Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter
January 20, 2010

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The World Congress 7th Annual World Health Care Congress

The World Congress 7th Annual World Health Care Congress

The World Congress 7th Annual World Health Care Congress | April 12 - 14, 2010 | Washington, DC
The MUST attend event for health care government and corporate leaders to formulate business strategies in a
new era of reform and market competition!


World Congress


[Official Guidance]
EBSA to Hold Free Online Webcast Friday, January 22 on Extension of COBRA Premium Reduction (Subsidy) Rules

Excerpt: "In the upcoming webcast, the Department of Labor will be joined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service to discuss the extension and provide assistance in complying with the new requirements, including the model notices and transition period. If you are an employer who is trying to comply with Federal COBRA regarding your health plan, or if you are a third party administrator or a carrier with questions about the new law, this is your chance to hear from the federal regulators and have the opportunity to ask them questions." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)


[Guidance Overview]
First Circuit Permits § 502(a)(3) Recoupment Claim Despite Failure to Identify 'Specific Account' Holding Funds

Excerpt: "The First Circuit adds further impetus to a trend away from requiring a specifically identifiable fund as a prerequisite for 'equitable relief' under 29 U.S.C. § 502(a)(3). Though the context in Cusson was that of a recoupment claim under the terms of a long term disability policy, the decision will likely influence opinions in other contexts, such as ERISA health plan reimbursement claims." (Roy Harmon III via Health Plan Law)


[Guidance Overview]
Issues for Employers Considering Leave-Sharing Plans for Haitian Disaster Relief

Excerpt: "The special tax treatment granted to leave-sharing plans is ordinarily limited to circumstances involving a medical emergency affecting the recipient or a family member. However, in Notice 2006-59, the IRS extended the treatment to certain domestic events declared by the President of the United States to be 'major disasters.' When a major disaster is declared, employees covered by a leave-sharing plan may donate leave time to be used by affected employees, so long as the leave-sharing plan is in writing and meets the following requirements . . . ." (Ropes & Gray LLP)


Top 10 Health Reform Benefits Every American Should Know About
Excerpt: "The top 10 benefits Americans would enjoy under health insurance reform legislation include: 1. Protections Against Insurance Company Discrimination And Losing Coverage When You Get Sick. People who have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition will finally have access to affordable coverage. Insurers will no longer be able to drop your coverage when you get sick and are in the middle of treatment." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education & Labor)


Fact Sheet: How Union Status Affects Health Insurance Premiums (PDF)
Excerpt: "Premiums are higher in plans with union workers compared with plans what have no union workers. In 2008, the premium was $4,836 for employee only coverage in plans with at least some union workers, while it was $4,635 in plans with no union workers[.]" (Employee Benefit Research Institute)


Health Reform Bills Contain Additional Taxes on Cosmetic Procedures, Simple Cafeteria Plans
Excerpt: "This series is examining features of the legislation already passed in the House (H.R. 3962) and the Senate (H.R. 3590). These features are likely to survive in health care reform legislation and would 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)


Hay Group Says Decline of Health Cost Increases May Stop
Excerpt: "The company said its projections are based on an annual study of trends in health premiums which it has performed since 1981. The study, based on data from the annual Hay Benefits Prevalence Report (HBPR) and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), indicates a strong correlation between increases in health premiums for employers, as reported in the HBPR, and increases in FEHBP health premiums, as reported by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management." (PLANSPONSOR.com)


Primary Provisions of the Senate-Passed Health Reform Legislation (PDF)
Excerpt: "Although what passed the Senate is expected to form the basis for the ultimate legislation, many of the details described [in the target document] may change as part of the reconciliation process. This briefing focuses on the principal impact the Senate bill would have on employer-sponsored health plans." (Vedder Price P.C.)


Employer Trade Group Argues for Employment-Based Health System Retention
Excerpt: "The letter from the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) also expressed the group's concern about the future viability of the employer health system if particular aspects of the reform plan are enacted. 'The employer-based system in this country rests on the foundations of national uniformity, affordability, voluntariness, and the ability to spread risk across the entire employee population. These principals must be maintained in order for the employer-based system to continue to provide [efficient, effective, and high quality health care.]" (PLANSPONSOR.com)


Ten Surprising Ways Health Reform Will Cost You
Excerpt: "While reform is great news for millions of people who are uninsured, those with good insurance now will end up paying the bill. If you are insured and well paid--unless you are part of a union or other special interest group with clout on Capitol Hill--you can expect your premium go through the roof over time. Here are some of the reasons. [Click on the 'Next' arrow to the right of the title.]" (Forbes.com LLC)


Why Health Care Reform Will Raise Your Premiums
Excerpt: "Insurance companies, under the measures in Congress, would be forced to take all comers, young and old, healthy and sick. Over 10 years they would confront $871 billion in spending on uninsured and newly subsidized customers, costs that would be passed along to the young and healthy. The federal government isn't going to pick up all of that tab, so those now insured through a private plan at work or one bought individually will have to chip in." (Forbes.com LLC)


Business, Advocates Spar Over Proposal for Mandatory Paid Sick
Excerpt: "Lawmakers heard hours of heated and conflicting testimony on [January 14] on a proposal to make Maine the first state in the nation to require businesses to offer employees paid sick days." (Bangor Daily News)




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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Update of Method Thresholds for Vehicle Fringe Benefits

Excerpt: "The IRS has updated for 2010 (Revenue Procedure 2010-10) the maximum allowable fair market value (FMV) of an employer-provided vehicle for which the cents-per-mile and fleet-average rules may be used in determining the value of an employee's personal use of the vehicle." (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)


[Guidance Overview]
IRS Correction Program for Code Section 409A Document Violations: One Last Chance to Avoid 409A Income Inclusion and Penalties

Excerpt: "In addition to providing methods for correcting certain common Code Section 409A violations so that some or all income inclusion and penalties are avoided, the Notice provides guidance on certain commonly used language that will not generally result in a 409A document violation. Generally, arrangements under examination by the IRS are not eligible for correction, and not all document violations can be corrected under the Notice. However, many common unintentional failures can be corrected, including . . . ." (Poyner Spruill LLP)


[Guidance Overview]
IRS's Voluntary Correction Relief for NDCP Documents (PDF)

Excerpt: "A new IRS program allows nonqualified deferred compensation plan (NCDP) sponsors to identify plan provisions that do not comply with tax code section 409A and to promptly correct any such failures. This Client Action Bulletin outlines the eligibility requirements and other specifics contained in IRS Notice 2010-6." (Milliman)


The IRS Employment Tax National Research Project
Excerpt: "This month, the IRS with little official fanfare and no real advance warning, will begin a 'national research project' to study (1) payroll taxes, (2) fringe benefits, (3) independent contractor, (4) expense reimbursements and (5) other related 'payroll' issues." (Thompson Publishing Group Inc.)


Pay, Perks, and Pension Cuts Sought in California's Public Sector
Excerpt: "At a time when the salaries and retirement benefits enjoyed by public employees in California are among the most generous in the nation, a growing number of prominent leaders are calling on elected officials to cut government pay, perks and pensions rather than reducing services to poor, sick and disabled people." (Contra Costa Times)


Supreme Court to Clarify Who is Entitled to Attorney's Fees Under ERISA
Excerpt: "In accepting this case for review, the Supreme Court will resolve whether Section 502(g)(1) of ERISA, the attorney's fees provision, provides a district court discretion to award reasonable attorney's fees only to a prevailing party; and whether a party is entitled to attorney's fees under this section when she persuades a district court that a violation of ERISA has occurred, successfully secures a judicially-ordered remand requiring a re-determination of entitlement to benefits and subsequently receives the benefits sought on remand." (Littler Mendelson P.C.)



Webcasts and Conferences

2010 Benefits Boot Camp
in Georgia on March 10, 2010
presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefit Network) Atlanta Chapter

Health and Welfare Plan Management for Mid-Sized Employers Conference
in Georgia on April 13, 2010
presented by University Conference Services

The 7th Annual World Health Care Congress
in District of Columbia on April 12, 2010
presented by World Congress

(Click to post your webcast or conference)

Press Releases

Research Indicates Participants in Incentive-Based Health Promotion Programs Have Lower Healthcare Costs
The Vitality Group

(Click to post your press release)

Click to post your job on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Administrator for Retirement Plan & ERISA Specialists
for Dana Consulting Group, Ltd.
in IL

401(k) Wholesaler
for Peritus Benefits and Investments, Inc.
in AR, IN, MS, OK

Account Service Representative
for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in CA

RFP Specialist
for The Standard
in OR

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