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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 19, 2010

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Health Savings Account Answer Book answers over 600 questions in a format that's quick and easy to use. It tells you virtually everything you have to know to profit from HSAs - from how they work, what they offer participants, and how they can benefit employers to helping you determine how well they will fit your company or clients. It answers key questions on all aspects of HSA establishment, administration, and compliance - including rules and penalties, medical coverage, contributions and deductions, distributions, rollovers and transfers, and more.
Sponsored by Aspen Publishers

[Guidance Overview]
How to Calculate FMLA Leave Around the Holidays
Excerpt: "Under the FMLA, leave is calculated in workweek increments. While employers have to deal with fractions of workweeks to keep track of shorter leaves and intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the workweek is always the basic unit. Consequently, 'the fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave.'"
(Franczek Radelet PC)

[Guidance Overview]
Grandfathered Plan Rules as Recently Expanded and Clarified
Excerpt: "The expansion allows for a group health plan to change insurance carriers without a loss of grandfathered status. Rules regarding cost changes, benefits, and disclosures also have been clarified through a series of published 'questions and answers.'"
(Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

Trends in State Mandated Health Insurance Benefits, 2010 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[This] new Policy Trends paper identifies and discusses some of the current mandates we see appearing in the states, such as those for autism, diabetes and various screening tests."
(The Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

U.S. Senators Push Bipartisan State Health Care Waiver
Excerpt: "A Democrat and a Republican teamed up in the U.S. Senate on Thursday to offer legislation that would give states the flexibility to implement their own health care approaches when the federal overhaul goes into full effect in 2014."
(Reuters via Business Insurance)

Insurers and Other Health Care Companies View the Mandate As Law's Bedrock and Source of New Profits
Excerpt: "For insurers, eliminating millions of potential customers while keeping other aspects of the overhaul would be a 'nuclear nightmare,' . . . ."
(Bloomberg Businessweek)

33 Republicans File Brief on Repealing Health Reform
Excerpt: "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 32 other GOP senators officially filed a brief on Thursday in favor of a court case challenging healthcare reform."
(Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.)

Who's to Blame for High Health Care Costs? Study Suggests One Answer
Excerpt: "The study attributed high prices largely to hospital market concentration, though it noted that some hospitals win generous rates largely because prestige makes them 'must-have' providers."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Health Benefit Cost Growth Accelerates to 6.9% in 2010
Excerpt: "Growth in the average total health benefit cost per employee, which had slowed last year to 5.5%, picked up steam, rising 6.9% to $9,562, the biggest increase since 2004, according to the National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, conducted annually by Mercer . . . ."
(Mercer LLC)

What's the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?
Excerpt: "To understand the business case for investing in employee health, we examined existing research and then studied 10 organizations, across a variety of industries, whose wellness programs have systematically achieved measurable results."
(Harvard Business School Publishing)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
2nd Circuit Rules that Companies May Not Indemnify Executives for SOX 304 'Clawback' Liability
Excerpt: "Although the facts in the case involved an indemnification provision in a settlement agreement, the logic of the ruling could extend to indemnification provisions in companies' charter documents and in directors' and officers' liability insurance policies as well."
(McGuireWoods LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Reminder: Reporting Required for Exercise of ISOs, ESPP Options (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "The end is near for a temporary reprieve from reporting exercises of incentive stock options ('ISOs') and options under employee stock purchase plans ('ESPP'). On November 6, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service released final versions of Form 3921 and 3922 on which employers are required to report information relating to the exercise of ISOs and ESPP options."
(Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Widow Loses SERP Benefits Bid
Excerpt: "'The definition of 'spouse' contained in the SERP, on a plain reading, does not apply to Plaintiff. She was not married to Mr. Parr at the time of his retirement and is therefore not entitled to the death benefits as a spouse under the terms of the plan,' Oliver declared in the ruling."

House Sends Federal Telework Bill to Obama
Excerpt: "Members voted 254-152 to pass the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act (H.R. 1722), which requires agencies to determine which employees are eligible to work outside the office, to establish policies allowing them to do so and to inform them of the option."
(Government Executive)

Major League Baseball Close to Expanding Pension Benefits
Excerpt: "Major League Baseball and the players' union are close to an agreement that would close one of the few cracks in baseball's pension plan, providing life annuities and possibly medical coverage for about 870 players who played in the major leagues before 1980 but fell short of the four years' requirement for eligibility."
(Chicago Tribune)

Frederic W. Cook Comments on Shareholder Approval of Executive Compensation and Golden Parachute Arrangements (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "This letter sets forth the comments of Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc. with respect to the proposed rules. Our comments are primarily in the form of responses to seven of the SEC's Requests for Comments. In addition, we have included one additional comment at the end of this letter."
(Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium Atlanta
in Georgia on December 14, 2010
presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium Bridgewater
in New Jersey on December 2, 2010
presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium Chicago
in Illinois on December 9, 2010
presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium Phoenix
in Arizona on December 7, 2010
presented by 401(k) Rekon

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

Election Results-Practical Implications for Benefit Plans
in New York on December 7, 2010
presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network ), New York Chapter

Health Reform Act: What Employers Need to Know Webcast
Nationwide on December 8, 2010
presented by Reish and Reicher

Press Releases

US Labor Department Proposes Rule to Implement Annual Funding Notice Requirement for Pension Plans
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

New Prague Man Indicted for Embezzling Funds from an Employee Benefit Plan
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Relationship Manager
for The Standard
in OR

Retirement Plans Account Manager
for Employee Benefits Consulting Firm
in NY

Participant Service Center Representative
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in MA, NJ

Account Manager
for Lincoln Financial Group
in IL, IN

Client Service Professional
for Professional Capital Services, LLC
in PA

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