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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 4, 2010

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[Official Guidance]
Claims Ineligible for Reimbursement under the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The excluded items and services specified in this guidance are not exhaustive."
(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Addresses Affordable Care Act Changes to Adoption Benefits
Excerpt: "A taxpayer may claim qualified allowable expenses (QAE) paid or incurred for an unsuccessful domestic adoption. Expenses for an unsuccessful domestic adoption of an identified child are aggregated with the expenses of a successful adoption of another child in applying the dollar limitation, the IRS clarified."
(Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Proposed Changes to the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The proposed regulations expand the definition of a business associate . . . .'
(Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]
Additional Clarifications Issued for Non-Grandfathered Plans (PDF)
3 pages. The guidance addresses the internal appeals and the external review processes and plan coverage for out-of-network emergency services.
(Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS's Guidance on Reimbursable Claims and Preparing Retiree Lists for Early Retiree Reinsurance Program
Excerpt: "Sponsors whose ERRP applications have been approved can now prepare for the next steps in the reimbursement process -- completing their list setup and submission of their early retiree lists -- and be ready to submit when the window opens in early October."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS's External Review Process Safe Harbor for Self-Insured, Non-Federal Governmental Plans
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: This HHS guidance confirms that for purposes of health care reform's external review requirement, HHS will apply an interim enforcement safe harbor similar to the DOL's with respect to self-insured, non-federal governmental health plans."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

IBM Employee Wellness Program Shows Some Success for Kids
Excerpt: "In 2008, IBM launched an Internet-based 'children's rebate program' that let employees and their families choose from a selection of goals revolving around healthy eating, group physical activity, reduced 'screen time' and positive parental role-modeling."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Health Cost Major Issue in San Francisco's Proposition B Debate
Excerpt: "Proposition B's impact on city employees' health care costs is taking center stage as voters prepare to cast their ballots on Nov. 2. The measure's author . . . said it would save the financially stressed city $120 million a year. [Proposition B has been pitched] most prominently as a pension-reform measure, but nearly 70 percent of the projected savings would come from increased employee contributions to health care."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Medicare Part D Plan Availability in 2011 and Key Changes Since 2006
Excerpt: "This initial analysis examines the private stand-alone Part D drug plans [that] will be available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2011 and provides an early look at key trends in the options, premiums, and other plan characteristics."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

3M to Change Health Plan Options for Retirees
Excerpt: "The St. Paul, Minn., manufacturing conglomerate notified employees on Friday that it would change retiree benefits both for those who are too young to qualify for Medicare and for those who qualify for the Medicare program. Both groups will get an unspecified health reimbursement instead of having access to a company-sponsored health plan."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Awaiting Broad Use of Medical E-Records
Excerpt: "There is no silver bullet for reforming America's health care system, but medical experts have long agreed that digital patient records and electronic prescribing can help improve care and curb costs."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Employees Like Healthy Workplace Food Offerings, According to Poll
Excerpt: "Forty percent of employers have policies or practices promoting healthy food at work and employees like it, a new Society for Human Resource Management . . . poll shows. Almost all surveyed (97%) said their employees responded 'favorably or 'very favorably' to efforts to promote wholesome food and drink options at work and work-related functions."

Senator Opens Probe of McDonald's Limited Benefit Mini-Med Plans
Excerpt: "Bloomberg reports that Rockefeller asked Scott Beacham, CEO of BCS Financial Corp., whether the company's health offerings amount to a good deal for many of McDonald's low-wage and hourly employees. BCS Financial offers limited-benefit plans that cover 30,000 employees of McDonald's."

Federal Workers Looking at Higher Health Care Insurance Premiums in 2011
Excerpt: "The U.S. Office of Personnel Management . . . has announced that premiums for the 2011 Federal Employee Health Benefits . . . Program will rise by an average 7.2% for the enrollee share of premiums, which the announcement notes is less than last year's premium increase of 8.8%, and lower than rate hikes predicted for large, employer-sponsored health programs."

Improving Quality of Health Care and Reducing Cost Will Require That Doctors Make Many Changes
Excerpt: "N.Y.U.'s first step toward seven-day service has been to keep certain functions going all weekend, like radiology study interpretation, magnetic resonance imaging and elective cardiac surgery. The cancer center also now provides some treatments on weekends. And some procedures, like elective Caesarean sections, are offered on Saturdays. So far, the doctors involved are on board."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Join the nation's top retirement services marketing, sales, administration and record keeping professionals at the SPARK Forum. Gain insights into the latest industry trends. Attend sessions designed specifically for TPAs, Advisors and RIAs. Participate in interactive sessions on marketing, operations, investments and distribution issues, and network with peers from national banks, insurance companies, mutual fund complexes, investment firms, third party administrators, benefit consulting organizations and financial advisory firms.

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Aon Completes Acquisition of Hewitt
Excerpt: "Aon Corp. on Friday completed its acquisition of Hewitt Associates Inc., a record deal that will significantly boost Aon's resources as a benefit consulting and outsourcing provider."
(Business Insurance)

Webcasts and Conferences

"PTIN and Me: New Rules; New Duties; New Questions" Web Seminar
Nationwide on October 26, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

Press Releases

Lemoyne Business Owner Sentenced In Federal Court Today For Embezzlement
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Conversion Specialist - Defined Contribution Plans
for ASPire Financial Services
in FL

Relationship Manager - Defined Contribution Plans
for ASPire Financial Services
in FL

Head of Compliance Services- IRC25090
for Lincoln Financial Group

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