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April 5, 2010

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This timely Webcast will address the key elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the related provisions of the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010. Three industry experts will present their views on key elements of health care reform legislation, timeline of required compliance dates, impact on stakeholders and plan design implications.

[Official Guidance]
New Page on IRS.gov to Help Small Employers with Tax Credit for Providing Health Insurance Coverage
Excerpt from IRS press release: 'The IRS has updated IRS.gov to provide information to small employers regarding the new tax credit for providing health coverage. The new features includes: A graphic to help employers quickly determine if they qualify for the credit; Scenarios that explain how much certain businesses and exempt organizations would benefit from the credit; Tax tips on taking the credit and Questions and answers. The IRS encouraged small employers to carefully consider the tax credit."
(Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform: A Primer for Employers
Excerpt: "The PPACA will provide new challenges to employers. There are new mandates on what needs to be included in health plans, new reporting and disclosure requirements, new subsidies and tax credits, and new penalties. The purpose of this Alert is to summarize some of the significant implications the PPACA will have on employers. The good news is that many of the changes will not become effective for a few years so there will be time to understand and plan for them."
(Nixon Peabody LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Recent Health Care Legislation May Require Tax Accounting Adjustments in the First Quarter of 2010
3 pages. Excerpt: "ASC 740 (formerly FAS 109) requires that changes to deferred taxes attributable to a change in tax law must be recorded in the interim period in which the new law is enacted. This Alert highlights several provisions of the new legislation that could affect a company's forecasted tax rate or require a company to remeasure their deferred taxes in Q1 of 2010."
(Eisner LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform Effect on 'Grandfathered Plans'
Excerpt: "This client alert focuses on the 'grandfathering' provisions enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) (the 'Reform Act') as amended by the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) (the 'Reconciliation Act'). The grandfathering relief allows certain plans in effect on the date of enactment to avoid the application of many of the new rules. Nevertheless, there are some healthcare reform provisions that do apply to grandfathered plans."
(Proskauer Rose LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Timeline for Compliance with Health Reform for the Large-Employer Health Plan (PDF)
10 pages. Excerpt: "The new law affects nearly all actors in the U.S. economy and is phased in over eight years. This Timeline tells you how large employers (over 100 employees) must implement the new law for each year through 2018 -- including all relevant provisions affecting coverage mandates and compensation-related taxes and reporting."
(Ivins, Phillips & Barker Chartered)

[Guidance Overview]
Health FSA Uniform Coverage Rule Precludes Recoupment
Excerpt: "On March 26, 2010, the IRS released Chief Counsel Advice No. 201012060 (pdf), in which the Chief Counsel concluded that, if an employee's reimbursements from a health FSA exceed her contributions to the health FSA at the time of the termination of her employment, the employer cannot recoup the difference from the employee. Neither the previous proposed regulations nor the current proposed regulations regarding health FSAs (Prop. Treas. Reg. § 1.125-5(d)(1) (pdf)) stated explicitly that such recoupment is not permitted."
(Delaware Employment Law Blog)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Insurance Purchased Through MEWA Was Not an ERISA Plan
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: We think the ERISA status of the MEWA should have been relevant to the outcome in this case. It seems to us that the court failed to appreciate the significance of the ERISA definition of employer, which includes 'any person acting directly as an employer, or indirectly in the interest of an employer, in relation to an employee benefit plan' and includes a 'group or association of employers' acting for an employer in such a capacity."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
COBRA Election Notice Mailed to Employee's Last-Known Address Constituted Sufficient Proof That It Was Provided
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The majority of courts hold that the plan administrator has the burden of proving that the election notice was properly sent to the qualified beneficiary. However, proof of receipt is not required. The reported cases generally conclude that what is important is not whether the plan administrator can show that the qualified beneficiary actually received the notice, but whether the administrator can prove that it (or its TPA) mailed the notice in such a manner that it is presumed to have been received or was reasonably calculated to be received by the qualified beneficiary."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform Includes FLSA Amendment Requiring Break Time for Nursing Mothers
Excerpt: "As of March 23, 2010, federal law requires employers to provide nursing mothers 'reasonable break time' to express breast milk for up to one year after the birth of their child. An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act containing this requirement was inconspicuously buried in Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as the federal Health Care Reform law. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia already have statutes that speak to an employer's obligation to provide rest breaks for the purpose of expressing milk."
(Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

Health Reform Provisions: No Lifetime or Annual Coverage Limits
Excerpt: "Sec. 1001(5) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act concerns lifetime and annual coverage limits. Group health plans, as well as individual and group health insurers, are subject to limits on imposing benefits caps. Specifically, lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary are prohibited. Also barred are annual limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary, subject to an exception for pre-2014 annual limits, as follows . . . ."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Employers Weigh Costs of Keeping or Dropping Health Insurance Coverage
Excerpt: "Employers viewing the enactment of health care reform legislation as an opportunity to drop health coverage and escape a huge financial burden may want to rethink that idea, experts say. The hidden costs of dropping their health care plans could far outweigh the fine that employers would face for not offering health care coverage, they say."
(Business Insurance)

Coca-Cola Gets Final OK for Retiree Health Funding Plan
Excerpt: "The Coca-Cola Co. has received final authorization from the Labor Department for its groundbreaking approach to funding retiree health care benefits through a special trust and Coca-Cola's captive insurance company. The final authorization was published in [the April 2, 2010] Federal Register."
(Business Insurance)

Filing Deadline Looms for San Francisco Health Mandate As Legal Challenge Continues
Excerpt: "By April 30, employers subject to San Francisco's health care spending mandate must file annual reports detailing expenditures made in 2009. City regulators have updated and clarified certain aspects of the program and released revised forms. As implementation of San Francisco's mandate continues, an ERISA challenge to the mandate awaits possible Supreme Court action. In the interim, federal regulators may further address the definition of health plans not governed by ERISA."
(Mercer LLC)

New Health Initiatives Target Prevention
Excerpt: "Amid all the rancor leading up to passage of the new health care law, Congress with little fanfare approved a set of wide-ranging public initiatives to prevent disease and encourage healthy behavior. The initiatives provide a big dose of prevention in an effort to counter the powerful forces that encourage people to engage in sedentary lifestyles, to smoke and to eat fatty, high-calorie foods."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Early Retiree Reimbursement Program Slated for to Start in June
Excerpt: "A client advisory from Mercer's Washington Resource Group (WRG) recommends employers keep their eyes peeled for announcements about a program to reimburse employers for some health care costs for early retirees."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

Employers Seek to Understand, Plan for and Implement Health Care Reform Provisions Over Balance of Decade-
Excerpt: "For employer health plan sponsors in particular, the PPACA will have the most significant impact on their role since the enactment of ERISA over 30 years ago. While the vast majority of employers will continue to 'play' by offering health benefits, it will remain imperative for them to optimize plan performance through careful plan design and pricing strategy in the context of the new law."
(Towers Watson)

Summary of the Impact of Health Care Reform on Employers
Excerpt: "This summary identifies the main provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Act), as amended by the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, that directly affect employers. The 'Ice Miller Comments' column provides Ice Miller's analysis of specific provisions, which is intended to help employers understand and plan for changes required or desired as a result of the Act."
(Ice Miller LLP)

Many Health Care Reform Provisions Effective This Year: Employers Need to Take Action (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The [target document] is an overview of some of the highlights of the Act that are of particular importance to employers and are effective this year or next year. We will issue subsequent alerts focusing on provisions that are effective later, as employers should consider those provisions when considering changes to plan design, its implementation and issues such as whether or not they wish to continue providing employee health coverage."
(Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC)

Special Report on Health Care Reform (PDF)
13 pages.
(Hewitt Associates)

Massachusetts Insurance Regulators Reject Most Requests for Higher Health Plan Rates
Excerpt: "With the encouragement of Gov. Deval L. Patrick, Massachusetts insurance regulators took the extraordinary step Thursday of rejecting nearly 9 out of 10 rate increases requested by the state's health insurers."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Reform: What Is the Employers' Next Move?
Excerpt: "On March 30, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, making several changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) that he signed on March 23. With this landmark legislation now in place, we're sure that you have questions about how this impacts your organization and your employees. Buck will help you stay current on health care reform. We'll interpret the legislation for you -- so you understand, in practical terms, what it means and what you need to do."
(Buck Consultants)

Real-Time Health Care Reform: What's Affecting Provider Operations Today
Excerpt: "This client alert focuses on provisions enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) (the Reform Act), as amended by the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) (the Reconciliation Act), which are immediately applicable to health care providers and organizations."
(Proskauer Rose LLP)

Overview of Some Relevant, Health-Plan-Related Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Excerpt: "[Also identified are] the changes proposed by the Reconciliation Bill to PPACA (identified throughout as 'RB Alerts') so that you will have an understanding of the changes that will take place if the Reconciliation Bill passes as expected."
(Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

Health Care Reform Reconciliation Bill Is Signed Into Law
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: With the health care reform package now enacted, the arduous work begins for employers, insurers, administrators, and advisors to digest all the details and to begin making strategic design decisions to ensure compliance and manage overall costs. There are varied effective dates for many of the provisions -- it is particularly important to pay close attention to those requirements that go into effect in the near term . . . ."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

When Will Federal Employees Be Allowed to Add Their Adult Children Under Age 26 to Their Health Insurance Plan?
Excerpt: "An e-mail from the Office of Personnel Management to federal human resources officers on March 26 outlined the timeline for adopting the new rules on coverage of adult children under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The initial provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will begin to take effect in six months. Among them is the requirement that insurers allow adult children to stay on their parents' health care plan until they turn 26, instead of kicking them off when they turn 22. When the requirement goes into effect, it will apply only to the new plan year. Federal employees can start adding their adult children to their coverage, or extending their enrollment, during this year's open season. But those changes won't kick in until Jan. 1, 2011."
(GovernmentExecutive.com)

Federal Agency Located in DC Sends Cherry Blossom Memo Urging Workers to Go Take an Hour Hike
Excerpt: "Workers at the Office of Personnel Management may take an hour break Thursday or Friday to walk a few blocks south and see the cherry blossoms, according to a memo issued late last week."
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

Health Reform's Insurance Pool to Offer Reduced-Rate Coverage
Excerpt: "In one of its first steps to carry out the new health care law, the Obama administration announced Friday that it was establishing a temporary insurance pool where uninsured people with medical problems could buy coverage at reduced rates."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

[Opinion]
Dead $14 Billion Loophole Could Sink Corporate-Provided Health Care, or Not
Excerpt: "With President Obama still glowing over last week's passage of health-care reform, it's a good time to ask why American businesses ever began providing health-care coverage, and especially prescription drug benefits, to begin with. Out of all industrialized nations, only the United States has tied employment to health care and retirement coverage. Incredibly, our health-care system is an outgrowth of 1950s union-busting efforts. That's right: Carmakers didn't want unions to form their own benefits co-ops. So they instead provided the very health care and retiree coverage that ended up destroying them."
(Cable News Network)




National Employee Benefits Day acknowledges employee benefits professionals for the quality benefits you provide and for the important role you have in your colleaguesí well being.
This year Benefits Day has a special focus on Workplace Wellness. We encourage you to evaluate your wellness offerings and to reach out to your employees with suggestions on living a healthier lifestyle.

Visit www.ifebp.org/benefitsday for free resources to help you celebrate!


Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

Obamas Tout Benefits of a Flexible Workplace
Excerpt: "Obama was speaking at a White House forum on workplace flexibility Wednesday and used the days that snow forced federal offices in Washington to close as an example of why the public and private sectors should adopt some alternative arrangements, such as telework, for their employees. The president said the government is committed to 'practicing what we preach' with budget proposals that would increase funding for child care and provide grants to states to promote flexible work programs."
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

New Book: Don't Do That
The new book Don't Do That illustrates common mistakes in implementing and operating an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and what to do about them by using a variety of real-life stories contributed by prominent members of the ESOP community.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)


Webcasts and Conferences

Doing More With Less in Employee Benefits
Nationwide on April 15, 2010
presented by TRI-AD

Worker Misclassifications: Ouch!! That's Gonna Leave a Mark Webinar
Nationwide on April 29, 2010
presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP


Press Releases


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