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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 22, 2010

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[Official Guidance]
Text of Proposed HHS Regulation on Disclosure of Proposed Health Insurance Premium Increases (PDF)
136 pages. Excerpt: "The proposed rule would establish a rate review program to ensure that all rate increases that meet or exceed an established threshold are reviewed by a State or HHS to determine whether the rate increases are unreasonable."
(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

U.S. Proposes Rules on Raising Health Insurance Premiums
Excerpt: "Under the rule issued Tuesday, insurers seeking increases of 10 percent or more in the individual or small-group market next year must publicly disclose the planned increases and the justifications for them."
(The New York Times; one-time registration required)

[Guidance Overview]
Additional HHS Guidance on Mini-Med Health Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "HHS has issued two additional pieces of sub-regulatory guidance relating to waivers of PPACA's restrictions on plans and issuers imposing annual dollar limits on essential health benefits. The guidance includes the notice that plans and issuers granted a waiver must provide to participants and subscribers and sets out the limited circumstances under which issuers receiving waivers may sell new policies that do not comply with PPACA's annual dollar limit restrictions."
(Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]
More Clarity on Restrictions That Apply to 'Mini-Med' Waivers
Excerpt: "Following up on the requirement that plans or issuers must inform eligible participants and subscribers of the fact that a waiver was obtained and the plan or policy does not meet the minimum annual limits requirements for essential health benefits, the DHHS also released Supplemental Guidance on Transparency."
(Deloitte via

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Medical Loss Ratio Regulations Providing Special Accommodations for Mini-Med and Expatriate Plans
Excerpt: "For 2011, these regulations provide some relief to these insurers of mini-med and expatriate plans, requiring accelerated data collection and reporting, as well as accommodating plans with a special methodology for calculating MLR."
(Towers Watson)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Model Participant Notice for Limited Benefit or Mini-Med Plans That Are Granted Waiver from PPACA's Restricted Annual Dollar Limit Requirements
Excerpt: "Timing: This new HHS guidance applies immediately. As a reminder, waiver applications generally must be submitted not less than 30 days before the beginning of the plan or policy year (e.g., by December 1, 2010, for calendar-year plans)."
(Towers Watson)

Expert Believes Employers Should Focus on Five Benefits Strategies 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)

Massachusetts Announces 2011 Health Coverage Penalties
Excerpt: "The penalties for individuals between 150.1% and 300% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) are equal to half the cost of the lowest priced Commonwealth Care enrollee premium as of January 1, 2011."

Hidden Legal Risk of Employee Wellness Plans for a Business
Excerpt: "From an ERISA standpoint, the most perilous voluntary plan design is one that is partially compensated by the organization, even when workers pay the bulk of the cost."
(Employee Wellness Plans)

Web-Based Program on Best Practices and Innovative Healthcare Reform Models
Excerpt: "This interactive publication from the American Journal of Managed Care . . . reviews healthcare practice models and concepts such as value-based insurance design, patient-centered medical homes, integrated delivery systems, and pay-for-performance; it also discusses their role and application in healthcare reform."
(Managed Care & Healthcare Communications, LLC)

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

[Guidance Overview]
Employers Face New ISO, ESPP Reporting Responsibilities in Early 2011
Excerpt: "Many employers maintaining incentive stock option (ISO) arrangements or Section 423 employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) must begin using new IRS forms in early 2011 for transactions occurring in 2010."
(Mercer LLC)

[Guidance Overview]
Impact of the 2010 Tax Relief Act on Stock Compensation and Year-End Financial Planning
Excerpt: "[This article addresses eight key points related to equity compensation and year-end planning]. Also included are the long-awaited AMT income exemption amounts for 2010 (and 2011), which were part of in the tax bill passed by Congress on Dec. 16."
(, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
ISS FAQs on Shareholder Say on Parachute Payments
Excerpt: "[M]any companies have decided not to include the golden parachute vote in their 2011 annual meeting proxy statements because of the unnecessary attention that vote could draw from ISS. ISS confirms its position on this matter in its [FAQs that were updated on December 14.]"
(Michael S. Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
ISS FAQs on 2011 SSOP Voting and Other Executive Compensation Issues
Excerpt: "[One of the FAQs is:] In the event that a company's board decides not to adopt the say on pay vote frequency supported by a plurality of the votes cast, what are the implications in terms of ISS' voting recommendations at subsequent meetings? [The ISS answer is:] This policy has not been determined. The policy will be decided after review of the first year of voting results and after consultation with ISS's clients, and will be included in the policy updates for 2012."
(Michael S. Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Transit Pass Requirements Postponed Until 2012
Excerpt: "As with the prior extensions the Notice states that, notwithstanding the new January 1, 2012 effective date, employers and employees may rely on Revenue Ruling 2006-57 for transactions that occur before that date."
(Deloitte via

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Delays Effective Date of Electronic Payment Card Guidance for Transit Expenses Until 2012
Excerpt: "This delayed effective date is good news for third-party administrators and employers offering qualified transportation fringe benefit plans where local transit systems are still not in compliance with the technological requirements for vouchers (presumably, the need for single-purpose cards or cards with separate 'purses' for transit versus parking expenses)."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Text of the Report, 'Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2010-2014'
Excerpt: "Each report contains a discussion of the concept of tax expenditures, identification of new tax expenditures enacted into law, a general explanation on how the Staff measures tax expenditures, estimates of tax expenditures, and distributions of selected individual tax expenditures by income class."
(U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation)

Summary of 2011 Payroll Tax and Rates Limits and Filing Deadlines (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Maximum Social Security Employee Withholding: $6,621.60 (2010); $4,485.60 (2011)"
(Lindquist LLP)

Webcasts and Conferences

Changing the Definition: Who is a Fiduciary Webcast
Nationwide on January 13, 2011
presented by BNA, Inc.

HIPAA Privacy and Security Training: Basic Rules for Handling Group Health Plan PHI
Nationwide on January 27, 2011
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

New IRS Guidance on Multiemployer Pension Plan Funding Relief
Nationwide on January 4, 2011
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Press Releases

US Secretary Of Labor Hilda L. Solis Announces New Appointments And Leadership For 2011 ERISA Advisory Council
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

US Department Of Labor Agencies To Host Live Web Chats, Conference Call On Regulatory Agendas Between Jan. 4 And 7
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

US Department Of Labor Announces A Public Hearing On Proposed Definition Of Fiduciary Regulation
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

NIRS Selects Executive Director
National Institute on Retirement Security

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Internal Sales Consultant
for John Hancock Financial Services
in IL

Client Relationship Manager
for PensionTrend, Inc.
in MI

Pension Administrator and Installation
for Los Angeles Area Firm
in CA

for Weaver Partners, Inc.
in IL

Benefits Manager
for Genuine Parts Company
in GA

Sr. Counsel
for Dominion
in VA

Compliance Consulting Representative
for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
in VA

Associate Actuary
for Prudential
in CT

Associate Manager, Actuarial
for Prudential
in CT

Sr Actuarial Associate
for Prudential
in CT

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