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February 25, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Services (Operational / Technical) Project Manager
for Enterprise Iron Financial Industry Solutions in ANY STATE

Consultant, Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution (DB/DC)
for Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group in NY

Retirement Services Manager
for Doherty Employer Services in MN

Business Retirement Compliance Administrator
for COUNTRY Financial in IL

Retirement Plan Administrators
for MVP Plan Administrators, Inc. in NC

Part Time On Call Retirement Planning Consultant
for Diversified in CA, MO, NC, UT

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Webcasts and Conferences

"403(b) Plans for 401(k) Practitioners" - A 3-part Web Seminar
Nationwide on February 26, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"403(b) Plan Corrections: Correcting Under the New EPCRS Procedure" Web Seminar
Nationwide on March 21, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

WiPN Networking Events for members and those interested in membership - Seattle February 26 and Las Vegas March 3
Nationwide on February 26, 2013 presented by Women in Pensions Network

"Earned Income: Computing Compensation for the Self-employed 2013" Web Seminar
Nationwide on March 19, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"ERISA Recapture Accounts, Forfeiture Allocations & Lost Participants" Web Seminar
Nationwide on March 26, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Workshop: Code 409A and 457(f)" - A 3-part Web Seminar
Nationwide on March 19, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"VCP Under EPCRS 2013: Step-by-Step" Web Seminar
Nationwide on March 28, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Plan Amendments: Procedures, Timing, Cutbacks & Other Issues" Web Seminar
Nationwide on April 2, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"IRS Form 5330: Line-by-Line" Web Seminar
Nationwide on April 4, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Understanding 409A Change Elections" Web Seminar
Nationwide on April 3, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"409A Corrections" Web Seminar
Nationwide on April 5, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

View All Webcasts and Conferences


We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe

 

[Guidance Overview]

Applying the 'Pay or Play' Penalty: Special Rules for Educational Organizations (PDF)
"The proposed regulations recognize that educational organizations are different from other workplaces because the academic year includes extended periods when school is not in session and employees perform few or no services. The proposed regulations include special averaging methods under which employees of educational institutions who work full time during the active portions of the academic year will generally be treated as full-time employees for purposes of ACA's pay or play rules." (The Chelko Consulting Group LLC)


[Advert.]

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[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA's New Rules: Expanding Scope, Clarifying Uncertainties, and Reinforcing Fundamentals
"The Final Rule eliminates the harm threshold and replaces it with a focus on whether the protected health information itself has been compromised. The Final Rule explains that a breach is presumed unless there is a low probability that the protected health information has been compromised. The Final Rule does not define 'compromise' per se but ... factors ... that, at a minimum, must be evaluated when making a determination of whether there is a 'low probability' that the information has been compromised[.]" (K&L Gates, LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

Health Care Reform: Pay-or-Play Guide (PDF)
72 pages. Excerpt: "This Guide outlines which entities are subject to the penalty tax, how the tax is calculated and how the tax can be avoided. For ease of understanding, the Guide sometimes discusses how hypothetical companies could avoid (or be subject to) the Pay or Play Rule and the related tax penalty." (Quarles & Brady LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

CMS Releases 2014 Advance Notice and Proposed MA and Part D Program MLR Regulations
"The proposed MLR regulations would also have a fundamental impact on MA Organizations and Part D Plan Sponsors (Plan Sponsors), which will be required to issue refunds to CMS if the 85 percent MLR standard is not met. The proposed MLR regulations generally track the existing regulations for MLR reporting in the commercial market, with some differences of note." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]

CMS Announces Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Program MLR Proposed Rule; Largely Follows Commercial MLR Rules
"The proposed rule generally tracks the requirements set forth in the medical loss ratio for commercial plans, albeit with some Medicare-specific changes. By way of summary, the commercial MLR rules generally require commercial health insurers to spend at least 80% (in the individual and small group markets) and 85% (in the large group market) of premiums on provision of care. Insurance companies that fail to do so are required to provide rebates to beneficiaries." (Crowell Moring)

[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule: Highlights for Business Associates
"[T]he final rule significantly broadens the definition of business associate, effectively bringing many new organizations under the authority of HIPAA. Second, the final rule clarifies which requirements and liabilities pertain to business associates as a result of changes enacted by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act)." (VedderPrice)

[Guidance Overview]

EBSA's Latest FAQs About ACA Address Coverage of Preventive Services
"The FAQs clarify that if a plan or issuer does not have in its network a provider that can provide a particular preventive service, the plan or issuer must cover the item or service when performed by an out-of-network provider and not impose cost sharing with respect to the item or service." (Wolters Kluwer Law and Business)

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Release Guidance on Mandated Benefits and Cost-Sharing Limits
"In addition to having far-reaching implications for fully insured plans, these rules impact self-funded plans (including HRAs) in several ways: The agencies did not accept ECFC's recommendation that employer-funded amounts to an IRC 106 FSA (which includes many HRAs) count toward satisfying the insurer's minimum deductible requirements.... The final regulations generally adopt the methodology established in the proposed regulations for determining whether an employer-sponsored plan satisfies the 60 percent minimum value requirements of ACA." (Employers Council on Flexible Compensation)

[Guidance Overview]

ACA Guidance on Cost-Sharing Limits, Preventive Care and More: FAQ XII
"The FAQ makes clear that beginning in 2014, all non-grandfathered group health plans of any size (insured or self-funded) must limit out of pocket expenses to no more than the maximum limits allowed for high-deductible plans that are combined with HSAs ($6,250 single/$12,500 family in 2013). Plans that use multiple providers (such as major medical carrier, pharmacy benefits manager, managed behavioral health organization), each of which may impose a separate deductible, have transition relief from the dollar limit only for the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2014." (E is for ERISA)

Using a Wrap Plan Document for Welfare Plans
"With the DOL informally indicating that it will begin reviewing whether plan sponsors that file a Form 5500 for a retirement plan with more than 100 participants are also filing a Form 5500 for their welfare plans, it is more critical than ever for plan sponsors to review the filing requirements related to the welfare benefits they offer employees in order to ensure that they meet these requirements." (EisnerAmper LLP)

Latest Simpson-Bowles Health Plan Stirs Worry But Lacks Detail
"A new bipartisan deficit-reduction plan to slash a massive $600 billion from U.S. healthcare spending over two decades has policy experts scratching their heads over how such an ambitious target can be reached. Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson have yet to declare what they would do to wring savings from Medicare, Medicaid and other programs, according to analysts who provide the two deficit hawks with their facts and figures." (Reuters)

Employees See Rewards From Workplace Wellness Programs
"Nearly half (45 percent) of employees agreed that an employer-sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation, up from 40 percent 2011. Additionally, 43 percent of participants say wellness programs have led them to miss fewer days of work, up 8 percent from 2011. Despite the apparent benefits, 34 percent of workers still do not participate in any of the wellness programs offered by their employers." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Holding Insurance Companies Accountable for High Premium Increases
"A new report released today shows that the health care law is helping to moderate premium hikes. Since this rule was implemented, the number of requests for insurance premium increases of 10% or more has dropped dramatically, from 75% to 14%. The average premium increase for all rates in 2012 was 30% below what it was in 2010. And available data suggest that this slowdown in rate increases has continued into 2013." (Healthcare.gov)

Making the Financial Case for Changing to a Consumer-Driven Health Plan (PDF)
"[A] case study says that employers should consider abandoning a traditional preferred provider organization in favor of a consumer-driven health plan. The study finds that 91% of employees with families and 65% of employees overall would have spent less under a CDHP." (Change Healthcare)

The Five Biggest Problems In Health Care Today
"Overuse and unnecessary care accounts for anywhere from one-third to one-half of all health care costs, which equal hundreds of billions of dollars, in addition to the half-a-trillion per year experts attribute to lost productivity and disability." (Forbes)

FTC, HIPAA Rules Require Health Plans and Employers to Strengthen Data Security on Mobile Devices and Apps
"While the popularity, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of mobile devices and applications provides a strong incentive for health and other employee benefit plans, employers, their business associates, workforce members and customers to use mobile devices and applications, the use of these technologies and applications to collect, access, or use personal health care, financial, or other sensitive information presents special challenges and risks." (Solutions Law Press)

[Opinion]

Obamacare and the '29ers'
"Here's a trend you'll be reading more about: part-time 'job sharing,' not only within firms but across different businesses. It's already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the [ACA]. In some cases ... a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King or Wendy's to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts. Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare." (U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce)

[Opinion]

Will Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Increase Insurers' Costs?
"Under the proposed rule issued in January, insurers would have to offer stand-alone policies that cover contraceptive costs to religious nonprofit companies that object to the reform law's contraceptive coverage mandate ... Although insurers would cover those contraceptive costs, HHS said it wouldn't increase their financial burden because it would lead to fewer births. But insurance execs point to all the steps they must take to provide stand-alone contraception policies." (FierceHealthPayer)

[Opinion]

Steven Brill's 26,000-Word Health Care Story, in One Sentence
"Steven Brill started his cover story in this week's Time magazine with a simple health-policy question: 'Why exactly are the bills so high?' His article is essentially a 26,000-word answer, the longest story that the magazine has ever run by a single author. It's worth reading in full, but if you're looking for a quick summary, the article seemed to me to boil down to one sentence: The American health-care system does not use rate-setting." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

[Opinion]

Obamacare Stands Between You and Your Spouse
"Estimates of the number of Americans who will eventually lose employer-sponsored coverage as a result of ObamaCare has spiked by millions in recent months -- a result of a flood of costly and burdensome regulations released after the President's reelection. Sadly, it is a reality that is underscored by employers who have long said that they'd be faced with difficult choices resulting from ObamaCare's cost increases and mandates." (U.S. House Ways and Means Committee)

[Opinion]

Praying For Obamacare to Fail
"The private exchanges represent an incremental but important evolution from what large employers have been doing for decades: allowing employees to pick and choose from a variety of health plans through what many call 'benefits portals.' Such portals are complicated, with far more moving parts -- dental, vision, child care, extra vacation time -- than anything available as part of Obamacare. And yet they work, are updated every fall for 'open enrollment,' and provide a good working model for what is possible for the rest of us with the implementation of health reform." (The Health Care Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Addressing the New Risk from 'Executive Compensation Disclosure' Lawsuits
"[C]ompanies facing these suits must choose between paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in 'attorneys' fees' to the plaintiffs' lawyers; filing enhanced compensation disclosures with the SEC and circulating to all shareholders; or fighting the matter through a preliminary injunction hearing. Any of the three choices will cost the company time and money. So what do you do now? You don't need to push the panic button or spend a million dollars to guard against a lawsuit that may never be filed. However, you can take a few inexpensive steps now, before filing the annual proxy statement." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Reinhart Employee Benefits Update, February 2013 (PDF)
Articles include: Select Compliance Deadlines and Reminders; PBGC Releases Update Addressing Waivers and Missed Contributions; IRS Releases New Rules for Correcting Plan Errors Through EPCRS; HHS Issues Updated Regulations Under HIPAA and HITECH; HHS Issues Proposed Regulations Regarding Verification of Employee Eligibility for Advance Tax Credit and Employers' Limited Appeal Rights; Departments Release Additional PPACA Frequently Asked Questions. (Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.)

Press Releases

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