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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 13, 2012          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Noble-Davis Consulting, Inc. in OH

Distribution Services Supervisor
for Associated Pension Consultants in CA

Benefits Health and Welfare Advisor/Senior Advisor
for ConocoPhillips in TX

Relationship Manager
for MassMutual Financial Group in ANY STATE, AL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN

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Webcasts and Conferences

Qualified Plan Essentials Plus Series
Nationwide on November 15, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Participant Loans
Nationwide on November 15, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

"Plan Corrections: When Good Plans Go Bad" - 19 cities, January - February 2013
Nationwide on January 9, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

Required Minimum Distributions
Nationwide on November 30, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

10th Annual Taft-Hartley Benefit Fund Summit
in Nevada on February 10, 2013 presented by Financial Research Associates

Distribution Retirement Planning
Nationwide on December 29, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Controlled Groups
Nationwide on December 7, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.


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The Prevalence and Cost of Deductibles in Employer Sponsored Insurance: A View from Kaiser's 2012 Employer Health Benefit Survey
"The percent of covered workers enrolled in a plan with a general annual deductible has increased significantly over time. In 2006, just over half (52%) of covered workers had a deductible for single coverage, compared with almost three-quarters (72%) in 2012.... Since 2006, the percentage of workers enrolled in plan types which are less likely to require a deductible, such as HMOs, has decreased (20% to 16%) and enrollment in High-Deductible Health Plans with Savings Options (HDHP/SOs) has increased (4% to 19%)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


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Fewer Than Half of Californians Covered by Employer-Sponsored Health Plan
"For the first time since at least 2001, and likely much longer, less than half of Californians younger than 65 received coverage through their own or a family member's employer in 2011.... 'The job-based system has reached its limit,' said [the] director of health insurance studies at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research." (IndependentMail.com)

Weighing the Advantages of High-Deductible Health Plans
"During this year's annual enrollment season, more people than ever will have the option to choose a health plan with a deductible that may exceed $1,000. These plans are often also linked to a savings account that offers tax benefits; employers and the employee may contribute to these accounts to help cover medical expenses. Fifty-nine percent of employers offered so-called account-based health plans this year, up from 53 percent in 2011, and 11 percent said they will begin offering them by next year ... Twelve percent of employers ... said account-based plans are the only type of plan they offer." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Post-Election Health Care Outlook (PDF)
"While the policy agenda for President Obama's second term is still being developed, critical work remains for the President and the current Congress during the Congressional 'lame duck' session, as a number of tax, spending and health care policies either expire or start at the end of the calendar year -- each with significant economic and budgetary impacts. Meanwhile, this all hangs under a cloud of an expiring debt ceiling and a likely emergency supplemental package for states affected by 'super storm' Sandy." (Alston + Bird LLP)

New $2,500 Cap Brings Big Change for Health FSAs in 2013
"According to a Benefits USA 2012/2013 survey, 89.7 percent of companies offer an FSA to their employees, with 23.6 percent of employees at these organizations enrolling in them.... The $2,500 limit for health FSAs may be especially burdensome for those employees with large medical expenses, such as for orthodontia, who've gotten used to putting more money into their FSAs." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Deloitte Health Care Reform Memo, November 12, 2012
Articles in this issue include: Health insurance exchange (HIX) deadline extended; DOJ Defends the ACA in DC District Court; Sequestration and the ACA: What Might Change? CBO Outlines Health Related Deficit Reduction Opportunities; IT Incentive Funds through Medicare, Medicaid Top $7 billion; and Key ballot Initiatives Last Week. (Deloitte)

Harvard Law Professor Einer Elhauge Discusses Constitutionality of Mandatory Purchase of Health Insurance
"In 1940, only nine percent of Americans had health insurance, but thirteen years later sixty percent did. Given the very different experiences in our nation's history, what constitutional principles should we consider in determining whether a purchase mandate is 'proper'?" [Ed. note: The article is an interview with Prof. Einer Elhauge, the Carrol and Milton Petrie Professor of Law at Harvard and the Founding Director of Harvard's Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, who wrote extensively and accessibly about the battle over the constitutionality of the ACA.] (SCOTUSblog)

Health Reform Moves Forward: Watch for Funding, Implementation and Court Cases
"The law's funding is vulnerable. How vulnerable and which parts? Hard to say yet. But for what it's worth, #DEFUND is the new Twitter rallying cry for opponents of the law[.]" (Association of Health Care Journalists)

[Opinion]

The Real Danger of Obamacare Is Insurance Company Takeover of Health Care
"The PPACA does nothing to restructure the health insurance industry, anymore than the Dodd-Frank Act restructures the banking industry. This means everything else it attempts to do, positive or negative, will be vastly overshadowed by an industry accelerating to morph itself into a acquisition machine in order to circumvent anything that even smells like a restriction, including laws that exist and ones to come." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

[Opinion]

Get Ready to Get Spun by Health Insurance Lobbyists
"[T]he political action committees of the 11 largest health insurers and their biggest trade group -- America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) -- gave $10.2 million to federal politicians between January 2007 and August 2012. Most of that money went to Republicans who pledged to repeal or gut the Affordable Care Act." (The Huffington Post)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Wisconsin Public Collective Bargaining Restriction Saves $366M in Benefit Costs Statewide
"The [Wisconsin] state law that eliminated most collective bargaining rights for school employees reduced benefit costs for the Elmbrook School District by about $5.3 million last school year ... Statewide, school districts reduced benefit costs by $366 million this year ... Because employees can no longer bargain over benefits under Act 10, many school districts increased health insurance co-payments, required higher cost sharing by employees or changed health insurance providers to reduce costs." (Patch.com)

The Fiscal Cliff, the Taxation of Health Insurance, and the Retirement Crisis
"Part of the problem is that, for budgeting purposes, Congress treats the retirement contribution tax benefit as revenue lost, which is not completely accurate. Unlike the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance (which is lost revenue), the government does receive the revenue from retirement contributions, just many years down the road." (Benefits Bryan Cave)

2012 Year-End 'To Do' Lists for Retirement, Health & Welfare, and Executive Comp Plans
Seven 'to do' lists that may require you to take action before the end of 2012 or in early 2013: (1) All Qualified Plans; (2) Section 401(k) Plans List; (3) Defined Contribution Plans (Other Than Section 401(k) Plans); (4) Defined Benefit Plans; (5) Section 403(b) Plans; (6) Health and Welfare Plans; and (7) Executive Compensation. (Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.)

Sandy Triggers New Policies for Federal Employees on Health Insurance, Leave-Sharing
"The government is continuing to expand benefits policies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, clearing the way for certain emergency relief employees to be eligible for federal health insurance and soliciting donations of leave for affected federal workers." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

State Voter Referendums on Same-Gender Marriage Have Implications for Employee Benefit Plans
"Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved the legalization of [same-gender] marriage in their states. In addition, voters in Minnesota rejected a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as an [opposite-gender] union. ... Employers should take note of these recent developments in order to determine how to respond to increased requests for spousal benefits from employees who enter into [same-gender] marriages in one of these states." (McDermott Will & Emery)

Press Releases



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