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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 5, 2010

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This new book will help benefits professionals and plan sponsors make a smooth transition under the health care reform legislation enacted in March 2010. The unique guide offers answers to more than 500 questions that benefits professionals are asking. Get the information you need to implement the reform mandates! Learn More.

[Official Guidance]
Notice of Hearings: Reasonable Contracts or Arrangements for Welfare Benefit Plans (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Notice is hereby given that the [EBSA] will hold a hearing to consider issues relating to the disclosure of fee, conflict of interest and other information by service providers to group health, disability, severance and other employee welfare benefit plans under section 408(b)(2) of [ERISA]."
(U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

DOL Schedules Welfare Plan Disclosure Hearing
Excerpt: "Those interested in presenting testimony and answering questions at the hearing must submit, by 3:30 p.m. (EST) November. 17, 2010, the information specified in the notice."

Experts Weigh in on What Mid-Term Changes in Congress Mean for HR
Excerpt: "Republicans in Congress may fight against healthcare [by] stalling when it comes time for appropriating money for enforcing new healthcare regulations and arguing over the details of the measure."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

The Effect of Health Care Reform Legislation on Prescription Drug Prices (PDF)
Excerpt: "Given the intricacy of the mechanisms for setting drug prices and the numerous features of the health care legislation that affected those prices, CBO's estimates of the effects of the legislation on drug prices were necessarily uncertain. The actual effects could be larger or smaller than CBO estimated."
(U.S. Congressional Budget Office)

Opinion Leaders in Health Care Policy and Delivery Want Uniform All-Payer Rates, Salaried Physician Practice
Excerpt: "The current health care payment rate setting method is a 'complex system in which public and private health insurers each engage independently with multiple health care providers to negotiate or set payment rates with hospitals and physicians,' the survey noted."
(Wolters Kluwer)

New Form Required for Early Retiree Health Reimbursement
Excerpt: "Organizations that haven't yet applied to participate in a government program that will provide partial reimbursement of claims incurred by enrollees in their early retiree health care plans will have to use a new application form starting next week . . . ."
(Business Insurance)

CT Scans Cut Lung Cancer Deaths, Study Finds
Excerpt: "Annual CT scans of current and former heavy smokers reduced their risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent . . . . Even more surprising, the scans seem to reduce the risks of death from other causes as well . . . ."
(The New York Times; free registration required)

Employers Seek to Put Reform Law-Linked 'Triggers' into Collectively Bargained Plans
Excerpt: "Employers are seeking to insert 'triggers' into labor contracts allowing renegotiations when certain reform-law-linked events or cost hikes occur, and some unions are resisting that . . . ."

Fighting Cold and Flu Season in the Workplace
Excerpt: "Better Business Bureau recommends that business owners take a few simple steps to prevent illnesses from spreading and promote productivity throughout the workplace."
(Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.)

As Companies Roll Out Benefits, There's No Free Lunch
Excerpt: "Employers estimate that the additional coverage will add about 2 percent to costs, on top of the general rise in healthcare spending. Depending on the company (and the survey), premiums are rising around 8 percent next year."

Letters to the Editor: Big Insurance, Big Medicine and Big Headaches, Too
Letters regarding the WSJ editorial: 'Big Insurance, Big Medicine' (Review & Outlook, Oct. 26).
(The Wall Street Journal)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Congressional Bills Intended to Clarify Independent Contractor Status Would Instead Create Confusion for Employers
Excerpt: "The need for federal legislation in the area of misclassification is hard to argue against. The one witness that testified in a critical manner about EMPA at the Senate hearing this past June did not suggest that federal legislation is not needed. Rather, he criticized the size of the proposed penalties for misclassification, the nature of the record-keeping requirements, the language of the proposed notice to be given to all workers, and the potential that the anti-retaliation provision could reward unethical conduct."
(Pepper Hamilton LLP)

Economic Policy Institute to Preview New 'State of Working America' Report Online
Excerpt: "EPI's latest edition of The State of Working America (SWA) will be published online in January. In the weeks leading up to the publication, EPI will preview some of SWA's core research on income, wealth, poverty, wages, and employment."
(Economic Policy Institute)

Take This Quiz on Age and the Workplace
Excerpt: "Take the following quiz about age and work to help differentiate between myth and fact."
(Los Angeles Newspaper group)

Webcasts and Conferences

Examination and Enforcement
in California on November 16, 2010
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference, San Diego Chapter

Hearing on Disclosure of Fees and Expenses to Welfare Benefit Plan Fiduciaries
in District of Columbia on December 7, 2010
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Press Releases

Penmac Staffing Now Employee-Owned
Penmac Staffing Services, Inc.

Award-Winning Author Delivers an Important Contribution to Investment Literature
Winans International Investment Management & Research

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Administrator
for Retirement, LLC
in OK

401(k) Administrator/Accountant
for Stoel Rives LLP
in OR

Where the best employers find the best candidates!

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