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January 18, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Compliance Research Analyst - Health/Welfare & Retirement Plans
for MidAmerica Administrative & Retirement Solutions, Inc. in FL

Senior Benefits Analyst
for Leading Fortune 500 Manufacturer in GA

Conversion Consultant
for Aspire Financial Services in FL

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Webcasts and Conferences

Employee Plan Compliance Resolution Systems (EPCRS) 2013
Nationwide on February 12, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

2013 First Quarter Update
Nationwide on February 20, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

2013 First Quarter Update
Nationwide on February 21, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Phone Forum: Changes to Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS)
Nationwide on February 21, 2013 presented by Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

2013 Updates from U.S. DOL's Office of Chief Accountant and Los Angeles Regional Office
in California on January 29, 2013 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Final HHS Regs: Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules
"In this final rule the Department finalizes the modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules to implement many of the privacy, security, and enforcement provisions of the HITECH Act and make other changes to the Rules; modifies the Breach Notification Rule; finalizes the modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule to strengthen privacy protections for genetic information; and responds to the public comments received on the proposed and interim final rules." [563 pages] (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)


[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.


[Guidance Overview]

OCR Publishes Long-Anticipated Omnibus Restatement of HIPAA Privacy, Security, Breach Notification & Enforcement Rules
"While [the Office of Civil Rights (OCR)] had issued certain regulations implementing some of the HITECH Act changes, it waited to published updated regulations necessary to implement other HITECH Act changes until it could complete a more comprehensive restatement of its previously published HIPAA regulations to reflect both the HITECH Act amendments and other refinements to its HIPAA Rules. The 2013 Regulations published today fulfill that promise by restating OCR's HIPAA Regulations to reflect the HITECH Act Amendments and other changes and clarifications to OCR's interpretation and enforcement of HIPAA." (Solutions Law Press)

[Guidance Overview]

Retroactive Procedures Implement Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits Parity for 2012
"The parity expired at the end of 2011, so that for all of 2012 the maximum that could be excluded from income for transportation in a commuter highway vehicle or a transit pass was $125 per month, while the amount allowed for parking was $240 per month. As a practical matter, taxpayers received their benefits for 2012 at these rates, and it was unclear what the mechanism would be to refund the income and FICA tax paid on amounts that would have been excluded from income under the higher $240-a-month level[.]" (Journal of Accountancy)

Health Insurers May Prove Choosy with Exchanges
"The leader of the nation's largest health insurer warned Thursday not to assume widespread participation from his company in part of health care overhaul's coverage expansion that unfolds later this year.... 'We will only participate in exchanges that we assess to be fair, commercially sustainable and provide a reasonable return on the capital they will require,' he said.... [H]e estimated that UnitedHealth will participate initially in roughly 10 to 25 exchanges, when at least 100 might be set up." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)


[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.


Evidence of Employer's Dissatisfaction Is Sufficient to Forestall Employee's FMLA Claim
"An employee's documented performance issues and his employer's concerns about his completion of a project were evidence that the employee's termination would have taken place independent of the employee's use of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), according to the Tenth Circuit[.]" [Brown v. ScriptPro, LLC, No. 11-3293 (10th Cir.)] (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Can Oregon Save American Health Care?
"The deal [Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber] struck was this: The Obama administration would give the state $1.9 billion over five years, enough to patch the [state's $2 billion Medicaid] budget hole. The catch: To secure that, Oregon's Medicaid program must grow at a rate that is 2 percent slower than the rest of the country, ultimately generating $11 billion savings over the next decade. If it fails, those federal dollars disappear. Oregon is pursuing the Holy Grail in health-care policy: slower cost growth. If it succeeds, it could set a course for the rest of the country at a pivotal moment for the Affordable Care Act." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

HHS Announces $1.5 Billion in Awards to States Building Health Insurance Marketplaces
"Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Vermont received awards today for Level One Exchange Establishment Grants, which are one-year grants states will use to build marketplaces. California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon received Level Two Exchange Establishment Grants today. Level Two grants are multi-year awards to states to further develop their marketplaces." (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

[Opinion]

Individual and Group Coverage Under the ACA: More Patches to the Federal-State Crazy Quilt
"As implementation unfolds, ... the ACA's impact on the roles of federal, state, and private actors is uncertain. Given the statute's ambitions and complexity, uncertainty may be inevitable. Nevertheless, recent developments demonstrate that implementation may bring surprising results which, at least in some instances, are both unintended and problematic. [This article addresses] two that pose particular challenges to achieving the ACA's goals of expanding and harmonizing coverage among and between states: 1) the establishment of state exchanges, and 2) the determination of essential health benefits." (Health Affairs Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

SEC Approves Compensation Committee and Advisers Independence Listing Standards for NYSE, NASDAQ
"The amended, and now final, rules make only a few minor clarifications and no major changes. The amended rules clarify that... [t]he compensation committee will not be required to conduct the required independence assessment as to a compensation adviser that acts in a role limited to (a) consulting on a broad-based plan that does not discriminate in favor of executive officers or directors of the company, and that is available generally to all salaried employees; and/or (b) providing information that is not customized for a particular issuer or that is customized based on parameters that are not developed by the adviser, and about which the adviser does not provide advice." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

April 15 Deadline for Filing FICA Refunds for Severance Pay
"Employers that have made severance payments due to reductions in force, plant shutdowns or similar conditions should consider filing protective FICA tax refund claims. Only a limited period of time is available to file. In general, the statute of limitations for tax refund claims is three years. As a result, April 15, 2013, is the due date for taxpayers for filing a refund claim with respect to the 2009 calendar year. A refund claim cannot be filed with respect to severance payments made before 2009." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Opinion]

Very Few Senators and Representatives Have Experience with Major Benefits Legislation
"As the 113th Congress begins its work ... it is perhaps not surprising that the nuances of employee benefit plans and their tax treatment might not be an area of expertise for many on Capitol Hill.... [Y]ou might not be surprised to learn that no member of the current Senate was in office when Medicare, or even ERISA was signed into law. But ... just three of the current 100 members of the Senate were there when Sec. 401(k) became law, and only 10 were there when the Tax Reform Act of 1986 became a reality. Fewer than half of the Senate were in their current office when the Pension Protection Act of 2006 passed. The implications for policy making in the midst of that kind of turnover are significant for employers and employees alike." (Nevin Adams via EBRI)

[Opinion]

Retiree Health, CalSTRS Need Attention from California Legislature This Year
"CalSTRS, the teachers' retirement system, needs billions of dollars in new money to stabilize its slowly draining assets. Unlike its larger cousin retirement fund, CalPERS, the teachers' system can't independently mandate rates charged to its members' employers. It must rely on the Legislature for more funding. Meanwhile, the state's unfunded liabilities for retiree health benefits continues to grow. Only a handful of unions have agreed to pay ahead on the anticipated obligations for their members. The state essentially operates on a pay-as-you go basis." (The Sacramento Bee)

Press Releases

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