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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 28, 2010

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Whether you need an update to catch up with the changing times, are new to the industry, or simply want to maintain your current knowledge base -- the Certificate Series is your best source for concise, thorough and timely education. Plan now to earn your Certificate in Benefit Plan Administration, Retirement Plans or Health Care Plans. Learn more!

[Official Guidance]
Text of Request by IRS/DOL/HHS for Information Regarding Value-Based Insurance Design in Connection with Preventive Care Benefits (PDF)
Excerpt: "This document contains a request for information on how group health plans and health insurance issuers can employ value-basedinsurance design in the coverage of recommended preventive services. . . . Comments are due on or before February 28, 2011."
(U.S. Internal Revenue Service / U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration / U.S. Department of Human and Health Services)

[Guidance Overview]
Can a Supervisor Limit How Much Time an Employee Takes for a Military Leave of Absence?
Excerpt: "Even if an employer finds the time, duration, frequency, or nature of an employee's military service to be unreasonable, it cannot deny the employee leave from work or refuse to reemploy the person. Employees are not obligated to plan their military service for the convenience of their employers."
(Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
Update on Health Insurance for Executives
Excerpt: "[There is a] delay in requiring compliance with the nondiscrimination rules applicable to non-grandfathered, insured health plans . . . . What does this mean? It means that there still is not clear guidance on whether the practice of providing health insurance to a former executive or the practice of paying a former executive's COBRA coverage will violate the nondiscrimination rules (resulting in the imposition of a penalty on the employer) if such practice is limited to executive-level or highly-compensated employees. "
(Cooley LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Agencies' Delay of Application of Insured Plan Nondiscrimination Rules
Excerpt: "The agencies have asked the public to provide suggestions on the resolution of thirteen specific issues, such as whether to provide for an alternative method of compliance that would involve only an 'availability of coverage' test, safe harbor plan designs, aggregation of substantially similar coverage options, and transition rules following mergers and acquisitions."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS's Proposed Regulations on Disclosure and Review of Premium Increases
Excerpt: "HHS has issued proposed regulations implementing the rules for health insurance issuers regarding disclosure and review of unreasonable premium increases under PHSA Section 2794."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS's Additional Guidance on Use of Debit Cards to Purchase OTC Drugs
Excerpt: "The notice modifies IRS guidance that was issued earlier this year regarding health care reform's prescription requirement for OTC drugs . . . and allows the use of debit cards to purchase prescribed OTC drugs after January 15, 2011 if certain requirements are met."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Health Care Cost Trends from 2001 to 2011 (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The steady increase of health care costs continues to be a major concern for both employees and employers. Aon Hewitt analysis indicates that over a decade, average total health care premiums will have more than doubled, from $4,038 in 2001 to $9,821 in 2011."
(Aon Hewitt)

Workplace Smoking Bans Meant to Cut Insurance Costs Spark Privacy Concerns
Excerpt: "While moves by employers to stamp out smoking may be unpopular with some employees, they are perfectly legal. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes measures that cost smokers more or dictate what they can or cannot do in their off hours. But the organization has had little success in controlling what some see as the hand of Big Brother."
(The Palm Beach Post)

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

Secretary of Labor Names New Members to ERISA Advisory Council
Excerpt: "Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has announced five new members to the 2011 Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, commonly referred to as the ERISA Advisory Council. In addition to the new members, Solis has also announced who will serve as the council's incoming chair and vice chair."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Summary of the Principal Provisions of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010
Addressed in the summary are various employment-based benefits such as the child care credit, Employer Provided Educational Assistance, and Adoption Credit and Exclusion from Income for Employer Provided Assistance.
(Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC)

BenefitsCheckUp: A Benefits Programs' Website for Baby Boomers
Excerpt: "Find and enroll in federal, state, local and private programs that help pay for prescription drugs, utility bills, meals, health care and other needs."
(National Council on Aging)

Press Releases

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Employee Benefit Attorney With ESOP Experience
for Chang, Ruthenberg & Long PC
in CA

Director Product Marketing
for Prudential
in NJ

Manager Product Marketing
for Prudential
in NJ

Associate Account Manager
for Cammack LaRhette Consulting
in MA

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