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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 13, 2010

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[Official Guidance]
FAQs About the Affordable Care Act Implementation
Excerpt: "[Here] are two Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding implementation of the market reform provisions of the Affordable Care Act. They have been prepared jointly by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury. Like the FAQs the Departments issued on September 20, 2010 and on October 8, 2010, these FAQs answer questions from stakeholders with a view to helping people understand the new law and benefit from it, as intended."
(U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Delays Reporting of Group Health Plan Cost on Form W-2
Excerpt: "The IRS expects to issue guidance about the new reporting requirement by the end of 2010. We hope such guidance will address how self-funded group health plans will need to calculate the cost of group health plan coverage to be reported on Form W-2 for 2012 and later years."
(Ballard Spahr LLP)

HR Leaders Need to Speak Up on the New Health Care Issues
Excerpt: "In the words of Shawn Nowicki, director of health policy at the New York Business Group on Health in New York, just keep on pursuing good HR strategies. 'Make sure all those components and plan descriptions and moving pieces are in place for open enrollment,' he says, 'but also make sure all your employees have the right and accurate information ... about what their company is planning' -- or considering -- and why."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

Temporary Federal High Risk Health Insurance Pool Program (PDF)
19 pages. Excerpt: "This report provides an overview of the [program] and will be periodically updated to reflect any legislative or regulatory changes."
(U.S. Congressional Research Service)

IRS Delays W-2 Health Cost Reporting Requirement
Excerpt: "Under the relief, health care cost information will have to be reported on the 2012 W-2s, which are issued in 2013."
(Business Insurance)

Loss of One Plan's Grandfathered Status Will Not Affect Other Plans
Excerpt: "Employers that make design changes that result in one of their health care plans losing grandfathered status will not relinquish that status for other plans they offer, federal regulators have clarified."
(Business Insurance)

State and Local Government Employee Health Plans Get New Opt-Out Guidance
Excerpt: "Recent HHS guidance explains which standards now apply to self-insured governmental plans and which requirements, such as mental health parity, remain open to opt-out elections."
(Mercer LLC)

Frequently Asked Questions About Health Care Reform for Employers
Excerpt: "How are small businesses affected by health reform? Will employers that don't provide health benefits have to pay a penalty? How will existing employer health plans be affected by health reform? How does the new law apply to companies with self-funded plans?"
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Significant Number of Incurable Cancer Patients Are Still Having Routine Screening
Excerpt: "The screening rates are relatively small, but they 'represent 35% to 55% of the rates observed among otherwise similar Medicare enrollees without cancer who were followed for exactly the same time interval,' . . . ."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Health Insurers Denied Coverage to 1 in 7, According to Report
Excerpt: "The four largest U.S. for-profit health insurers on average denied policies to one out of every seven applicants based on their prior medical history, according to a congressional investigation released Tuesday."
(The Wall Street Journal)

New York Faces $200 Bil.lion in Retiree Health Costs
Excerpt: "The daunting size of the health care obligation raises the possibility that localities will be forced at some point to choose between paying their retirees' medical costs and paying the investors who hold their bonds. Government officials aim to satisfy both groups, and have even made painful cuts in local services when necessary to keep up with both sets of payments."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

[Opinion]
On the First-Round Victory on Health Reform
Excerpt: "The first federal court decision on the constitutionality of the new health care reform law upheld its validity and dealt a well-deserved setback to opponents who are trying to overturn it. We can only hope that judges presiding over 15 or more other legal challenges follow the lead of this first major ruling."
(The New York Times; free registration required)




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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

October 15 Deadline Completes the Transition to Form 5500 E-Filing
Excerpt: "Oct. 15 is the 2009 Form 5500 e-filing deadline for calendar-year retirement and welfare plans that timely requested an automatic 2-1/2 month extension using Form 5558."
(Mercer LLC)


Webcasts and Conferences

Complimentary Update - Form 1099-R Penalty Changes
Nationwide on October 13, 2010
presented by Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC

Health Plans: Compliance with PPACA’s Health Claims and Appeals Process
Nationwide on November 17, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits


Press Releases

PBGC Shares Research Tool With Society of Actuaries
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

ASPPA Petitions DOL for 403(b) Plan Relief
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Compliance Analyst
for The Newport Group
in FL

Operational Risk Consultant 4
for Wells Fargo & Company
in MN, NC




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