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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 3, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Obama Signs Stopgap COBRA Subsidy Extension
Excerpt: "President Obama Tuesday night signed into law legislation that provides a stopgap, 31-day extension of federal subsidies of COBRA health care premiums. . . . [T]he 65%, 15-month premium subsidy for laid-off workers is extended to those involuntarily terminated from March 1 through March 31."
(Business Insurance)

Senate Approves COBRA Extension; Signed Into Law by President
The bill, which contained other provisions in addition to the COBRA extension, passed by a vote of 78 to 19, once Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning decided to stop blocking the bill. It was signed into law later on Tuesday by President Obama.
(Associated Press via New York Times)

How Will Comparative Effectiveness Research Affect the Quality of Health Care?
Excerpt: "Building on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, health reform legislation would develop an infrastructure for the ongoing generation and dissemination of information on the comparative effectiveness, where 'comparative effectiveness' has been defined as the study of methods to prevent, diagnoses, treat, and monitor A clinical condition or improve delivery of care to assist consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions to improve health care at both individual and population levels. The issue brief explores the concept and describes areas of controversy that need to be addressed to make comparative effectiveness research successful."
(Urban Institute)

Variable Annuity Inside 401(k) Plan? Negative Investment Returns Possible
Excerpt: "Governor Strickland just signed into law a bill (House Bill 300) that would extend Ohio's state 'mini COBRA' coverage for any policies delivered, issued, or renewed on or after February 25, 2010."

Same-S.ex Marriages to Begin in District of Columbia
Wednesday, March 3, is the first day on which a same-s.ex couple can apply for a marriage license in Washington, D.C., pursuant to legislation that passed in December. Marriages can begin on March 9.
(AP via Yahoo! News)

D.C. Archbishop Defends Catholic Charities' Stand; Spousal Healthcare Benefits to Be Eliminated
Excerpt: "Wednesday is the first day that same-s.ex couples can apply for marriage licenses. . . . On Monday, [Catholic Charities] told its 800 employees that it would not make spousal health benefits available to any new employee, straight or g.ay, to any current employee who marries in the future or to spouses of current employees who are not covered by the plan."
(Washington Post; free registration required)

Workplace Wellness Programs Work
Excerpt: "Workplace wellness programs help employees lose weight and reduce their risk of heart disease, a new study shows."

State and Local Governments' Fiscal Outlook: March 2010 Update (PDF)
1 page (Highlights version). Excerpt: "GAO projects that the sector's long-term fiscal position will steadily decline through 2060 absent any policy changes . . . . The decline in the sector's operating balance is primarily driven by rising health care costs. The fiscal challenges confronting the state and local sector add to the nation's overall fiscal difficulties.' The full document is at
(U.S. Government Accountability Office)

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!
Sponsored by World Congress

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: January 2010 Update
14 pages. Excerpt: "Our long-term simulations show that absent policy changes the federal government faces an unsustainable growth in debt. Under our Alternative simulation, debt held by the public as a share of GDP could exceed the historical high reached in the aftermath of World War II by 2020 . . . 10 years sooner than our simulation showed just 2 years ago."
(U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Webcasts and Conferences

"401(k) Plan Workshop: Current Issues and New Developments" - San Francisco
in California on April 1, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop - Portland
in Oregon on March 31, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop" - Houston
in Texas on April 1, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop" - New Orleans
in Louisiana on March 31, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop" - Salt Lake City
in Utah on April 1, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop: Preparing for EFAST2" - San Francisco
in California on March 31, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

AHIP Wellness 2010 - Virtual Symposium on Worksite Wellness
Nationwide on April 21, 2010
presented by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

Cafeteria Plan Election Changes: A Seminar Based on Your Scenarios!
Nationwide on April 1, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

DOL Issues Investment Advice
Nationwide on March 10, 2010
presented by Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC

Press Releases

PBGC Moves to Protect Pensions at New United Motor Manufacturing
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

ABG Carolinas Unveils New Low Cost 401(k) Program
Alliance Benefit Group Carolinas, LLC

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