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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 6, 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]
Need to Decide Whether You Wish to Grandfather Your Health Plan Before Open Enrollment Materials Are Sent
Excerpt: "The basic requirements for grandfathering are: (1) You had a health plan or benefit package in existence on March 23, 2010; (2) you had at least one employee covered as of March 23, 2010, and you have employees continuously covered beyond that date; and (3) you have made either no changes or only the limited permissible changes (as described below) to that plan after March 23, 2010."
(Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Releases Further Guidance on ERRP and Allows Plan Sponsors to Submit Early Retiree Lists (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "[The] guidance provides more information on who is an early retiree for purposes of the program . . . ."
(Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]
The Keys to Maintaining Grandfathered Status (If Desired) and Upcoming Notice Obligations Under Health Care Reform (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "This Alert describes recent guidance regarding the types of changes to a group health plan which will cause the plan to lose its 'grandfathered' status, and thus subject the plan to certain PPACA requirements from which grandfathered plans are exempt. In addition, this Alert describes employer/group health plan notification obligations which are effective prior to 2012."
(Patterson, Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP)

The California Legislature's 2010 Laws Affecting California's Private Sector Employers
Excerpt: "The most important of the new laws creates a new paid leave right for employee organ and bone marrow donors similar to that leave already allowed state employees."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)

HHS's Second Round of Accepted Applicants for Early Retiree Reinsurance Program; List Will Now Be Updated Every Friday
Excerpt: "Nearly 1,000 large and small businesses, state and local governments, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and unions have been accepted into the program and will begin to receive reimbursements for their early retirees' medical claims this fall."
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Federal Agencies launch Bikeshare program in Washington, DC
Excerpt: "Officials from the Office of Personnel Management, General Services Administration and Transportation Department on Monday announced a partnership with the District Department of Transportation to provide federal workers with memberships to Capital Bikeshare. The program gives users access to 1,000 bikes at 100 stations in Washington and Northern Virginia."
(Government Executive)

Comparative Effectiveness Research
Excerpt: "A broad effort is under way to understand what really works in health care, perhaps leading to better value for dollars spent."
(Health Affairs)

U.S. Waives Health Insurance Minimums for 1 Mil.lion
Excerpt: "Almost a mil.lion workers won't get a consumer protection in U.S. health law meant to cap insurance costs because the government exempted their employers."
(Business Insurance)

[Opinion]
Concerns That Seven Provisions of PPACA Will Not Apply to Company-Sponsored Retiree-Only Health Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "[The provisions] will not apply to company-sponsored retiree-only health care plans unless the company voluntarily elects to provide the excluded benefits."
(National Retiree Legislative Network)

[Opinion]
Getting the Benefits Health Reform Promised
Excerpt: "Now the federal health reform law requires every American to prove they have health coverage by the year 2014. We're about to force even more people to buy health insurance without the legal protections to make sure they get the benefits they pay for. That's not the quality coverage the President and Congress said health reform would deliver."
(Consumer Watchdog)

[Opinion]
Health Care's Uneven Road to a New Era
Excerpt: "The recent disruptions in our health insurance market are partly a result of the fact that the stool's three legs were not built on the same timetable. Some of the insurance regulations, like the one on overhead costs, are starting to take effect. But the new markets for health insurance, known as exchanges, won't be up and running until 2014. This timetable has its problems, and the Obama administration will probably need to grant some more temporary exemptions."
(The New York Times; free registration required)




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Call Mary Hall for details at 262-797-6380, or reach her at maryhall@benefitslink.com


Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Last Chance to Possibly Avoid 409A Penalties
Excerpt: "We are pleased to report that the IRS is offering relief from certain 409A penalties if companies make corrections on or before December 31, 2010. If you qualify and the corrections are properly and timely made, the IRS will treat your program as having been in compliance on January 1, 2009 (the first day after the original documentary compliance deadline), and generally no penalties will apply."
(McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Increased Reporting Penalties and Cell Phone Relief in the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The Act includes two important provisions that are worth highlighting for employers and their payroll and account payable departments: (1) increased reporting penalties for informational returns, and (2) removed cell phone from 'listed property.'"
(Groom Law Group)

Audio: Survey Examines Company Car Policies Around the World
Excerpt: "[T]he value of company-provided cars as a retention tool [is explained and findings from Mercer's annual survey of car policies among employers in 76 countries is reviewed]."
(Mercer LLC)

[Opinion]
American Academy of Actuaries' Comments Regarding Proposed Revisions of Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The Joint Committee on Retiree Health and the Pension Accounting Committee jointly submitted comments to the NAIC regarding the exposure draft of SSAP 92 . . . and proposed revisions to SSAP 89 (pensions)"
(American Academy of Actuaries)

[Opinion]
Employment, Labor and Benefit Law Trends for Navigating the New Decade (PDF)
64 pages. Excerpt: "Understanding trends and anticipating change will be essential. To help meet this challenge Littler offers ten employment and labor law trends for the second decade."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)


Webcasts and Conferences

"ERISA Workshop" - Denver
in Colorado on November 3, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"ERISA Workshop" - Nashville
in Tennessee on November 3, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

"ERISA Workshop" - Syracuse
in New York on November 2, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

Complimentary Update - Form 1099-R Penalty Changes
Nationwide on October 5, 2010
presented by Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC


Press Releases


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Regional Pension Consultant - Southeast
for Retirement Alliance, Inc.
in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, OK, TX

Operations Section Manager
for WilmingtonTrust Company
in AZ

Mutual Fund Services Section Manager
for WilmingtonTrust Company
in AZ

Conversion Consultant
for Summit Retirement Plan Services, Inc.
in OH

Benefits Analyst
for Marathon Oil Company
in OH

Pension Administrator
for Cornerstone Group
in ANY STATE




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