Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter
January 4, 2010

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Nat'l Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE), Jan. 25-26, Clearwater Beach, FL

Nat'l Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE), Jan. 25-26, Clearwater Beach, FL

Sessions by: Caterpillar, Black & Decker, L.L. Bean, HSN, Mayo, JM Family, H-E-B, Palm Beach County, NIH, Creighton University, Lincoln Industries, City of Knoxville, State of Florida, Gulf Power/Southern Co., Broward County Schools, IAP Worldwide Services, Sarasota County, National Business Group on Health, Leapfrog Group, Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Oak Ridge Natíl Laboratory (DOE)...and more, including the Impact of Potential Health Reform Legislation. Best Value in Health Benefits Continuing Education (HBCE) - highest quality and modest registration: $275 - $345. SHRM and other CE credits.
www.HBCE.com Phone 941-484-1430 or Email: info@HBCE.com

Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE)


How the Health Care Reform Measures Compare
Excerpt: "To help employers understand what is at stake for them in the Senate and House versions of the reform bill, Workforce Management (with help from the Kaiser Family Foundation) has compiled a side-by-side comparison of the provisions in each bill that are likely to affect employers." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


Regulations Regarding the Definition of 'Meaningful Use' and Standards for Electronic Health Records
Excerpt: "On December 30, 2009, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) simultaneously issued two new rules related to meaningful use of electronic health records. CMS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking which outlines provisions governing the EHR incentive programs and defines the central concept of 'meaningful use' of EHR technology. In addition, ONC issued an interim final regulation, which establishes initial standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for electronic health record (EHR) technology." (Troutman Sanders LLP)


Assessing the Impact of Federal Health Care Reform on Employers and Group Health Plans
Excerpt: "This client advisory focuses on the likely impact of federal health care reform on employers. It explains the key features of both bills; assesses the likely impact on employers (cost and administrative complexity); and speculates on what the final legislation may look like. For employers domiciled or with operations in Massachusetts, some of what is described here will be familiar. For others, the Massachusetts experience with the employer mandate adopted in 2006 furnishes clues about the problems and issues that may arise in implementing the final version of the national legislation." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C)


Health Bill Contains Special Provisions for Construction Industry
Excerpt: "[A] provision, added to the 2,074-page bill at the last minute, singles out the construction industry for special treatment, in a way that benefits union members and contractors who use union labor." (The New York Times; free registration required)


Making Your Plan More Cost-Effective Through a Dependent Audit (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "Employers may be wise to decide in advance what they will do if ineligible dependents are discovered through the audit. Doing so will help the employer to implement new policies quickly and make changes efficiently." (Thompson Publishing Group)


Massachusetts Health Reform: Employer Coverage from Employees' Perspective
Excerpt: "This study provides an update on employers' responses under health reform in fall 2008, using data from surveys of working-age adults. Results show that concerns about employers' dropping coverage or scaling back benefits under health reform have not been realized. Access to employer coverage has increased, as has the scope and quality of their coverage as assessed by workers." (Health Affairs)


Pending Reconciliation, Senate Bill Finds Favor with More Employers Even with Fuzzy Details
Excerpt: "'Employers will have varied opinions, but in general there is much greater dislike for the House bill,' said Frank McArdle, a consultant with Hewitt Associates Inc. in Washington. 'There are provisions in the Senate bill that employers are concerned about and they will try to work on some of these issues during the House-Senate negotiations.'" (Business Insurance)




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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt Shareholders Approve Merger
Excerpt: "The shareholder approval comes after clearance by U.S. antitrust authorities and the European Commission. Stamford, Conn.-based Towers Perrin and Arlington, Va.-based Watson Wyatt expected the merger to take effect Jan. 1. The combined firm will operate under the name Towers Watson & Co." (Business Insurance)


GASB Issues OPEB, Bankrup.tcy Guidance Statements
Excerpt: "The rulemaking organization has released Statement No. 57, OPEB Measurements by Agent Employers and Agent Multiple-Employer Plans and Statement No. 58, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Chapter 9 Bankruptcies." (PLANSPONSOR.com)


[Opinion]
What the Year Past Could Mean for the Year Ahead in Employee Benefits

Excerpt: "Well, as we head toward 2010, it seems fair to say that this is not a repeat of 1987 or -- not yet, anyway -- a second Great Depression. Here's a look at the trends that were on our mind this past year -- and are just over the horizon." (PLANSPONSOR.com)



Press Releases

The Retirement Advantage, Inc. Unveils A New Brand Identity
The Retirement Advantage (TRA)

401k ASP Rebrands With Name Change
ASPire Financial Services

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

ERISA/Benefits Attorney
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in CA

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