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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 1, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Early Retiree Reimbursement Program Exclusions Released
Excerpt: "Federal regulators have provided an initial list of health care services that are excluded from a program to partially reimburse employers for claims by early retirees and their dependents."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Information and Guidance (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The Hewitt bulletin . . . provides a brief background of the ERRP, discusses the new guidance, and provides links to the new ERRP Center information."
(Hewitt Associates)

Health Insurance Prices and Restrictions Now on Federal Consumer Website
Excerpt: ", the website created by the new health law to be a one-stop consumer resource, today unveiled detailed cost and benefits information about health plans available in the individual insurance market. It's the first time such data have been made public - either by the government or industry."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Indices to Track Health Care Cost Changes
Excerpt: "Standard & Poor's Corp. has entered into an agreement with Health Index Advisors, a joint Aon Consulting and Milliman Inc. venture, to develop and publish a family of indices tracking changes in the cost of health care services in the United States."
(Business Insurance)

A Consumer Primer for Employer-Provided Health Insurance Changes in 2011
Excerpt: "These changes could affect everything from the dependents you cover to the size of your deductible."

Principal Financial Group Announces Plan to Stop Selling Health Insurance
Excerpt: "The company, based in Iowa, provides coverage to about 840,000 people who receive their insurance through an employer. Principal's decision closely tracks moves by other insurers that have indicated in recent weeks that they plan to drop out of certain segments of the market, like the business of selling child-only policies."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Federal Agency Flexible on McDonald's Health Plan
Excerpt: "McDonald's last week sent a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services a memo saying 'it would be economically prohibitive for our carrier to continue offering' its 'mini-med' limited benefit plan unless it got an exemption from the requirement [that they spend 80% to 85% of premiums on medical benefits instead of overhead expenses]."
(The Wall Street Journal)

A Primer on Health Reform in the Election
Excerpt: "When we asked likely voters what one issue would be most important to their vote, no surprise, 38 percent picked the economy and jobs. Health reform was picked by 10 percent and was clumped with a number of issues as secondary concerns, including dissatisfaction with government and the budget deficit."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

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]
Sixth Circuit Rules Union's Release of Claims Is Valid: Plaintiffs' Claim for Severance Pay Is Denied
Excerpt: "The issue was whether the Release barred the plaintiffs' ERISA claim for severance pay. The plaintiffs first argued that a union may not waive ERISA claims as a matter of law. However, the Court would not entertain this argument, because it was not raised in the district court. The plaintiffs next argued that the Release did not clearly state whether it binds only the Union, or both the Union and its members."
(Stanley D. Baum of Fellheimer & Eichen LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Per Diem Travel Rates Updated by IRS Revenue Procedure 2010-39
Excerpt: "The revenue procedure supersedes Revenue Procedure 2009-47, issued Sept. 30, 2009, and is generally effective for amounts paid or expenses paid or incurred on or after Oct. 1, 2010."
(American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

The 2010 Top 250 Report on Long-Term Incentive Grant Practices for Executives (PDF)
30 pages. Excerpt: "The details underlining [the] findings are presented, along with additional analysis and information . . . ."
(Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Policy on Preventing Caregiver Bias in the Workplace
Excerpt: "The Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of Law has created a model policy [at] for organizations to prevent discrimination against workers with family responsibilities."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

Unfair Treatment of Workers with Family Responsibilities Can Lead to Costly Lawsuits and Disgruntled Workforce
Excerpt: "By many accounts, family responsibility discrimination first hit the court system in 1971 when the Supreme Court ruled, in Phillips vs. Martin Marietta Corp., that it was unlawful for the Raleigh, N.C.-based construction-aggregates provider to refuse to accept job applications from mothers with preschool-aged children while employing men with children of the same age."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

Employee Benefits Developments, September 2010
A brief look at developments in Employee Benefits law from August and September 2010, including cases, rulings, and opinions.
(Hodgson Russ LLP)

The Coming Third Trillion-Dollar Bailout: A Report on the States
Excerpt: "Her study rates the financial condition of the country's largest states. Only two of them received positive ratings: Texas and Virginia. Five of the 15 received negative ratings, including California, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois. Taken all together, the 46 states with budget shortfalls have budget gaps approaching $200 billion, or more than a quarter of their outlays. There are two dangers in these numbers, she says: First, municipalities could start defaulting on their bonds."
(The New American Magazine)

Demystifying the Law: ERISA
Excerpt: "If you're employed, are recently unemployed or are receiving regular medical treatment, then ERISA, or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, governs any health and pension benefits you receive from your employer, your COBRA health insurance coverage if you're unemployed and even the privacy of your medical records. This article will help you better understand your rights under ERISA."

Employee Ownership Update for September 30, 2010
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen discusses the following: New data from the NCEO show that ESOP companies have an exceptionally low rate of defaults on their acquisition loans. The recently signed Small Business Jobs Act temporarily shortens the holding period of assets subject to the built-in gains tax upon conversion from C to S status to 5 years if the 5th taxable year in the holding period precedes the taxable year beginning in 2011. ISS sets recommended standards for equity burn rates.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Bankrupt, USA: Why Our Cities Aren't Too Big to Fail
Excerpt: "As Richard Bookstaber, the senior policy advisor at the Securities and Exchange Commission wrote in a blog post this April, the municipal market is massive, leveraged and opaque, blessed by questionable analyst ratings and backed by revenues already mortgaged off to someone else. In other words, it bears all the hallmarks of a crisis in waiting."
(Cable News Network)

Press Releases

PSCA Announces the 2010 Signature Award Winners
Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA)

The Sources of Income of Elderly Men and Women (Age 65 and Older)
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

ASPPA Urges DOL to Issue Form 5500 Extension
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Secretary/Administrative Assistant
for Jennings Law Firm, Ltd. / Dana Consulting Group, Ltd.
in IL

Producer & Vendor Relationship Manager
for AUL/OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc. /RE Moulton

Fund Administrator
for Segal
in CA

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