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August 9, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefits Manager
for Montgomery County Government, Maryland in MD

Manager, Account Management
for Lincoln Financial Group in IN

HIPAA Specialist-Aurora, IL
for Unite Here Health in IL

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Small quality-oriented firm in CA

VP, Business Development
for Prudential in CT

Client Service Consultant / Team Leader
for Rapidly growing financial advisory firm with a national presence in NC

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Webcasts and Conferences

Elevate Your Expertise: Self-directed Retirement Conference
October 21, 2013 in TX
(Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA))

Hidden Employee Benefits Liabilities in Private Equity Portfolio Companies -- Recorded Webcast
August 23, 2013 WEBCAST
(Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP)

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics 2013 - A 2-day seminar, 6 Cities, September - October
September 11, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

Health Care Reform for Employers: Now What? - Akron, OH
October 17, 2013 in OH
(Lorman Education Services)

Health Care Reform for Employers: Now What? - Timonium, MD
October 24, 2013 in MD
(Lorman Education Services)

West Coast Defined Contribution Conference
October 27, 2013 in CA
(Pensions & Investments)

"Advanced Cross-Tested Plans: Adding More Tools," 12 Cities, September - October
September 11, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

Succession Planning: Keys to Selling your Financial Advisory Practice -- Webcast
August 14, 2013 WEBCAST
(Advisor Successions, LLC)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.
[Guidance Overview]

ACA Summary of Benefits and Coverage Must be Completed for 2014 Plan Year
"The new form adds two short sections to the SBC. The first column of the table [in this article] shows the new sections, each of which poses a question that the plan sponsor must answer by choosing either 'does' or 'does not' depending on the plan coverage offered.... No other changes were made to the required form. The Departments did not add an additional coverage example to the two already on the SBC: having a baby and managing type 2 diabetes." (Segal)  


[Advert.]

Member Retention and Customer Service for Consumer-Based Health Plans - Sept. 19-20 - Boston

Sponsored by World Congress

Health plan executives and industry thought leaders discuss actionable strategies in the transformation to a consumer-driven and customer-focused health plan marketplace.



[Guidance Overview]

Complying with the Breach Notification Rules Prescribed in the HIPAA Omnibus Rule
"Health plan sponsors should make training workforce members about the breach notification rules a priority. Workforce members should be prepared to respond to breaches and potential breaches of unsecured [personal health information].... A breach is treated as discovered by the covered entity on the first day a breach is known, or, by exercising reasonable diligence would have been known, to the covered entity. This standard is met if even one workforce member knows of the breach or would know of it by exercising reasonable diligence, and even if the breach is not immediately reported to the privacy officer." (Drinker Biddle)  

Deal Enables Members of Congress and Staff to Continue to Get Federal Government Payment for their Healthcare Coverage through Exchanges
"[L]awmakers and many of their aides will have to get coverage through new health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, being set up in every state.... Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, confirmed that the government contributions would continue. Those contributions provide $5,000 a year for individual coverage and $11,000 for families under some of the most popular health plans." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

The Affordable Care Act: Speaking to Women's Unique Health Needs
"Women have often been charged more than men for the exact same health coverage. We have paid higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. We also tend to make less than men and have a harder time paying for health care costs. As a result, women have not always had access to the health care they needed or the freedom to make the best health care choices for themselves and their families. But that's all changing. The new health care law already requires most health plans and insurance policies to cover recommended preventive services at no additional cost." (The White House Blog)  

How Obamacare Will Affect Health Insurance Rates by Age Group
"[One] reason it's tough to simply do an apples-to-apples comparison [of 2013 rates to 2014 rates] is that insurers can currently decline people who apply for coverage ... Rhode Island has very low rates of decline and also doesn't allow what's called up-rating, according to HealthPocket. In the other states, however, between 16 and 21 percent of all applications for individual and family policies are declined, and the rejection rates for some insurers approach 90 percent. These rates will fall to zero under Obamacare." (David Ning, in U.S.News & World Report)  

Most People Call Implementation of Obamacare 'a Joke'
"Majorities of Americans think the new health care law is going to increase their medical costs and their taxes -- and add to the federal deficit as well. Those are some of the reasons why voters say -- by a two-to-one margin -- that Congress should keep working on the law. A Fox News national poll ... also asks voters about how they think Obamacare is being carried out: 31 percent say 'it's going fine,' yet a 57-percent majority feels 'it's a joke.'" (Fox News)  

Mapping a Strategy to Reach the Uninsured in King County, Wash.
"Countywide, approximately 16 percent of the population lacks health insurance. But from Burien and Tukwila south to the county line, and in scattered pockets to the north, those numbers are higher, reaching nearly one-third in some places.... That's why Dr. David Fleming, director of Public Health [for] Seattle & King County, wanted a map that took a close look at where the folks without insurance are living. The information will allow the agency to better understand who they are trying to reach: Is there a high concentration of a certain ethnic group? Does the population include large numbers of 'young invincibles,' who often eschew health insurance?" (Kaiser Health News)  

The Battle Over Health Care Navigators
"Over the past three years, [insurance agents and brokers] have waged an intense but little-noticed lobbying effort to regulate navigators in the states, leading to the passage of 16 state laws over the past year and a half.... Backers of the laws say they provide needed oversight of navigators by establishing state authority and common-sense regulations. But consumer advocates and some health policy experts warn that the laws could shackle the navigator program, meaning fewer people would have access to help." (Kaiser Health News)  

Coinsurance and Other Cost-Sharing Terms in Health Insurance: Most People Get Them Wrong
"[W]hen [George Loewenstein, the healthcare economist] gave his study participants a hypothetical insurance plan, and asked them to figure out what a four-day hospital visit would cost, 11 percent were able to figure out the price. Just 14 percent were within $1,000 of the right answer. Only 14 percent answered four multiple choice question about the four most basic insurance features. The respondents to the survey were a representative sample of people who had an insurance policy and were the primary or secondary stakeholders." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Delaying the Employer Mandate: Small Change in the Short Term, Big Cost in the Long Run
"Because relatively few firms and employees are affected, only 300,000 fewer people, or 0.2% of the population, will have access to insurance from their employer, and nearly all of these will get insurance from another source. However, a one-year delay in implementation of the mandate will result in $11 billion dollars less in federal inflows from employer penalties for that year. A full repeal of the employer mandate would cause revenue to fall by $149 billion over the next ten years (10% of the ACA's spending offsets), providing substantially less money to pay for other components of the law." (RAND Corporation)  

Anthem's Pull-Out of SHOP in California Puts Nation's Largest Exchange in Spotlight
"[S]ome market insiders speculate Anthem may have been forced or otherwise pressured to sit out the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Interestingly, the state removed a requirement that health plans that participate in the individual exchange must also participate in the SHOP, paving the way for Anthem to make its move. One theory is that the SHOP gained bargaining leverage with Blue Shield of California by excluding its main Blue competitor." (HealthLeaders InterStudy)  

Sebelius: We're Open to 'Uniquely Texan' Approach
"The federal government is open to expanding Medicaid coverage under the [ACA] in a way that is more tailored to Texas' preferences, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday ... 'With due respect, the secretary and our president are missing the point: It's not that Americans don't understand Obamacare, it's that we understand it all too well,' Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement on Sebelius' visit to Texas. He added that Texas refused to set up a state-run exchange or expand Medicaid in order to minimize the damage that the law would cause to the economy and state budget, 'although we're all too aware Obamacare will still cause our state immense budgetary challenges in the years ahead, just like it will to families and small businesses across our country.'" (Kaiser Health News)  

Health Plans' Efforts to Improve Health Literacy
"[F]rom 2008 to 2010 the percentage of plans that have introduced some components of a health literacy program has increased from 69% to 83%.... In 2010, almost all health plans were adopting a targeted reading level for written consumer communication (90%) and standardizing member communication in clear, plain language (81%)." (America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP))  

[Opinion]

Marketplace Delays May Cause Enrollment Bottleneck, Security Concerns
"Last week, the Obama administration cut back on training requirements for 'navigators' ... presumably to account for the fact that navigators (in the 34 states in which the federal government has some measure of administrative control over the operation of the marketplace) have not even been hired. The [HHS] Office of Inspector General also released a report on the federal data services hub, concluding that missed deadlines have threatened its security controls. While these delays will probably not push back open enrollment, they may have the effect of destabilizing the marketplaces." (HighRoads)  

[Opinion]

Conservatives and the Fight to Defund Obamacare
"No one disputes that Obamacare would stay on the books and that defunding would not change the existing law. But all federal funds already appropriated for the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare could not be used by any federal agency to take any action -- whether it is issuing new regulations or filing an enforcement action against an individual or an employer for not complying with the new health insurance mandates." (The Heritage Foundation)  

[Opinion]

The Legality of Obamacare: The Plot Thickens (PDF)
"When it became evident that dozens of states would refuse to establish Exchanges, the IRS simply rewrote the law. In August 2011, the IRS announced that it was planning to issue premium-assistance tax credits [to individuals who purchase health insurance through] federal Exchanges, even though the statute expressly forbids it. In May 2012 it finalized that policy.... The IRS's attempt to spend some $800 billion without statutory authority ... will trigger illegal taxes against millions of employers under the employer mandate, as well as millions of individuals under the individual mandate.... The IRS stands a very real chance of a rebuke from the federal courts." (Harvard Health Policy Review)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

DOL Extends Nominations Deadline for 2014 ERISA Advisory Council (PDF)
"[EBSA] continues to solicit nominations to fill five three-year vacancies on the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, known as the ERISA Advisory Council. The deadline to submit nominations has been extended to Sept. 6.... Nominations are being accepted for one vacancy each to represent the fields of employee organizations, employers, accounting, insurance and the general public. Interested persons or organizations may nominate qualified individuals for membership." (Pensions & Investments)  

Pentagon Finalizing Plan to Provide Benefits to Same-Sex Military Spouses
"Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has issued a memorandum to senior department officials, outlining a plan that could provide same-sex spouses of military members with benefits such as health care and housing subsidies by the end of August. The plan would also give military members in same-sex relationships up to 10 days of leave to travel to a state in which they can legally marry ... The proposal is currently under review by the Justice Department." (Government Executive)  

[Opinion]

Congress Should Close Tax Loopholes on Executive Compensation
"[The] Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonus Act ... aims to close massive loopholes in a 1993 bill that limited deductibility on certain executives' pay up to $1 million, with exceptions for so-called performance-based compensation. [That] bill ... has been a near-complete flop because of corporations' successful efforts to find work-arounds.... Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the [new] legislation would add more than $50 billion to federal coffers over 10 years by capping the amount of deductible salary at $1 million per employee and eliminating the exception for compensation such as non-equity incentive plans, stock options and stock-appreciation rights." (The New Haven Register)  

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