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August 1, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Junior Plan Compliance Consultant
for Carpenter Morse Group in FL

Client Service Manager, Defined Benefit
for The Newport Group in WI

Contribution and Loan Processor (and possibly administrator)
for Retirement Planners & Administrators, Inc. in VA

Plan Relationship Manager
for PenServ Plan Services, Inc. in SC

Enrolled Actuary
for Consulting Actuaries Incorporated in NJ

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Webcasts and Conferences

Overview of the GASBís New Pension Proposals Webcast
Nationwide on August 10, 2011 presented by Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)

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[Guidance Overview]
HIPAA Enforcement Against University of California at Los Angeles Brings Scrutiny to Workforce Access to Health Information
"This enforcement action raises the stakes on the [HHS notice of proposed rulemaking] which, if finalized as written, would provide individuals with the right to request an access report reflecting virtually all instances of electronic access to ePHI by covered entity employees, third parties, and information systems." (Poyner Spruill LLP)

6th Annual Obesity and Wellness Congress   [Advert.]

Sponsored by World Congress

Convening providers, payers, employers and public purchasers, the 6th Annual Obesity and Wellness Congress will discuss preventative and collaborative solutions to reverse the nationwide epidemic of obesity.

[Guidance Overview]
Health System Settles Potential HIPAA Violations Involving Celebrities' Electronic PHI
"Although this settlement involved a health care provider, plan sponsors and business associates should recognize that PHI within their control is also potentially at risk. For example, a plan sponsor's employees with access to group health plan PHI should not be permitted to 'snoop around' in their co-workers' PHI . . . and the entity's workforce training and sanction policies should be designed to elicit compliance." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
Is a Reinstated Employee Short on 'Hours Worked' Eligible for FMLA Leave?
"Q. We terminated an employee who has been reinstated by an arbitrator with full back pay. Now, he has requested FMLA leave. Are we obligated to provide leave even though he has not worked 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months?" (Franczek Radelet P.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
New Legislation Requires New York Employers to Report Availability of Dependent Health Coverage
"Among other things, the Act aims to facilitate the process of enrolling more children in employer-sponsored group health plans and ultimately increase the number of children covered under these plans." (Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
NC Hospital Settles Health Benefits Suit
"N.C. Baptist Hospital will pay nearly $5.4 mil.lion to settle a federal lawsuit that accused MedCost, its group health plan, of requiring employees to pay more in fees for health benefits than other corporate clients paid." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

[Guidance Overview]
Court Examines Whether COBRA's Gross Misconduct Exception Applies to Termination for Se.x Offense Conviction
"As the court points out, gross misconduct is not defined by COBRA, and the courts have not agreed on a common standard to apply in gross misconduct cases. Consequently, we continue to suggest that except for the most flagrant conduct that clearly constitutes a substantial and willful disregard of the employer's interests, denying COBRA coverage on account of gross misconduct should be avoided." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
No Stop-Loss Coverage for Employee Who Was Not Offered COBRA After FMLA Leave
"This case illustrates the special COBRA compliance difficulties presented by leaves of absence. As the court pointed out, the employer could have avoided its loss if it had offered the employee COBRA at the end of the FMLA leave; indeed, under the FMLA's special COBRA rules, the end of an FMLA leave is treated as the COBRA qualifying event for an employee who does not return from leave." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Medical Plan Benefits for Physical Therapy, Kidney Dialysis, and Other Benefits in 2009
"New data on medical benefits show the similarities and differences between traditional fee-for-service health care plans and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) for a variety of benefits: physical therapy, durable medical equipment, prosthetics, organ and tissue transplantation, kidney dialysis, and diabetes care management." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Why Wellness Education Efforts Ultimately Fail to Change Employees' Daily Health Habits
"[T]he assumption is always the same: If people only knew what good health habits were and why they should practice them, they would surely make the right choices. If you, too, think that education is an effective behavior change tool, think again." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

Seven Steps to Making the Health Care Benefits Business Case
"The goal of any business case is to get approval in one meeting without needing to do additional research, due diligence or financials. If you make sure that you have all of these areas addressed, you'll not only look like an expert in your field but in business matters as well." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

House Committee Hearing on Small Businesses and PPACA: If They Like Their Coverage, Can They Keep It?
Hearing held July 28, 2011. 'The Subcommittee considered whether small firms will be able to maintain their existing coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act . . . . [The target page includes links to written testimony and videos.]" (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology)

Lawmakers Mount Bipartisan Push to Repeal Health Care Reform's OTC Drug Restriction
"Despite bipartisan backing and support for the repeal measure by pharmacists, providers and insurers, its cost in terms of forgone tax revenue complicates prospects for enactment." (Mercer LLC)

Proposed Regulations on Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program Issued
"HHS must award the loans and begin distributions by July 1, 2013—the preamble to the proposed regulations notes the importance of making startup funding available to CO-OPs as soon as possible and indicates that HHS intends to begin awarding loans in late 2011 or early 2012 to provide sufficient time for CO-OPs to become operational and accept enrollment during the first Exchange open enrollment period in order to compete for membership and gain the level of enrollment needed to be viable." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Are We Headed for a Government Takeover of Health Care?
"[L]ast week the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published the latest projections of health spending in the journal Health Affairs. . . . [Numbers in the report] show the percentage of our national health care bill paid for by government growing from 45% in 2010 to a projected 49% in 2020." (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Say on Pay Makes Debut in 2011 Proxy Season
"[T]o date, less than 2% of say-on-pay proposals have failed. So what have we learned from the debut of say on pay?" (Cooley LLP)

IRS Semiannual Regulatory Agenda Includes Additional Guidance on Funding and Contribution Rules
"Among the items in the IRS's prerule rule stage are: Guidance relating to the determination of whether a plan is a governmental plan within the meaning of Code Sec. 414(d). Guidance on how to calculate the applicable premium under COBRA." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

The Changing Prospects for Same-S.ex Marriage, and Its Impact on Employee Benefits (PDF)
"As more states move toward legalizing same-s.ex marriages (or providing marriage equivalents to same-s.ex couples), the workability and restrictions of DOMA require an increased awareness on the part of benefit plan administrators and fiduciaries." (Trucker Huss, APC)

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Jeanette Hull, News Editor
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Lois Baker, J.D., President
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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