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

Loan and Withdrawal Specialist
for Kravitz, Inc. in CA

Retirement Program Analyst
for Trinity Health in MI

Health Compliance Consultant
for The Segal Company in DC

Vice President, Defined Benefit Business Development
for Transamerica Retirement Solutions in ANY STATE

Benefits Program Strategy Analyst 3/4
for University of California Office of the President in CA

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

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Webcasts and Conferences

Work, Health, and Wellbeing: Strategic Solutions for Integrating Wellness and Occupational Safety and Health in the Workplace
January 27, 2014
(Harvard School of Public Health Executive and Continuing Professional Education) in MA

Health Care Reform’s Large Employer Play or Pay Penalties Recorded Webcast
May 8, 2013
(Snell & Wilmer) WEBCAST

Pay or Play – What Not for Profits Need to Know Webcast
May 1, 2013
(Pilot Employee Benefits) WEBCAST

Growing Your Book of Pension Business
May 7, 2013
(Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter) in CA

DOL Audit Triggers and Targeting Techniques, and What to do if You’re Audited
May 16, 2013
(National Institute of Pension Administrators - San Francisco Bay Area Chapter) in CA

Preparing Employees for Retirement Workshop
May 17, 2013
(New England Employee Benefits Council) in MA

IRI Marketing Forum
May 15, 2013
(Insured Retirement Institute (IRI)) in NY

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Guidance Overview]

FAQs Address Second Year SBC Changes
"The FAQs offer enforcement relief for plans or insurers: that were already preparing SBCs to be issued in the second year of applicability; and for whom it would be an administrative burden to include the additional MEC and MV information. Under this relief, the Departments will not take enforcement action against a plan or insurer for using the template authorized for the first year of applicability, if the SBC is furnished with a cover letter or similar disclosure stating whether: the plan provides MEC; and the plan's share of total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan meets the MV standards." (Practical Law Company)


[Advert.]

3rd Annual Prevention & Wellness Congress May 16-17, San Diego, CA

Sponsored by World Congress

Prepare to challenge the way you think about wellness and reposition your program by doing away with what you know doesn't work. Wellness 3.0 means reaching beyond the employee and impacting dependants and communities too. Promo Code BLINK3 for $300 off.


[Guidance Overview]

Updated SBC Guidance Released
"The updated SBC template (and sample completed SBC) ... are to be used for coverage beginning on or after January 1, 2014, and before January 1, 2015. Page 4 of the new SBC contains a section where plans must provide information as to whether it provides MEC or provides MV. If a plan is unable to use the new sample, the prior sample SBC can be used and no enforcement action will be taken, PROVIDED that a cover letter or other notice is provided to participants with the SBC indicating whether or not the plan provides MEC or meets the MV requirements[.]" (Kilpatrick Townsend)

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Releases Blueprint to Advance Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care
"The enhanced standards, developed by the HHS Office of Minority Health, are a comprehensive update of the 2000 National CLAS Standards and include the expertise of federal and non-federal partners nationwide, to ensure an even stronger platform for health equity. The enhanced National CLAS standards are grounded in a broad definition of culture -- one in which health is recognized as being influenced by factors ranging from race and ethnicity to language, spirituality, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and geography." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

[Guidance Overview]

Planning for Compliance with 2013 and 2014 Health Care Reform Requirements (PDF)
"Employers should review the fast-approaching 2013 and 2014 health care reform requirements. State Exchanges will be opening enrollment as soon as October 1, 2013 with benefits effective January 1, 2014. Along with many questions from employees, employers face a multitude of reform provisions.... [This 7-page table provides a detailed] recap of the issues that employers face for 2013 and 2014 and what action they should take in response." (TRI-AD)

[Guidance Overview]

On the New Hire Waiting Period Limit, and Amendments to HIPAA (PDF)
"Health care reform requires employers to limit their new hire waiting period to 90 days as of the first day of the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2014. This limit applies to all group health plans. It is not delayed for grandfathered plans.... The requirement for health plans to provide HIPAA certificates of creditable coverage will be eliminated after December 31, 2014." (McGraw Wentworth)


[Advert.]

3rd Annual Advanced Forum on Managed Care Disputes & Litigation - May 8-10, 2013, Philadelphia

Sponsored by ACI (American Conference Institute)

Third annual forum features trial attorneys and in-house counsel who have been active in some of the year's biggest cases. No other forum provides the opportunity to share defense strategies and tactics to enhance your litigation toolkit. Discount Code BEN200.


Health Insurance CO-OPs Gear Up
"To succeed, CO-OPs will have to compete with large established insurers that are also hungry for the new exchange business under the health law. Those insurers have provider networks in place, established reputations and large marketing budgets. Most CO-OPs have had less than a year and limited resources to mount their challenge." (Politico)

Cigna to Cover Telehealth Doctor Consults
"[M]embers of Cigna's self-insured employer groups will have access to 24/7 consultations, whether through online video, phone or email, with more than 2,000 internal medicine, family practice and pediatric doctors who work for [MDLive, a Florida-based telehealth company]. The consultations can address non-emergency issues, including colds, rashes and headaches[.]" (FierceHealthPayer)

No, Congress Isn't Trying to Exempt Itself from Obamacare
"It's not clear that the federal government has the authority to pay for congressional staffers on the exchanges, the way it pays for them now in the federal benefits program. That could lead to a lot of staffers quitting Congress because they can't afford to shoulder 100 percent of their premiums." (The Washington Post)

Benefits in Federal Health Reform May Not Entice Small Businesses
"The [ACA] tries to fill cracks in the employer-based system, so that more people will have insurance and care will become more affordable for everyone. But critics say provisions in the Affordable Care Act aren't enough to ensure that small businesses can provide coverage to their employees. Some provisions may actually discourage employers from providing insurance." (HealthyCal)


[Advert.]

BenefitsLink would like your help

Sponsored by BenefitsLink

We're excited to be working on ways to enhance your experience with BenefitsLink.com and we'd really appreciate your feedback and opinions. Please take our quick survey. Thanks!


House GOP Leadership Falls on Health Vote
"The mutiny forced House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) to abruptly pull from the floor legislation to shore up a program that allows people with preexisting health conditions to buy into an insurance pool for high-risk patients before they are able to transition to coverage under President Obama's health-care law." (The Washington Post)

Sen. Harkin Has a Hold on Obama's Medicare Pick -- What Gives?
"The Senate Finance Committee unanimously supported her nomination. She has the support of multiple former Medicare heads; one compared her to Mother Teresa. Even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who does not like Obamacare one bit, really likes Marilyn Tavenner. Enter, Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who has put a hold on Tavenner's nomination. Harkin is demanding, according to [a] spokeswoman ..., 'An ongoing conversation about the future of the prevention fund.'" (The Washington Post)

States Spend $28M, Then Leave Implementation of Health Exchanges to the Feds
"Arizona was one of 10 states that received federal grants over the past two years to help establish a state exchange only to decide later to let the federal government handle it. Two of those -- Maine and Pennsylvania -- used none of the federal money. But the other eight spent a total of $28 million hiring information technology vendors, consultants, travel and other expenses, according to a KHN review of state exchange spending." (Kaiser Health News)

Insurers' Networks Will Help Recruit Members on Exchanges
"Since health insurance exchanges will create a more transparent and competitive landscape, insurers can't use price as a featured selling point to consumers. Instead, it's their [provider] networks that will help recruit new consumers who are shopping for coverage through the online marketplaces ... Highmark will offer a new plan this summer that it says could save employers up to 20 percent on premiums by motivating members to use lower-cost providers[.]" (FierceHealthPayer)

Maryland Offers Glimpse At Obamacare Insurance Math
"Maryland's dominant insurer says proposed premiums for new policies for individuals will rise by 25 percent on average next year. Just three weeks ago, the insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, had been looking at a proposed 50 percent increase.... 'Not only were we concerned about a potential hit to subscribers, but we were also concerned about price levels that were unattractive' to young customers seen as an important stabilizing force for the market, CareFirst CEO Chet Burrell said[.]" (Kaiser Health News)

Health Plans Driving Delivery System Reform to Improve Care While Reducing Costs
"Health plans are uniquely positioned to drive changes in the delivery system to ensure that patients receive the right care, at the right time, and in the right setting. With health care spending projected to reach $4.78 trillion in 2021, measures to control costs without sacrificing quality are being implemented across the country." (America's Health Insurance Plans)

More Employers Link Premiums to Wellness
"More employers are following the lead of companies such as CVS Caremark, which recently made news by requiring its employees to receive health screenings that include measuring weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, or face a $50-per-month penalty on their health insurance premiums. These measures are becoming increasingly common for businesses that are looking to combat the rising cost of health care." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Are High-Risk Pools a Preview of Obamacare's Failure?
"Some observers said that the [Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan]'s underwhelming enrollment numbers and high costs foreshadow inevitable problems with the ACA's health insurance exchanges, while others drew a clear division between a program intended to insure only those with pre-existing health conditions and state marketplaces designed to spread risk by insuring both those who are sick and those in good health. Two months after the halted enrollment, the debate continues." (Kitsap Sun)

Insurers Spent Less Than 1 Percent of Premium Dollars on Health Care Quality Improvement In 2011
"Health insurance companies reported spending an average of less than 1 percent of the premiums they collected from policyholders in 2011 on activities directly supporting improvement of health care quality, according to a recent study ... [I]nsurers spent a combined $2.3 billion on direct quality improvement activities -- an average of $29 per subscriber." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Colorado House Passes Bill to Increase Oversight of Stop-Loss Insurance
"The legislation would focus regulatory scrutiny on stop-loss insurers when they issue policies to smaller companies. Stop-loss insurers would have to report on all policies wrote for clients with 100 and fewer FTEs: the number of covered lives for each group, the mean and median attachment points for each group, and the source of prior coverage for each group, including whether they migrated lives from the Colorado insurance exchange[.]" (Thompson SmartHR Manager)

[Opinion]

Ready for Obamacare Rashomon?
"Maryland's CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield plan -- so many capital letters! -- [is] saying it'll raise premiums by 25 percent under Obamacare ... But look at why premiums are going up. It's not because of paperwork, or waste and fraud, or even more generous benefits. 'The company expects a huge influx of sick people that will drive up costs, according to its filings with the Maryland Insurance Administration[.]'" (The Washington Post)

[Opinion]

Millions of Dollars to Market Obamacare
"In his 2014 budget, President Obama asks for $554 million for 'Marketplace-related Consumer Information and Outreach' ... The marketing strategies will be diverse. For example, Minnesota's contract calls for a 'comprehensive plan that will permeate Exchange information to all corners of the state and to every citizen.'" (Citizens' Council for Health Freedom)

[Opinion]

Coverage for Already Sick People: Wasn't This the Reason for Obamacare?
"The White House is threatening to veto a Republican bill that would shore up one part of President Barack Obama's health care law by siphoning funds from another part. The House bill would add billions to a temporary program to help uninsured people with pre-existing medical problems." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)

[Opinion]

How Physician Practices Can Prepare for Coming Health Care Marketplaces
"There are now concrete signs that health care's purchasers are exhausted and seeking new solutions, that a competitive marketplace is emerging and getting increasing traction.... For decades, fee-for-service payment, inclusive health plan networks, and a lack of quality, safety and cost transparency have been enforced by health industry influence over policy, effectively neutralizing the power of market forces. Without market pressure, physicians have felt little need to understand their own performance relative to that of their peers." (The Health Care Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

State and Local Government Workforce: 2012 Trends
"[Workforce changes in] the area of health care: [1] Shifted more health care costs to employees (51 percent, down from 72 percent last year); [2] Shifted more health care costs to retirees (11 percent, down from 23 percent); [3] Created wellness programs (26 percent, down from 33 percent). In the area of pensions: [1] Raised employee contributions to pension plans for current workers (24 percent, up from 22 percent last year); [2] Increased employee contributions for new hires (27 percent, up from 23 percent last year)." (Center for State & Local Government Excellence)

Discounted Stock Options in the Cross-Hairs of Section 409A Compliance (PDF)
"[E]mployers should: [1] carefully document the process for determining the fair market value of their stock and related option exercise prices in accordance with the final regulations under Section 409A, and [2] establish and consistently follow stock option grant procedures to avoid any potential disputes in the future." (Groom Law Group via Bloomberg BNA Pensions & Benefits Daily)

Why You Need a Holistic View of Pay and Performance
"To ensure an effective pay strategy, the creation of value needs to be viewed from quantitative and qualitative perspectives, over multiple timeframes, and in light of short- and long-term outcomes." (Towers Watson via WorldatWork)

Pharmaceutical Companies, Investor Coalition Develop Industry Standard-Setting Principles for Clawback Policies
"Many top companies have clawback policies but these policies are only triggered when there is a financial restatement and seek to recover compensation that has already been paid. The agreed-upon recoupment principles also contemplate the recoupment of compensation that has not yet been awarded or vested. A 2012 [study] found that while 85% of the companies surveyed had clawback policies, only 25% of these policies contain an ethical misconduct trigger not associated with a financial restatement." (PRNewswire)

2012 Trends in Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Among Plan Sponsors and Participants (PDF)
"Plan sponsors continue to show strong support for maintaining these plans. Nearly all -- 97 percent -- agreed they are likely to continue to offer NQDC benefits in the next 12-month period, with one-third (34 percent) of employers planning to offer different investment options." (The Principal Financial Group)

Will Prohibiting Executive Stock Pledging Benefit Shareholders? The Argument for Sensible Pledging Policies
"ISS policy states that '[p]ledging of company stock in any amount as collateral for a loan is not a responsible use of equity,' adding that pledging may have a detrimental impact on shareholders if the officer is forced to sell (such as to meet a margin call) ... [I]t's possible the ISS policy will have an unintended consequence that negatively affects shareholders if anti-pledging policies discourage executives from holding company stock." (Towers Watson)

Press Releases

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