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December 15, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Constitutionality of Individual Insurance Mandate in Health Care Reform Law
Excerpt: "While acknowledging the federal government's argument that those who fail to purchase insurance often end up obtaining medical care financed by others, and that the elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions contained in the PPACA would be economically nonviable without the individual mandate, [the district judge] concluded that none of the prior precedents permit Congress to regulate nonaction under the guise of regulating activity affecting interstate commerce."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)

U.S. to Appeal Federal District Court Health Ruling
Excerpt: "The Justice Department said it would appeal a decision invalidating a core provision of the federal health-care overhaul, the next skirmish in a constitutional struggle likely to reach the Supreme Court before the 2012 presidential election."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Ruling Has Some Mulling the Necessity of Mandating Health Insurance
Excerpt: "In the wake of the decision Monday, which held that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, some lawmakers and some consumer advocates are investigating possible alternatives. . . . One alternative to the individual mandate would create financial incentives for people to buy insurance. For example, health policy experts said, insurers could offer discounts to people who sign up early, and they could increase premiums for people who delay enrollment."
(The New York Times; one-time registration required)

The Health Care Law Under the Judicial Knife: Some Early Reactions
Excerpt: "The district court judge's ruling conflicts with that of other courts [and is] inconsistent with Supreme Court decisions concerning the commerce clause. Under Supreme Court precedents, Congress can regulate economic activity which taken cumulatively has a substantial effect on interstate commerce."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Obesity Can Exacerbate Workplace Injuries, According to Study
Excerpt: "Injuries sustained by obese workers often require substantially more medical care and are more likely to become permanent disabilities than similar injuries suffered by employees who are not obese, a study released Monday found."
(Business Insurance)

Insurance Benefits Costs for Employers in Private Industry, September 2010
Excerpt: "Average costs in private industry for insurance benefits were $2.24 per hour worked, or 8.0 percent of total compensation in September 2010. . . . Insurance benefits include life, health, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance."
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

PPACA's Financial Impact Is a Head-Scratcher for Employers
Excerpt: "U.S. employers believe that managing the changes resulting from health care reform is a critical business issue, yet few organizations have conducted a full analysis of the legislation's financial impact, according to a new report from Ernst & Young."
(Employee Benefit News; one-time free registration required)

CRS Report Details Regs Issued Since Passage of Health Overhaul
Excerpt: "The Congressional Research Service issued a new report examining the processes followed in the development of the new rules put in place since the passage of the health overhaul."
(Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

No Health Mandate Means Skyrocketing Costs, Says AHIP
Excerpt: "Eliminating the mandate undercuts insurers' ability under the law to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and to lower cost for those who can't afford to buy plans, said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the Washington lobby group America's Health Insurance Plans."
(Business Insurance)

Senate Backs Vote on Tax Bill Affecting Employer-Provided Benefits
Excerpt: "Legislation that would extend the tax-favored status of several employer-provided benefits, including educational assistance and child care facilities, survived a key test Monday when the Senate agreed to stop debate, setting the stage for a final vote, most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday."
(Business Insurance)

[Opinion]
Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition
Excerpt: "Today, the supposed threat to free enterprise is a law that's broader, if less radical, than Medicare: the bill Congress passed this year to create a system of privately run health insurance for everyone. On Monday, a federal judge ruled part of the law to be unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court will probably need to settle the matter in the end. We've lived through a version of this story before, and not just with Medicare. Nearly every time this country has expanded its social safety net or tried to guarantee civil rights, passionate opposition has followed."
(The New York Times; one-time registration required)




Sessions by: Whirlpool, Office Depot, State of Missouri, INTEL, Time Warner, Inc., CDC (DHHS), St. Louis Co., Manatee Schools, City of Clearwater, Univ of Michigan, Mayo Clinic, Pinellas Co., St.Johns Schools, Quad Graphics/Quad Med, Athens-Clarke Co., City of Sarasota, Univ. of Iowa, Natíl Business Group on Health, Ironworkers Funds, Univ. of South Florida, Workers Comp Research Institute, Univ. of Minnesota, NCH Healthcare System, Update on Health Reform...and more sessions. Best Value in Health Benefits Continuing Education (HBCE) - highest quality and modest registration: $275 - $345. SHRM and other CE credits. www.HBCE.com Phone 941-484-1430 or Email: info@HBCE.com

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
IRS's Additional 409A Correction Relief
Excerpt: "The new relief makes action to correct Section 409A errors by December 31, 2010, more attractive by eliminating the employee information reporting requirement. Employers also should consider reviewing plans and taking advantage of the new guidance to correct payment arrangements that are contingent upon the execution of a release. The new relief gives employers an additional transition period to identify and address this issue without adverse tax consequences under Section 409A."
(Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)

[Guidance Overview]
More Code § 409A Correction Guidance Is Issued
Excerpt: "Notice 2010-80 modifies Notice 2010-6 by clarifying that certain linked plans with plan document failures are eligible for relief otherwise provided under Notice 2010-6, provided that the link between the plans merely changes the amount payable under the plan, but not the time or form of payment."
(Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)

A Progress Report on G.ay Employee Health Benefits
Excerpt: "A growing number of companies are covering the extra costs that same-s.ex couples pay for domestic partner benefits -- and even more companies are thinking about it. So [here is a chart] to keep track of who is doing what . . . ."
(The New York Times; one-time registration required)

What Kind of Benefits Does Congress Really Get?
Excerpt: "Congressional retirement and health care benefits are indeed generous by the standards of many workers, but far less lavish than critics claim. For the most part, benefits for Congress are similar to those of any federal employee, although there are differences."
(AARP)


Webcasts and Conferences

"ERPA Test Review - Part 1" Web Seminar
Nationwide on January 5, 2011
presented by SunGard Relius

"ERPA Test Review - Part 2" Web Seminar
Nationwide on January 12, 2011
presented by SunGard Relius

"Multiple Employer Plans: Perils and Possibilities" Web Seminar
Nationwide on January 11, 2011
presented by SunGard Relius

"Plan Fees Workshop: Navigating the Maze" - January-February 2011, 18 Cities
Nationwide on January 20, 2011
presented by SunGard Relius

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium San Diego, CA
in California on January 11, 2011
presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Service Provider Compensation: Navigating the Required DOL and Schedule C Disclosures
Nationwide on December 14, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Washington Update: A New Congress and New Priorities after Mid-Term Elections
in Michigan on December 20, 2010
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Detroit

Whoís a Tax Dependent Now? Compliance for Employer Plans After Health Care Reform
Nationwide on January 13, 2011
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters


Press Releases

Paycheck Comparison and State Retirement Plans Web Calculators
Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc.

CPI Presents First Retirement Academy Conference
CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc.


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Client Service Plan Administrator
for San Diego Pension Consultants
in CA

Trust Plan Administration Assistant
for American National Bank of Texas Trust
in TX

Compliance Specialist
for Ascensus
in PA

Sr. Client Service Manager
for Principal Financial Group
in WI

DC Administrator
for Heritage Pension Advisors, LLC
in NY

DC Valuations Specialist
for PenSys, Inc
in CA

Product Specialist
for Pentegra Retirement Services
in NY




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