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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 3, 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]
Interim Final Regulation Implementing the PPACA Medical Loss Ratio Rules
Excerpt: "HHS has oversight and enforcement authority over the MLR reporting and rebate provisions, including but not limited to, the requirement to submit timely reports and the requirement to report data in compliance with the requirements. HHS also has the authority to audit issuers to determine compliance with reporting and rebating requirements."
(SNR Denton)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Distributes Small Business Health Credit Guidance
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."
(PLANSPONSOR.COM)

[Guidance Overview]
Policies and Practices on Lactation Breaks Must Reflect the PPACA
Excerpt: "An employer's duties with respect to nursing mothers vary significantly from state to state. For example, a voluntary program in Texas allows employers to be designated as 'Mother-Friendly,' but does not mandate breaks."
(Employee Benefit News; one-time free registration required)

Health and OPEB Funding Strategies: 2010 National Survey of Local Governments
Excerpt: "The 2010 survey report . . . provides detailed insight into the response to GASB Statement No. 45 and maps the strategies local governments have implemented and plan to implement to address health care costs."
(National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems)

What does the Report of the Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs Mean for Health Policy?
Excerpt: "The Co-chairs of the President's Commission presented a number of policy proposals aimed primarily at reducing the growth spending on Medicare and Medicaid. Given the size of the two programs, some of these changes may impact health care spending patterns in the private economy, but many will simply shift costs to other payers. Few, if any, proposals would address the underlying growing demand for services triggered by an aging population and a long term care system that relies on private savings."
(National Academy of Social Insurance)

Q&A Discussing the Changes that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Will Have on Employee Benefits Industry (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The comments we hear from our clients consistently [are] 'how do we comply with something that has so little guidance' and'which requirements will still be in effect in 2014?' In today's political environment, it is very uncertain how [HHS] regulations will impact employers. [Originally published in the November 19-25, 2010, issue of the Atlanta Business Chronicle as part of the article 'Big changes on the horizon for employee benefits.']"
(Swerdlin & Company)

State Health Care Reform Update as of December 2010
Excerpt: "With the passage of federal health care reform, states will have increasing responsibilities in regard to employer-provided health insurance benefits."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Benefits Expert Speaks on Managing Health Costs for 2011
Excerpt: "Fixing the broken health care system requires a three-pronged approach: Employers must comprehend the enormous value of the wellness impact; use sophisticated financial modeling and analytics to make wise benefit decisions; and advocate for employees and dependents as they navigate often complex benefit issues."
(Employee Benefit News; one-time free registration required)

Financial Incentives in Wellness Programs Paying Off, According to Report
Excerpt: "For the second year in a row, medical plan cost increases in 2010 were about two percentage points lower, on average, among employers with extensive health management programs than among those employers offering limited or no health management programs . . . ."
(Employee Benefit Adviser; one-time free registration required)

Employer-Based Health Coverage Declined Sharply Over Past Decade
Excerpt: "The rise in the uninsured population is the result of a decline in private health coverage -- primarily in employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), which has been occurring for a number of years but accelerated sharply in 2009."
(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Study Proves That Online Chronic Condition Program Offers Patients a Return on Investment and Enhances Ability to Self Manage Health Conditions
Excerpt: "The study, which took place over the course of five years, analyzed data of members who participated in HealthMedia CARE for Your Health, an online digital health coaching program designed to teach participants the skills they need to help manage any chronic condition."
(Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association)

Fiscal Commission's Recommendations on Health Care Spending
Excerpt: "The plan has six major components .... (#3 is) Health Care Cost Containment: Replace the phantom savings from scheduled Medicare reimbursement cuts that will never materialize and from a new long-term care program that is unsustainable with real, common-sense reforms to physician payments, cost-sharing, malpractice law, prescription drug costs, government-subsidized medical education, and other sources. Institute additional long-term measures to bring down spending growth."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)




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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Employee Transfers to and from Foreign Countries Raise Retirement and Tax Issues
Excerpt: "When transferring employees, a frequent question is whether or not to treat an individual as a local hire - subject to local compensation, benefits and national programs - or be kept on the initial employer payroll and benefits."
(Employee Benefit News; one-time free registration required)

Employee Ownership Update for December 2, 2010
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen discusses the following: The NCEO has published its annual update of employee ownership in large public companies, the most detailed analysis of its kind. Whether companies must pay dividends on unvested restricted stock is a matter of state law and corporate documents. ISS issued its 2011 policy guidelines, including a policy encouraging companies to hold annual say-on-pay votes for management. More and more ESOP companies use 'kaizen' management.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)


Webcasts and Conferences

Hybrid Plans: Final and Proposed Regulations Make Reconsideration Timely
Nationwide on December 7, 2010
presented by Buck Consultants


Press Releases

Mobile Fee Benchmarking App Announced
RidgeWorth Investments

Paul, Weiss Releases 2010 Study of Largest U.S. Strategic Mergers
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Focus on Workplace Flexibility
Workplace Flexibility 2010


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

DC/DB Administrator
for Benetech, Inc.
in CA, GA, IL

401(k) Service Rep
for Nassau County Firm
in NY




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