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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 25, 2010

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HIPAA covered entities, including health plans, health care clearinghouses, and covered health care providers, must comply with the HIPAA Security Rule. This regulation also requires compliance from business associates. Covered entities must create and document compliance with a HIPAA Security manual. This course will outline the security rules, safeguards and what is required for the manual.

[Official Guidance]
Text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PDF)
906 pages. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), which includes many provisions affecting employers and their health plans, was signed into law . . . by President Obama. Meanwhile, a reconciliation bill is before the Senate that, if enacted, would change some of the new law's provisions and extend some of its effective dates. For a copy of the reconciliation bill (H.R. 4872) and a manager's amendment go to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h4872eh.txt.pdf and http://docs.house.gov/rules/hr4872/111_managers_hr4872.pdf
(U.S. Congress)

[Official Guidance]
Text of Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2010-08: Grant of Individual Exemption Involving Ford Motor Company
Excerpt: "This document contains a final exemption issued by the Department of Labor (the Department) from certain prohibited transaction restrictions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (the Act or ERISA). The transactions involve the UAW Ford Retirees Medical Benefits Plan (the Ford VEBA Plan) and its funding vehicle, the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (the VEBA Trust), (collectively the VEBA)."
(U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Self-Funded Plans -- Generally, Plans Subject to ERISA -- Face New Scrutiny, Pressures Under National Health Reform
Excerpt: "Insurance reform mandates many hoped would not apply to existing self-insured (grandfathered) plans will apply even to those plans, including: (1) the elimination of annual and lifetime limits; (2) a ban on pre-existing condition exclusions; and (3) expanded coverage of dependent children. The House reconciliation bill would apply these to all plans, in calendar year 2010, although phase-in dates are not precise."
(Thompson Publishing Group Inc.)

Health Care Reform Signed; Amendments to be Debated in Senate this Week: Implications for Employers
7 pages. Excerpt: "On Sunday, March 21, the House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), by a vote of 219 to 212. This bill had passed the Senate on Christmas Eve 2009. The House then immediately passed H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (the 'reconciliation bill'), which would amend the PPACA in many respects. PPACA was signed on Tuesday, March 23 by President Obama, and the Senate began debate on the reconciliation bill to amend PPACA shortly thereafter."
(PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Health Reform Legislation Will Impact All Employers and Health Plans
Excerpt: "The PPACA and the Reconciliation Act will affect nearly every group in the health care arena: large employers, small employers, individuals, insurers, and medical providers. This alert focuses mainly on changes for large employers."
(Michael Best & Friedrich LLP)

Passage of Landmark Legislation Could Spur Even Greater Use of Health Savings Accounts
Excerpt: "The health care bill contains mandates that require individuals and employers with more than 50 workers to purchase health care coverage. 'Those who will be subject to mandates in the future are looking for ways to control their costs before they get locked into something down the road,' said Roy Ramthum, president of HSA Consulting Services. 'Employers are already moving to HSAs.'"
(Investment News; free registration required)

Employers Brace for Health Reform Changes
Excerpt: "Expansive U.S. healthcare reforms aim to expand access to care for millions of uninsured, but could further squeeze some employers still trying to shake off a depressed economy."
(Reuters)

A Discussion on Aspects of Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Will employers add coverage because workers facing the mandate to obtain insurance will press for it, or will they drop it because it will be cheaper to pay the penalty and let employees fend for themselves?"
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

Private Health Coverage Unstable for Middle Class (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "In about one-quarter of middle-income families with private health coverage, a family member lost coverage at some point between 2004 and 2007, analysis of Census Bureau survey data reveals. Nearly all of these family members ended up uninsured, often for several months. While the survey only extends through 2007, these problems have almost certainly worsened due to the recession. Enactment of comprehensive health reform that provides affordable, meaningful insurance options, particularly for those losing access to employer-based coverage, would help protect many such families in the future from the financial and health consequences of being uninsured."
(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

The Growing Financial Burden of Health Care: National and State Trends, 2001-2006
Excerpt: "The financial burden of health care -- the ratio of total out-of-pocket spending for health care services and premiums to total family income -- continues to increase nationally. As a result of this trend, more people have been exposed to high costs and lack essential services. This study examines trends nationally and among selected states between 2001 and 2006."
(Health Affairs)




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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
Some Severance Held Exempt from FICA Again: Consider Filing Protective Refund Claims (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "A Federal District Court in Michigan, in a case involving the bankrup.tcy of the Quality Stores discount chain, has held that some types of severance pay are exempt from social security taxation under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), and that the employer was entitled to a refund of FICA tax that it had previously paid on the severance. While the decision is certain to be appealed by the IRS, employers who have made significant severance payments in open tax years (generally 2006 or later) may want to consider filing protective claims for refund of FICA payments until the matter is resolved."
(Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Online Federal Employee Benefits Calculators
Listed are calculators for federal retirement plans, social security, the Thrift Savings Plan, Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance, and other benefits.
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

Federal Employee Telework and Benefits Bills Move Forward in Congress
Excerpt: "A House subcommittee on Wednesday approved legislation to promote telework in federal agencies, increase oversight of prescription drug coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and allow federal employees to invest the value of their unused annual leave in their retirement accounts. The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and District of Columbia unanimously approved the 2009 Telework Improvements Act (H.R. 1722), introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md. The bill would codify a government wide telework policy that Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry announced in April 2009."
(GovernmentExecutive.com)


Webcasts and Conferences

ACOPA Actuarial Symposium
in Nevada on August 13, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

ACOPA Advanced Actuarial Conference
in Illinois on June 10, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

An Employer’s Guide to Health Care Reform - Webinar
Nationwide on April 7, 2010
presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Benefits Conference of the South
in Georgia on May 13, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Controlled Groups
Nationwide on April 7, 2010
presented by McKay Hochman Co.

Did You Notice: DC Plan Communications Webcast
Nationwide on May 27, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

ERPA Conference
in Illinois on June 17, 2010
presented by AIRE, LLC (American Institute of Retirement Education)

Ethics for the Retirement Plan Professional
Nationwide on April 21, 2010
presented by McKay Hochman Co.

Ethics for the Retirement Plan Professional
Nationwide on April 22, 2010
presented by McKay Hochman Co.

General Overview of ASPPA’s Education & Examination Program – Free Informational Webcast
Nationwide on April 27, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Great Lakes Benefits Conference
in Illinois on June 16, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Health Care Reform Update: Navigating the Changes for Employers
in Wisconsin on March 31, 2010
presented by Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Health Care Reform: A First Look for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans
Nationwide on April 8, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Health Plan Contracting Web Summit - 2010
Nationwide on April 22, 2010
presented by MCOL

Managing the Cost and Complexity of US Health Reform Webcast
Nationwide on March 25, 2010
presented by Mercer

Mid-Atlantic Benefits Conference
in Pennsylvania on May 24, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

NTSAA 403(b) Compliance Resolution Summit
in Illinois on May 10, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

PFC-1: Plan Financial Consulting 1 - Live Online Course
Nationwide on April 19, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Roth IRA Conversion Rules and How They Impact Your Practice
in New York on April 20, 2010
presented by ASPPA BENEFITS COUNCIL (ABC) OF NEW YORK

Western Benefits Conference
in California on July 18, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Women Business Leaders Forum
in Texas on June 2, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Working with Multiple Employer Plans Webcast
Nationwide on March 31, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)


Press Releases


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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Qualified Plan Administrator
for Law Offices of R. David Danziger, P.C.
in NJ, PA

DC Consultant
for Regional Plan and Investment Consulting Firm
in CO

Account Manager
for ING
in TN




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