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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 4, 2010

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No matter how benefits-savvy your employees may be, today’s health care environment can confuse the most sophisticated consumer. That’s why companies large and small use BeneCom for their benefits communication. We know benefits and we understand what employees need to know to make them work – for themselves and for you. And while we’re at it, we make your life a little easier, too.

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[Guidance Overview]
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Updates HRA Coverage Reporting
Excerpt: "Among the issues addressed in the updated guide are references to changes in reporting for Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). CMS has removed all references from the updated guide that previously referred to reporting only for 'free-standing' HRAs."
(Fisher & Phillips LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Proposed Rule Fine-Tunes HITECH and HIPAA Requirements (PDF)
8 pages.
(BNA's Health Law Reporter via Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Address the HITECH Act Amendments to HIPAA
Excerpt: "[F]or the time being, covered entities and business associates may want to take the opportunity to reexamine their compliance efforts and determine what, if anything, they might need to address if these regulations are adopted as proposed."
(K&L Gates LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Grandfathered Plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "[The fact sheet] discusses health plans that existed on the date that health reform was enacted and are therefore exempt from some provisions of the law. It explains the requirements health plans must meet to maintain grandfathered status and outlines which protections in the health reform law apply to such plans and which do not."
(Families USA)

[Guidance Overview]
New Internal and External Claims Procedures for Group Health Plans
Excerpt: "The new rule explicitly requires the plan or issuer to provide continued coverage pending the outcome of the appeal. As under the current regulations, advance notice and an opportunity for an advance review must be provided before benefits for an ongoing course of treatment can be reduced or terminated."
(Deloitte via

Why Health Reform's New Protections May Not Apply to You
Excerpt: "Most employers will likely inform their workers of such benefit exclusions during the upcoming September-October open enrollment. One of the first things employees need to look for in their benefits packet is whether or not their plan is 'grandfathered,' . . . ."

One of Health Care's Remaining Frontiers: Health Information Exchange
Excerpt: "The 2009 stimulus bill will direct billions of dollars to doctors and hospitals that adopt health information technology, and more to set up health information exchanges that would attempt to take on this problem . . . ."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

3rd Circuit Rules Bankrupt Employer Must Negotiate Retiree Health and Death Benefit Cuts
Excerpt: "Employers in bankrup.tcy cannot unilaterally reduce or terminate retiree health or death benefits, even if plan documents and SPDs reserve the right to do so, the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled."
(Mercer LLC)

DOL Explains Nursing-Mother Work Break Requirements
Excerpt: "The DOL guidance sheds light on several issues, such as the duration and frequency of nursing breaks, the type of space required, and the conditions that might entitle women to pay during these breaks."
(Mercer LLC)

Health Care Reform and HSAs: Issues of Concern
Excerpt: "Tax Increases: ObamaCare raises taxes on HSAs and makes them less consumer friendly: January 1, 2011: Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and other household health care items cannot be reimbursed tax-free from HSAs without a prescription. This will increase taxes on American families by $5 billion. January 1, 2011: Penalty for non-qualified withdrawals from HSAs increases from 10 percent to 20 percent. There is no 'hardship' exception. This will increase taxes on American families by $1.4 billion."
(House Republican Conference)

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.
Sponsored by ALM

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Health Insurance for Terminating Executives
Excerpt: "In addition to effectively eliminating executive-only supplemental plans, this may very well shut down the fairly common practice of providing post-severance health benefits (beyond COBRA) to terminating executives."
(Ford & Harrison LLP)

Webcasts and Conferences

ESOP Company Case Studies - Employee Involvement and Communication
Nationwide on December 14, 2010
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

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