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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 14, 2010

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[Official Guidance]
Text of Proposed HHS Regs Implementing HIPAA Changes Under HITECH Act (PDF)
58 pages.
(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

[Guidance Overview]
Changes to HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules Proposed
Excerpt: "Proposed changes to [HIPAA's] privacy, security and enforcement rules would clarify requirements created by the HITECH provisions of the 2009 stimulus package."
(Mercer LLC)

[Guidance Overview]
Grandfathered Plan Status: Is It Real, or Just an Illusion? (PDF)
Pages 1-5 of 8 pages. Excerpt: "The Regulations provide transition rules for plans and health insurance issuers that made changes to a plan or health insurance coverage prior to March 23, 2010, that became, or will become, effective after March 23, 2010."
(Trucker Huss APC)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Final Rule on Meaningful Use of EHRs
Excerpt: "[The HHS has issued] the final rule specifying criteria for physicians and hospitals to receive incentive payments for demonstrating meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology, including qualification, calculation of the incentive payment amount, and penalties for failure to adopt an EHR."
(Nixon Peabody LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
ERISA Preemption Notes After PCMA v. District of Columbia
Excerpt: "On the big picture, the Court of Appeals found that a substantial part of the District's law regulating pharmacy benefit mangers . . . was preempted. Some contractual provisions that could be waived by benefit plans survived the preemption challenge. Additional argument remains for consideration on remand, so the case will likely be around for a while yet."
(Roy Harmon via Health Plan Law)

[Guidance Overview]
EBSA Allows New Sub-Classifications In Mental Health Parity Rules
Excerpt: "In a July 1 FAQ, EBSA noted, that until final rules are issued, an 'enforcement safe harbor' will allow a plan or issuer to divide its benefits furnished on an outpatient basis into two sub-classifications for purposes of applying the financial requirement and treatment limitation rules under MHPAEA, as follows: (1) office visits, and (2) all other outpatient items and services."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Blues Plans 'Practice What They Preach' With Onsite Health and Fitness Programs
Excerpt: "An AIS survey of 12 Blues plans' human resources initiatives found that the companies are prioritizing fitness and healthy eating among employees and encouraging habits through financial incentives and other creative measures."

White House to Unveil List of Free Preventative Services
Excerpt: "Cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies, as well as obesity prevention services, immunizations, blood pressure screenings and tobacco cessation services are among those that will be available to consumers without a copayment or other direct costs for consumers on new health plans after Sept. 23."
(The Wall Street Journal)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Supreme Court: Awarding Attorney's Fees in ERISA Cases, and, the Deferential Standard of Review (PDF)
Pages 5-7 of 8 pages. Excerpt: "In its second significant ERISA decision in as many months, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that a court may award an ERISA litigant attorney's fees even if it does not actually 'prevail' in its case."
(Trucker Huss APC)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Finalizes Tax-Shelter Rules for Benefit Plans and Other Tax-Exempts
Excerpt: "IRS has issued final regulations that define 'party' to a prohibited tax-shelter transaction and set disclosure timing rules for benefit plans and other tax-exempt entities."
(Mercer LLC)

Independent Legal Counsel for the Compensation Committee under the 'Dodd-Frank Act'
Excerpt: "For several years, investor advocates and the media have focused on the independence of the consultants to the Compensation Committee. Now, [a Section] of the Act adds new Sections . . . to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which provide that the Compensation Committee of a Company's Board may only select a compensation consultant, legal counsel, or other adviser to the compensation committee after taking into consideration factors identified by the SEC."
(Michael Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

Webcasts and Conferences

EFAST2 - Keys to Success!
Nationwide on July 21, 2010
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Enrolled Actuary (EA-2A) Review Course
in Virginia on October 1, 2010
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Press Releases

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Plan Administrator
for AKT Retirement Plan Services LP
in OR

Consulting Support Specialist
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA

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