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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 27, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Beware of Liability for FMLA Retaliation
Excerpt: "In his blog, attorney Michael Davey effectively summarizes a recent FMLA and ADA lawsuit brought against Wal-Mart where the federal trial court refused to dismiss an FMLA retaliation claim where Wal-Mart declined to interview Kimberley Stoppi for a management position after she returned from FMLA leave."
(Franczek Radelet PC)

[Guidance Overview]
Employee Benefits Update: 2011 Health Care Reform Checklist (PDF)
Excerpt: "[The target page provides a] checklist of steps that employers should take between now and the beginning of the year in order to ensure compliance with new health care reform requirements."
(Thompson Hine LLP)

Employers Collaborate to Customize Health Coverage
Excerpt: "A group of Kansas City, Missouri, employers has teamed up to pilot value-based benefits design, in which health coverage is tailored to better meet employee needs, ideally at a lower cost. Cerner Corp., one of the 16 employers involved, has used the approach to tackle mental health, diabetes and other chronic conditions."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

Ford Pays Down Debt, Including Payments to Workers' Health Trust
Excerpt: "'Ford is about to pay off its debt to the United Auto Workers health care trust.'"
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Interview: Maine's Lessons for National Health Care Reform
This is an edited transcript of an interview with Trish Riley who serves as director of the Maine Governor's Office for Health Policy and Finance in which is discussed what she's learned in the process of implementing health care reform in a state of 1.3 mil.lion people.

Tax-Sheltered Health Care Accounts Cannot Be Used to Pay for Breast Pumps and Other Supplies
Excerpt: "That is because the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that breast-feeding does not have enough health benefits to quality as a form of medical care. Those regulations are part of the health care overhaul, which takes effect in January."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Want to Change the Corporate Culture? Work Less, Sleep More.
Excerpt: "Consultants at hiring firms say the benefits of shorter or flexible hours benefit employers and employees. After all, one has to wonder how many companies fail because of bad decision-making. And how many because of a lack of a good night's sleep."
(Crain Communications, Inc.)

States, Insurers, Employers Move Forward with Health Law Implementation
Excerpt: "Inside Higher Ed: 'One of the early decisions for employers, including colleges, is whether or how to retain 'grandfathered' status for a plan. Employers with plans that were in effect as of March 23, the enactment date of the new law, can maintain their grandfathered status - and thereby be exempt from some of the new law's requirements -- so long as they don't make major changes . . . ."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Employers May Win U.S. Health Law Exemption to Switch Insurers
Excerpt: "The U.S. is weighing whether to allow employers to avoid the requirements, even with a new insurer, as long as benefit levels stay the same . . . ."
(Bloomberg L.P.)

HHS List of Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Ineligible Services Includes Coding
Excerpt: "The list includes Current Procedural Terminology . . . and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System . . . codes for ineligible services and describes excluded prescription drug costs."
(Mercer LLC)

Chief Human Resource Officer Concerns with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PDF)
28 pages. Excerpt: "The purpose of the document is to give policy makers the perspectives generally held by large employers regarding the new law. As such, it contains commentary on both the statutory and regulatory aspects of the legislation."
(HR Policy Association)

The Bredesen-Gruber Dispute Represents Much More Than a Math Problem Concerning ObamaCare's Incentive to Drop Insurance
Excerpt: "The disputed math of the incentives for employers to either continue offering their employees health plans or to drop the plans in favor of employees purchasing their own plans in the exchanges is an important question because it determines whether employers will continue to contribute to the premiums or if the taxpayers will assume that burden through subsidies for the exchange plans. What is not so obvious is that, in the background, there are two much more important policy considerations."
(Physicians for a National Health Program)

An employer writes:

"I have to tell you that of all the job boards Iíve ever used, this one has the best quality of candidates. I donít get flooded with tons of resumes, and even the candidates who arenít fit for the jobs we have donít miss the mark by much."

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Penalty-Free Transition Period for Correcting Section 409A Document Errors Expires December 31, 2010 (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "After the Notice 2010-6 transition period ends on December 31, 2010, the correction program reduces, but no longer eliminates, the income inclusion and tax penalties required under Section 409A."
(Trucker Huss)

Lodging 'Per Diem' Rates Fall in Many Locales
Excerpt: "Lodging per diem rates set by the U.S. General Services Administration are being revised down in numerous locations for the new federal fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The new rates could impact travel nurse staffing firms and others with employees that travel."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

Statement by the President on National Work and Family Month
Excerpt: "There are steps we can all take to help - implementing practices like telework, paid leave, and alternative work schedules . . . ."
(The White House)

Webcasts and Conferences

"ERISA Workshop" - New York
in New York on November 18, 2010
presented by SunGard Relius

Fundamentals of Employee Benefits Law
in Pennsylvania on April 6, 2011
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension, Profit-Sharing, Welfare, and Other Compensation Plans
in California on March 16, 2011
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Press Releases

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Plan Administrator
for Access Retirement Services (ARS)
in TN

for Freedom One Financial Group
in MI

Retirement Consultant
for Freedom One Financial Group
in MI

Retirement Advisor
for Freedom One Financial Group
in MI

Consultant - Retirement Services
for Bostonian Group
in MA

Operations Specialist
for FiduciaryFirst
in FL

Installation Administrator
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Marketing Assistant
for FiduciaryFirst
in FL

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