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February 11, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Client Service Representative
for Associated Pension Consultants in CA

Defined Benefit / Pension Administrator
for T.J. Pensions, Inc. in NY

Pension Administrator
for Martin Retirement Services, Inc. in DC, MD, VA

Sr. Benefits Specialist
for Wawa in PA

Client Success Specialist
for The Online 401(k) in CA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Third Party Administrator in NC

Client Data Lead/Director
for Prudential in CT, IA, NJ, PA

Defined Contribution Specialist
for United Retirement Plan Consultants in CA

Director of Retirement Plan Consulting
for MBG Retirement, Inc. in TX

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Webcasts and Conferences

Health Care Reform
in Texas on May 17, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Texas on May 16, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HIPAA Privacy & Security
in Texas on May 16, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Texas on May 15, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Texas on May 15, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Cafeteria Plans
in Texas on May 14, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Affordable Care Act Compliance Workshop
in Oregon on February 22, 2013 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Helping Small Business Owners With New Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures Webcast
Nationwide on February 28, 2013 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Health Care Reform
in Illinois on June 7, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Illinois on June 6, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HIPAA Privacy & Security
in Illinois on June 6, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Illinois on June 5, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Illinois on June 5, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Cafeteria Plans
in Illinois on June 4, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Inspector General Report: IRS Lacks Human Capital to Administer ACA (PDF)
"IRS data show that more than one-third of all executives and almost 20 percent of nonexecutive managers are currently eligible for retirement.... within five fiscal years, nearly 70 percent of all IRS executives and nearly one-half of the IRS's nonexecutive managers are projected to be eligible for retirement.... The IRS ... estimates that at least 42 provisions [of the ACA] will either add to or amend the tax code and at least eight will require the IRS to build new processes that do not exist within current tax administration.... [T]he FY 2012 IRS budget included 856 full-time equivalents dedicated to the implementation of the [ACA] that were directly funded by [HHS]. The FY 2013 IRS budget includes no full-time equivalents directly funded by [HHS]." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Advert.]

Register Today – Defined Contribution Conference – Miami, March 10-12

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Free registration for qualified plan sponsors. Sponsored by Pensions & Investments - learn how to develop a defined contribution plan that helps ensure your participants lifetime income.


[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Letter Denying Approval of Mississippi Application for Approval of State-Based Exchange (PDF)
"With a lack of support from your Governor and no formal commitment to coordinate from other State Agencies, we do not see a feasible pathway to conditionally approving a State-based Exchange in Mississippi for 2014." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

[Guidance Overview]

The ACA Employer Mandate and the Unionized Workforce
"[Code section 4980H, the employer mandate,] is geared towards companies that sponsor the 'single employer' health plans in which their employees participate. These employers have control over plan design, costs, and waiting periods, and may make adjustments to their plans as need be to satisfy 4980H. 4980H does not fit so well with many employers that employ union workers.... In the preamble to the recently proposed 4980H regulations, the Internal Revenue Service acknowledged some of these unique features by providing a transition rule to apply to Multiemployer Plans through 2014." (Mintz Levin)

[Guidance Overview]

Proposed HHS Regs Change Contraceptive Coverage Rules for Religious Employers
"A non-profit faith-based organization (such as a hospital, educational institution, or charity) that objects to covering contraceptives under their group health plans due to religious reasons, but does not otherwise qualify for the religious employer exemption, may opt out of paying for coverage.... The proposed regulations would not permit for-profit entities to opt out of paying for contraceptive services. Where there are several affiliated employers, the exemption for religious employers and the accommodation of eligible organizations would apply on an employer by employer basis." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

What an Employer Sponsoring a Group Health Plans Needs to Know About the HIPAA Omnibus Regulations
"Plan sponsors should consider taking the following steps: [1] Review and revise the group health plan's HIPAA policies and procedures to comply with all of the changes required under the Omnibus Rules. [2] Review and revise the plan's privacy notice to incorporate the new disclosure requirements and redistribute the notice in accordance with the new guidelines. [3] Revise forms utilized by individuals to exercise their privacy rights to address changes made by the Omnibus Rules. [4] Review whether the plan engages in any marketing practices that will be subject to prior authorization requirements." (Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.)


[Advert.]

Executive Summit on On-Site Employee Health Clinics -- Feb. 20-22, Lake Mary, FL

Sponsored by World Congress

Two separate educational tracks and additional keynote presentations from leading and innovative companies provide you the ultimate benefit of proven data on ROI, strategy, and integration through numerous case studies. Promo Code BLINK3 - $300 discount.


[Guidance Overview]

I'm Not an 'Applicable Large Employer' Under the ACA -- Or Am I?
"[M]ake sure you understand the controlled group rules and take employees of controlled groups into account when determining if you are an applicable large employer under the Affordable Care Act. If your organization employs close to 50 employees now and you want to avoid being an applicable large employer for purposes of the employer shared responsibility mandate, keep a careful eye on your full-time hiring and the number of hours your non-full-time employees work throughout 2013." (Leonard, Street and Deinard)

[Guidance Overview]

Long-Awaited Changes to HIPAA
"HHS does not define 'data transmission services' except to analogize them to courier services, like the U.S. Postal Service, and their electronic equivalents, such as internet service providers (ISPs).... Whether a data transmission service is a business associate is left to a fact-specific determination 'based on the nature of the services provided and the extent to which the entity needs access' to perform the service for the covered entity or as required by law." (DLA Piper)

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Final Regs Address Military Family Leave Provisions of FMLA
"Eligible employees are now entitled to 'parental care leave' to care for a military member's parent, which in many cases will be an in-law, who is incapable of self-care when the care is necessitated by the member's covered active duty. Further, under prior law, employees could take up to five days of qualifying exigency leave to spend time with a military member on Rest and Recuperation; the new regulations extend that time to 15 days." (Jackson Lewis LLP)

Lawmakers Warned Primary Care Can't Absorb ACA Expansions
"The [ACA] authorizes the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of marketplaces to buy affordable private insurance. But coverage alone does not necessarily guarantee access, said Sen. Bernard Sanders (I, Vt.), who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions primary health and aging subcommittee.... 'The Health Resources and Services Administration says we need 16,000 primary care practitioners to meet current health care needs,' but those ranks have been shrinking, he said." (American Medical Association)

HHS Says Mississippi Governor Caused Federal Denial of Proposed Insurance Exchange
"Federal officials said state-based marketplaces, as part of the conditions for their approval, must prove they can work with other agencies so people who apply for coverage will be directed seamlessly to private insurance or government programs such as Medicaid. {Mississippi Gov. Phil] Bryant ... has made clear he would not allow that." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

Revised Format of DOL Audit Letter Emphasizes Health Care Reform Compliance
"In addition to [certain] requests relating to health care reform and other newer compliance obligations (like mental health parity), the letter also contains standard requests for documents relating to HIPAA portability compliance ... and other health plan mandates.... Employers (or service providers) hit with this kind of request will have their work cut out for them, especially as the DOL often asks that materials be provided or made available on a relatively short turnaround.... The possibility of a DOL audit demonstrates that compliance alone is not enough -- employers must have careful recordkeeping practices in place as well." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

Participant Communications: A Strategic Differentiator for Health Plans
"As consumers begin to have more choice in their health insurance coverage, it is critical that health plans provide an excellent member experience to help drive loyalty. A targeted and impactful communication strategy can differentiate health plans and distinguish an organization from its competitors. Communications, therefore, should be a core part of a health plan's reform strategy, and health plans should consider who the target audiences are and how communications can influence bottom-line results (such as new member acquisition or increased retention)." (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)

Danger Ahead? Massachusetts Health Costs Are Rising -- Fast
"Representatives from the state's nonprofit health plans as well as national for-profit insurers doing business in Massachusetts estimated the 'medical cost trend,' a key industry measure, will climb between 6 and 12 percent this year -- higher than last year's cost bump and more than double the 3.6 percent increase set as a target in a state law passed last year." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

HSA Investment Assets Rise
"[T]otal HSA accounts rose by 22% last year, to more than 8.2 million, while assets picked up by 27%, to $15.5 billion. Among HSA assets, those classified as investments grew by 55% in 2012, reaching an estimated $1.7 billion.... Health savings account owners contributed an estimated $13.2 billion in 2012 and withdrew $10.2 billion." (Financial Planning)

Federally Facilitated Exchanges Face Numerous Challenges
"Establishment and operation of federally facilitated exchanges are likely to involve a number of complicated issues ... [1] [Overlapping] State and Federal Regulation ... [2] Implications of States Not Expanding Medicaid ... [3] Availability of Subsidies ... [4] Medicaid and Churning ... [5] Consumer Assistance ... [6] Funding the Exchanges." (Health Affairs Blog)

[Opinion]

Wheels Coming Off Obamacare
"The latest news from four federal agencies is that 1) insurance will be a lot less affordable than Americans were led to expect, 2) fewer people than promised will get insurance and 3) millions of people who have coverage through a job now will lose it, thanks to the president's 'reforms.' Oh, and children are the biggest victims. The Affordable Care Act is looking less and less affordable." (New York Post)

[Opinion]

Catholic Bishops Say Obama Administration's 'Accommodation' Doesn't Cut It
"The Administration's proposal makes a slight change to the mandate's religious exemption, but it would still allow only formal houses of worship and their integrated auxiliaries a reprieve from the mandate. Countless other employers -- hospitals, social service agencies, businesses, and many others -- would still be forced to provide abortion drugs and contraception coverage in their employee health plans.... Even for those employers that would qualify for the 'accommodation,' the updated proposal fails to resolve the original mandate's religious liberty problems and only creates new chaos in the insurance marketplace." (The Heritage Foundation)

[Opinion]

Obamacare's Shell Games Collectivize Our Consciences
"If the HHS rule is repealed, women will still be perfectly free to obtain contraceptives, abortions, and whatever else isn't against the law. They just won't be able to force others to pay for them. But there are larger issues here." (Cato Institute)

[Opinion]

Five Key Elements of a Consumer-Friendly Health Exchange (PDF)
"Exchanges should consider the following five key elements to ensure consumer-friendly policies and implementation strategies: (1) Governance ... (2) Meaningful Plan Options ... (3) Financing ... (4) Navigators ... (5) One-Stop Shop." (Families USA)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Trucker Huss Benefits Report, January 2013 (PDF)
Article in this issue: IRS Finalizes Guidance on Fees to Fund Comparative Effectiveness under PPACA; Resolutions for Effective Plan Governance; Notice of Exchange Deadline Delayed. (Trucker Huss)

Milliman Monthly Benefit News and Developments, February 2013 (PDF)
Articles include: Legislative Activity; Regulatory Roundup. (Milliman)

Press Releases

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