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August 27, 2008

Here are the Web's best new links about compliance and cost aspects of plan operation, design and policy.

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[Guidance Overview] CMS Taking Steps to Implement New Medicare Secondary Payer Reporting Requirements
Excerpt: "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set up a Web site to facilitate implementation of new mandatory reporting requirements relating to the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) rules for group health plans. The CMS Web site can be accessed at The new reporting requirements will be implemented on January 1, 2009, and the CMS's Web site will be a 'one-stop shop' for all relevant implementation and compliance materials." (Deloitte)

[Guidance Overview] Recent Developments under the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act Affecting Employers
Excerpt: "This advisory explains the following recent developments under the Act as they affect employers, either directly (in the case of the fair share contribution requirement) or indirectly (in the case of the definition of 'minimum creditable coverage') . . . ." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.)

[Guidance Overview] Employer's State Law Claims Against Stop Loss Carrier Dismissed
Excerpt: "[Bank of Louisiana v. Aetna US Healthcare Inc., the] Fifth Circuit case on remand, highlights an area of particular interest to those of us that work with self-funded group health plans - the relationship between the employer and the stop loss carrier. In this case, the Fifth Circuit gave the employer an opportunity to pursue several state law claims against Aetna, the stop loss carrier, but these claims failed to reach the conduct that was the gravamen of the employer's complaint." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Fight Back When Your Health Plan Says No
Excerpt: "Bernadine Healy, MD, former director of NIH and now health editor at US News & World Report, has written a chilling piece on how easy it is for insurers to deny claims. From the article, 'How Crafty Health Insurers Are Denying Care' . . . ." (Health Insurance Consumer Information)

OPM Publishes Final Rules for Federal Employees' Dental, Vision Program
Excerpt: "The final regulations clarify that federal employees cannot be denied enrollment or benefits coverage in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program due to a pre-existing condition. But a carrier may determine that coverage does not extend to replacements for teeth missing before the effective date of enrollment in the program, OPM stated." (

Answering Your Questions about Health Savings Accounts, Updated for 2008 and 2009 (PDF)
The questions and answers show how HSAs work and what they can mean for you. (Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Nevada Legislative Panel OKs Benefits Expansion for Domestic Partners
Excerpt: "A regulation that makes it state policy to provide health care insurance benefits to domestic partners of state employees -- including those of the same sex -- was adopted Tuesday by a legislative subcommittee on a 3-2 vote." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007
Excerpt: "The number of people without health insurance coverage declined from 47 million (15.8 percent) in 2006 to 45.7 million (15.3 percent) in 2007." (U.S. Census Bureau)

[Opinion] Lessons from the Massachusetts Experiment in Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Bottom line, health care in Massachusetts is extremely expensive, thanks to supply-side factors -- which means expanding and sustaining full coverage is, fiscally speaking, a tough proposition. Luckily, steps are being taken to address cost issues : in June, the state's biggest insurer and the state itself said that they would stop reimbursing doctors and hospitals for 28 medical errors." (The Century Foundation)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview] IRS Carves Out from Code Sections 457(f) & 409A Certain Arrangements by Public School and Other Employees to Have Salary Paid over 12 Months
Excerpt: "Under a common arrangement, public school and other employees who provide services during only a portion of the year can elect to be paid ratably over 12 months. This 'election to defer' payment can trigger the unwanted application of IRC 457(f) which governs certain deferred compensation plans of tax-exempt entities and state and local governments, and IRC 409A which otherwise governs amounts deferred under nonqualified deferred compensation plans. IRS recently issued guidance to preclude the unwanted application of IRC 457(f) & 409A to these and other similar arrangements. IRS Notice 2008-62." (Deloitte)

[Guidance Overview] 2008 Deferred Compensation Elections under Code 409A Transition Rules
Excerpt: "The final regulations under Code 409A become mandatorily effective January 1, 2009. To cover the period from 2005 (when Code 409A went into effect) through 2008 inclusive, Treasury and the IRS have issued voluminous interim and transitional guidance. Importantly, this guidance permits a participant to change an existing payment election without: i) having to comply with the very restrictive 409A change payment election rules; and ii) without violating the 409A rules prohibiting acceleration of payment." (SunGard)

Employers Get Creative to Ease Impact of Gas Prices
Excerpt: "Organizations are taking a variety of creative steps to help their employees offset the high cost of gasoline, according to Mercer's 2008 Gas Price Impact SnapShot Survey. Within the next six months, almost one in four employers (22%) are for the first time planning to offer at least some of their employees the option of a four-day work week, and 24% are planning to allow more employees to telecommute . . . ." (; free registration required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Regulatory Update, Including Fee Disclosure and Plan Document Restatements, EPCRS and Plan Corrections
in Connecticut on September 17, 2008
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators-CT Chapter

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

MassMutual Retirement Services Offering In-Depth Support to Plan Sponsors and Advisors in Anticipation of New 403(b) Regulations
MassMutual Retirement Services

U.S. Labor Department Settlement Provides $5 Million In Restitution For Pennsylvania Builders Health Plan And Reforms Plan Operations
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

American Academy of Actuaries Appoints Frank Todisco as Senior Pension Fellow
American Academy of Actuaries

ThyssenKrupp Selects DailyAccess Corporation to Provide Retirement Plan Services
DailyAccess Corporation

401k Fee Benchmarking Book Released

New Study Shows Older Employees Are Healthiest, Workers in 30s Most at Risk for Illness

Local, National Organizations Turn to Life Time Fitness to Reduce Health Care Costs, Increase Employee Health and Productivity
Life Time Fitness, Inc.

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