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April 4, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Consultants/Administrators
for Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm in NJ

Pension Plan Administrator
for Pension Plan Services, Inc. in MI

Associate Plan Administrator
for Shore Tompkins Actuarial Resources, LLC in IL

Director, Retirement Key Account Management
for Prudential in CA

Retirement Education Specialist
for MassMutual Financial Group in ANY STATE, NC

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Webcasts and Conferences

Puerto Rico Retirement Income Regulations Webinar
Nationwide on May 23, 2013 presented by Bloomberg BNA

36th Annual ESOP Conference
in District of Columbia on May 9, 2013 presented by ESOP Association

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Kansas City
in Kansas on May 1, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - San Francisco
in California on May 1, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Boston
in Massachusetts on May 2, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Kansas City
in Kansas on May 2, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - San Francisco
in California on May 2, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Boston
in Massachusetts on May 3, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

Taking The Mystery Out Of Retirement Planning Workshop
in Illinois on April 24, 2013 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

IRA Live Streaming Webinar - Level I, Part 2
Nationwide on May 9, 2013 presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

IRA Live Streaming Webinar - Level I, Part 2
Nationwide on May 23, 2013 presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Proposed IRS Regs on Community Health Needs Assessments for Charitable Hospitals
"This document contains proposed regulations that provide guidance to charitable hospital organizations on the community health needs assessment (CHNA) requirements, and related excise tax and reporting obligations, enacted as part of the [ACA]. These proposed regulations also clarify the consequences for failing to meet these and other requirements for charitable hospital organizations." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Advert.]

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If you're not using ftwilliam.com for 5500 preparation, you'll want to watch this webinar! On April 24th, we'll cover everything from hassle-free conversion to e-filing via our intuitive web-portal. Stop by and learn how our solutions save you time!


[Guidance Overview]

Implementing Health Reform: Proposed Regs for Exchange 'Navigators'
"The navigator program has become surprisingly controversial. Insurance agents and brokers have seen it as threatening their territory. Agents seem to be concerned that if navigators help consumers enroll in health insurance plans, agents will lose the commissions to which they are entitled when they themselves market insurance products.... Responding to lobbying by politically powerful agent organizations, states that have shown little interest in participating in any way in the implementation of the ACA have been enacting legislation to regulate the navigator program. Many of these states will have federal exchanges. The proposed regulations lay down standards for the navigator program in the federal exchange which will preempt more restrictive state standards. It also clarifies the extent to which states can license navigators in both the state and federal exchanges." (Health Affairs)

[Guidance Overview]

How Health Reimbursement Arrangements Will Work in 2014 and Beyond (PDF)
"Based on the answer to FAQ #3, it is clear that for an HRA to be considered an integrated HRA, the employee must also be enrolled in the primary group health plan coverage. Moreover, if the HRA is available to employees who are not covered by the primary group coverage, it is not an integrated HRA. This means that stand-alone HRAs, which are not integrated in the way described above, will violate the annual dollar-limit rules and will not be a permissible type of coverage in 2014 and beyond." (Segal)

Walgreens Becomes First Retail Chain to Diagnose, Treat Chronic Conditions
"Walgreens today became the first retail store chain to expand its health care services to include diagnosing and treating patients for chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and high cholesterol. The move is the retail industry's boldest push yet into an area long controlled by physicians, and comes amid continuing concerns about health care costs and a potential shortage of primary care doctors." (Kaiser Health News)

Health Care Subsidies Carry Tax Risk
"The subsidies are based on income. The lower your income, the bigger the subsidy. But the government doesn't know how much money you're going to make next year. And when you apply for the subsidy, this fall, it won't even know how much you're making this year. So, unless you tell the government otherwise, it will rely on the best information it has: your 2012 tax return, filed this spring. What happens if you or your spouse gets a raise and your family income goes up in 2014? You could end up with a bigger subsidy than you are entitled to." (Portland Press Herald)


[Advert.]

The Only Conference Series 100% Dedicated to Innovative Health and Benefit Management

Sponsored by IHC

The IHC FORUM East helps employers, TPAs, benefit brokers, consultants and regional health plan providers learn to implement health care consumerism strategies and save money on health and benefit management programs. May 9-10, Atlanta - Code LINK - $100 discount.


Paid Sick Time Law for Private Employers Re-Introduced in U.S. Congress
"Matching bills requiring employers with at least 15 employees to provide up to 56 hours of paid sick time to employees each calendar year have been introduced in Congress. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) introduced the 'Healthy Families Act' (S. 631) in the Senate, and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) introduced the bill (H.R. 1286) in the House of Representatives. The bill also would require employers to allow employees to carry over unused sick time from year to year, up to a maximum accrual of 56 hours. However, it would not require unused sick time to be paid upon termination of employment." (Jackson Lewis LLP)

Definition of Long-Term Disability in Policy Was 'Functionally Equivalent' to SSA Definition
"The Seventh Circuit had a very difficult time wrapping its head around the notion that the participant could be disabled under SSA, but not disabled under the Cigna policy, especially after Cigna helped the participant demonstrate that he was disabled to the SSA.... The Seventh Circuit framed the pertinent question as 'whether Cigna has a plausible explanation for the difference in the final determinations of disability, an explanation that would lead a reviewing court to conclude that the difference was not based on the structural conflict of interest that is present here'[.]" (James E. Arnold & Associates, LPA)

Four States' Stop-Loss Bills Concern Self-Insuring Industry
"Recently, four bills were introduced in state legislatures that would make self-funding less attractive by limiting stop-loss coverage for self-insured health plans. Many such proposals would raise minimum specific deductibles above the standard $20,000 seen in most enacted laws. This and other measures are intended to rein in self-insured plans, observers in the self-insured industry posit." (Thompson SmartHR Manager)

CMS Changes Course on 2014 Medicare Advantage Rates, Announces Hike of More Than 3 Percent
"The agency's previous method of calculating Medicare Advantage rates used the current legal situation -- that the Medicare physician fee schedule will be reduced by about 25 percent in 2014 under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Because MA rates are linked to Medicare fee-for-service spending, when physician rates are cut, there is a related reduction in MA rates. However, in the final announcement, CMS abandoned that method and calculated the final percentages based on the assumption of a zero percent change for the physician fee schedule for 2014." (Bloomberg BNA)

Cost of Dementia Tops $157 Billion Annually in the United States
"The monetary cost of dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion annually, making the disease more costly to the nation than either heart disease or cancer ... The greatest economic cost of dementia is associated with providing institutional and home-based long-term care rather than medical services[.]" (RAND Corporation)

The Multi-State Plan Program (PDF)
"As it does with FEHB plans, OPM will negotiate premiums with participating multistate plan issuers, monitor their performance, and oversee plan compliance with legal requirements and contractual terms. Multistate plans that meet OPM's requirements will automatically be certified to operate in all the exchanges and will not need to be separately certified by individual states." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

GOP Members Call for Increased Spending to Cover Pre-Existing Conditions
"Republicans who have spent the past three years blasting the health care overhaul as an overreach by the federal government said Wednesday the law didn't allocate nearly enough money for a temporary program offering insurance coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.... Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee, said the program should have allocated the $25 billion he said Republicans pushed for when the health overhaul was debated in 2009." (Kaiser Health News)

Statements and Testimony from House Subcommittee Hearing: 'Protecting America's Sick and Chronically Ill'
This hearing examined issued with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) and ways to help individuals with pre-existing conditions obtain health coverage. At the linked page are transcripts of the subcommittee chairman's opening statement and witness testimonies. (Health Subcommittee, House Committee on Energy and Commerce)

California Hires Consumer Group to Help It Review Health Care Rates
"California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones lashed out ... at another double-digit rate hike for thousands of small businesses getting their health insurance from industry giant Anthem Blue Cross. But this time Jones got some help from a surprising source. He has quietly tapped Consumer Watchdog, his political ally and the state's most outspoken industry critic, to help review health insurance rate increases under a one-year contract worth as much as $88,000.... The insurance industry expressed dismay that the state enlisted its longtime nemesis to help review rate increases[.]" (Los Angeles Times)

TRICARE Multiyear Surveys Indicate Problems with Access to Care for Nonenrolled Beneficiaries
"GAO's analysis of the collective results of the beneficiary and civilian provider survey results indicates specific geographic areas, including areas in Texas and California, where nonenrolled beneficiaries have experienced considerable access problems. In each of these areas, although almost all civilian providers were accepting new patients, less than half were accepting new TRICARE patients. In most of these areas, civilian providers most often cited reimbursement concerns as the reasons why they were not accepting any new TRICARE patients." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

[Opinion]

Administration Did Not Reverse a Proposed New Cut to Medicare Advantage Plans
"The final April 1 payment announcement did not change the underlying formula for calculating these factors. It did, however, change the timing of how Medicare Advantage payment rates are adjusted to reflect Congressional action that prevents cuts in physician payments under the 'Sustainable Growth Rate' (SGR) formula." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

[Opinion]

The ACA's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Program: A Critical Bridge to 2014, But Not a Long-Term Solution for Universal Coverage
"[T]he PCIP program offered immediate coverage of preexisting conditions for people with serious health problems. The program has been a critical bridge to 2014, but its limitations demonstrate why high-risk pools are an inadequate substitute for the comprehensive insurance market reforms and expanded health insurance options to go into effect under the Affordable Care Act next January." (The Commonwealth Fund)

[Opinion]

Is the German Health Care System Better?
"Here [in Germany] one speaks about a 'two-class' medicine system, whereby the second class, or government insurance, is perfectly fine; the first class, or private insurance, provides more luxury but can also be harmful (or at least unpleasant). Physicians and hospitals taking advantage of private insurance may offer up therapeutic options that are totally unnecessary. Their motive is monetary rather than altruistic." (HealthLeaders InterStudy)

[Opinion]

Will the ACA Achieve Universal, Equitable Coverage?
"Sadly, the ACA covers only half of the uninsured and is unlikely to control costs. In Massachusetts, after six years, their ACA-like plan has not controlled costs and administrative complexity has increased. Those newly insured still find health care bills overwhelming and medical bankruptcy in Massachusetts has not decreased.... If you had a house with a crumbling foundation, would you add a third floor? The ACA builds on the crumbling foundation of competing private insurers and decades of market competition in health care which failed to control costs, improve access or the quality of care." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Employees Value Good Benefits Education
"Individuals whose employers offer benefits are nearly unanimous at 98 percent in saying it's at least somewhat important to understand the benefits provided to them by their employer, and a strong majority -- 73 percent -- say it's very important.... Other factors employees ranked highly in the survey included: [1] Having choices to customize the benefits package ... [2] Receiving regular information updates from their employer about the benefits program ... [3] Having convenient access to a benefits expert to talk with face-to-face[.]" (Colonial Life)

Is Your HR/Benefits Intranet Site User-Friendly or User-Less?
"[M]any companies have a difficult time keeping the HR/benefits section of their intranet organized and relevant. Often, this occurs because the site is not managed by one person. Instead, multiple departments post information as they see fit. The result is a confusing mix of information presented in silos, rather than a cohesive, cross-referenced site that is a user-friendly resource for employees." (Write on Target)

Press Releases

Ronald Triche Joins ASPPA Government Affairs Team
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

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