of Michigan Retirement Research Center)

[Opinion]
The Income Divide in Health Care: How the ACA Will Help Restore Fairness to the U.S. Health System
"[U]ninsured lower-income adults were more likely than insured adults in the same income group to cite factors other than medical emergencies as reasons for going to the emergency room. These included needing a prescription drug, not having a regular doctor, or saying that other places cost too much. The Affordable Care Act will substantially narrow these inequities through an extensive set of affordable coverage options starting in 2014." (The Commonwealth Fund)

[Opinion]
Will Patients Overcome Blue Shield with the First Online Ballot Petition for Rate Regulation?
"Shouldn't the CEOs of health insurance companies like Blue Shield have to sign under penalty of perjury that their rate hikes are justified? If the first online signature gathering for a ballot petition is successful, Californians will vote on that proposition in November, and are almost sure to approve." (The Huffington Post)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Avoiding Litigation Over Unexercised Expired Stock Options
"Regardless of the outcome of [recent] cases, the moral(s) of the story for companies are as follows: (1) Address option expiration issues and blackout period in the plan or award agreement. Even Code Section 409A allows an option period to be extended during a blackout period. (2) Clearly communicate the expiration and other terms of equity awards with terminating employees. (3) Take extra care in drafting the plan and agreement terms governing employment termination, vesting, forfeiture and expiration." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Employees Don't Understand Benefits, Employers Say
"[L]ess than 19 percent of employers think their employees have a very good understanding of their benefits . . . ." (LifeHealthPro)

Milliman's Monthly Benefit News and Developments, February 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)

Press Releases



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