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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 8, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 Provides 'Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers' (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "If state law provides 'greater protections to employees' than the protections in Section 4207, employers must adhere to the more expansive provisions. Seventeen states currently have laws that require employers to provide lactation breaks."
(Winston & Strawn LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Reform: Bad for Business?
29 pages. Excerpt: "It seems almost certain that modifications will be made to the health reform legislation over the next few years. Refinements seem inevitable given that the legislation makes such bold changes in current law and affects roughly one-sixth of the U.S. economy. In addition to substantive modifications to the law, we would expect future legislation to include certain 'technical corrections' designed to clarify ambiguities in the law as passed last month, and to correct clear omissions and errors."
(Utz, Miller & Eickman, LLC)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform Law Requirement for Reasonable Break Times and Locations for Nursing Mothers (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The new provision does not apply to any employee who qualifies as exempt under Section 213 of the FLSA. Thus, employees who qualify under the executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, or computer professional exemptions are not entitled to breaks under the amendment."
(Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder Expenses As Medical Expenses
Excerpt: "Employers sponsoring medical plans for their employees are often confronted with questions whether certain expenses may be covered by the plan as medical expenses and reimbursed on a tax-free basis. Whether such expenses may be covered on a tax-free basis turns on whether the expenses are expenses for medical care as defined in section 213(d). In Rhiannon G. O'Donnabhain, 134 T.C. No. 4 (Feb. 2, 2010), the Tax Court confronted the issue of whether gender identity disorder (GID) is a disease within the meaning of Code section 213 and, if so, whether the petitioner's expenses for hormone replacement treatment, sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and breast augmentation were deductible."
(Miller & Chevalier Chartered)

[Guidance Overview]
COBRA Subsidy Extension and Expansion
Excerpt: "Employers will need to update all COBRA notices and forms to reflect the changes to the COBRA premium subsidy provisions, and the Department of Labor recently released updated model notices. Congress is considering legislation that would further extend eligibility for the subsidy to involuntary terminations through the end of 2010."
(Miller & Chevalier Chartered)

[Guidance Overview]
Who Decides Whether an Employee Is Sick Enough for FMLA Leave?
Excerpt: "An employee may be entitled to a protected leave of absence under the FMLA when she has a serious 'medical condition' during a 'period of incapacity.' Who decides whether the employee is incapacitated? A doctor? The employee? A recent case titled Schaar v. Lehigh Valley Health Services, Inc. wrestled with this issue."
(Barker Olmsted & Barnier)

Mental Health Care Benefits Organizations' Coalition Sues to Stop Implementation of Mental Health Parity Rule
Excerpt: "Business Insurance reports that the suit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Washington by the Coalition for Parity Inc. alleges that regulators failed to provide a 'true and complete comment period,' which has resulted in 'confusing, flawed and untested requirements.' In addition, while the interim final rule would ban the use of separate deductibles for mental health and medical treatment, the coalition says a single deductible for mental health and other medical services is a 'requirement found nowhere' in the 2008 law."

America's Health Care Reform May Be Out of Emergency Room, But Prognosis Remains Sketchy
Excerpt: "The 'complex and opaque' healthcare-reform bill leaves many questions unanswered for HR leaders -- and for the nation at large. The 2,400-page legislation is designed to provide coverage to about 32 million uninsured Americans, but it may not be able to cut costs, as promised, experts say. It may also decrease the ability of employers to recruit and retain workers."
(Knowledge@Wharton via Human Resource Executive Online)

Who Wins and Who Loses from Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "This is the first in a series of posts that will try to dispel the myths and reveal the facts about the reform legislation. What will reform mean for insurers, hospitals, doctors, Medicare patients, seniors who are now on Medicare Advantage, Medicaid patients and state budgets? Who wins and who loses? You may be surprised by some of the answers. The legislation is rich in details that have been ignored. Liberals as well as conservatives are making assumptions that just don't square with the facts. [In this post], I focus on the impact that reform will have on the private insurance industry--and on the industry's customers."
(Maggie Mahar via The Century Foundation)

FEI Submits Comment Letter Regarding the Real Impact of Health Care Reform on Businesses (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "On April 6, 2010, FEI's President and CEO Marie Hollein submitted a comment letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the U.S. Congress. The letter outlines FEI's concerns with the tax treatment of the Medicare Part D Subsidy in the new health-care law and is in response to an Energy and Commerce hearing on the impacts the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is having on United States' businesses."
(Financial Executives International)

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

[Guidance Overview]
Quality Stores Puts FICA Refund Opportunity for Severance Pay Back on the Table
Excerpt: "Quality Stores presents an opportunity to claim refunds for FICA taxes previously paid as well as for reevaluating tax positions going forward. Employers who have made severance payments to employees in calendar year 2006 or later may wish to file protective claims for refund of the employer's and the employees' portion of the FICA tax, based on the rationale of Quality Stores. The deadline for filing a claim for refund with respect to payments made in 2006 is April 15, 2010, so taxpayers must move quickly if they want to take advantage of this opportunity."
(Jones Day)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Sheds Light on FICA Refund Interest Rates
Excerpt: "The IRS has accepted the position that medical residents were not subject to FICA tax for periods ending before April 1, 2005, the date new FICA Regulations became effective. A recently released IRS Chief Counsel Memorandum outlines the law and analysis that is used in determining the interest rate to apply to such FICA tax refunds."
(Deloitte via

Income of the Aged Chartbook, 2008
Excerpt: "This publication covers the population aged 65 or older. The unit of analysis here, with the exception of measures of poverty and family income of persons, is the aged unit, which is a married couple living together or a person who does not live with a spouse."
(U.S. Social Security Administration)

Obama Administration Won't Say How it Will Pay for Federal Same-S.ex Benefits
Excerpt: "The Obama administration is not ready to tell Congress what cost-cutting measures it will take to pay for extending federal employee benefits to same-s.ex couples. The legislation that provides health care, long-term care, family and medical leave and federal retirement benefit passed the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and is awaiting approval on the Senate floor."

Webcasts and Conferences

"401(k) Plan Workshop: Current Issues and New Developments" - Atlanta
in Georgia on May 7, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop: Current Issues and New Developments" - Chicago
in Illinois on May 7, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop: Current Issues and New Developments" - Cincinnati
in Ohio on May 5, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop" - Atlanta
in Georgia on May 6, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop" - Chicago
in Illinois on May 6, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop" - Cincinnati
in Ohio on May 4, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

Health Care Reform: What Employers Need to Know Now!
Nationwide on April 29, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Recent Decisions of the Federal Courts
in California on April 20, 2010
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference, San Diego Chapter

Press Releases

ASPPA Urges House To Pass Pension Funding Relief
ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

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