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February 14, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Associate/Consultant - Benefits Consulting
for Fidelity Investments in NC

Plan Consultant
for Benefit Plans Administrative Services (BPAS) in PA

Retirement Team Manager
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in AZ

Consulting Actuary
for Charles Schwab in OH

Client Services Sr. Manager
for Charles Schwab in TX

Director - Relationship Manager
for Charles Schwab in CO

Client Service Manager
for Charles Schwab in AZ

Education Consultants Managing Director
for Charles Schwab in OH

Business Acceptance Consultant
for Charles Schwab in OH

Document and Technical Services Sr. Specialist
for Charles Schwab in TX

Defined Contribution Pension Plan Administrator
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc. in ANY STATE

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Webcasts and Conferences

Getting to Loyal: How Legal Services Distinguish Your Company & Help Satisfy Employees
Nationwide on February 25, 2013 presented by Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife company

4th Annual Financial Advisor Retirement Symposium
in Florida on March 12, 2013 presented by Financial Advisor and Private Wealth Magazines

Behind the Scenes of IRS Employee Plans Enforcement Strategies Webinar
Nationwide on February 28, 2013 presented by Employee Benefit Adviser

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Guidance Overview]

Proposed IRS Regs Address ACA's Play or Pay Mandate
"[T]he type of employer that should be most concerned with the possibility of a Play or Pay penalty is one with employees who are considered full-time under the mandate (using a 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month standard), but are not offered employer-sponsored health coverage, or are offered coverage that is either unaffordable or does not provide minimum value. An employer in this position should use 2013 to identify which of its employees will be full-time and eligible for a federal premium credit (based on household income) on January 1, 2014, and whether to offer those employees affordable health coverage or risk becoming liable for a penalty. [This article summarizes] the relevant rules and suggest[s] steps employers should consider while preparing for 2014 and beyond." (Precept Group)


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[Guidance Overview]

Shared Responsibility for Employers (The 'Pay or Play' Rules) (PDF)
"What should Plan Sponsors do now? 1. Decide on your plan's measurement, stability and administrative periods.... 2. Decide if you will apply different measurement, stability and administrative periods for different classes of employees. 3. Assess your workforce demographics.... 4. Decide which affordability safe harbor you will use and determine if your plan will satisfy the safe harbor requirements. 5. Determine if your plan meets the minimum value test.... 6. Understand the Exchange rules as it relates to documentation that you will have to provide to prove you offered minimum essential coverage that met the affordability and minimum value requirements." (ERISAdiagnostics, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]

2013 Health Care Reform Checklist for Employers
"[This detailed] Checklist is intended to provide a list of common steps that plan sponsors should consider in preparing for compliance with health care reform for 2013 and later years. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive and assumes all required compliance steps were taken during 2010-2012." (McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA and HITECH Omnibus Rules
"'Sweeping changes' is how Leon Rodriquez, of the [HHS] Office of Civil Rights (OCR), characterized the effect of the final omnibus [HIPAA] rule published [on January 25] (Omnibus Rule). There can be no disputing that statement. Indeed the 563-page Omnibus Rule makes a long list of significant changes to existing regulations." (Precept Group)

[Guidance Overview]

New York Clarifies Application Process and State Requirements for Health Plans to Be Offered Through State Exchange
"The Invitation clarifies and summarizes the requirements for applicants to be qualified as eligible for certification as a qualified health plan, which permits them to be offered on the New York Health Benefit Exchange ... The Invitation sets out a timeline that applicants -- insurers, stand-alone dental plans, and consumer operated and oriented plans (CO-OPs) -- will need to follow to offer a QHP on the NY Exchange." (Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.)

[Guidance Overview]

Military Caregivers, Airline Crews Get Expanded FMLA Eligibility under DOL Rule
"Historically, FMLA military caregiver leave entitled an eligible employee who is the spouse, parent, son, daughter, or next of kin of a covered servicemember with a serious illness or injury to take up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any single 12-month period to care for the servicemember. The Final Rule expands this leave to the family members of 'covered veterans' who are receiving medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a 'serious injury or illness'." (Ballard Spahr)

Why HHS Created Partnership Exchanges and Why More States Are Choosing Them
"And while New Hampshire made clear that it wants to partner with the federal government to launch an insurance exchange, North Carolina backed out of a previous plan to do exactly that. By Friday, we'll know where half a dozen other states stand, too." (The Health Care Blog)

Job-Based Health Coverage Plummets in Michigan
"Nearly 1.6 million Michigan residents lost coverage from employer-sponsored health insurance plans between 2000 and 2011 -- more people than in any other state -- according to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. California ranked second with 1.5 million of that state's residents losing employer-sponsored coverage during the past decade. But California has nearly four times Michigan's population of 9.9 million people." (mLive.com)

N.Y. Seeking Health Insurance Navigators
"Modeled on successful community assistance programs in New York, the IPA/Navigator program is designed to meet the needs of New Yorkers by providing assistance in community-based locations. IPAs/Navigators will provide culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, and disability accessible enrollment services." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

California Health Chief Looks Within for Solution to Rising Health Costs
"The health care industry is the worst managed in America. It wastes near $765 billion a year due to inefficiencies, mistakes, duplicative and unnecessary services and fraud, according to the Institute of Medicine. That's nearly a third of total health care spending. But the game is changing, and not just because of the health care law." (Kaiser Health News)

Employee's Lack of Diligence in Obtaining Timely Medical Certification Destroys Her FMLA Claim
"Employers regularly ask ... what precisely are diligent, good faith efforts? Let's start with what [this employee] did here to obtain certification: she called her two primary physicians and asked them to complete the certification. When they flat out refused to complete the form, [the employee] did nothing further to obtain certification.... This was hardly impressive to the court." [Brookins v. Staples Contract & Commercial, Inc., NO. 11-11067-RWZ (D.C. Mass, Feb. 12, 2013)] (FMLA Insights)

Walmart Rolling Back In-Store Clinics
"In 2007, Lee Scott, then Walmart Stores Inc.'s CEO, trumpeted plans to open as many as 2,000 in-house medical clinics by mid-2012. He called the strategy 'a great opportunity for our business.' Today Walmart has fewer than 130 clinics and is closing locations faster than it's opening them." (Employee Benefit News)

January 2013 HSA Research Update
"HSA assets grew an estimated $2.5 billion in January 2013 to reach almost $18 billion, up 16.2% since the end of 2012.... While the number of employer HSA contributions consisted of only 37% of all January contributions, they contributed almost 60% of all HSA dollars contributed to HSA accounts during the month of January, with an average contribution of $668." (Devenir)

Chelko Group Benefits Bulletin, First Quarter 2013
Articles include: Proposed Reinsurance Fees Will Cost Group Health Plans; Vast Majority of Employers to Keep Coverage in 2014; HHS Provides Guidance on Methods for De-identifying PHI; and Final Guidance Released on Research Fees. (The Chelko Consulting Group LLC)

HHS Approves Illinois Partnership on Insurance Exchange
"Under the partnership model, Illinois will maintain its responsibility for regulating the insurance market, a function that will allow the state to tailor the types of private health insurance plans offered through the exchange. Illinois also will be in charge of customer assistance, which will allow it to conduct outreach efforts and aid people in signing up. The federal government is responsible for building and operating the exchange." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

California Releases Standards for ACA Insurance
"The State of California is leading the health care innovation process by requiring that all carriers offer these same standard designs to all individuals and small businesses -- whether inside or outside of Covered California. While higher income individuals choosing one of these plans would not be eligible for financial help, they would be assured that the plan contains the same essential health benefits offered, and the exact same benefit design so they can make true comparisons. Examples of benefits, their costs, and typical premium costs are available on the newly launched Covered California website, www.CoveredCA.com." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

Four Key Questions for Health Care Law
"What will consumers do? Most will do pretty much what they do now.... What will employers do? Mostly wait and see. ... What will states do? ... State resistance would be an obstacle to an already tough task.... What will health-care providers do? Merge and grow bigger." (The Wall Street Journal)

Feds Approve Illinois Health Exchange with Conditions
"Conditional approval isn't unusual. All the federal government's approvals of health insurance marketplaces have been conditional so far, but deadlines set [by HHS for Illinois] -- including some for choosing contractors to do some of the work -- will mean state officials remain under extreme pressure to get the online marketplace up and running." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Medicaid in Alaska Under the ACA
"The ACA would reduce the uninsured rate in Alaska from 21% without the ACA to 10% under the ACA with the [Medicaid] expansion, or 15% without the expansion. The Medicaid expansion would increase enrollment 30% by 2020, while state Medicaid spending on the nonelderly would only increase 3.7%. The report includes a sensitivity analysis of Medicaid take-up rates and detailed characteristics of new enrollees by sub-state region." (Urban Institute)

[Opinion]

Bullets vs. Band-Aids: Is Health Spending Crowding Out Defense?
"In 1946, the federal government spent less than a penny on health care for every dollar spent on defense. By 1965, the year Medicare and Medicaid were enacted, this had risen to only 3.5 cents on the dollar.... [O]nce we federalized responsibility for taking care of health expenses of the poor, elderly and disabled -- which were largely a state and local government responsibility prior to 1965 -- the ratio of health spending to defense grew rather quickly to about 41 cents when President Reagan took office.... Under Obamacare, this ratio will experience its largest upward increase in the history of this country [rising from about $1.25 to more than $2.00 by 2017]. What to make of this?" (Forbes)

[Opinion]

Conservatives Confuse Obamacare Architect
"Obamacare's architects are getting nervous. Ezekiel ('Zeke') Emanuel, a key architect of Obamacare, claims conservative opposition to exchanges is perplexing. In [a recent article], he says the ACA is the law of the land and both Houses passed it. He says the Supreme Court upheld it. And he claims, the 2012 election confirmed it. That should simply settle the matter. Why aren't conservatives falling in line?" (Citizens' Council for Health Freedom)

[Opinion]

No End to Obamacare's Hostility Toward Religion
"Initially, the administration proposed exempting only churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship. But after 44 lawsuits were filed across the country by and on behalf of nonexempt hospitals, colleges, charitable organizations and others, the administration relaxed the definition in its new proposal. These religiously-affiliated organizations also will be able to qualify for exemption. This is a camouflage." (Galen Institute)

Press Releases

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