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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 18, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Delay in W-2 Reporting Requirements
Excerpt: "The IRS also issued a draft W-2 Form for 2011, which would allow employers to voluntarily provide information about the cost of coverage. The IRS stated it plans to publish guidance on this requirement later this year."
(Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC)

[Guidance Overview]
Form W-2 Health Coverage Reporting Optional for 2011
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Employers have been waiting for guidance on the Form W-2 reporting requirement, and the one-year delay is a relief. But we hope the guidance slated for later this year addresses some of the many open issues regarding the new requirement, not the least of which is how to determine the cost of coverage."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
Agencies Issue FAQs on Grandfathered Health Plans, Rescissions, Exemptions, and More
Excerpt: "This continues the trend of the agencies issuing FAQs to answer questions that arise after regulations have been issued."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

The New Healthcare Reimbursement Provisions Are Designed to Offset the Cost of the Expanding Health-Care Insurance Coverage (PDF)
Pages 1, 5-9 of 9 pages. Excerpt: "The general approach of the PPACA reimbursement provisions is to reward high-quality, efficient care."
(Los Angeles Lawyer)

National Quality Forum/National Priorities Partnership Final Recommendations to HHS (PDF)
44 pages. Excerpt: "The recommendations put forth by NPP identify a succinct set of priorities, goals, and metrics purposely intended to support and advance the guiding framework of better care, affordable care, and healthy people/healthy communities."
(National Priorities Partnership via American Benefits Council)

Small Businesses Should Prepare for Employees' Elder Care Emergencies
Excerpt: "Full-time workers who are also caregivers cost employers $33.6 bil.lion a year, according to a study released by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving in 2006. The cost comes from absenteeism, workday interruptions, work leaves and cutbacks in hours, among other factors. Some workers quit altogether when faced with parents' illnesses, causing employers to spend money to replace them."
(Los Angeles Times)

Health Law's New Patient-Centered Outcomes Board Takes Shape
Excerpt: "The Washington Post reports on a new entity: the Board of Governors of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. . . . Created by the health-care overhaul law, it's one of the newest and least known panels in government. But the work of its 21 members, if successful, could increase the public's knowledge of medical treatments for everything from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder to cancer."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

[Opinion]
Why a Different Rule for ERISA Claims?
Excerpt: "Federal Judge William M. Acker, Jr., clearly spells out the issue by pointing out that Firestone v. Bruch, 489 U.S. 101 (1989) , seems more intent on preserving the willingness of insurance companies to maintain lower premiums for employers, than to afford stricken employees with the help Congress apparently intended them to have."
(Uscher, Quiat, Uscher & Russo, P.A.)




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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Form 1099 Series Penalty Increased
Excerpt: "On September 27, 2010 President Obama signed The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297) (SBJCA), which primarily provides tax cuts and better access to credit for small businesses. Section 2102 of the law increases the penalty for not timely filing or furnishing the Form 1099 series."
(McKay Hochman Co.)

[Guidance Overview]
Substantiation Requirements Relaxed for Employer-Provided Cell Phones (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "This issue has been a source of widespread frustration for several years, with industry groups criticizing the treatment as outdated and out of sync with the widespread use, and considerably reduced costs, of cell phone technology today."
(Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP)

FDIC Guidance on the Payment of Severance by 'Troubled' Institutions and Covered Companies
Excerpt: "The bottom line is that the new guidance prohibits a troubled institution from making, or agreeing to make, any severance payments unless the payments fall within one of the three permissible payments that a troubled entity may make - and even then, the institution must receive prior supervisory approval to make the payments."
(Michael S. Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

Financial Capability in the United States: Consumer Decision-Making and the Role of Social Security
Excerpt: "This survey provides information to assess how American households make financial decisions, how they are faring under current economic conditions, and in what ways financial knowledge contributes to financial capability."
(University of Michigan Retirement Research Center)

New IRS Guidance on Identification Numbers for Tax Return Preparers
Excerpt: "All preparers will need to be registered in the new system, which is available now, and obtain a [Preparer Tax Identification Number] before filing any return after December 31, 2010."
(Wolters Kluwer)

ERISA Summary Plan Description Requirements
Excerpt: "Although the summary plan description must be drafted in accordance with two Department of Labor regulations, it does not have to be called 'The Summary Plan Description.' This article describes the general content and distribution requirements of the summary plan description."
(HGExperts.com)

Employee Ownership Update for October 15, 2010
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen discusses the following: President Obama says employee ownership should be encouraged. A new report from the Treasury finds ESOPs held about 15% of the total assets in non-government corporate retirement plans in 2007. A new NCEO issue brief examines wellness programs in employee ownership companies. Facebook and Zynga have announced they will charge employees substantial fees to sell shares on secondary markets.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

[Opinion]
An Actuarial Autopilot Is Necessary If Congress Won't Bite the Bullet to Control Social Security and Medicare Costs
Excerpt: "The president's fiscal commission would be foolhardy to accept the rose-colored projections in the latest trustees report without offering a Plan B that would kick into effect if reality turns less rosy. My suggestion is that in years when the actuarial assumptions are not met, there should be automatic adjustments on the benefits side so that we don't keep digging a deeper hole."
(Governing)


Webcasts and Conferences

Legal Update 2010
in Michigan on November 18, 2010
presented by International Society of CEBS - West Michigan Chapter

New Reporting Rules and Employee Disclosures: Health Reform Checklist for 2011
Nationwide on October 14, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters


Press Releases

US Labor Department Obtains Appointment of Fiduciary to Manage Abandoned 401(k) Plan of Defunct Missouri Company
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

US Labor Department Sues to Appoint Independent Fiduciary for 401(k) Plan Abandoned by Medford, Mass., Employer
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Access to 401(k) Plan a Big Boost to Retirement Income Adequacy
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

2011 Dissertation Fellowship Program
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

ASPPA to Release TPA Owner Survey
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Project Implementation Manager
for Transamerica
in CA

Expense Analyst
for Transamerica
in CA

Pricing/Special Deals Analyst
for Transamerica
in CA

Product Analyst
for Transamerica
in CA

Pension Plan Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates
in IL

Client Relationship/Administration Manager
for Los Angeles/Orange County Firm
in CA

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Sunwest Pensions
in AZ

Vice President, Health & Welfare Consulting
for Cammack LaRhette Consulting
in NY




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