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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 8, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Additional Guidance on the Annual Limit Waiver Process
Excerpt: "Waiver applications are due 30 days before the beginning of the plan year for which the waiver is sought. Consequently, waivers applications for 2011 calendar-year plans must already have been submitted. However, plan sponsors must apply each year, so this guidance should be reviewed when waiver applications are prepared for the 2012 plan year."
(The Segal Group, Inc.)

Looking at Voluntary Coverage Offerings Such As Hospital Indemnity Plans
Excerpt: "Although [recent] circumstances would seem to present the perfect opportunity to cross-sell hospital indemnity and other voluntary benefits, in Michigan and other states across the country some carriers are beginning to put restrictions on plans designed to reduce the impact of high-deductible major medical plans."
(Employee Benefit News; one-time free registration required)

Some Employers Offer Wellness Programs to Cut Health Costs
Excerpt: "The idea sounds simple -- just make people healthier and insurance claims will go down. But that's more easily said than done. Human resources managers debate how much they can impose health-related requirements on employees amid concerns of privacy, overreaching and discrimination."
(Los Angeles Times)

222 Mini-Med Health Plan Sponsors Approved for Waivers
Excerpt: "The waivers are effective for a year and were granted to insurance plans and companies that showed employee premiums would rise significantly or that workers would lose coverage without them."
(PLANSPONSOR.COM)

An Analysis of Health Savings Account Balances, Contributions, and Withdrawals in 2009 (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "This report provides an update of the basic characteristics of HSA accounts. The first section discusses the methodology of the data request. The second section shows the number of HSA accounts represented in the study, including the length of time open, single and family account data, and the average age of account holders. The third section shows average balances, contributions, and withdrawals."
(America's Health Insurance Plans)

[Opinion]
Testimony on Behalf of American Benefits Council before DOL Regarding Health and Welfare Plan Fees (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "As we think about how the 408(b)(2) regulations would apply to health and welfare plans, we recommend that insurance companies issuing insurance be excluded from the definition of covered service providers. In this type of situation, the insurer is merely receiving a premium for services described in the insurance contract. When considering if other health and welfare plan service providers should be included as covered service providers, we suggest that the Department evaluate whether disclosure will enhance the process of negotiating reasonable services arrangements."
(American Benefits Council)




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]
Relief for Payments Conditioned on Executing Releases and for § 409A Correction Programs (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "If you are unsure if your documents or procedures need corrections, prompt attention is advisable, as certain of the transition rules for corrections end on December 31, 2010."
(Charles C. Shulman, Esq.)

[Guidance Overview]
Dodd-Frank Compensation Clawbacks: Key Issues and Action Items for Corporate Counsel (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "There are a number of steps that corporate counsel can take now to begin the process of implementing the Dodd-Frank Act clawback requirement: Take inventory of clawback provisions already in place and identify areas in which the clawback provisions would be insufficient under the statutory Dodd-Frank Act requirements."
(Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Guidance Expanding and Modifying 409A Correction Program and New Reporting Requirements for Stock Transfers under ISOs and ESPPs (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The new rules require filing Form 3921, Exercise of an Incentive Stock Option Under Section 422(b), or Form 3922, Transfer of Stock Acquired Through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan Under Section 423(c). The appropriate form must be filed with the IRS and provided to the employee no later than January 31 of the year following the year in which the transfer occurs in order to avoid penalties. In other words, for any such transfers taking place in 2010, the deadline is January 31, 2011."
(Bryan Cave LLP)

The Effects of Marital Property Rights, Alimony, Child Support, and Domestic Relations Orders on Top-Hat Plans, Excess Benefit Plans, and Bonus Plans
Excerpt: "Administrators of Top-Hat Plans (other than unfunded excess benefit plans) who make benefit payments contrary to the plan terms (which may require deference to a QDRO or to a disclaimer in a domestic relations order) may, like all ERISA plan administrators, be liable to make double payments - the one to the wrong person and the one to the correct person - and possibly have to pay the attorney fees of the person entitled to such payment."
(Social Science Research Network)

Minimizing Liability for Company Holiday Parties
Excerpt: "Holding true to the maxim that 'no good deed goes unpunished,' employers may face liability for the conduct of employees who become intoxicated during office parties and thereafter behave inappropriately or illegally."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)


Webcasts and Conferences

Health Reform for Non-Major Medical Plans: Special Issues for Health FSAs, HRAs, and Others
Nationwide on December 2, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters


Press Releases

PBGC Moves to Protect North General Hospital Pension Plan
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

401(k) Asset Allocation and Participant Age in 2009
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Compliance Manager
for Retirement Alliance
in NH

Compliance Consultant
for Retirement Alliance
in NH

Marketing Director
for Privately Held Insurance Brokerage Firm
in NY

Benefits Consultant
for Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc.
in NY

Senior Benefits Analyst
for Benefits Consulting Group/TPA in Va.
in VA

Senior Consulting Support Specialist
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA

Systems Coordinator - Database
for Ascensus
in WI

Director Ė Pension Sales
for Trinity Pension Consultants, Inc.
in OH




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