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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

May 5, 2010

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Learn what single employers need to do now -- both tactically and strategically. The May 6 webcast will provide timelines for employers, so they understand what to do now, next year and beyond. Explore the long-term strategies that will emerge as a result of this law’s passage. Topics include why employers provide coverage to associates and their families, competitive positioning of these benefits and cost containment actions to consider over the next few years.

[Official Guidance]
Text of Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Providing Payments to Employers for Early Retiree Health Benefits (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Congress appropriated funding of $5 billion for the [Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. . . . The program provides reimbursement to participating employment-based plans for a portion of the cost of health benefits for early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses and dependents. The Secretary will reimburse plans for certain claims between $15,000 and $90,000 . . . ."
(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

[Official Guidance]
HHS Announces Upcoming Educational Website on Health Care Reform, Describes Data Needed (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act . . . requires the establishment of an internet Web site . . . through which individuals and small businesses can obtain information about the insurance coverage options that may be available to them in their State. . . . This interim final rule adopts the categories of information that will be collected and displayed as Web portal content, and the data we will require from issuers and request from States, associations, and high risk pools in order to create this content."
(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

[Guidance Overview]
'Clear Repudiation Rule' Applied in Determination That Benefits Claim Was Time-Barred
Excerpt: "The district court in Bryer v. Metro. Life Ins. Co. applied the 'clear repudiation rule' to find that the plaintiff's claims were time-barred. The disability plan that covered the plaintiff [provides] for an increase in benefits that he did not receive according to the complaint . . . ."
(Roy Harmon via Health Plan Law)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform Includes New Form W-2 Reporting Requirement
Excerpt: "Health care reform requires employers to calculate and report the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored health insurance coverage on employees' Form W-2s. Although the new rule applies for employees' tax years beginning after December 31, 2010, payroll systems need to be updated for this change by January of 2011. This deadline is imposed because employees are entitled to request their Form W-2s early if they terminate employment during the year."
(Faegre & Benson LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Guidance on Taxation of Adult Children's Health Benefits under Health Reform Law (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The IRS has issued the first guidance on a provision of the new health reform law that treats employer-provided health coverage for adult children as nontaxable to the employee. Notice 2010-38 also addresses cafeteria plan amendments allowing coverage of adult children to be paid for on a pre-tax basis."
(Buck Consultants)

Department of Health and Human Services Issues Rules for Retiree Care Reimbursements
Excerpt: "Under a $5 billion program -- authorized by the new health care reform law -- employers with health care plans covering retirees from age 55 through 64 will be reimbursed for 80% of such retirees' claims between $15,000 and $90,000."
(Business Insurance)

Some Retirees Will Receive Aid to Pay Health Bills
Excerpt: "The White House announced Tuesday that it would help pay medical bills for early retirees who have health insurance provided by their former employers. The purpose of the temporary $5 billion program, authorized by the new health care law, is to reverse the erosion of employer-sponsored insurance."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Expensive 'Specialty' Drugs Poised to Take Off
Excerpt: "The anticipated flood of specialty drugs will put further financial strain on organizations and employees alike looking to capitalize on the health benefits from innovative drugs that will help to treat and manage chronic conditions. Some estimates place as much as a five-fold increase in current volumes of specialty drugs over the next decade."
(Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

The Impact of the Recession on Employment-Based Health Coverage (PDF)
24 pages. Excerpt: "This Issue Brief examines changes in health coverage among workers during the recession that started in December 2007."
(Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Employer Coalitions Pilot Value-Based Insurance Design
Excerpt: "The American Health Strategy Project will assist employers in the participating coalitions in introducing employee health benefit offerings and incentives that aim to better align health promotion and prevention strategies with medical and pharma.ceutical plans, as well as disability and workers compensation benefits."
(Business Insurance)

Quicker Coverage Sought for Federal Workers' Adult Children
Excerpt: "Lawmakers introduced a measure Tuesday that would allow the Office of Personnel Management to extend health-care coverage to the adult children of federal workers before the new federal health-care law takes effect next year."
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

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Webcasts and Conferences

What Health Reform Means For Plan Sponsors and Businesses
Nationwide on May 19, 2010
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Press Releases

ASPPA Issues Comment on Lifetime Income Options
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

ASPPA Responds to DOL Investment Advice Regulations
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

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