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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 4, 2010

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Professionals across the U.S. are now charged with sorting through health care reform and complying with new health plan requirements. These must-have books provide comprehensive guidance and in-depth analysis of the new legislation. Choose from CCH’s Law, Explanation and Analysis (Volumes 1 & 2), RIA’s Complete Analysis of the Tax & Benefits Provisions and RIA’s Analysis of the Medicare, Medicaid & Other Health Care Provisions.

[Guidance Overview]
HIPAA: Audits, Breaches, and Fines
Excerpt: "How exactly do you review your HIPAA privacy and security compliance program and ensure that all the requisite bases have been covered? . . . . Your first step is to identify all your legal requirements."
(Poyner Spruill LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, providing $5 billion to help health care plan sponsors maintain benefits for retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare. This GRS Research Memorandum summaries key features of the Program and outlines the application process necessary to become eligible for available funds."
(Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company)

Draft Version of Early Retiree Health Insurance Reimbursement Application Available (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has posted a draft [at] of the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) Application as submitted for review by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."
(Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Companies Crack Down on Defining Dependents in Employee Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "A dependent audit comes from your employer, who wants proof that the people you're carrying on the company health plan really are your dependents."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Avoid 'Disconnect' Between HIPAA Policies and Practices
Excerpt: "Rather than relying on policies that simply recite the regulations, spell out procedures for your workforce's 'least common denominator,' said Amy Yates, director of privacy and data protection at Deloitte and Touche LLP."
(Thompson Publishing Group Inc.)

Biometrics Generate and Measure Savings for Employers
Excerpt: "Like a health risk assessment (HRA), biometric screening (of an employee's blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol levels and/or blood sugar) aims at learning who has or may develop chronic diseases that affect health care costs."
(Thompson Publishing Group Inc.)

Employer's Wellness Program Works Doctor Visits Into Company Time
Excerpt: "'The argument for this on-site wellness effort is that we have caught things and prevented illnesses from becoming so serious that [as a result] these employees won't have to take sick time and CNA won't lose productivity,' . . . ."
(Chicago Sun-Times)

Group Health Insurance Rates on the Rise, According to Survey
Excerpt: "Group health insurance rates for small and midsize employers are surging for 2011 renewals, according to a survey by the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers."
(Business Insurance)

CHIP Working Group Second Meeting to Address Draft Model of Group Health Coverage Coordination Disclosure Form
Excerpt: "The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced the second meeting of the Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Employer-Sponsored Coverage Coordination Working Group (CHIP Working Group). The purpose of the meeting is to discuss section 311(b)(1)(C) of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA)."
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Examination of Short-Term Impact of COBRA Premium Subsidy and Characteristics of COBRA Population (PDF)
Pages 10-14 of 18 pages. Excerpt: "This article examines trends in coverage through a former employer. It examines recent trends and also compares the characteristics of individuals with COBRA coverage with those of individuals having employment-based coverage through a current job."
(Employee Benefit Research Institute)

The 'Captivation' of Employee Benefits: How Captives Can Reduce Costs and Enterprise Risk (PDF)
26 pages. Excerpt: "The use of captives has steadily increased over the past several years -- and the list of potential applications keeps growing. During the past decade, many employers have reinsured their employee benefit plans (e.g., group term life and long-term disability) through captives. Although U.S. benefit reinsurance transactions have attracted the most attention, there have been a number of transactions involving global benefits. Many companies are insuring all or a portion of their medical stop-loss coverage through captives."
(Aon Consulting)

United Health, Cigna Differ on How Plans Will Change After Exchanges Begin
Excerpt: "United Health's CEO Stephen Hemsley said he expects companies to keep offering benefits instead of pushing people to health exchanges created in 2014 by the federal government, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. 'Under the law passed in March, companies still face costs for employees' coverage even if they buy it through the exchanges. Keeping their own plans will give employers the best chance of controlling medical expenses . . . ."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

COBRA Subsidy Stall Could Raise Premiums for Millions While Battle Rages Over 'Doc Fix'
Excerpt: "The subsidy [started expiring] June 1 and an extension was not included in a jobs bill passed by the House of Representatives last Friday.' A Department of Treasury study said premiums could rise from an average of $389 to more than $1,100 per month without the subsidy."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

The nation's workforce and health care system are constantly evolving and so are the legal issues. Law Journal Press helps you handle any benefits law question with up-to-date, authoritative books on all aspects of the field. Get legal and practical advice from leading experts on everything from COBRA to ERISA, "contingent" employees to family and medical leave, and more. Browse our product listings for detailed information and special offers.
Sponsored by ALM

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

More Companies are Adopting Executive Compensation Clawback Policies
Excerpt: "Before SOX, companies used compensation clawback provisions primarily to enforce (i) so-called 'bad boy' forfeiture provisions in retirement agreements or (ii) non-compete or other restrictive covenants or the compensation owed to former employees. Seminal moments in the history of compensation clawback provisions include the following . . . ."
(Michael Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

States to Curb Public Employee Retiree Benefits in Search of Savings
Excerpt: "'New Jersey and 20 other states are urging early retirements, cutting benefits and demanding employees contribute more in the face of what the Pew Center on the States says is a $1 trillion gap between available assets and what's owed workers.'"
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Wal-Mart to Offer Its Workers a College Program
Excerpt: "The purveyor of inexpensive jeans and lawnmowers is dipping its toe into the online-education waters, working with a Web-based university to offer its employees in the United States affordable college degrees. The partnership with American Public University, a for-profit school with about 70,000 online students, will allow some Wal-Mart and Sam's Club employees to earn credits in areas like retail management and logistics for performing their regular jobs."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Webcasts and Conferences

Worker Classification: Employee Plans & Employment Tax Challenges
Nationwide on June 29, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Press Releases

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