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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 21, 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.

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[Guidance Overview]
Required Health Plan Annual Notices, 2010 Edition
Excerpt: "As benefit and open enrollment planning begins for many organizations each fall, it should be remembered that there are a number of annual health plan notices that must be sent to plan participants each year."
(Kushner & Company)

State Regulators Recommend New Health Insurance Rules: The 'Medical Loss Ratio'
Excerpt: "The recommendations will now go to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has final say."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Health Insurance Coverage: Estimates from National Health Interview Survey, January-March 2010 (PDF)
25 pages. Excerpt: "Lack of health insurance is measured in three ways: whether a person was uninsured at the time of the interview, uninsured for at least part of the year, or uninsured for more than a year."
(U.S. National Center for Health Statistics)

Plan Sponsors Now Have Online Access to Early Retirement Health Plan Reimbursement Features
Excerpt: "Authorized representatives or account managers of plan sponsors with approved applications may now assign designees to assist with certain ERRP application tasks, such as early retiree list setup, the changing of bank information, and the viewing, sending, and receiving of early retiree data."
(Wolters Kluwer)

RiverStone Health of Montana Continues Policy of Mandated Flu Vaccinations for All Employees
Excerpt: "Several other hospitals around the country have implemented mandatory vaccination policies, although most offer employees an out such as the option to wear a surgical mask or take a different job during flu season."
(The Billings Gazette)

National Association of Insurance Commissioners to Weigh in on Health Spending
Excerpt: "A key group of state insurance commissioners is meeting in Orlando, Florida, to issue final recommendations for the U.S. government on the spending rules for the multibillion-dollar industry. The rules will set how much insurers allocate on medical costs as opposed to profits and administrative expenses starting next year."

ObamaCare's Incentive to Drop Insurance
Excerpt: "One implication of the magnitude of these subsidies seems clear: For a person starting a business in 2014, it will be logical and responsible simply to plan from the outset never to offer health benefits. Employees, thanks to the exchanges, can easily purchase excellent, fairly priced insurance, without pre-existing condition limitations, through the exchanges."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Bending the Medical-Cost Curve with Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "For public employers, there are two issues: (1) Costs to taxpayers will again outstrip revenues, and they will need to ask employees to 'buck up' even more. (2) Further, their retiree medical expenses (called OPEB for 'other post-employment benefits') will grow once again -- for which the vast majority have still made no financial provision."

Putting the Brakes on Health Insurers
Excerpt: "Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius answered insurers' scare tactics by saying she would have 'zero tolerance' for such behavior, but the administration's response so far has been limited to words. It's time the president uses his clout and fights back. Obama should - and can - issue an executive order freezing all health insurance premium hikes until the companies comply with pricing provisions of the new federal law."
(Los Angeles Times via Consumer Watchdog)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Why No Severance Package for Laid-Off Worker?
Excerpt: "A New Jersey consultant's employer offered him and his colleagues 'displacement benefits' when it sold the company they worked for -- so long as they weren't hired by the buyer. He and some of his co-workers were hired by the buyer -- but for only 10 hours. Denied benefits, he sued."
(Business & Legal Reports, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
An Overview of State Laws Allowing Employees Time Off to Vote
Excerpt: "The key questions that must be addressed and that employers must be prepared to answer are: whether employees are eligible for time off, how much time off employees are permitted, whether employees will be paid for time off, whether employees may be required to provide advance notice of their intention to vote, and whether employees may be disciplined for taking time off."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)

New Jersey Toll-Road Managers to Slash Employee Perks
Excerpt: "New Jersey toll-road managers said they would eliminate perks, bonuses, payouts, and free employee E-ZPass trips after an audit released Tuesday found the New Jersey Turnpike Authority had wasted about $50 mil.lion since 2007."
(The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Webcasts and Conferences

Changes to Cafeteria Plans: What You Need to Know to Prepare
Nationwide on November 19, 2010
presented by Lorman Education Services

Recent Developments in Employer Liability for 401(k) Investments
Nationwide on November 3, 2010
presented by Lorman Education Services

ROTH Mathematics: Deal or No Deal? - Free Webcast
Nationwide on October 27, 2010
presented by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Press Releases

PBGC Assumes FormTech Industries LLC Pension Plan
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

Faulty Analysis Found Behind Doomsday Projections For Public Pensions
National Association of State Retirement Administrators

'Overpaid Federal Employees' a Myth Not Grounded in Reality
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Administrator
for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

Development Analyst
for Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc.
in MA

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