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May 25, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Client Relationship Manager
for Plancorp, LLC in MO

Director of Operations - Retirement Plan Implementation Services
for VALIC in TX

Regional Distribution Manager
for Ameritas Life Insurance Corp in CA, DC, GA, MA, NV, NY, PA

Regional Accounts Manager
for Ameritas Life Insurance Corp in CA, DC, GA, MA, NV, NY, PA

Pension Administrator
for Primark Benefits in CA

Technical Support Specialist
for Primark Benefits in CA

401(k) Daily Record-Keeping Specialist
for Primark Benefits in CA

Producer
for Meeker-Magner Company in IL

Pension Compliance Specialist
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

Pension Participant Service Specialist
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

Qualified Plan Specialist
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

Manager, Business Operations
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

Retirement Services Manager
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Pittsburgh
in Pennsylvania on June 21, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Nashville
in Tennessee on June 21, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

25th Annual Benefits Forum & Expo
in Arizona on September 9, 2012 presented by Employee Benefit News

"Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans" - Atlanta
in Georgia on June 27, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

Health FSA and DCAP Nondiscrimination Rules: Design and Testing Fundamentals (Session II)
Nationwide on May 24, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA


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[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Notice 2012-38 Seeking Comments on Effect of Recent Technologies on Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits (PDF)
"Treasury and the IRS request comments on how electronic media may meet the statutory requirements under section 132(f) for providing transit benefits, either as vouchers or transit passes or through bona fide cash reimbursement arrangements in a manner other than those described in situations one through four in Rev. Rul. 2006-57. Also, Treasury and the IRS request comments on the availability of terminal-restricted cards and any other electronic media qualifying as vouchers or transit passes for purposes of determining whether such items are readily available and, therefore, cash reimbursement arrangements for providing transit benefits should be prohibited. Finally, Treasury and the IRS request comments on challenges employers encounter in transitioning from paper transit passes or vouchers to electronic media that qualify as vouchers or transit passes, or from cash reimbursement arrangements to electronic media qualifying as transit passes or vouchers." (Internal Revenue Service)


A Medicare Exchange Could Be Your Answer.   [Advert.]

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With the group model becoming increasingly unsustainable, how do you cut costs and still take care of your retirees? Discover the top 4 reasons organizations are exiting their Group Plan & moving to a Medicare Exchange.


[Official Guidance]
Text of CCIIO Technical Guidance 2012-003: Questions and Answers About the Medical Loss Ratio Reporting Form (PDF)
"This Bulletin provides MLR guidance, including regarding the MLR Reporting Form instructions and the Health Insur.ance Operating System (HIOS) instructions, on the following topics: Applicability of MLR Rule to Excepted Benefits Plans; Determining the Number of Employees of an Employer; Attestation, Uploading and Submission of MLR Report; Group Health Insur.ance Coverage with Dual Contracts; Experience Rating Refunds; Notices; [and] Enforcement." (Center for Consumer Information & Insur.ance Oversight)

Health Law's Downfall Could Put GOP in Odd Spot
"[Now] the GOP has a problem. In the two years since the law passed, several of its parts have become very popular with voters—among them, parents' ability to keep kids on their health plans until age 26 and a ban on denying insur.ance because of pre-existing conditions. So it wasn't surprising when news leaked ... last week that Republicans were making plans to try to preserve those popular parts of the act if the Supreme Court strikes the law down." (National Public Radio)

Life Insurer Committed Abuse of Discretion in Claim for Death Benefits Arising from 'Accident'
"[The defendant life insur.ance company, 'LINA'] appealed the district court's ruling that LINA abused its discretion in denying death benefits to Dawn McClelland based upon her husband's life insur.ance policy.... The court found that LINA committed an abuse of discretion ... because its interpretation was contrary to the language of the plan that it would cover 'loss of life' based upon an 'accident' and because substantial evidence did not support its decision. The court also found that the total [attorney] fee awarded should be $85,000 and remanded to the district court to enter an award in that amount." (Justia.com)

Insurers Increased Advertising Budgets in 2011, But Are Keeping a Close Eye on MLR
"[Health] insurers not only are boosting their overall advertising budgets, but also are shifting their messaging to the Internet and television with less emphasis on outdoor and radio.... But insurers are increasing advertising spend with one eye on their medical loss ratios (MLRs). Advertising is part of the 15% to 20% insurers are allowed to spend on administrative functions." (AIS Health)

Insurers Are Plugging Into 'Gamification,' But Are Only Beginning to See Its Potential
"While promoting video games might sound like a way to grow couch potatoes, UnitedHealth and several other major insurers are using concepts behind popular video games to promote wellness, encourage exercise and boost social interactions between people—and ultimately improve health outcomes and lower costs." (AIS Health)

Rising Specialty Pharma Costs Mean Insurers Must Take Action
"Health plans must take a variety of measures, including developing clinical management programs, promoting patient adherence programs and improving interaction with members, to combat rising costs in specialty pharmacy, according to two industry insiders." (AIS Health)

District Judge in California Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act as Applied to Claim for Participation in Long-Term Disability Plan
"A federal [district] judge ruled Thursday that [California's] public-employee pension system must make long-term care insur.ance equally available to same-s.ex spouses and partners.... [CalPERS] has refused to let g.ay spouses enroll in its federally approved insur.ance program on the ground that they were excluded by [the federal Defense of Marriage Act]." (San Jose Mercury News)

Legal Challenges to Health Reform Leading Some States to Slow or Halt Insur.ance Exchanges
"This short paper from the Kaiser Family Foundation discusses the implications of the fact that as of May 2012 more than a dozen states had halted exchange planning while awaiting the Supreme Court's ruling in the health reform case." (Kaiser Health Reform)

5 Must-Dos for U.S. Health Care Reform
"[F]ive of the top must-dos for successful healthcare reform[:] More accessible and portable patient data, which enables improved communication among providers.... Tort reform.... Focus on prevention.... Insur.ance incentives for low-cost users, in order to instill a sense of personal responsibility in maintaining one's health.... [B]etter pay for quality outcomes." (MedCity News)

The Fork in the Road for Health Care: Stopping Ever-Tighter Squeeze on the Middle Class
"[A] question confronting the American public and their political representatives is how they imagine households with money income of, say, $30,000 to $50,000 will tolerate the ever-larger bites the health care Pacman seeks to take out of their budgets.... [I]f we wish to continue with even the semblance of the idea that our health care system offers rich and poor patients roughly the same kind of health care experience in case of illness ... we will have to enlist government somehow to impose on total health spending an annual budget that cannot grow faster than ability to pay ... [or] we can segregate health care into tiers, by income class[.]" (The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Reform Will Increase Coverage, But Won't Improve Access to Care, Outcome
"Despite reform, minorities in Tennessee will continue to have less access to health care services and poorer health outcomes in general than other Tennesseans, according to the latest study by the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Institute." (Blue Cross Blue Shield)

Is Your HR Function Ready for Health Care Reform?
"To understand the potential impact on employers and the HR function, it's important to grasp the three major changes set to occur in 2014: the individual health insur.ance mandate, state-run health insur.ance Exchanges and the employer 'play or pay' requirement.... The effects on health plan administration will be dramatic, as employers begin to deal with new players in the health insur.ance arena: state insur.ance Exchanges. How will these changes affect your HR function—and how should HR prepare?" (Towers Watson)

Supreme Court Review of the Affordable Care Act: Implications for Plan Sponsors and Health Insurers
"[E]mployers and insurers should be aware of how the Court could rule, and the implications that may follow the Court's ruling. [This article provides] a high-level overview of possible rulings—and their potential implications[.]" (Groom Law Group)

[Opinion]
Obamacare Will Not Fix Health Care
"The Affordable Care Act fails to address the cost of American health-care delivery because the central feature of Obamacare is the forced reliance on the private health-insur.ance-industry business model, known as the individual mandate. Private health insur.ance is the most wasteful way to pay for health care ever invented, with excess administrative costs in the United States of about $400 bil.lion per year. In addition, the private health-insur.ance business model ... induces mediocre care—it pays for inappropriate care and ignores patient safety, while failing to consistently use clinically proven interventions. These poor-quality problems in the United States health-care system cost an additional $700 bil.lion per year in wasted payments." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Finance Executives Share Perspectives on the Future of Retirement and Employee Benefits (PDF)
Strategies employers are now pursuing to deal with the rising costs of benefits programs while providing employees with the best benefits possible include shifting to more of an employee choice benefits model; increasing voluntary benefits for active employees and retirees; deciding about the future of their DB plans; and addressing concerns that employees are delaying retirement decisions due to inadequate savings. (Prudential)

Employees Value 'Purpose' Over Promotion
"People's attitudes towards the level of engagement and satisfaction [that] a job is expected to deliver have changed dramatically. Our report demonstrates how employees are increasingly seeking intangible advantages from their jobs beyond pay, benefits and career prospects—and how important it has become for companies to act on this change." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Despite Significant Investments, Few Companies Effectively Managing Total Rewards Programs
"Survey results confirm that many business leaders and HR practitioners believe that when total rewards are properly aligned, designed, and delivered, the impact on individual engagement and organizational performance can be significant. And yet ... 60% of companies surveyed described their engagement levels as low, and two-thirds responded that the trend in engagement is holding steady or trending downward. [Survey results and] analysis of high-performing organizations, point the way toward some of the initial steps and even some of the more advanced actions that employers can take to improve the value they are getting on their total rewards spend." (Aon Hewitt)

Press Releases

401(k) Advisors Is Certified For Fiduciary Excellence
(Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX))



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