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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 23, 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

[Official Guidance]
Text of Request by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for Suggestions on Measuring Health Plan Members' Health Literacy Needs (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The [AHRQ] is soliciting the submission of instruments or items that measure how well health plans and health providers address health plan enrollees' health literacy needs and how well they communicate with health plan enrollees. . . . The intent of the planned survey is to gain patients' perspective on how well health and health plan information is communicated to them by healthcare professionals and health plans."
(Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

[Guidance Overview]
Failure to Substantially Comply with Claims Procedures Proves Costly to Health Plan
Excerpt: "The plan fiduciary's failure to follow the claims regulations had a surprisingly harsh effect on the outcome in this recent claim for benefits case. Neither the standard of review nor the contractual limitations period served to deflect an award of benefits, attorneys' fees and costs in favor of the claimant."
(Roy Harmon via Health Plan Law)

[Guidance Overview]
Court Finds Worker Fired for Misconduct Can Get Disability Payments
Excerpt: "Ohio's 10th Appellate District Appeals Court determined that all evidence indicates the Lafonda Carson's infractions occurred prior to his injury and that the hospital he worked for presented no evidence that he violated work rules during the time he returned to work under light duty restrictions following his injury."

[Guidance Overview]
Court Refuses to Award Penalties for Late COBRA Election Notice Without Showing of Harm or Prejudice
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The COBRA election notice must be 'furnished' within 44 days after the qualifying event of termination of employment if the employer is also the plan administrator. The preamble to the DOL COBRA regulations, together with a number of court decisions on the subject, indicate that the notice is timely if sent within the required period."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Information Letter Discusses Qualified Transit and Parking Benefits That Are Provided Using Smartcards
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: This information letter analyzes and approves a smartcard that is commonly offered to employees -- one that works for both transit and parking -- so long as separate purses are used for the mass transit and parking benefits. In fact, it is the first official guidance that approves the use of such cards for parking."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Dodd-Frank Should Not Mean New Clawback Accounting
Excerpt: "The specific accounting ramifications of the compensation clawback provisions in the recent financial services overhaul legislation should not go beyond what has traditionally been the case for such corporate transactions. That was a key conclusion of a PricewaterhouseCoopers [report.]"

Who Will Pay? Inter-Generational Transfers and Public Sector Pensions
Excerpt: "This paper analyses the different channels through which particular generations within one society can end up subsidising other generations through the functioning of the welfare state. The welfare state, which is organised and funded by 'society' through taxation, plays an important part in almost all countries, often providing services such as education and health care or transfers such as state pensions."
(Social Science Research Network)

Press Releases

PBGC Data Book Reports on Growing Multiemployer Liability
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

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