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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 22, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform Mandates Do Not Apply to Retiree-Only Plans (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "It seems that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) intends to also preserve the retiree-only exemption forinsured plans. The preamble states that, while the individual states have primary authority to enforce the PHSA over group and individual health insurance issuers, HHS is encouraging States not to apply the new mandates of the PHS Act to issuers of retiree-only plans or of excepted benefits."
(Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Simple Cafeteria Plans Under Health Reform
Excerpt: "An employer may elect to exclude from the plan employees who have not attained the age of 21 before the close of the plan year, who have less than one year of service with the employer as of any day during the plan year, who are covered under a collective bargaining agreement . . . ."
(Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
Interim Final Rules on Grandfather Provisions Under Health Reform (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "Now that the regulations have clarified a number of aspects as to what changes result in loss of grandfathered status, plan sponsors that are considering plan changes can compare the consequences (i.e., costs) of failing to make the changes compared to losing grandfather status."
(Alston & Bird LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform: Grandfathered Health Plan Interim Final Regulations
Excerpt: "Defining 'grandfathered health plan' coverage is simple. If coverage was provided by a group health plan, or a group or individual health insurance issuer, in which an individual was enrolled on March 23, 2010 (the date of the Act's enactment), the coverage is 'grandfathered.' To keep its grandfathered status, grandfathered health plan coverage must continuously enroll someone from March 23, 2010 forward."
(Proskauer Rose LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
How Should Employers Handle the New W-2 Reporting Requirements?
Excerpt: "The new Form W-2 requirement is effective for taxable years beginning after 2010. This means that the first Form W-2 including information on the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage will be the 2011 Form W-2 due in January 2012."

DOL Ruling on FMLA: G.ay Workers Will Get Leave to Care for Partner's Sick Child
Excerpt: "The ruling, in a formal opinion letter, tackles a question not explicitly addressed in the 1993 law. It is one of many actions taken by the Obama administration to respond to the concerns of g.ay men and les.bians within the constraints of the Defense of Marriage Act . . . ."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Employers Can Coordinate Coverage with TRICARE Under Relaxed Rules
Excerpt: "Final regulations effective June 18 provide helpful details on coordinating employer health plan coverage with the TRICARE military health insurance program. Although employers generally can't give employees incentives to drop or waive employer-sponsored coverage so TRICARE becomes the primary payer, the rule explains when employers can offer cash waiver payments or health plan alternatives."
(Mercer LLC)

Revised Tax Bill Does Not Include COBRA Subsidy Extension
Excerpt: "A revised tax bill unveiled Wednesday, June 16, by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, does not include an extension of federal COBRA premium subsidies, further decreasing the likelihood that Congress will extend the subsidy."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

Innovations in Preventing and Managing Chronic Conditions
Excerpt: "Instead of waiting for workers to get sick, leading companies are shifting their focus from sickness to health, fostering work and community environments that help people lower risk factors -- smoking, diet, lack of exercise -- that lead to disease . . . . High-risk employees contribute disproportionately not only to health care cost, but also to absenteeism, disability and other costs."
(Center for Studying Health System Change)

For Denied Claims, Some Help in the Health Reform Law
Excerpt: "The new health law makes the system somewhat more consumer-friendly. Starting this fall, patients in all health plans can contest claim denials in an independent state-level review procedure -- a recourse that has not generally been available to employees of companies that pay their employees' health claims directly."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

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.
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Webcasts and Conferences

Grandfathered Health Plan Guidance Has Landed: Are You 'Grandfathered' or Not? Webcast
Nationwide on June 30, 2010
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Press Releases

PBGC Takes Responsibility for the Grede Foundries Inc. Pension Plan
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

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