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January 10, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
for Polycomp Administrative Services, Inc. in CA

Conversion Specialist
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in TX

ERISA Consultant
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

Director, DC Administration
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

Client Delivery Analyst
for The Savitz Organization in PA

Portfolio Solutions Strategist/Investment Actuary
for T. Rowe Price in MD

Director, Key Accounts
for Prudential in CT

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Webcasts and Conferences

2013 IBI/NBCH Health & Productivity Forum
in Texas on February 25, 2013 presented by Integrated Benefits Institute and National Business Coalition on Health

Ethical Standards for and Accountability of Practitioners Offering Tax Advice Relating to Employee Benefit Plans Phone Forum
Nationwide on February 13, 2013 presented by Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Overview of the 2012 Cumulative List of Plan Qualification Changes Phone Forum
Nationwide on February 28, 2013 presented by Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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Mass Confusion Over Mass Transit
"The mass transit benefit fell to $125 per month in 2012 because Congress failed to extend it; the new law increases that to $240 per month through 2012, matching the current parking subsidy for commuters. But the legislation makes the increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, leaving many people confused ... practically speaking. It's still not clear what the retroactive portion of the provision means[.]" (GovExec.com)


[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.


How the ACA May Affect Your Employer's Health Care Plan
"What does the new health-care law mean for people like me, who use alternative medicine? ... [S]ome policy experts say the latest federal guidance doesn't make it clear that a benchmark plan's benefits that don't easily fit into one of the 10 essential health benefit categories of care, such as acupuncture, must be covered by all plans. Moreover, insurers are permitted in some instances to substitute benefits, as long as they are determined to be substantially the same in value under the law. So in theory, an insurer might decide to swap out acupuncture in favor of something else, such as physical therapy[.]" (STLtoday.com)

Battle Continues Over Contraceptive Mandate
"Courts have ruled in favor of 10 of the 13 for-profit companies that sued, seeking preliminary injunctions or temporary restraining orders against the mandate. Non-profits haven't fared as well. The Catholic dioceses in Nashville and Pittsburgh along with several religious colleges, including Notre Dame, have lost in district court. That is, in part, because the courts have ruled that the lawsuits are premature.... The safe harbor doesn't apply to for-profit companies, which gives their lawsuits more urgency." (USA TODAY)

Wellness Programs Get Booster Shot from Feds
"While the experts agree that the new ACA focus on wellness can play a major role in curtailing employer healthcare costs, [a] Philadelphia-based [employment attorney] warns that the discriminatory aspects of the standards-based plans might still lead to litigation.... To avoid that potential for lawsuits, group health plans may choose to offer more limited type of wellness plans of the participatory type (paying for health club dues, putting a gym on the premises, providing wellness educational materials, etc.), which are not subject to the same rules." (Human Resource Executive Online)

WellPoint Rate Increase Includes Early Charge to Offset Future Obamacare Coverage Costs
"WellPoint Inc. (WLP)'s plan to raise the rates small employers in California pay for medical insurance was criticized as unreasonable by the state insurance commissioner, who said customers are being charged this year to cover U.S. health-law fees that won't begin until 2014. WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross unit in California is raising those rates an average of 10.6 percent[.]" (Bloomberg)


[Advert.]

Executive Forum on Rewarding Healthy Behaviors - January 30-31, 2013 - San Diego

Sponsored by World Congress

The pre-eminent event for innovative workplace wellness and preventive health management initiatives designed to promote health behavior change within health insured populations. Evidence-based success strategies to contain healthcare costs.


Should Obamacare Be Changed to Require Coverage of Nicorette?
"Under the Affordable Care Act's preventive health-care provisions, insurers are required to cover 100% of the cost of breastfeeding supplies and lactation counseling. As a result, new parents have made a run on the equipment, and pump suppliers are quickly expanding their operations to feed on the new demand ... Smoking-cessation products are not mandated coverage under the health law -- a fact health advocates and the makers of nicotine patches and gum are hoping to change." (MarketWatch.com)

Court OKs Same-Gender Partner Benefits for Michigan State Workers
"A divided Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a state panel's decision to extend health care benefits to same-[gender] partners of state employees. In a 2-1 ruling released Wednesday [January 9], the court said it's not the place of courts to second-guess the wisdom of state action." (CBS Detroit)

Study Says Obamacare Will Reshape Healthcare Industry in 2013
"Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers ... named seven aspects of the Affordable Care Act as part of its top-10 list of issues facing the healthcare industry in 2013. The study described a healthcare system in flux as a result of budgetary pressures, technological advancement, changes in consumer tastes and long-term questions about the viability of employer-based coverage. But the healthcare law will drive most changes in 2013 thanks to its insurance exchanges, medical-device tax and delivery reforms, the study said." (The Hill)

Obesity, Lack of Insurance Cited in U.S. Health Gap
"The United States spends more per person on healthcare than any other nation but lags on many important health measures amid higher rates of obesity and heart disease and worse infant mortality rates than other rich countries.... Americans overall fared the worst among the countries in the report when it came to nine areas: infant mortality; injury and homicide rates; teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; HIV infection and AIDS; drug abuse; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; lung disease; and disabilities." (Reuters)

'The Matrix' Meets Medicine: Surveillance Swoops Into Health Care
"In an inconspicuous control room at the Sioux Falls, S.D., headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, nurses keep round-the-clock watch on motion and humidity sensors in the living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms of elderly men and women in five states. The seniors -- a handful in their own homes and the rest in assisted living facilities owned by Good Samaritan -- are part of one of the most comprehensive remote health monitoring efforts anywhere. Whether this costly technology will ultimately prove clinically or economically effective remains uncertain. So, too, is whether a benign health care purpose can help overcome the unsettling 'Big Brother' overtones for some potential users. What is clear, however, is that health care is joining a national trend toward greater surveillance of everyday life." (Kaiser Health News)

Analyzing Vermont's Health Insurance Market
"Key Recommendations from the Study: [1] Vermont should keep the definition of small groups to 50 or fewer employees until 2016, when it will expand under the ACA. [2] Individual and small group purchasing should occur solely within the state exchange. [3] The individual and small group markets should be merged into one market in the exchange, since individuals and non-association small groups would experience premium decreases." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Rate Reviews Cost Insurers $500M in Premiums in New York State
"Insurers sought rate hikes averaging more than 12 percent, but the Department of Financial Services [for the state of New York] cut down those increases to 7.5 percent, limiting the average approved rate to less than 10 percent[.]" (FierceHealthPayer)

Stabilizing U.S. Health Spending While Moving Toward a High Performance Health Care System
"To show how future health spending growth could be held to a national target and stabilized while moving toward a high performance health care system, this report lays out a synergistic strategy relying on three broad thrusts: [1] Provider payment reforms to promote value and accelerate health care delivery system innovation. [2] Policies to expand options and encourage high-value choices by consumers armed with better information about the quality and cost of care. [3] Systemwide action to improve how health care markets function, including reducing administrative costs and setting national and regional targets for spending growth." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Alice in Healthcareland
"2013 has arrived and employers now find themselves on the other side of a looking glass facing the surreal world of healthcare reform and a confusion of regulations promulgated by [the ACA] and its Queen of Hearts, HHS Secretary Sebelius.... Like Alice, benefits decision makers are asking, "Which way should we go?" -- to which the historical response for employers has been: "follow the path of least disruption." Yet, ACA has set a new normal in motion and with it, the historical axioms of "do no harm" will no longer work in benefits management. There is no path to achieve the holy grail of affordability that does not carry some risk of delay, disruption, confusion and/or increased administrative complexity." (The Health Care Blog)

[Opinion]

ACA Caught in Middle of Coming Deficit Train Wreck
"While the ACA is designed to lower budget deficits over the long haul, the short haul is what's on many minds. And in the short haul, the ACA requires billions in new spending, for everything from Medicaid expansion to subsidies for low-income enrollees of state exchanges. There has lately been talk of the subsidies being axed from the ACA. One has to wonder if the ACA might not have been passed at the worst possible time for success." (HealthLeaders InterStudy)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Other Benefits Components of the, Ahem, 'Relief' Act
"[T]hanks to the fiscal cliff, you can educate your workforce, help them build a family, encourage them to take mass transit, and let them convert their 401(k) savings to Roth! Helpful? Yes. But unlikely to save 'fiscal cliff' from the English-language chopping block, particularly when combined with the substantial additional tax burdens imposed by the 'Relief' Act." (Benefits Bryan Cave)

Resignation Statement by DOL Secretary Hilda L. Solis
"[On Wednesday, January 8], I submitted my resignation to President Obama.... Leaving the department is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, because I have taken our mission to heart. As the daughter of parents who worked in factories, paid their union dues and achieved their goal of a middle class life, and as the first Latina to head a major federal agency, it has been an incredible honor to serve. " (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Press Releases

Avoid Penalties with New Health Care Reform Tools
Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

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