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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 17, 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.

For more information visit our site or call (860) 674-2626, Ext. 2001

[Guidance Overview]
Employers Must Amend Cafeteria Plans by December 31 to Comply with Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Any cafeteria plan that has allowed changes of election with respect to adult children in 2010 must be amended by Dec. 31 to conform to its operation."
(Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Employer-Sponsored Leave-Based Donation Programs Not Available for Haiti Earthquake Victims
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Employer-sponsored leave-based donation programs should not be confused with leave-sharing programs under which employees may donate unused leave to their co-workers."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Federal Appeals Court Puts California G.ay Marriages on Hold
Excerpt: "California's ban on same-s.ex marriages will remain in place until at least December, an appeals court ruled Monday . . . ."
(Washington Post; free registration required)

GAO Report on Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Health Status, Spending, and Utilization of Enrollees in Plans Based on Health Reimbursement Arrangements
Excerpt: "On average, enrollees in the HRA groups [that] GAO reviewed spent less and generally used fewer health care services before they switched into the HRA in 2003 than those who remained in the PPO, suggesting that the HRA groups were healthier. Average annual spending per enrollee for the . . . HRA group was $1,505 lower than the PPO group . . . ."
(U.S. Government Accountability Office)

GAO Study Finds CDHP Enrollees Healthier Than Those in Other Health Plans
Excerpt: "A new Government Accountability Office . . . study of two large employers, one public and one private, finds that enrollees in consumer-driven health plans . . . with a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) are healthier than employees who remain in traditional health plans."

Groups Seek Swift Clarification on Health Care Reform's Adult Child Coverage Mandate
Excerpt: "The American Benefits Council and the HR Policy Association urged regulators to define 'adult child' consistent with current tax law, to give employers flexibility to cover additional classes of dependents, such as grandchildren, without adhering to the mandates that apply to adult children. The groups also want plans to be able to charge higher premiums to cover adult children."

Health Plans Predict Only Slight Rate Increases with Inclusion of Preventive Services Under Reform Mandate
Excerpt: "A survey of 10 health insurers conducted by [Health Plan Week] found that most of them expect premiums for products that don't now include preventive services to increase by 3% to 4%, while premiums for plans that now require a copayment for preventive services will likely rise by 1% to 2%."

Will Better Access to Health Care Change How Much Older Men Work?
Excerpt: "[E]ducated workers will be more likely to move into self-employment . . . ."
(Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Most Health Plans to Lose Grandfathered Status, Survey Says
Excerpt: "Ninety percent of employers expect their health care plans to lose their grandfathered status by 2014 under the health care reform law because of changes they expect to make, according to a survey . . . . "
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

Insurer Mounts Offensive And Defensive Strategies on Health Law
Excerpt: "In the increasingly tense wrangling between the insurance industry and state regulators over the definition of what spending can qualify as medical care under the new health law, one of the loudest lobbying voices is a relatively small player: Cigna Corp. "
(Kaiser Health News)

Filling in the Insurance Gap for Adult Children
Excerpt: "[M]any health plans limit coverage of college-age children for a variety of reasons, including age, whether they live at home and whether they are financially dependent. For families with those plans, the choices are more difficult. And the health care law has added wrinkles to an already complicated decision."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

The New Health Care Law and Early Retirees
Excerpt: "I am age 58 and retired. I understand the new reform law helps employers offer health care coverage to their early retirees. What do I need to do to get this coverage?"
(AARP Bulletin)

How PPACA affects employers is outlined in this just-released book from Aspen. It identifies short-, medium- and long-term issues that employers need to address along with commentary on how employers might respond. Substantive clarifications include grandfathered health plan regulations; age 26 dependent coverage regulations; early retiree reinsurance program regulations; and application and annual and lifetime limit regulations.

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Making Sense of Clawbacks And Holdbacks
Excerpt: "Designed properly, such a practice can be an important mechanism for corporate accountability."

What Effect Will DOMA Cases Have on Benefit Plans?
Excerpt: "Although numerous federal laws are affected by the definition of a spouse, of particular note are those statutes affecting surviving spousal benefits, spousal consent requirements, qualified domestic relations orders, COBRA, flexible spending accounts, and taxation of medical benefits."
(BNA Federal Tax Blogs)

Employee Ownership Update for August 16, 2010
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen discusses the following: A survey found a large drop in employee engagement, an important predictor of corporate success. The NCEO is getting more calls from people seeking ESOP distributions or equity rights they were promised. The UK has started privatizing public services. The NCEO now has a list of ESOP companies available. The NCEO seeks input on the site for its 2013 conference and is cosponsoring the Ownership Thinking conference.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Mr. President, It's Time to Climb the Social Security Actuarial Learning Curve
Excerpt: "The Democratic doctrine requires doing everything possible to preserve Social Security in its current form. That includes using sentimental rhetoric to trumpet good news while obscuring any bad news, such as acknowledging that this year the vaunted program will pay out more than it takes in. The Republican doctrine requires not lifting a finger to get in the way of Democrats' preservation effort."
(Amity Shlaes via

Webcasts and Conferences

2010 Los Angeles 401(k)/DC/DB Fiduciary Summit
in California on September 16, 2010
presented by Xponential Growth Solutions

Audiocast: GASB Preliminary Views - Advanced Topics
Nationwide on August 25, 2010
presented by Conference of Consulting Actuaries

Fee Disclosure Under Final DOL 408(b)(2) Regs Webcast
Nationwide on August 26, 2010
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

The Latest on National Healthcare Reform
in Maryland on September 2, 2010
presented by WEB

Press Releases

PBGC Assumes Responsibility for News-Journal Corp. Pension Plan
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

US Department of Labor and Nebraska Department of Insurance to Offer Free Health Law Seminar
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

RPAG Adds MPI's Stylus Web Tool to Scorecard
Retirement Plan Advisory Group

ACOPA Announces New Leadership
ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries (ACOPA)

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Group Supervisor, Benefits & Employee Records
for Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in CA

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for McPhillips Roberts & Deans PLC
in VA

401k Advisor
for Newport Capital Group
in NJ

Retirement Plan Service Specialist
for Retirement Alliance, Inc
in NH

Account Manager - Client Services
for ExpertPlan, Inc.
in NJ

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