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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 16, 2010

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The latest Health Care Reform information, highlighting what employers need to prepare for, is outlined in this e-learning course. The course reviews changes taking place annually between 2011 and 2014, the difference between grandfathered and nongrandfathered plans and the penalties for employers not offering health insurance. Learn how PPACA impacts your company today.

[Guidance Overview]
Grandfathered Health Plan Regulations under Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Employers should review their current benefit plan offerings to determine whether the benefits of maintaining grandfathered health plan coverage outweigh the restrictions on plan design and cost-sharing changes imposed by these Interim Final Rules."
(McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]
Counting Employees under Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "It goes without saying that knowing how many employees you have is critical and a basic piece of information. Health Care Reform makes knowing how many employees you have and how you count them critical for purposes of determining what provisions are applicable to you. The . . . chart attempts to provide some guidance."
(ERISAdiagnostics Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
Plan Changes Required by the Affordable Care Act
Excerpt: "There are . . . changes you must make to your plan(s) to comply with the Affordable Care Act effective for plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010, or for plans maintained on a calendar year basis, January 1, 2011. The . . . changes apply both to new plans as well as grandfathered plans."
(Thorp Reed & Armstrong, LLP)

New AMA Health Insurer Report Card Finds Need for More Accuracy
Excerpt: "The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced that one in five medical claims are processed inaccurately by health insurers . . . ."
(Physicians for a National Health Program)

As Insurers Prepare for Health Law's New Customers, Other Sections of Reform Take Action
Excerpt: "Consultants are pushing big companies to apply quickly for money from a $5 billion fund to help cover retiree health costs as part of the new health law, The Wall Street Journal reports."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

One-Third of Eligible Employees Take COBRA Subsidy, According to Preliminary Survey Results
Excerpt: "The 33% election rate for COBRA by terminated employees is significantly above the 20% average in previous Spencer COBRA surveys. In addition, 18% of employees covered by health care became eligible for COBRA in 2009, well above the 11% average in previous surveys."
(Wolters Kluwer)

An employer writes:

"I have to tell you that of all the job boards I’ve ever used, this one has the best quality of candidates. I don’t get flooded with tons of resumes, and even the candidates who aren’t fit for the jobs we have don’t miss the mark by much."

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

The Accounting and Economics of Executive Stock Options: How Risky are They? (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "We use two common approaches to analyze the risk and rewards of ESOs to show that ESOs can be perceived as riskier for executives than restricted stock units (RSUs)."
(Buck Consultants)

Federal Benefits Payments Going Paperless by 2013
Excerpt: "The Treasury Department [is to announce that most government benefits payments will be made by direct deposit by 2013, the latest in a series of cost-cutting moves by the Obama administration. . . . eliminating about 136 million paper checks sent by the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board and Office of Personnel Management . . . ."
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

Employee Ownership Update for June 15, 2010
Corey Rosen discusses the following: A review of ESOP and 401(k) plan litigation over the last 20 years found only 141 ESOP cases involving private companies, plus 35 involving public companies. The second-largest employee-owned company in the world is China's Huawei, a provider of telecommunications networks. Four of the 20 winners of the 2010 Top Small Company Workplaces awards are employee-owned. The cost of an NCEO membership would buy you only 12 minutes with an employee ownership lawyer.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Webcasts and Conferences

Employee Benefits Conference
in Illinois on August 5, 2010
presented by Illinois CPA Society

Press Releases

U.S. Labor Department Proposes Amendment to Class Exemption on Transactions Determined by In-House Asset Managers
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Publishes Amendment to Class Exemption on Settlement of Litigation
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Prescription Drug Data Key to Lowering Health Costs
Healthcare Performance Management Institute

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