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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 30, 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]
Updates on the Mental Health Parity Act and on COBRA Benefits
Excerpt: "The most significant points about complying with the Mental Health Parity Act and an update on the COBRA benefits -- as modified by the economic-stimulus act -- are summarized [in this item]."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

Funding Savings Needed for Health Expenses for Persons Eligible for Medicare (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "This report updates earlier modeling by EBRI on the level of savings needed for health care expenses in retirement. Some prior estimates have been significantly revised down as a result of changes to Medicare Part D cost sharing that will be phased in by 2020 due to recently enacted health reform."
(Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Senate Rejects Amendments to Repeal Health Bill's Form 1099 Rules
Excerpt: "The Senate rejects two amendments that would have fully repealed tougher Form 1099 information reporting requirements put in place by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
(Tax Management Inc.)

Business Groups Make 'Wish List' for Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Business groups are hopeful that the results of the recent election will mean an opportunity for improvement in the national health reform law."

State of South Dakota Launches Web Site on Federal Health Reform Provisions
Excerpt: "The Sioux Falls ArgusLeader reports that was designed as a resource for consumers, employers and stakeholders in the health care industry."

Industry Groups Urge Delays, Safe Harbors for Applying Nondiscrimination Rules to Insured Plans
Excerpt: "Extending nondiscrimination rules to nongrandfathered insured group health plans as required by the health reform law will create challenges, particularly for executive and international plans, stakeholder groups say. Responding to an IRS request for comments, the groups note problems with existing nondiscrimination rules that apply to self-insured plans, and point out additional difficulties in applying those rules to insured plans."
(Mercer LLC)

Senate Widens Its Probe of Bare-Bones Health Plans
Excerpt: "What started as a probe into McDonald's Corp.'s insurance plan for store workers is expanding into broad scrutiny of 'mini-med' policies that could ensnare large mini-med carriers including Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. Congressional investigators are taking a close look at the two carriers and culling insurance policy data on a range of large and small employers, a Senate aide said."
(The Wall Street Journal)

In New Insurance Model, Costs Are Based on Value of the Treatment
Excerpt: "The idea [is] that consumers' out-of-pocket medical costs should be based on the value of a medical service to their health rather than its price. Although still relatively rare, the model is garnering increasing attention among employers, insurers and policy experts."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Embracing Incentives for Efficient Health Care .
Excerpt: "Spurred by incentives in the federal health-overhaul law, hospitals and doctors around the country are beginning to create new entities that aim to provide more efficient health care. But these efforts are already raising questions about whether they can truly save money, or if they might actually drive costs higher."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Health Law Faces Threat of Undercut from Courts
Excerpt: "Although administration officials remain confident that it is constitutionally valid to compel people to obtain health insurance, they also acknowledge that [the judge's] preliminary opinions and comments could presage the first ruling against the law."
(The New York Times; one-time registration required)

HHS Regulations on Medical Loss Ratio Requirements
Excerpt: "An advance copy has been released of interim final regulations implementing health care reform provisions regarding medical loss ratio . . . requirements for health insurers."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

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]
Eleventh Circuit Rules on Valuation of RSUs Under Section 409A Plan
Excerpt: "A recent Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision concerning the valuation date of restricted stock units ('RSUs') to be paid in cash demonstrates the importance of not just amending documents to technically comply with new legal requirements, but also to focus on the ramifications of implementing them. This client alert provides a summary of the case and its implications for employers."
(Proskauer Rose LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Plaintiff's Section 502(a)(3) Claim Prevails Over Varity-Based Defense
Excerpt: "This recent district court opinion addresses several recurring issues about available civil remedies under ERISA. The facts involve a 'top hat' plan which is essentially a supplemental retirement benefit plan. The issues were presented in the context of a motion to dismiss."
(Roy Harmon III via Health Plan Law)

Quick Reference Guide to Equity Compensation
This is a quick reference guide to the rules governing equity compensation in the U.S. It is composed of four double-sided 8.5 x 11-inch laminated sheets (eight pages in all). It was originally created for our CEP Institute Exam Prep Course, where it is one of several components. (However, the version sold separately is not for CEPI students, who should rely on the Quick Reference Guide that comes with our Prep Course and is coordinated with the CEP texts.)
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

New Edition of An Introduction to ESOPs
The NCEO just released a new edition of its bestseller, An Introduction to ESOPs. This short, inexpensive book explains the rules, uses, and benefits of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). It is useful as an introduction to the subject, as an accompaniment to a full-length book related to ESOPs, or as a concise reference for lay people. It is often bought in quantity to hand out to potential ESOP companies, ESOP participants, or board members. You can download a PDF sample of the book.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Press Releases

Charleston Man Sentenced For Embezzling From Employee Benefit Plan
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Manager, Conversions
for The Newport Group
in NC

Employee Benefit Attorney With ESOP Experience
for Chang, Ruthenberg & Long PC
in CA

Senior Marketing Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors

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