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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 10, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Sixth Circuit Holds That Cap Limits Retiree Health Care Contributions
Excerpt: "The matter in dispute was whether the caps on retiree health care contributions in the agreements continue to apply to 1993-2004 retirees, even after the close of the years covered by the agreements, and after the related CBAs expire. The Court interpreted the agreements to provide for lifetime, capped health care contributions, saying that this interpretation . . . "
(Stanley D. Baum of Fellheimer & Eichen LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Guaranteed Availability and Renewal Under Health Reform
Excerpt: "In the case of health insurance coverage made available by an issuer in the small or large group market to employers only through one or more associations, any reference in this section to 'plan sponsor' is deemed, with respect to coverage provided to an employer member of the association, to include a reference to such employer."
(Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
Details on Therapeutic Discovery Tax Credit for Small Employers
Excerpt: "The Affordable Care Act . . . enacted a 'qualified therapeutic discovery tax credit' for small employers. The purpose of the credit is to encourage investment in product development that will enhance medical care and at the same time promote economic growth and create jobs."
(Proskauer Rose LLP)

Federal Employees and Families Lack Paid Parental Leave Benefits
Excerpt: "[O]ne potential benefit that Congress still is haggling over is paid parental leave. The House approved paid parental leave for federal employees last June; legislation has stalled, however, in the Senate."

COBRA Subsidy Boosts Take Up Rate, Survey Finds
Excerpt: "One-third of terminated employees chose the 65% COBRA subsidy in 2009, according to preliminary results of the 2010 COBRA Health Care Continuation of Coverage Survey being conducted by Spencer's Benefits Reports."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Wellness Programs: Worth it or a Waste of Time and Money?
Excerpt: "There is little evidence to back up the conventional wisdom that wellness initiatives reduce healthcare costs or create healthy workforces. And it's questionable whether company incentives are able to prompt participation by employees who aren't already interested in healthy lifestyle choices."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
Review of Cases Decided Since Supreme Court's Conkright Decision on Standard of Judicial Review
Excerpt: "Conkright v. Frommert . . . added another layer of protection for plan fiduciaries [by holding] that a 'single honest mistake' did not forfeit deference. Here's a quick look at how Conkwright has been applied in the short time since its decision."
(Roy Harmon via Health Plan Law)

Government Workers Make 44% More Than Private Workers, According to Survey Report
Excerpt: "On average, private-sector workers made $27.73 per hour in March, the Labor Department says. By contrast, the average state and local government worker earned $39.81 per hour."
(The Baltimore Sun)

Webcasts and Conferences

Maximizing Wellness ROI with Program and Incentive Designs that Work
Nationwide on June 24, 2010
presented by Mastercard

Supreme Court Update on ERISA Issues
Nationwide on July 14, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Press Releases

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