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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 28, 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]
CMS's Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol Process to Self-Disclose Stark Law Violations
Excerpt: "Mintz Levin has learned through unofficial channels that CMS intends to publish the SRDP in the Federal Register at a later date. CMS presumably will offer the public the opportunity to comment at that time. Providers, suppliers, and other affected parties likely will have a number of concerns."
(Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
Third Circuit Rules Regardless of Plan Reservation of Rights Language, Bankrup.tcy Debtor Must Comply with Bankrup.tcy Code to Amend, Modify or Eliminate Retiree Benefits (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "On July 13, 2010, in a decision arising out of the Visteon Corporation bankrup.tcy, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit became the first appellate court to directly address this issue, and in doing so, parted ways with the majority. The Third Circuit ruled that § 1114 applies even where the debtor has retained the right in the plan itself to unilaterally modify or terminate retiree benefits."
(Haynes and Boone, LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
DOL's Enforcement Grace Period for Certain Health Reform Claims and Appeals Standards
Excerpt: "The enforcement grace period is in response to some group health plans and insurers' requests for more time to change plan or policy procedures and to modify computer systems in order to comply with the new interim final claims regulations issued on July 23, 2010, and Aug. 23, 2010, to implement Public Health Service Act . . . Sec. 2719."
(Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
CMS Publishes Stark Self-Disclosure Protocol
Excerpt: "In compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act . . ., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services . . . on September 23, 2010, published its long-awaited 'Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol' . . . for providers of designated health services who wish to self-disclose actual or potential violations of the Physician Self-Referral Law (commonly known as the Stark Law)."
(Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Emotional Distress Claim not Barred by Workers' Comp Exclusive Remedy Provision
Excerpt: "A California appeals court has found that a California worker's common law claim for infliction of emotional distress resulting from a supervisor's harassment is not barred by the exclusivity provisions of the workers' compensation system."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

Two Senators Demand More Transparency from Largest Health Insurers
Excerpt: "Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) on Sept. 20 sent a letter to insurers with the five largest enrollments demanding more transparency in calculations of premium increases."
(AIS Health.com)

Downturn Is Leading Fewer Americans to Take Time Off for Medical Reasons
Excerpt: "Almost one-third of all workers who needed leave but did not take it cited worries about losing their job as a reason for not taking leave."
(msnbc.com)

Presentation: Value-Based Insurance Design and Self-Insured Employers
Excerpt: "Value-based insurance design aims to reduce financial barriers to the purchase of high-value drugs and services to avoid expensive future medical costs. Listen to Analyst Chris Clancy discuss recent trends."
(HealthLeaders, Inc.)

Employers and Workers to Pay More for Health Coverage
Excerpt: "A study finds that companies' premiums have doubled and their employees' costs have tripled in the last decade."
(Los Angeles Times)

Northeast Wisconsin Employers Help Organ Donors and Recipients
Excerpt: "The transplant policy is not frequently used, according to Schneider National. 'We're proud that our benefits plan includes coverage for those in need of transplants and those generous enough to give the ultimate gift of themselves,' the company said in a statement."
(Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Employer-Provided Child Care Can Cut Stress and Improve Health of Workers, According to Study
Excerpt: "The study, by the consulting practice at Bright Horizons Family Solutions and Dr. Jamie Ladge of Northeastern University, compared stress, health, and wellness outcomes for more than 4,000 working adults."
(Risk & Insurance)

Cost of Proposed Paid Sick Leave for NYC Private Employees Outlined in Study
Excerpt: "A study expected to be released Tuesday by the Partnership for New York City argues that the paid sick leave proposal under consideration by the City Council will increase private-sector payroll costs in the city by 0.3%, or a total of $789 million per year, according to an advanced copy . . . ."
(Crain's New York Business)

2011 Health Cost Hikes Highest in Five Years, According to Hewitt Analysis
Excerpt: "Employers can expect an average 8.8% health coverage increase in 2011, up from 6.9% in 2010 and the highest level in five years, according to an analysis by Hewitt Associates."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

Workers Perception of Health Care Cost Increases Greater than Reality
Excerpt: "According to the recent 'Getting Paid In America' survey conducted by the American Payroll Association, for 67% of Americans, the perception of health care costs increase is 40% -80% higher than the actual increase."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)




An employer writes:

"I have to tell you that of all the job boards I've ever used, this one has the best quality of candidates. I don't get flooded with tons of resumes, and even the candidates who aren't fit for the jobs we have don't miss the mark by much."


Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 Includes First Step for Taxation of Employer-Provided Cell Phones but Further Guidance is Needed
Excerpt: "[The Act] includes a provision removing such equipment from the definition of 'listed property' in section 280F(d)(4)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code . . . . The amendment is retroactive to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009."
(Miller & Chevalier Chartered)

Small Business Jobs Act Provisions Affecting Employment Benefits
Excerpt: "President Barack Obama has signed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297) into law on September 27, 2010. The bill contains . . . benefits-related provisions of interest to employers . . . ."
(Jackson Lewis LLP)

[Opinion]
Three Benefit Trends Seem to Have Come to the Forefront During the Past Year
Excerpt: "[The trends include] the importance of innovation and thought leadership, the turn toward customization of benefits, and the growing discussion of adapting benefits to a culturally, racially and globally diverse workforce."
(Human Resource Executive Online)


Webcasts and Conferences

New Appeals and External Review Rules for Self-Funded Plans: Health Care Reform Drill Down
Nationwide on September 23, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

President Obama Signed Roth Conversion Legislation
Nationwide on September 30, 2010
presented by Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC

Public-Pension Deficits: How Big? Can They Ever Be Paid?
in District of Columbia on September 29, 2010
presented by American Enterprise Institute


Press Releases


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Consultant
for Charles Schwab
in AZ

EB Service Manager II
for The Standard
in TX




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