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March 10, 2011 Retirement Plans Newsletter  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues

IRS Official Says Guidance on Reporting Health Costs Expected Soon
"Employers can expect guidance addressing the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored coverage reporting requirements on Form W-2 for tax year 2012 to be issued soon . . . ." (Tax Management Inc.)

Plan Now To Attend The Washington Legislative Update (advert.)

Sponsored by The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

The International Foundationís Washington Legislative Update offers a chance to communicate with government officials and get the answers you need on recent and proposed legislation. Donít miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity. Register Today!

[Guidance Overview]
Ensuring Your Wellness Programs Do Not Violate GINA
"Following passage of the law, it was not entirely clear what constituted 'voluntary' versus 'involuntary' wellness programs, and whether or not monetary incentives offered for participation rendered the program involuntary. The regulations issued in late November 2010 and now in effect addressed this question specifically." (Delaware Employment Law Blog)

[Guidance Overview]
Man With Controversial Illness Should Get Benefits
"Honda must award long-term disability payments to a 47-year-old man suffering from extreme Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the 9th Circuit ruled, finding that the insurance company's denial of those benefits was 'implausible' and 'illogical.'" (Courthouse News Service)

Worksite Wellness Programs Slowed Health Care Cost Growth
"Health care costs rose at a 15% slower rate among wellness program participants than among a comparison group when employers consistently offered a wellness program to their employees, according to a Highmark, Inc., study published in the March/April edition of the American Journal of Health Promotion." (Wolters Kluwer)

The Most Complete, Current, Easy-to-Use HSA Resource Available! (advert.)

Sponsored by Aspen Publishers

Health Savings Account Answer Book answers every HSA question... clarifies every HSA issue... in a format that's quick and easy to use. It tells you virtually everything you have to know to profit from HSAs.

Senior Management Support Boosts Wellness Program Participation
"An analysis of data from nearly 450 employers that completed the HERO Employee Health Management Best Practice Scorecard documents a clear correlation between senior management support and higher levels of employee participation in health and wellness programs." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Health Plans Cite Operational Issues in Complying with Appeals-Handling Rules Effective July 1
"New provisions requiring plans to identify external reviewers used to anonymity could make re-contracting hard, a consultant says, and insurers may have to use two different external-review processes if they administer a self-insured plan and offer insured products." (AISHealth; free registration required)

Maine Gets Waiver from Health Premium Rules
"Maine received a three-year waiver of federal rules, contained in the 2010 health-care law, that require insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on patient care, the U.S. government said Tuesday." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

ERISA Industry Committee Letter on Guidance for Voluntary Workplace Wellness Programs (PDF)
"We are writing . . . to ask the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services and the Equal Opportunity Commission . . . to provide guidance on certain issues affecting workplace wellness programs. . . . [E]mployers are discouraged from investing in workplace wellness programs because the regulations governing these programs are unclear and sometimes inconsistent." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Financial Institutions Face New Regulation of Incentive Compensation
"The proposed rules would not become final until six months after publication in final form in the federal register. Final rules would not be adopted until all seven of the federal regulatory agencies with authority to implement Section 956 of the Act have adopted the proposed rules and the comment period with respect to the proposed rules has lapsed." (McGuireWoods LLP)

Kathryn Kennedy Article in Tax Notes Entitled ' Employee Benefits Law Review Articles You Need to Read'
"It's a great collection with excellent summaries by Professor Kennedy." (Workplace Prof Blog)

State and Local Government Employee Benefits, March 2010
"In March 2010, 87 percent of State government workers had access to defined-benefit retirement plans, compared with 83 percent of local government workers." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Eliminating the 'Worksite' from Worksite Voluntary Benefits Using a Virtual Benefit Counselor
"For employers who currently use their human resource information system or benefit administration online enrollment platform for open enrollment, the most advanced [virtual benefit counselor] technology can easily 'bolt on' to the existing platform, providing effective communication of benefits and a superior open enrollment experience." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

Departing from Prior Practice, DOJ Declines to Defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act
"Section 3 of DOMA . . . defines 'marriage' as a legal union between a man and a woman and limits the term 'spouse' to a person of the opposite se.x." (Proskauer Rose LLP)

Press Releases

Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Advisor, Health & Welfare in OK for ConocoPhillips

Director, Intermediary Marketing in NJ for Prudential

Director, Strategic Intelligence in CT, NJ for Prudential

Defined Contribution Senior Administrator in CA, NV for Davey Administration Group/Cromwick And Davey

Defined Benefit Pension Plan Administrator in ANY STATE for The Angell Pension Group, Inc.

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

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Webcasts and Conferences

"401(k) Plan Current Issues" Workshop - 21 Locations, April - June
Nationwide on April 6, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500/EFAST2 Workshop" - 22 Locations, April - June
Nationwide on April 5, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

Annual Benefits Fair and Trade Show
in Massachusetts on May 19, 2011 presented by New England Employee Benefits Council

Annual Best Benefits Practices Conference
in Massachusetts on December 8, 2011 presented by New England Employee Benefits Council

Employee Benefits for Domestic Partners: Design, Taxation, and Administration
Nationwide on April 6, 2011 presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Health Plan Embezzlement & Fraud: Prevention, Detection & Response Strategies for Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries
Nationwide on April 5, 2011 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

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Jeanette Hull, News Editor
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher

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