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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

May 24, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Dental and Vision Plans Eligible to Receive Small Employer Tax Credit Under New Guidance
Excerpt: "An employer's premium payments are only taken if they are paid under a “qualifying arrangement,” under which the employer pays at least 50% of the premiums for each employee enrolled in the employer's plan . . . . [I]f an employer offers a major medical insurance plan and a stand-alone dental plan, the employer must separately satisfy the requirements for a qualifying arrangement with respect to each type of coverage."
(Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
Final Regulations Issued on Employer TRICARE Incentives (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The Department of Defense has issued final regulations that provide guidance on application of the rules prohibiting employers from offering TRICARE-eligible employees incentives not to enroll in the employer's group health plan."
(Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]
Court Awards No Penalties for Late But Corrected COBRA Election Notices
Excerpt: "In finding no bad faith, the court also noted with approval the employer's practice of having outside auditors perform 'sampling audits' to ensure compliance with COBRA plus the steps taken to correct the error."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Additional Guidance on Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, Including Transition Relief for 2010 Taxable Year
Excerpt: "The guidance also explains how a taxable employer claims the credit on its federal income tax return, and the credit's effect on the employer's estimated tax, alternative minimum tax, and deductions."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Managing Intermittent FMLA Leave
Excerpt: "These administrative tools for managing intermittent FMLA leave will not serve as a panacea for the problems caused by such leaves, but judicious use of such tools can deter and mitigate some of the abuses that employers frequently encounter."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

Grandfathered Plans Under Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "The legislation does permit three plan modifications that will not cancel grandfathered status: re-enrollment of formerly covered individuals or families, new enrollment of individuals or families and the addition of dependents of already enrolled individuals."
(Warner Norcross & Judd LLP)

Democrats Moving to Extend COBRA Subsidy Expansion Through End of Year
Excerpt: "Tucked into a $190 billion jobs and tax bill the House plans to take up next week is an extension of the subsidy to help laid-off workers pay for COBRA health insurance benefits."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Health Care Law Tax Credits Encourage Small Businesses to Stay Small, Not Hire, According to Study
Excerpt: "The tax credit is reduced as more employees are added to the payroll. The [National Center for Policy Analysis] study finds the reduction in tax relief to be a cost concern for companies looking to hire additional workers, but operate on slim profit margin yet still provide employee health coverage."
(Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.)

Study Points to Health Law's Penalties
Excerpt: "About one-third of employers subject to major requirements of the new health care law may face tax penalties because they offer health insurance that could be considered unaffordable to some employees, a new study says."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Law Faces Test As Regulators Settle Which Plans Must Comply with the Requirements
Excerpt: "In keeping with President Obama's promise that you can hold on to your insurance if you like it, the new law exempts existing health plans from many of its provisions. But the law leaves it to regulators to decide how much a health plan can change without giving up its grandfathered status."
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
ERISA Supreme Court Attorney Fees Case Goes Way of Plaintiffs
Excerpt: "The case is interesting because it poses a common legal issue in ERISA litigation. The court, after pointing out problems with a plan administrator's interpretation of plan terms, remands the case back to the company and the company ends up awarding the initially requested benefits to the employee."
(Workplace Prof Blog)

Workshifting Benefits: The Bottom Line (PDF)
23 pages. Excerpt: "The purpose of this paper is to quantify the benefits of workshifting -- specifically working from home -- has for employers, employees, and the community. Citrix Online coined the term 'workshifting'to describe the growing trend to working from anywhere other than a traditional office through the use of web-based technology."
(Telework Research Network)

New Jersey State Judge Refuses to Block Law Reducing Pension and Health Care Benefits for Police and Firefighters
Excerpt: "Unions representing police and firefighters argued that the changes improperly infringe upon the collective bargaining process. They also said the requirement to contribute 1.5 percent of their salary to health care constitutes a tax on public employees."
(New Jersey On-Line LLC)

Press Releases

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Plan Administrator (FT or PT)
for Howard Simon & Associates
in IL

Internal Sales Associate
for Matthews Benefit Group, Inc.
in FL

Conversion Manager
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in MA

401(k) Plan Administrator
for The Allocation Company, Inc.
in TX

401(k) Processor Operations Specialist-Dallas
for DailyAccess Corporation
in TX

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