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December 7, 2012          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

DC Product Manager
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

Conversion Specialist
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

401(k) Enroller
for Heritage Pension Advisors, LLC in MA

Employee Benefits Attorney
for Miller Johnson in MI

Account Analyst
for Nolan Financial in MD, TX

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Webcasts and Conferences

2013 Power of 3 Workshop
in Georgia on April 22, 2013 presented by Simoneaux & Stroud Consulting Services

Deferred and Executive Compensation - Live FONHR Webinar
Nationwide on December 10, 2012 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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

 

Transitional Reinsurance Program Results in Significant New Costs for Group Health Plans (PDF)
"While insurers are required to make the payment, in most cases the insurer will pass the cost directly on to the plan sponsor of a group health plan. Although the payment won't be required until the end of each year ..., the insurer may want to the collect amounts during the year. For example, an insurer might build the fee into the 2014 insurance rates." (Buck Consultants)


[Advert.]

Healthcare Reform and Taft-Hartley Plans: A Look Toward the Future

Sponsored by Financial Research Associates, LLC

MIA 2013 brings together Trustees, Administrators, Consultants and top industry leaders to discuss topical issues about pension and investments (TRACK A) as well as health and welfare benefits (TRACK B). Mention FMP164 during registration for a 10% discount.


Proposed HHS Regs on Transitional Reinsurance Program Premiums Will Affect Health Plans
"The reinsurance programs are intended to help stabilize premiums for coverage in the individual market during the first three years the state health insurance exchanges are operational (2014 through 2016). HHS is estimating the annual contribution rate for 2014 will be $63 per covered life (employees and their dependents). This will undoubtedly impact the overall cost of providing coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan and should be taken into account by employers for purposes of estimating cost trends." (McDermott Will & Emery)

New Jersey Governor Vetoes Bill To Set Up Health Care Insurance Exchange
"'I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a state-based exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options, and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state's taxpayers,' [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie said ... This marks the second time this year that Christie vetoed an attempt to create a state healthcare exchange." (The Huffington Post)

CBO Says It Saw No Sign Congress Meant to Limit Health Exchange Subsidy
"Congressional staff involved in the creation of the law did not suggest that federal insurance subsidies be restricted only to states that run their own healthcare exchanges, the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said ... With analysts estimating that Washington could wind up operating exchanges in as many as 30 states, any move to choke off subsidies could threaten to cripple the reform provision." (Chicago Tribune; free registration required)

Preventive Care at Risk with High-Deductible Health Plans?
"Nearly 20% of respondents with a high-deductible health insurance plan delayed or avoided a preventive office visit because of cost, even though preventive care was completely covered, a survey found. One possible reason: only 18.1% of respondents understood that their health plan exempted preventive office visits from deductibles and copays." (MedPage Today)

Mennonite Employer Sues Over Obamacare Contraception Coverage
"Conestoga Wood Specialties, citing the principles of religious freedom on which William Penn founded Pennsylvania, says in its suit, filed in U.S. District Court, that to accord to its Mennonite beliefs, it would be 'sinful and immoral for the company to participate in, pay for, facilitate or otherwise support any contraception' that would have the effect of an abortion." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Red Lobster's Obamacare Fail: Why Ditching Health Benefits Is Really Hard
"Darden's foray into limiting insurance coverage, and ensuing retreat, speaks to something [described by] a lot of health-policy experts contemplating how employers will navigate the health-law's mandate. Nobody wants to be first to drop coverage, they'll usually say. If they're going to drop coverage, they want to be part of a big wave, not a trailblazer." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Retiree-Only Health Plans Liable for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Fees, IRS Regs Say
"IRS rejected commenters' requests to exempt retiree coverage from PCOR fees. As a result, the final regulations apply the PCOR fees to specified health insurance policies and applicable self-insured health plans that provide accident and health coverage to retirees, including retiree-only policies and plans." (Practical Law Company)

Employers' Use of Health Insurance Exchanges: Lessons from Massachusetts (PDF)
"Despite the promises of the exchanges, most private or government health insurance exchanges so far have failed to gain substantial market share. To date, this track record holds true in Massachusetts. Its exchange, called the Health Connector, has had notable success in expanding coverage for individuals, but so far it has not made major inroads into the employer-based insurance market." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange Offers Insight into Facilitating Small-Group Employer Participation (PDF)
"Small-group employer participation is limited by an unclear value proposition and resistance to a changing market environment.... States considering or implementing exchanges will need to build in and communicate the value of participating in the exchange for small-group employers and address state-specific market factors." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Health Care for Undocumented Migrants: Approaches Taken by European Countries
"European countries have smaller shares of undocumented migrants than does the United States, but these individuals have substantial needs for medical care and present difficult policy challenges even in countries with universal health insurance systems.... Strategies vary along three dimensions: 1) focusing on segments of the population, like children or pregnant women; 2) focusing on types of services, like preventive services or treatment of infectious diseases; or 3) using specific funding policies, like allowing undocumented migrants to purchase insurance." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Choice and Decision-Making in a Health Insurance Exchange: What Does Research and Experience Tell Us? (PDF)
"States are at different stages in their determinations about how to structure their Exchanges and how key functions of the Exchanges will be accomplished, but all face common questions such as: how to promote participation in the Exchanges; how to ensure that people who are eligible for financial assistance apply; how to provide useful information about insurance products; and how to help businesses and consumers make informed choices about health insurance.... [A]nswers to these questions might differ depending on the group the state is trying to reach." (AcademyHealth)

Year-End Brings Changes to Employee Tax Provisions
"Given the current tax uncertainty, employers should be aware that extensions for educational assistance, adoption assistance and the 2 percent payroll tax decrease are possible if a new tax bill is enacted. However, even with a new tax bill, employers still will need to implement both the new contribution limit to health care FSAs and the new 0.9 percent Medicare payroll tax increase for high-income employees." (Society for Human Resource Management)

[Opinion]

The Irrationality of the Individual Health Insurance Mandate
"Many people ... believe that placing that responsibility on employers was a major policy screw-up that created all the wrong dynamics in health care and virtually eliminated market functions because the payer and the consumer were not the same person. Nevertheless, it is a system we have lived with for two-thirds of a century.... Unwinding all this, even if desirable, is extremely complex and should take a very long transition period as we all learn new ways of doing things." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Year-End International Reporting Requirements for Employee Stock Plans
"This Commentary highlights some of the principal calendar and year-end reporting requirements for employee stock plans that U.S. companies most commonly encounter when offering these programs to their employees in selected jurisdictions worldwide. A chart summarizing these items [is included]." (Jones Day)

2012 Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Survey Results (PDF)
"Recruiting and retention efforts are becoming even more of a driving consideration in their decision to offer a [nonqualified] plan.... Three-in-five plan sponsors are concerned about their key employees having sufficient income to sustain them in retirement. More than one-third are more concerned than they were five years ago." (The Principal Financial Group)

Institutional Shareholder Services Issues FAQs on Revised Peer Group Selection Methodology
"On December 4, 2012, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) released a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) setting out how it will determine a company's peer group for purposes of conducting its pay-for-performance analysis. The FAQs cover: [1] ISS's new peer group methodology. [2] Communicating updated peer group information to ISS." (Practical Law Company)

ISS Publishes FAQs on New Peer Group Selection Method
"ISS has published a series of frequently asked questions on its new peer group selection method. The FAQs explain the new policies. The new procedures give weight in some circumstances to an issuer's self-selected peers. The FAQS therefore provide issuers with an opportunity to advise ISS of any changes in its peer group for consideration by ISS." (Dodd-Frank.com, a blog by Leonard, Street and Deinard)

Chart of 2013 Payroll Tax Rates and Important Retirement Plan Limits (PDF)
"This quick reference guide contains: Filing deadlines IRS standard mileage rates Summary of other limitations, including elective deferrals and benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans." (Lindquist LLP)

Press Releases

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