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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 20, 2010

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Health Insurance Coverage and Birth Control
Excerpt: "More than half of America's employees work for companies with self-financed plans, which pay employees' health claims directly. Those plans are not bound by the state coverage requirements. Small-business and individual policies also tend to provide less comprehensive contraceptive coverage, experts note."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Tax Break for Small Businesses: How It Works
Excerpt: "The amount of the tax credit an employer could receive works on a sliding scale. The maximum credit goes to smaller employers -- those with 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees -- paying annual average wages of $25,000 or less."

COBRA Premium Subsidy Doubled Enrollment, According to Study
Excerpt: "The percentage of laid-off employees that opted for COBRA coverage after the government offered a premium subsidy for the health care coverage was double the percentage that opted in during five months prior to the subsidy, according to a study."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Summary
Excerpt: "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act . . ., as amended, contains significant new requirements for employers and their health plans. This summary [charts the main provisions of PPACA.]"
(Michael Best & Friedrich LLP)

Employer Reaction to Health Care Reform: Grandfathered Status (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "[The Hewitt] survey shows that almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) have already determined whether their group health plans will be grandfathered in 2011."
(Hewitt Associates)

More Workers Using COBRA Benefits Even without the Subsidy
Excerpt: "A new analysis by Hewitt Associates shows that many workers are continuing to enroll in COBRA for health care insurance, despite the high price tag and the end of the government COBRA subsidy."

Employers See Value in Offering Preventive Care
Excerpt: "A Midwest Business Group on Health . . . news release about its survey said 97% of poll participants agree they can help employees by offering various screenings and vaccines, to those in their health plans. By doing so, the employers admit, they can keep their workers healthy (84%), keep employees productive (59%), and reduce medical disability costs and prevent illness (94%)."

Will Health Care Reform Law Force the Industry to Cut Overhead and Get More Efficient to Cut Costs?
Excerpt: "The law makes brief mention of deducting 'federal and state taxes' from premiums before the percentage of health care is figured, but doesn't define which taxes. It also allows insurance companies to newly include their own 'health quality improvements' directly in the health care percentage--but doesn't define them. That vagueness offers massive leeway for mischief."
(Consumer Watchdog)

Why Are Large Employers Unable to Control Their Health Benefit Costs?
Excerpt: "The reason is quite simple. Our fragmented, dysfunctional, multi-payer system permeates the entire health care delivery system, and these employers are unable to function in an isolated delivery system that has not been damaged by the financing perversities."
(Physicians for a National Health Program)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Accounting for Clawbacks in Stock Compensation Arrangements, Including Dodd-Frank Act Provision on Recovery of Erroneously Awarded Compensation
4 pages. Excerpt: "This Insight addresses the impact on accounting for share-based compensation awards that could be subject to the clawback provision of the Act, as well as other potential accounting implications associated with new types of clawback features companies have implemented recently."
(PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP)

Health Care Reform Act Provision Vastly Expands Information Reporting Requirements.
Excerpt: "Large businesses generally maintain so-called vendor or accounts payable ledgers, so they often already track such payments. For them, information reporting could simply involve transferring this information to a Form 1099. Depending on any relief granted, payments to employees as vendors for expense reimbursements could minimize the added burden of accumulating this data for the vendors used by each employee."
(American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

ESOP Audits and Voluntary Compliance Programs
An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), like other qualified retirement plans, must meet various legal requirements. It may be audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to ensure its compliance with the law. Whether or not it is audited, there are voluntary corrective programs that allow the company to correct certain errors without disqualifying the plan. This new publication, written by leading attorneys, discusses all these issues in detail.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Press Releases

PBGC Takes Responsibility for the Irwin Financial Pension Plan
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

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