Employers Get More Time to Tweak Mental Health Coverage
Excerpt: "[F]ederal authorities will offer a temporary reprieve to employers that offer different levels of coverage for certain mental health outpatient services. Because many employers use copayments for medical office visits and coinsurance for all other outpatient medical services, neither one of those types of cost-sharing would not have met the 'substantially all' test that had been set in the interim final rules that . . . took effect for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010. As a result, many employers would likely not have been permitted to require any cost-sharing of outpatient mental health services . . . ."
DOL FAQ Makes Mental Health Parity Compliance Easier for Plan Sponsors (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Late last week the DOL posted a new frequently asked question (FAQ) on its website that provides welcome relief to many plan sponsors who were attempting to comply with the interim final regulations under the 2008 mental health parity law. This important new guidance will make it easier for some plans to comply with the parity requirements without expanding mental health benefits to 100% coverage or losing grandfather status under the new health reform law."
DOL's 'Game-Changing' FMLA Revisions
Excerpt: "Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor expanded the definition of 'son and daughter' under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The result could be a game changer for employers on a few levels."
(Human Resource Executive Online)
Model Notices Released For Dependent Coverage, Lifetime Limits Under Health Reform
Excerpt: "The regulations require a plan or issuer to give such a child an opportunity to enroll that continues for at least 30 days (including written notice of the opportunity to enroll). This enrollment opportunity (including the written notice) must be provided not later than the first day of the first plan year beginning on or after September 23, 2010."
(Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Now Accepting Applications
Excerpt: "Using the June 29 PDF form on the HHS website, sponsors must mail completed paper copies to the address on page 2 of the application. An agency spokesman cautions that employers may want to check HHS's new FAQs before applying."
DOL Issues Model Notices on Coverage to Age 26 Requirement, Lifetime Limits, and Patient Protections
Excerpt: "The DOL has issued model notices for three of the new health care reform requirements that take effect for plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 (i.e., January 1, 2011 for calendar-year plans): (1) extension of dependent coverage to age 26; (2) prohibition on lifetime limits; and (3) certain patient protections."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)
HHS Announces Opening of Retiree Reinsurance Program, Posts New Guidance on HHS Website to Assist Applicants
Excerpt: "In an apparent attempt to reassure sponsors that they will not be locked out of the program because their applications are not filed immediately, the FAQs repeatedly state that all qualified applications will be accepted. While HHS retains the right to discontinue accepting applications if it appears that program funding is insufficient, the FAQs suggest that the Secretary will not stop accepting applications unless the program funding is actually spent before the program expires."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)
Health Care Reform May Spur More Office Wellness Programs
Excerpt: "In the last few years, corporate wellness programs have been fueled by employers' desire to curb increases in health care costs, cut back on absenteeism and make employees more productive. . . . Now, with health care reform ready to kick in, more employers are poised to dangle financial incentives and use creative measures to get their workers healthier."
Should a Small Business Offer Paid Maternity Leave?
Excerpt: "[T]he Society for Human Resource Management released a survey last week showing that just 12% of U.S. employers with fewer than 100 workers offer paid maternity leave. And among businesses of all sizes, 7% said they plan to reduce or eliminate the benefit within the next 12 months."
(Wall Street Journal)
'Domestic Medical Travel' Is Taking Off for Surgery Deals
Excerpt: "Forget about traveling to Thailand or India for low-cost surgery. More employers and insurers are offering financial incentives to encourage workers . . . to consider 'domestic medical travel.' By steering workers to facilities with high-quality care and lower prices, employers say they can reduce their costs 20% to 40% -- more than enough to cover the travel expenses."
HHS Announces New Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan
Excerpt: "To be eligible, an individual must be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident, have been uninsured for at least six months, and have been unable to obtain health coverage because of a health condition. The PCIP is a temporary program lasting until January 1, 2014 . . . ."
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.
Executive Compensation; Benefits in General
House Approves Financial Regulatory Reform: Compensation and Retirement Implications
Excerpt: "The final conference report amended language that would have imposed restrictions on retirement plans' ability to use stable value funds by classifying stable value funds as swaps. After lawmakers received numerous requests from employers concerning the language in the original bills, Senate and House conferees reached the following agreement:"
House Passes Financial System Regulatory Reform Package
Excerpt: "Executive compensation provisions include: 1) shareholder votes on executive compensation, or 'say on pay'; 2) shareholder votes on executives' 'golden parachutes'; 3) requirements for public companies to disclose in their proxies the relationship between executive compensation actually paid and the financial performance of the company; 4) requirements for companies to adopt clawback provisions that would recoup incentive-based compensation, including stock options as awarded compensation, for current and former executive officers when the company is required to restate its financial statements."
Pension Funding Relief Will Affect Executive Pay Design
Excerpt: "The pension funding relief . . . comes with conditions. Relief recipients that pay 'excess employee compensation' or make certain dividend payments in stock redemptions must also make higher pension contributions. . . . A grandfather rule excludes NQDC, restricted stock, stock options and stock appreciation rights payable or granted under a written binding contract in effect on March 1, 2010, and there are a few other exclusions as well."
Illinois Stops Paying Its Bills
Excerpt: "[T]here is the spectacularly mismanaged pension system, which is at least 50 percent underfunded and, analysts warn, could push Illinois into insolvency if the economy fails to pick up."
(New York Times; free registration required)
U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Remedy for Deficient SPD
Excerpt: "To recover benefits based on an inconsistency between an ERISA plan document and summary plan description (SPD), must participants show reliance on the SPD? Is it sufficient to show 'likely harm'? Or can participants prevail without any showing of harm? The US Supreme Court will tackle these questions . . . ."
Webcasts and Conferences
in Illinois on November 11, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs
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