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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 11, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Off to the Races! Application Now Online for Employer Reimbursements for Early Retiree Medical Claims (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The application to participate in the reinsurance program and FAQs about the program are now available at: http://www.hhs.gov/ociio/regulations/index.html."
(Holme Roberts & Owen LLP)

Nation's Biggest Drugstore Chains' Dispute Potentially Affecting Where Millions of Consumers Can Fill Prescriptions
Excerpt: "On Monday, Walgreen, which operates about 7,500 drugstores across the country, announced it would not participate as a prescription drug provider for customers in new drug benefit plans administered by CVS Caremark."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Senate Amendment Would Extend COBRA Subsidy
Excerpt: "Employees laid off from June 1 through November 30 would be eligible for COBRA premium subsidies under a tax bill amendment proposed Wednesday, June 9, by Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pennsylvania."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

What to Expect in Next Year's Health Benefits Offerings
Excerpt: "This year Ms. Watts estimates that changes made in response to the health law will add another 2 to 3 percent in cost increases, pressuring employers to engage in even more cost-sharing with employees -- whether through higher premiums, co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Retiree-Only Plans Could Be Exempt from Health Reform Rules
Excerpt: "[According to draft regulations prepared by the Internal Revenue Service and the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services,] the exemption, if finalized, would mean retiree-only health care plans would not have to comply with . . . health care reform law requirements banning lifetime dollar limits and that coverage be extended to adult children up to age 26."
(Business Insurance)

Bringing Comparison Shopping to the Doctor's Office
Excerpt: "[T]here has been no easy way for consumers to shop for the best deal on a colonoscopy or blood test. A start-up financed by prominent venture capitalists and the Cleveland Clinic, Castlight Health, aims to change that by building a search engine for health care prices. Patients using Castlight could search for doctors that offer a service nearby and find out how much they will charge, depending on their insurance coverage."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Reform Could Result in Unintended Consequences, According to Report
Excerpt: "A new report from Mercer suggests that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will result in the U.S. continuing to operate short term with disparate and conflicting approaches to provider payment, outcomes measurement, consumer engagement, and plan administration."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

Age-Bias Ruling's Effect on Retiree Health Care Could Cost Minnesota More Than $1M
Excerpt: "The Minnesota Department of Corrections must pay $724,000 to 35 retirees who were improperly denied employer contributions for health and dental insurance because they were older than 55 at the time they retired, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson has ruled."
(Star Tribune)

[Opinion]
Funding State Retirement Benefits on $75 a Month: A Multi-Pronged Approach Can Slash Retiree Medical Costs
Excerpt: "[T]he nation's worst financial problem with public employee retirement plans is their retirement medical benefits. Pension funds have used actuarial principles for 60 years in most states, but fewer than 5 percent of public employers nationwide have even bothered to create a qualifying irrevocable trust to fund their 'OPEB' (other post employment benefits) for retirees' medical needs -- let alone fund them."
(Governing)

[Opinion]
Text of Comments by Hewitt Associates on the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program
Excerpt: "The ERRP application requires that a plan sponsor indicate how it will use the reimbursement to maintain its level of contribution to the applicable plan. Hewitt asked for clarification regarding: 1) what it means to 'maintain the level of contribution'; and 2) what to do with proceeds if not used within one year."
(Hewitt Associates)




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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

ESOP and 401(k) Plan Employer Stock Litigation Review 1990-2010
The NCEO has just released 'ESOP and 401(k) Plan Employer Stock Litigation Review 1990-2010,' a 35-page publication that categorizes court decisions in ESOP and 401(k) company stock cases since 1990 and provides brief summaries for the ESOP-related decisions. The page for the publication provides a complete table of contents and excerpts from both the ESOP and 401(k) sections.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)


Webcasts and Conferences

"ERPA Test Review - Part 1" Web Seminar, A 3-Part Program
Nationwide on June 29, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"ERPA Test Review - Part 2" Web Seminar, A 3-Part Program
Nationwide on July 7, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

2nd Wed Teleconference: ERISA Trust Requirement and Its Application to Health FSAs
Nationwide on July 14, 2010
presented by Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC)

Retirement Plan Compliance Assistance Seminar
in Pennsylvania on September 15, 2010
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
in Kentucky on July 7, 2010
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
in Pennsylvania on September 18, 2010
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)


Press Releases

US Department of Labor Announces Final Rules on Pension Distributions Under Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)


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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Manager of Advisor Support
for CDM Retirement Consultants
in MD

Data Conversion Specialist
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in MA

Benefits Manager
for Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
in AL




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