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January 22, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefit Plan Administrator
for Brown, Edwards and Company, LLP in VA, WV

Retirement Plan Associate, Recordkeeping - Entry Level
for Rains Plan Group in ANY STATE, WA

Business Acceptance Consultant
for Charles Schwab in OH

Senior Conversion Manager
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in TX

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Webcasts and Conferences

Form 5500 Update
Nationwide on March 26, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

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[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA Final Regs Increase Fines for Non-Compliance
"HHS made official in the omnibus rule increased civil monetary penalties ranging from $100 in the 'did not know' category to $1.5 million in the 'not corrected' category. The factors that will be considered when determining civil money penalties for non-compliance have expanded significantly ... the impacts of the breach will be considered." (HealthLeaders Media)


[Advert.]

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Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

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[Guidance Overview]

Final HIPAA Privacy and Security Regulations Released (PDF)
"HHS has characterized these rules as 'the most sweeping changes to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules since they were first implemented.' As such, plan sponsors will need to review -- and in most cases update -- their HIPAA policies and procedures, business associate agreements, and privacy notices to confirm they meet the new mandates by September 23, 2013. Plan sponsors will also need to conduct workforce training to update individuals with access to PHI on the new rules." (Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]

Final HITECH Omnibus Rules Tighten Breach Notification
"The final rules do stop short of 'requiring notification for all impermissible uses and disclosures without any assessment of risk,' as some privacy advocates had urged. But such a disclosure will be presumed to be a breach unless the health plan or other entity can demonstrate 'a low probability that the protected health information has been compromised.'" (Thompson SmartHR Manager)

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues 2013 Adoption And Transportation Benefit COLAs
"For taxable years beginning in 2013, the credit allowed for the adoption of a child, under Code Sec. 23(a)(3), including a child with special needs, is $12,970, and, for adoption assistance programs, under Code Sec. 137(a)(2), the amount that can be excluded from an employee's gross income for the amounts paid or expenses incurred by an employer for qualified adoption expenses pursuant to an adoption assistance program is also $12,970." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

[Guidance Overview]

Play-or-Pay Employer Shared Responsibility under ACA (PDF)
"For the purpose of determining (1) if an employer is an applicable Large Employer and (2) the status of an ongoing employee for offering eligible Employer-Sponsored Plan, a look-back regime is used. Notice 2011-36 provides [steps shown here in a flowchart fashion, for] determining if an employer is an applicable Large Employer." (Chao & Company, Ltd.)

Administration Ditches 'Exchanges' in Rebranding; Now Called 'Marketplaces'
"The Obama administration is re-branding the central component of its signature healthcare law. [HHS] suddenly stopped referring to insurance 'exchanges' this week, even as it heralded ongoing efforts to prod states into setting up their own. Instead, press materials and a website for the public referred to insurance 'marketplaces' in each state." (The Hill)

Why Does a Flu Shot Cost So Much?
"Influenza vaccines cost healthcare providers from $10 to $16 per dose, according to this nifty CDC chart. They're by far the cheapest vaccine on the list. The tetanus vaccine costs a provider $38, HPV vaccine is $130, Hepatitis B is $52.... [T]here might be an economics argument for giving away the vaccine for free, even if it is already cheap. The province of Ontario, in Canada, tried that in 2000 and found that giving away the vaccine for free reduced influenza cases by 61% and decreased the cost of healthcare services by 52%[.]" (Los Angeles Times)

Court Halts Application of Georgia Prompt-Payment Law to Self-Funded Health Plans
"Finding that the requirements of the Georgia law do apply to self-funded health plans, and are not limited to the regulation of their TPAs, U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr. concluded that ERISA 'expressly' pre-empts them. Georgia failed to prove that amendment deadlines are not burdensome or costly, or that the law is limited to a 'ministerial activity,' which can be regulated by the state, according to the 50-page ruling.... 'The ability to withhold payments for long periods of time certainly benefits plans by allowing them to earn income on the unpaid funds,' Duffey wrote." (Courthouse News Service)

Insurers Prod Doctors, Hospitals to Stop Elective Early Deliveries
"[S]ome government and private insurers are discouraging and in some cases penalizing doctors and hospitals for delivering babies early without cause. Their goal is to reduce care in NICUs, where the average charge is $76,000 per stay[.]" (Kaiser Health News)

Virtual Visits to Doctor May Be Cheaper and As Effective As In-Person Visits
"Insurance companies believe e-visits will save money ... For patients, the biggest benefit is convenience.... treating each patient with a UTI cost an average of $74 per e-visit vs. $93 for an office visit[.]" (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Hospices, Wary of Costs, May Be Discouraging Patients with High Fees
"The survey of nearly 600 hospices nationwide found that 78 percent had enrollment policies that might restrict patient access to care, especially for those with high-cost medical needs. The policies included prohibitions on enrolling patients who are receiving palliative radiation or blood transfusions or who are being fed intravenously.... But such care can be expensive, costing upward of $10,000 a month[.]" (Kaiser Health News)

What We Know About Wellness and Nutrition Science
"Your wellness vendor would have you believe there is a perfect formula for health, weight control, etc. Such notions are factually incorrect.... [This] article ... shows how there is not perfect agreement in science about many wellness 'truths'." (Cracking Health Costs)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Opinion]

Chicago Municipal Retirees May Not Need City-Provided Health Insurance
"The most promising proposal [made by the Retiree Health Benefits Commission] -- and surely its most controversial -- would end the city's comprehensive retiree health-insurance plan, which primarily covers retirees under age 65. Beginning in 2014, these retirees and their dependents could instead purchase coverage through the Illinois health-insurance exchange, in many cases at a lower price. [The Commission estimates] the proposal could save the city $60 million in 2014 and the cash-starved pension funds another $9 million." (Chicago Sun-Times)

Press Releases

Important Announcement Regarding 2013 ASPPA Online Exams: New 2013 Exam Access Periods
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

B&C Pension Fund Retains Gordian Group, LLC in Hostess Bankruptcy
Bakery, Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund (Bakers Fund)

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