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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 2, 2010

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[Official Guidance]
2010 IRS Form 8941: 'Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums' (PDF)
1 page.
(U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Official Guidance]
Text of Instructions for 2010 IRS Form 8941: 'Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums' (PDF)
8 pages. Includes table showing 'State Average Premiums for Small Group Markets.'
(U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Press Release: 'IRS Helps Small Employers Claim New Health Care Tax Credit'
Excerpt: "The new guidance addresses small business questions about which firms qualify for the credit by clarifying that a broad range of employers meet the eligibility requirements, including religious institutions that provide coverage through denominational organizations, small employers that cover their workers through insured multiemployer health and welfare plans, and employers that subsidize their employees' health care costs through a broad range of contribution arrangements. . . . Tax-exempt organizations will first use Form 8941 to figure their refundable credit, and then claim the credit on Line 44f of Form 990-T. Though primarily filed by those organizations liable for the tax on unrelated business income, Form 990-T will also be used by any eligible tax-exempt organization to claim the credit, regardless of whether they are subject to this tax."
(U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Notice 2010-82: 'Section 45R - Tax Credit for Employee Health Insurance Expenses of Small Employers' (PDF)
19 pages. Excerpt: "Section 45R of the Internal Revenue Code . . . offers a tax credit to certain small employers that provide health insurance coverage to their employees. The credit is available for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009. . . . Notice 2010-44 [provided] guidance on § 45R as in effect for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2014, including transition relief for taxable years beginning in 2010 with respect to the requirements for a qualifying arrangement under § 45R. This notice expands on the guidance provided in Notice 2010-44 and provides guidance on additional issues relating to the small employer tax credit."
(U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2009
Excerpt: "The authors describe how health reform offers the potential to reduce insurance cost growth while improving value and protection. If reforms succeed in slowing premium growth by 1 percentage point annually in all states, by 2020 employers and families together will save $2,323 annually for family coverage, compared with projected trends."
(The Commonwealth Fund)

Findings from the 2010 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (PDF)
44 pages. Excerpt: "[Consumer-driven health plan] enrollees were more likely than traditional plan enrollees to report that they had the opportunity to fill out a health risk assessment, and equally likely to report that they had access to a health promotion program."
(Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Rate Review: Spotlight on State Efforts to Make Health Insurance More Affordable
Excerpt: "The study . . . provides summaries of relevant laws and regulations [that currently govern the review process for health insurance rates] in all 50 states, and current authorities are summarized in a new sortable table on the Foundation's site."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Limited Health Plans' Pros and Cons Discussed at Hearing
Excerpt: "[S]ome consumer advocates say individuals may sometimes be better off if they have no insurance at all. If they are uninsured, they may qualify for deeply discounted or even free charity care from the hospital, which they might not get if they had some kind of coverage."
(The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Report Finds Health Premiums Surged 41% from 2003 to 2009
Excerpt: "Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased an average of 41 percent across states from 2003 to 2009, more than three times faster than median incomes . . . . The report, which presents a state-by-state analysis of private employer health insurance costs for those six years, found that by 2009, the 10 jurisdictions with the highest annual total premiums included the District [of Columbia] and Maryland."
(The Washington Post; free registration required)

Senators Attack McDonald's Health Plan
Excerpt: "Senate Democrats accused McDonald's Corp. of offering hourly workers a bad deal on health insurance, prompting a strong defense from a top McDonald's executive who disclosed fresh details about the chain's benefits. The exchanges came at a hearing Wednesday that was part of a Senate committee investigation into 'mini-med' insurance policies . . . ."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Federal Judge Rules Against Sonoma County, California, Public Retirees
Excerpt: "The Sonoma County Association of Retired Employees claimed in a lawsuit last year that the county reneged on a contractual promise in 2008 when it began forcing retirees to pay an increasing share of premium costs. The rollback, which also affects current employees and eventually will reduce county contributions to retiree health care to $500 a month, went against previous county pledges to pay 'substantially all of the cost' of employee medical benefits during retirement, the association claimed."
(The Press Democrat)

Saving the Savings Clause: Advocating a Broader Reading of the Miller Test to Enable States to Protect ERISA Health Plan Members by Regulating Insurance
Excerpt: "ERISA's broad preemption of state laws relating to employee benefit plans, with regard to health plans in particular, prevents states from regulating these plans even though ERISA itself provides almost no substantive regulation of their provisions. This has permitted insurance companies to largely control the terms of ERISA health benefit plans that provide coverage through the purchase of insurance."
(Social Science Research Network)

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

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Survey Finds a Balance of Work and Personal Time during Holidays
Excerpt: "American workers plan to juggle work and play by staying connected to the office while they simultaneously celebrate the season, according to a holiday Omnibus survey from Adecco Staffing US."

Present Law and Historical Overview of the Federal Tax System
74 pages. Excerpt: "The Senate Committee on Finance has scheduled a public hearing on December 2, 2010, on 'Tax Reform: Historical Trends in Income and Revenue.' This document . . . provides a summary of the Federal tax system, briefly describes its historical development over the period of time beginning in 1975, and provides an appendix of selected historical data on Federal tax rates, Federal tax receipts, components of adjusted gross income, and other features of the Federal tax system."
(U.S. Congress, The Joint Committee on Taxation)

Is the Reduction in Older Workers' Job Tenure a Cause for Concern?
Excerpt: "Using data from the Health and Retirement Study . . ., we analyze trends in voluntary, pressured, and forced quits and risk factors associated with each type of quit. We show that leaving one's age-50 job between ages 50 and 56 in any of the above circumstances more than doubles the likelihood that an individual will be working part-time at age 60, relative to a base case of working full-time."
(Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (PDF)
66 pages. Excerpt: "In establishing this Commission, the President gave us a two-part mission: to bring the budget into primary balance (balance excluding interest costs) in 2015, and to meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook. Our recommendations accomplish both of these goals, while keeping . . . core principles in mind . . . ."
(The White House)

Webcasts and Conferences

Roth Conversions - A Yearend Look
Nationwide on December 14, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Three Wise Men From The IRS
in New York on December 16, 2010
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of NY

Press Releases

Executive of Dayton Tool and Die Company Sentenced for Embezzlement of Employee Pension Funds
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

“Consumer-Driven” Health Enrollment Reached 22 Million in 2010
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

ASPPA Warns NCFRR Report Threatens Workers’ Retirement Security
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

ASPPA Releases Findings from Third Party Administrator (TPA) Owners Survey
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Administrators
for Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm
in NJ

Retirement Plan Administrator/Account Representative
for Tax Sheltered Compensation, Inc. (TSC)
in MN

Retirement Plan Analyst
for Milliman, Inc.
in NY

Implementation Mgr - RP
for The Standard
in OR

Client Relationship Manager
for PensionTrend, Inc.
in MI

Benefits Project Director
for Taft-Hartley Funds
in CA

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