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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 18, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Interim Final Rules Implementing 'Grandfather' Rules under Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "The obligation on the part of group health plans and policies to implement the insurance market reforms is mitigated to a degree under the Act's 'grandfather' rules, which delay certain of the Act's requirements and provide a complete exemption from the other requirements."
(Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
Most Changes Will Jeopardize Health Plan's Grandfathered Status Under New Reform Regulations
Excerpt: "The preamble to the regulations predicts that most employers will likely abandon grandfathered status with respect to their health plans by the end of 2013. This is primarily because of the loss of flexibility to make changes to control costs, and to a lesser extent, due to the new notice and record retention rules. Employers should weigh the benefits of grandfathered status against these new requirements in evaluating whether to rely on grandfathered status going forward."
(Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey P.L.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Guidance on Mandatory Medicare Secondary Payer Reporting of HRA Coverage (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Information about HRA coverage must be submitted by Responsible Reporting Entities . . . starting in the fourth quarter of 2010."
(Buck Consultants)

A New Era in American Health Care: Realizing the Potential of Reform
Excerpt: "In this report, [the Commonwealth Fund president] outlines the key features of the new reform law, discusses who will be most helped and how, and describes the ways in which the health care system will begin to provide more patient-centered, accessible, and coordinated care to all Americans."
(The Commonwealth Fund)

Companies to Require Employees to Pay More for Health Care As Costs Rise in the Near Term, Says New Study
Excerpt: "More than 40% of the 700 companies surveyed intend to increase employee contributions for health-insurance coverage, while an equivalent number plan to increase medical cost-sharing, including higher deductibles and copayments, at the point of care."
(CFO.com)

U.S. Fights Challenge to Health Law
Excerpt: "The federal government formally responded to the most serious legal challenge to the health-care overhaul, invoking its powers under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce and impose taxes."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Justice Department Asks Court to Throw Out States' Lawsuit Challenging Health Overhaul
Excerpt: "The states are arguing that the federal government cannot require individuals to buy health insurance, a key provision of the new health law."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Finding Resilience: Avoiding Executive Burnout and Staying at the Top of Your Game
Excerpt: "One of the most cited work-life balance programs, telework, often is assumed to universally reduce stress. But William Bransford, general counsel of SEA, says proper teleworking requires thoughtful, thorough implementation by managers."
(GovernmentExecutive.com)

[Opinion]
Employers Grapple with Reform and the Costs of Unhealthy Employees
Excerpt: "'When you are giving people the choice, they tend to put their health care last,' . . . employees often view health care spending as what you do when you're sick, rather than paying for preventative care. 'As an employer, you have to look at the population and decide from a 'total rewards' compensation and benefits perspective what to offer.' "
(Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania via Knowledge@Emory)




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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
Securities and Exchange Commission Interpretive Guidance on Executive and Director Compensation Disclosure Rules (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "The guidance replaces staff interpretations issued in previous years, and is drafted in a manner that facilitates periodic future updates. The interpretative guidance is briefly summarized [in the target document] with the most recent guidance presented in italics."
(Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Congress Addressing Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The current global financial crisis, government bailouts and the ensuing contraction of the credit markets have led to calls for increased regulation and government oversight of Wall Street. The U.S. Senate weighed in on the debate when, on May 20, 2010, it passed the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 . . . ."
(Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

More Hard Choices in Drafting Compensation Clawback Policies
Excerpt: "How far back in time should the compensation clawback provision reach? Should the policy limit the period of the look back? Should a clawback apply only to amounts earned during a period for which financials were restated? How do we treat compensation payable with respect to a several year period, some years for which financials were not restated?"
(Michael Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

Proposed Bankrup.tcy Rules Restrict Compensation
Excerpt: "The proposed legislation would subject executive comp to court approval, prohibit bonuses and incentive payments, link executive pay to that of other workers, and grant unions creditor status, among other items."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

[Opinion]
ERISA Preemption: Depends on What You Mean by the Word Relate
Excerpt: "I suspect that one of the reasons this issue - of the scope of ERISA preemption - is difficult to handle at times is that there is a language barrier of sorts; as this case shows, relate has a specific meaning in the context of ERISA and ERISA preemption, and an entirely different and broader one when used as part of regular speech . . . ."
(Stephen Rosenberg of The McCormack Firm, LLC)


Webcasts and Conferences

"Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans" - Chicago
in Illinois on July 21, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

Benefits Essentials: Health Care Reform
in Pennsylvania on August 24, 2010
presented by University Conference Services

Experts' Guide to Employee Benefits Research
Nationwide on July 22, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Health and Welfare Plan Management for Mid-Sized Employers Conference
in Nevada on September 26, 2010
presented by University Conference Services

Mid-Sized Retirement & Pension Plan Management Conference
in Illinois on October 5, 2010
presented by University Conference Services


Press Releases


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