Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter
January 11, 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?
It’s not too soon to be thinking about these three questions and getting the right answers.’s software solutions will make your life easier and save you money. For more information, visit or call 800.596.0714.

[Official Guidance]
Newly Updated to Reflect 2010 DOD Act: FAQs About the COBRA Premium Reduction Extension Provisions

15 Questions and Answers directed to employees but very useful for administrators, about the extension of COBRA subsidies by the 2010 Department of Defense appropriation act. Questions include, "If my eligibility for the premium reduction under ARRA expired (after receiving it for nine months) in November and I paid the full premium for December -- will I be reimbursed for the additional health premium covered by this subsidy?" and "What notices must plan administrators provide to individuals under ARRA, as amended?" (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

[Official Guidance]
Newly Updated to Reflect 2010 DOD Act: Fact Sheet by DOL on COBRA Premium Reduction (Subsidy)

Dated January 8, 2010. Excerpt: "The involuntary termination must occur during the period that began September 1, 2008 and ends on February 28, 2010. The premium reduction applies to periods of health coverage that began on or after February 17, 2009 and lasts for up to 15 months." (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

[Official Guidance]
Links to Updated Poster and Flyers About COBRA Premium Reductions (Subsidies)

The target pages includes links to several documents that were updated last week by DOL to reflect the additional 6-month extension for the premium subsidies under the 2010 Department of Defense appropriations act: a job loss poster, a flyer for employees, a flyer for employers, and a flyer for employees about an application for review of a denial of an application for a reduced COBRA premium. (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

[Guidance Overview]
CMS Update of Creditable Coverage and Late Enrollment Penalty Guidance in Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Manual

Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Most of the guidance is aimed at Part D plan sponsors, not at group health plan sponsors. However, both groups must comply with CMS standards. Group health plan sponsors must provide disclosure notices to help Part D eligible individuals make informed decisions about whether to enroll in a Part D plan. Part D plan sponsors must enroll individuals based on various criteria, including creditable coverage information from group health plan sponsors. Both groups must ensure that creditable coverage information is accurate, which should reduce the imposition of unnecessary [late enrollment penalties]." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
Based on Late COBRA Election Notice, Court Awards Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (Less COBRA Premiums)

Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Reading between the lines of this decision, it appears there may have been confusion regarding the employee's employment status for some period after he stopped work. This might explain the employer's delay in sending the COBRA notice. Also, based on the doctor's 12-week certification and the court's reference to plan provisions apparently reflecting the health coverage continuation rules under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), we wonder if there weren't certain FMLA issues lurking in this dispute that were not raised by the parties." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
Agencies Issue Additional Guidance on COBRA Premium Subsidy; Draft DOL Model Notices on Extension Available

Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: For most plan sponsors and service providers, the DOL can't move quickly enough to make this new set of model notices available for general use. . . . There remains some confusion over who specifically falls under the transition period rules. While guidance providing clarification may be forthcoming, no one can predict at this point whether (and how) this rough spot will be smoothed out. The lesson for now? Many problems can likely be avoided by making sure that carefully drafted notices are provided well before the applicable deadlines and that the process is documented in the event of later disputes." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Benefits Becoming Crucial in Recruiting Contingent Staffers
Excerpt: "In this tough economic climate, many are coming to staffing agencies having lost their regular full-time jobs and their health insurance. If they happen to be single or can't get on their spouse's insurance, they want to work for a staffing firm that not only provides medical coverage but also makes it affordable -- or at least more affordable than expensive COBRA premiums." (Workforce Management; free registration required)

CDC Urges Swine Flu Vaccinations
Excerpt: "The nation runs the risk of a resurgence of the disease, but vaccine is now widely available. Most employers with physician-run work-site health clinics would be eligible to receive it.' (Workforce Management; free registration required)

Unions Rally to Oppose a Tax on Health Insurance
Excerpt: "[L]abor leaders are fuming that President Obama has endorsed a tax on high-priced, employer-sponsored health insurance policies as a way to help cover the cost of health care reform. And as Senate and House leaders seek to negotiate a final health care bill, unions are pushing mightily to have that tax dropped from the legislation. Or at the very least, they want the price threshold raised so that the tax would affect fewer workers." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Reform Could Boost Employment by 250,000 to 400,000 a Year this Decade (PDF)
Excerpt: "This paper will demonstrate the potential impact of health care reform on employment growth in the new decade, examining two recent studies and then combing their estimates of potential employment growth." (Center for American Progress / Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics)



The Defined Contribution Plans Summit taking place February 24-25, 2010 in New York, NY is the perfect platform for corporate and public DC plans to hear from their plan sponsor peers, leading policymakers and top investment executives. Attendees will share ideas through tailored interactive roundtables, benchmark their DC plans through case studies, and network with fellow plan sponsors and investment professionals. For more information please visit –


Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
New Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance Rules for 2010 Proxy Season

Excerpt: "A summary of the new rules is set forth below and the text of the SEC's adopting release for the new rules is available at In addition, the SEC staff has published a series of compliance and disclosure interpretations to address transition reporting which are available at:" (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Correction Program for 409A Plan Documents

Excerpt: "Only certain types of document failures are eligible for relief under Notice 2010-6. Some of the plan provisions that may be 409A violations and eligible for correction are . . . ." (Holland & Hart LLP)

Webcasts and Conferences

EFAST 2 - What You Need to Know
Nationwide on January 12, 2010
presented by

Health & Welfare Benefit Plans Legislative & Regulatory Update
Nationwide on February 18, 2010
presented by TRI-AD

Retirement Plans Legislative Update
Nationwide on January 21, 2010
presented by TRI-AD

Value-Based Purchasing: What Health Plans Are Doing To Improve Quality Among Their Network Providers
in Maryland on February 4, 2010
presented by Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB) - Baltimore Chapter

(Click to post your webcast or conference)

Press Releases

PBGC Protects Pension Plans at GB Retailers and Gramex Retail
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

PBGC Assumes Pensions of Mid-States Express Inc.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

Newport Group Appoints Two New Regional Directors
Newport Group, The

New Orleans’ Eustis Benefits Is Newest BAN Member
Benefit Advisors Network

(Click to post your press release)

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Account Manager (Client Services)
for Benefit Consultants Group
in NJ

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