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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 18, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Employer CHIP Notice Will Assist Employers' Compliance with CHIPRA
Excerpt: "The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) released the model Employer CHIP Notice on February 9, 2010. The Notice, as required under the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), is intended to assist employers with notifying employees about possible opportunities for premium assistance and receiving medical coverage under an employer's group health benefit plan."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)

House Passes Another COBRA Subsidy Extension
Excerpt: "The COBRA premium subsidy would be offered for another month under a new bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Business Insurance reports that under H.R. 4851, the 15-month, 65% federal premium subsidy would be extended to employees involuntarily terminated from April 1 through April 30. Without an extension, employees laid off after March 31 would not be eligible for the subsidy . . . ."

State Wellness Initiatives
Membership or fee payment required for fulltext of report. Excerpt: "Initiatives to encourage disease prevention and promote health can help people obtain regular health screenings, get more physical activity, eat healthier food and cut tobacco use."
(National Conference of State Legislatures)

California Workers Paying More Toward Health Insurance Premiums
Excerpt: "The amount California workers contributed to their employer-backed health coverage increased 83 percent between 2000 and 2008 while their income stayed the same, according to a report released today. The study, commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, looked at the impact of rising health costs and found middle-class Americans were particularly hard hit."
(San Francisco Chronicle)

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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
Conflict Forming in the Circuits: ERISA Preemption of State Laws that Prohibit Discretionary Clauses
Excerpt: "The Tenth Circuit recently held that ERISA preempts a Utah state insurance statute which prohibits insured employee benefit plans from including 'discretionary clauses' other than those prescribed by the statute. Discretionary clauses, which reserve to the plan administrator the discretion to interpret the plan document and determine the benefits payable, have long been staple language in ERISA plans. The decision conflicts with decisions in the Ninth and Sixth Circuits, which held such state laws enforceable."
(Deloitte via

Final Version of Tax Incentives for New Hiring Passes Senate, Awaits President's Signature
Excerpt: "President Obama is expected to sign into law today the first significant job-creation measure passed by Congress since Democrats earlier this year vowed to attack the nation's high unemployment rate. The bill, which the Senate passed by a 68-29 vote Wednesday, is a $17.6 billion package intended to spur hiring nationwide by, among other things, granting employers a payroll-tax 'holiday' for the rest of the year for hiring new workers."
(Arizona Daily Star)

Cost of San Francisco's Public Employee Benefits Devours Basic City Services
Excerpt: "San Francisco is hardly alone in sitting atop a ticking time bomb of unfunded municipal employee benefit IOUs. However, new projections from the City Controller's Office show in bleak clarity how our current expenditures have become impossible to sustain in today's tougher economy. The City's next budget must somehow neutralize a shortfall of more than a half-billion dollars while public employee pensions, salary costs and health care benefits that are expanding uncontrollably."
(The San Francisco Examiner)

Work-Life Balance Award Act of 2010
Excerpt: "The Work-Life Balance Award Act, introduced in March 2010, establishes an annual Work-Life Balance Award at the Department of Labor to be given out annually by the Secretary of Labor to employers with exemplary work-life workforce policies. These policies are defined as workplace practices 'designed to enable employees to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance.' Any public or private employer of any size is eligible for the award, as long as they are in compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws."
(U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education & Labor)

The Deal Lawyers' Guide to Hidden Employee Benefit Issues (PDF)
20 pages.
(Deal Lawyers via Dechert LLP)

Employee Benefits Security Administration Achieves $1.36 Billion in Monetary Recoveries for FY 2009
Excerpt: "EBSA achieves $1.36 billion in monetary recoveries for FY 2009. The Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has announced monetary results of $1.36 billion in fiscal year 2009 for retirement, health, and other employee benefit plans governed by ERISA."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Webcasts and Conferences

2010 San Francisco Spring Conference: "Benefiting From a Recovery"
in California on April 20, 2010
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference, San Francisco Chapter

Benefits Forum & Expo
in Florida on September 26, 2010
presented by Employee Benefit News

Chicago Health and Welfare Plan Management for Mid-Sized Employers Conference
in Illinois on June 15, 2010
presented by University Conference Services

Compliance Summit 2010
in Virginia on April 20, 2010
presented by Employee Benefit News

Employee Benefit Adviser Summit
in Florida on September 26, 2010
presented by Employee Benefit Adviser

Medicare Marketing ROI: What’s Working…and What’s Not?
Nationwide on April 15, 2010
presented by MCOL

Wrap Documents for Health and Welfare Plans: How They Work and Should You Have One?
Nationwide on April 15, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Press Releases

Health Care Reform Must Be Done Right
American Benefits Council

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