Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter
January 8, 2010

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EFAST 2 5500 Software.

EFAST 2 5500 Software.

Three crucial questions you should ask your Form 5500 Software provider:
1. Is your Form 5500 software approved for EFAST 2?
2. Can I see a demo of how you are handling e-filing?
3. How much do you charge to e-sign using your software?
Itís not too soon to be thinking about these three questions and getting the right answers.
ftwilliam.comís software solutions will make your life easier and save you money. For more information, visit www.ftwilliam.com or call 800.596.0714.

www.ftwilliam.com


U.S. Labor Department EFAST2 Online Filing System Operational to Receive and Process Form 5500 Filings
Excerpt: "The revised EFAST website has been updated to provide filers with a variety of tools and guidance, including the 2009 and 2010 Form 5500 and new Form 5500-SF schedules and instructions, Frequently Asked Questions, user guides, and a tutorial. Filers and preparers can register for an account, complete the required forms and schedules online in multiple sessions, print a copy for their records, and submit it at no cost." (U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)


[Guidance Overview]
Same-s.ex Partner Health Coverage Requires Sifting Out Taxable Premium Amounts

Excerpt: "For same-s.ex domestic partner coverage, an employer should charge participants on an after-tax basis and impute income for the employer-provided portion. This can involve a tricky process of separating taxable from tax-free premium payments." (Thompson Publishing Group)


Cadillac Health Care Tax Is Closer to Becoming Law
Excerpt: "An excise tax targeting so-called Cadillac health care plans appears to be closer to becoming law, despite intense opposition from labor groups, including those representing federal workers. The Senate's health care bill, approved on Christmas Eve, would levy a 40 percent tax to be paid by insurers on the amount a health care plan's total annual premiums increase above certain threshold levels -- $8,500 for individual plans, and $23,000 for family plans." (GovernmentExecutive.com)


Federal Health Reform Could Threaten Autonomy of Self-Insured Employers
Excerpt: "If Congress enacts federal health care reform, self-insured plans will be forced to comply with any new requirements . . . . Employers might face a surcharge for offering so-called Cadillac plans, where the annual value of benefits exceeds $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families [and] benefits equaling $705 a month could draw the surcharge, a 40% tax." (Insurance & Financial Advisor)


Employers Must Report Costs, FSA Distributions Are Limited to Prescribed Drugs in Health Reform
Excerpt: "As the House and Senate leadership begin to discuss their differing health care reform proposals, Health Reform Talk continues a series examining health reform provisions that will affect employer-sponsored health plans and would take effect soon after enactment of any legislation. This series will look at features of the legislation already passed in the House (H.R. 3962) and in the Senate (H.R. 3590). These are features likely to survive in final health reform legislation and which will directly affect employers. Today, an employer requirement to report health care costs and a distribution limitation on flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) are discussed." (Wolters Kluwer)


Rapid Growth in Health Care Costs Hurts U.S. Industries
Excerpt: "The rapid growth in health care costs in the United States is linked to job losses and lower gross economic output among industries that commonly provide workers with health insurance, according to a RAND study published online in the journal Health Services Research." (RAND)


Analysis of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962
Excerpt: "Using the COMPARE microsimulation model, estimates proposed health care reform legislation's effects on the number of uninsured, the costs to the federal government and the nation, revenues from penalty payments, and consumers' health care spending." (RAND)


Possible Senate Health Bill Loopholes, Insurance Costs
Excerpt: "'A critical loophole in the current version of the Senate health-care bill would allow insurers to charge more for those who don't participate in wellness programs, essentially negating the measure's key goal of eliminating higher costs for those with pre-existing conditions, a group of health experts said Thursday,' MarketWatch reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


Ten Key Details About Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Over the past several months, EPI has tracked every key development in the effort to reform health care and weighed in on the fairness and effectiveness of various proposals, from how reform will be funded to how much it will cost - or save - the typical American. [The target document] is a guide to some of the key issues at stake." (Economic Policy Institute)


Retiree Health Benefit Trends Among the Medicare-Eligible Population (PDF)
Excerpt: "This article examines the prevalence of retiree health benefits among Medicare-eligible retirees. It discusses the percentage of retirees with employment-based retiree health benefits over the 1994-2008 period. It also examines the trend for individually purchased coverage as a supplement to Medicare." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)


The Impact of the 2009 Congressional Health Reform Bills on Coverage, Affordability, and Costs
Excerpt: "This Commonwealth Fund report analyzes the provisions of the health reform bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that seek to expand and improve health insurance coverage." (The Commonwealth Fund)


BLS Spotlight on Statistics: Health Care
Excerpt: "This Spotlight uses BLS data to shed some light on what is happening in [the dynamic and interesting field of health care]. Read on to explore these data and discover the 'diagnosis' on health care industries and occupations as well as the 'prognosis' on future employment!" (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


'Cadillac' Insurance Plans Explained
Excerpt: "As House and Senate negotiators work to reconcile the differences in their health bills, a tax on high-cost insurance policies could be included in the final legislation. Here is a brief guide to these types of insurance plans." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


[Opinion]
Why Drug 'Reimportation' Won't Die, Though It Ought To

Excerpt: "[A]llowing price controls into this country is a sure path to destroying our drug industry, which is now a prime driver in developing new and innovative pharma.ceuticals. The drug industries in countries with price controls lag behind our drug industry in developing new, important drugs." (The Wall Street Journal)


[Opinion]
Paid Sick Days Benefit Employees and Employers

Excerpt: "There's something wrong when workers have to choose between keeping a job and taking care of themselves or their families when someone gets sick. There's something wrong when going to a routine medical appointment or other preventative care could result in a pink slip. There's something wrong when a domestic violence survivor seeking help or services is punished with the loss of her job." (Chillicothe Gazette)




Complete Benefits Law Guidance from Law Journal Press

Complete Benefits Law Guidance from Law Journal Press

The nation's workforce and health care system are constantly evolving and so are the legal issues. Law Journal Press helps you handle any benefits law question with up-to-date, authoritative books on all aspects of the field. Get legal and practical advice from leading experts on everything from COBRA to ERISA, "contingent" employees to family and medical leave, and more. Browse our product listings for detailed information and special offers.

ALM

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

The Disposable Worker
Excerpt: "You know American workers are in bad shape when a low-paying, no-benefits job is considered a sweet deal. Their situation isn't likely to improve soon; some economists predict it will be years, not months, before employees regain any semblance of bargaining power. That's because this recession's unusual ferocity has accelerated trends -- including offshoring, automation, the decline of labor unions' influence, new management techniques, and regulatory changes -- that already had been eroding workers' economic standing." (BusinessWeek via Yahoo! Inc.)


Employee Tenure, 2008 (PDF)
Pages 2-12 of 20 pages. Excerpt: "Data on employee tenure -- the amount of time an individual has been with his or her current employer -- show that career jobs never existed for most workers, and still do not. The median tenure of workers -- the midpoint of wage and salary workers' length of employment in their current job -- was virtually unchanged over the past 25 years: 5.1 years at the same job in 2008, compared with 5.0 years in 1983." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)



Webcasts and Conferences

Can this Deferred Compensation Plan be Saved? IRS 409A Document Corrections Program and Notice 2010-6
Nationwide on January 25, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
in Idaho on February 17, 2010
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

(Click to post your webcast or conference)

Press Releases

PBGC Protects Eddie Bauer Pension Plan
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

US Labor Department EFAST2 Online Filing System Operational to Receive and Process Form 5500 Filings
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Sues to Appoint Independent Fiduciary for Troubled Construction Contractor Plans
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Sues Fiduciaries of Reno, Nevada, Company to Recover 401(k) Assets
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Great-West Names Director of Business Development for 401k Plans
Great-West Retirement Services

Dow Jones Indexes Announces Addition to Target Date Index Family
Dow Jones Indexes

Alliance Benefit Group Carolinas Absorbs Plans From First Sun Employee Benefits
Alliance Benefit Group Carolinas, LLC

(Click to post your press release)


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