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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 26, 2010

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This recorded Webcast addresses the key elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the related provisions. Three industry experts present their views on health care reform legislation, timeline of required compliance dates, impact on stakeholders and plan design implications. This webcast can be downloaded at any time, so you and your staff can listen to it at your convenience.

[Guidance Overview]
Healthcare Reform Guide: Grandfathered Health Plans
Excerpt: "The statutory language allows the following events to occur without changing grandfathered status: Participants in a grandfathered plan may renew their coverage (for example, during the next open enrollment) after the date of enactment. Participants may enroll their dependents for coverage, including dependents who were not covered at the date of enactment. New employees and their dependents may be enrolled in a grandfathered plan.'
(McGuireWoods LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Accounts' Limits for Over-the-Counter Medicines Under Health Reform
Excerpt: "[R]eimbursements for over-the-counter medicines through a health FSA, HRA, or other employer-provided accident or health plan may not be excluded from the employee's gross income. Also, distributions from an HSA or Archer MSA to pay for over-the-counter medicines may not be excluded from the employee's gross income and will be subject to additional penalty."
(Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
Legislation Extends Eligibility Period for COBRA Premium Subsidy Until May 31, 2010
Excerpt: "COBRA administrators must scurry once more to update and send revised notices to inform individuals experiencing qualifying events after April 1 of their possible premium subsidy rights. Some of these individuals may have already been furnished with election notices that did not reflect the extension and will need to receive second notices."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Internet Portal for Health Coverage Information
Excerpt: "So what's included in Sec. 1103 of the Affordable Care Act, concerning the creation of an Internet portal for health coverage information? An Internet portal is established to help beneficiaries and small businesses identify affordable health insurance coverage options in each state. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must establish this Internet portal no later than July 1, 2010."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Online Resources on the Patient Protection Act
Excerpt: "'Health Care Reform' is now the subject of a variety of excellent summaries which are accessible online for the employee benefits practitioner . . . ."
(Roy Harmon via Health Plan Law)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Report Says 1.4M Fewer Americans to be in Employer Health Plans as of 2019
Excerpt: "Made public by U.S. Representative John Kline (R-Minnesota), the report also asserted that seven million seniors would no longer be covered by Medicare Advantage and that the nation's health care spending would increase by $331 billion over the next 10 years."

The Effects of Large Premium Increases on Individuals, Families, and Small Businesses
Excerpt: "In this report, the authors examine the effects of premium increases much higher than the rate of health care cost growth on coverage, costs and the decisions by small firms to offer [employer-sponsored insurance]."
(Urban Institute)

A Graying Population Being Cared for by a Graying Work Force
Excerpt: "Professional caregivers -- almost all of them women -- are one of the fastest-growing segments of the American work force, and also one of the grayest."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Cost Increase Is Projected for New Law
Excerpt: "A government analysis of the new health care law says it will not slow the overall growth of health spending because the expansion of insurance and services to 34 million people will offset cost reductions in Medicare and other programs."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Your employee benefits service or product can be advertised in an online directory sponsored by the nation's leading employee benefits web site-- BenefitsLink. Your premium listing will include a logo, contact information and a link to take readers directly to your web site. Newly designed and easily searchable. You can't afford not to be part of it.

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
2010 ERISA Expanded Reporting and Disclosure Requirements Calendar
27 pages. Excerpt: "The [calendar] provides who-what-when-where reporting and disclosure information for single-employer pension and welfare plans under ERISA. Plan administrators can access concise instructions for filing reports with the Department of Labor, IRS and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and for disclosing tax and benefit information . . . ."
(Towers Watson)

What a Difference a Day Makes, or Does It? Work/Family Balance and the Four-Day Work Week
Excerpt: "This Article considers the growing reliance that four-day work week advocates have placed on work/family claims. It begins by analyzing whether a compressed work schedule may alleviate work/family conflicts, and more importantly, for whom such benefits are most likely to accrue. While studies consistently find that many workers experience lower levels of work/family conflict when working a compressed schedule, the research also suggests that workers with the most acute work/family conflicts may be the least likely either to obtain or to benefit from a four-day work week design."
(Social Science Research Network)

No Mere Perk: Flex-Work as a Strategic Tool
Excerpt: "Researchers say flexibility is a critical but overlooked factor in making work work. An award program seeks to recognize firms who achieve strategic results with the use of flexible work."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

Incentive Plans Are of Continued Importance, According to Survey
Excerpt: "Over the past decade, incentive plan designs have become more consistent within organizations. As more companies offer a single annual plan for both executives and other employees: More companies are altering their eligibility requirements. Executive-only incentive plans are now in the minority. The most common eligibility factor is salary grade or band -- not position title, reporting relationship or officer status as in the past."
(Towers Watson)

Webcasts and Conferences

8th Annual Employee Benefits Symposium: The Future of Employer Provided Health Benefits
in Illinois on April 29, 2010
presented by The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

DOL Correction Programs
Nationwide on May 26, 2010
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Pension Tour Live Seminar
Nationwide on May 3, 2010
presented by Executive Benefits Design Group

Your Service May Be A Commodity. That Doesn't Make Your Business One
Nationwide on May 20, 2010
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Press Releases

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