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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 22, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Required Participant Notices Under Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "The IRS, DOL and HHS have issued model language for some of the required notices. The model language is available on the DOL's website, Here is a summary of the required notices."
(Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cumminsky, P.L.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
Stiff Penalties for Paying Disproportionate Share of Executive's Premiums under Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "We can hope that the IRS clarifies the manner in which these nondiscrimination rules will apply to employer plans, including the identity of the non-highly compensated employees against whom plans are not permitted to discriminate. In the meantime, however, employers with insured, non grandfathered health plans should carefully review their insurance policies and strongly consider a uniform premium structure across all employee classifications."
(Leonard, Street and Deinard)

[Guidance Overview]
Form W-2 and Health Care Reform: Relief for 2011 Reporting of Health Care Value; Nevertheless, State Tax Law May Affect Reporting
Excerpt: "Almost always, state legislatures act to conform their state tax laws to federal tax law and apply this change retroactively to the date federal income tax law changed. It is hoped this will be the case on the expansion of coverage to adult children up to age 26, but employers may wish to check with their counsel on the status of the tax law for the states in which they have employees."
(Dorsey & Whitney LLP)

Health Insurance Mandates in the States, 2010 (PDF)
50 pages. Excerpt: "At a time when policymakers are complaining about the high cost of health insurance, CAHI wants state legislators to know they are responsible for the mandate explosion, and what those mandates do to the cost and availability of health insurance. We hope this publication will encourage them to refrain from exacerbating the problem of health insurance costs and the uninsured[.]"
(Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Medicare Part D in 2011: 33 Plan Options Available, But Premiums Will Rise 10% on Average
Excerpt: "The report, Part D Plan Availability in 2011 and Key Changes Since 2006, included an analysis of recently-released data on the PDP options that will be available to beneficiaries in 2011 and provided an early look at key trends in the options, premiums, and other plan characteristics."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Cost Increases for Commercial Plans Outpacing Medicare, According to Study
Excerpt: "For the 12-month period ending in August, the average per-capita cost of health care services covered by commercial health insurance plans, which include self-funded employer plans, climbed 8.66%. That compares with an average increase of 5.08% for patients covered by the traditional Medicare program, according to S&P Healthcare Indices . . . ."
(Business Insurance)

Diabetes May Affect As Many As 1 in 3 Americans by 2050
Excerpt: "'There are some positive reasons why we see prevalence going up. People are living longer with diabetes due to good control of blood sugar and diabetes medications, and we're also diagnosing people earlier now,' . . . ."

Study Suggests CDHP Participants Spend Less on Overall Medical Services
Excerpt: "CIGNA's most recent multi-year study to track the experience of customers in its Choice Fund consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) demonstrates that, when compared to customers in traditional plans, customers in CDHPs spend less on overall medical services."

Survey Finds More Employers Offering Tuition Reimbursement
Excerpt: "Eighty-five percent of employers in a recent survey report that their organization offers tuition assistance to their employees, compared to 52% that said so in late 2007."

Insurer Tries 'Bundling' Cancer Treatment Costs
Excerpt: "One of the nation's largest health insurers said Wednesday it's testing a new way to pay for cancer treatments. Proponents say that UnitedHealthcare's new pilot strategy aims to identify the best medicines and limit profits doctors make by dispensing in-office chemotherapy drugs."

States Affirm Tough Limits on Health Insurers' Use of Dollars
Excerpt: "The rules, adopted at a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Orlando, Fla., describe how the calculations will be made, specifying what counts as medical care and what expenses will be classified as administrative."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

San Diego's Prop D. Could Force Study of Deferred Retirement Option Plan Benefit
Excerpt: "The city has long delayed a promised study on the economics of DROP. That would change under Proposition D on the Nov. 2 ballot, which requires completion of the study as one of 10 conditions that must be met before a half-cent sales tax increase can kick in for the next five years."
(The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC)

Webcasts and Conferences

Advanced COBRA Compliance: Preventing, Catching, and Correcting Mistakes
Nationwide on November 18, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Press Releases

PBGC Pays Pensions at Denman Tire LLC
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

US Department of Labor and AICPA Sponsor Website Highlighting Small Business Retirement Solutions
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

US Labor Department Proposes Rule Defining ĎFiduciariesí of Employee Benefit Plans
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

CAHI Releases Health Insurance Mandates in the States, 2010
Council for Affordable Health Insurance

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Employee Benefits Associate
for Willcox & Savage, P.C.
in VA

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