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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 2, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
New Guidance That Employers Should Evaluate Before Filing the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Application
Excerpt: "HHS posted an "important update" on June 30 reporting that a new version of the official application had been posted that corrected small bugs in the original final version, and clarifying how applicants are to send their applications."
(Towers Watson)

[Guidance Overview]
Checklist of Health Insurance Plan Changes Needed for Upcoming Plan Year
Excerpt: "The first chart [in the target document] applies to grandfathered and non-grandfathered plans. The second chart lists those issues that only will apply to non-grandfathered plans."
(Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Regulations on 'Grandfathering' under the Affordable Care Act
Excerpt: "Regardless of whether a plan is grandfathered, it must comply with a number of the Affordable Care Act's requirements, starting with the first plan year beginning on or after September 23, 2010, as noted in the first column of the table [in the target document]."
(The Segal Group, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
The Retiree-Only Plan Exception: Is It Still Effective After Health Care Reform?
Excerpt: "In this Commentary, we discuss the law prior to [health reform, its effect], the Agencies' interpretation of the changes, and what the current state of affairs means for employer-sponsored group health plans."
(Jones Day)

[Guidance Overview]
Regulations Limit Ability to Rely on Grandfathered Status Under Health Reform
Excerpt: "Comment: Is it worth trying to preserve grandfathered status? It depends upon the employer and the plan. For example, if an employer has allowed its executives to pay less for premiums under a fully insured plan than the premiums charged other employees, and wants to try to continue to offer that perk, the employer will want to comply with the requirements imposed on grandfathered plans."
(Sherman & Howard L.L.C.)

Understanding of Work/Life Balance for Employees Is the Key to Equal Treatment of New Parents
Excerpt: "['The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood within a Career Context' reports that] fathers in this study believe that the expectations and perceptions of them are different than the expectations and perceptions of their female counterparts."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

Federal Health Reform Law Faces Early Constitutional Test with Virginia Lawsuit
Excerpt: "[The District Court Judge said] that 'he will decide whether to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Virginia challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care law within 30 days, providing an initial legal test in the landmark suit.'"
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-S.ex Benefits
Excerpt: "On average, employees with domestic partners will pay about $1,069 more a year in taxes than a married employee with the same coverage . . . ."

World Congress is proud to present the World Congress 5th Annual Executive Forum on Pharmacy Benefit Management Strategies, July 12-13, 2010 in Philadelphia, PA. This year's forum identifies pertinent issues facing employers and plans, including developing Medication Therapy Management, overcoming barriers to diverse population drug challenges, Medicare Part D, changes to pharmacy in light of health reform and measuring the impact and effectiveness of existing pharmacy management programs.
Sponsored by World Congress

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
Deferential Review of ERISA Plan Determinations: Communication and Disclosure of Discretionary Authority
Excerpt: "The 8th Circuit's holding in Jobe [v. Med. Life Insurance Co.] is consistent with rulings of the 7th, 9th, and 11th Circuits that were based on similar fact patterns. In each of those cases, the court found that the provisions of the SPD were not sufficient to establish the discretionary authority of the plan fiduciary."
(McGuireWoods LLP)

Temporary Federal Employment Raises Concern Among Lawmakers and Unions
Excerpt: "In a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Federal Workforce Subcommittee, witnesses told lawmakers that temporary employees are important to agencies' missions, but they also are difficult to retain because they don't receive the same benefits as permanent workers."

Guidance on Sound Incentive Compensation Policies Issues by Agencies
Excerpt: "The good news is that the Agency Guidance is principles-based, which means that it does not prohibit or, generally, require, specific acts or payments. Instead, the Agency Guidance sets-forth certain executive compensation and governance principles, which financial institutions should quickly adopt."
(Michael Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

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