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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 29, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Director of Data Conversion
for Diversified in NY

Loan & Withdrawal Specialist
for National TPA/Actuarial firm in ANY STATE

Compliance Testing and Reporting Specialist
for Prudential in IA

Actuarial Finance & Analysis Manager
for Prudential in CT

Director, Financial Reporting
for Prudential in CT

Manager, Financial Reporting
for Prudential in CT

Operational Accounting & Financial Controls Manager
for Prudential in CT

Accounting and Analysis Manager
for Prudential in CT

Accounting Specialist
for Prudential in CT

Plan Administrator for Retirement Plan & ERISA Specialists
for Dana Consulting Group, Ltd. in IL

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Webcasts and Conferences

Booting Upí On Compensable Work Time - Live Smartcast Webinar
Nationwide on September 20, 2011 presented by FutureOffice Network

Choosing Service Providers for Health and Welfare Plans: Best Practices for Employers Webcast
Nationwide on August 31, 2011 presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe

[Guidance Overview]
Agencies' Proposed Rules for Uniform Statements of Benefits Under PPACA
"The preamble to the proposed regulations acknowledges concerns raised about the ability of plans and issuers to provide SBCs by the statutory deadline, and requests comments on the feasibility of implementation within this timeframe." (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
HRAs Receive Exemption From Annual Limit Restrictions In Health Reform
"If an employer that maintains an HRA also maintains other coverage, whether or not that coverage is integrated with the HRA, that other coverage must meet the annual limit requirements or obtain a waiver." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS's Temporary Relief for Stand-Alone HRAs
"Because an HRA is an account-based group health plan that limits a participant's available reimbursement for a plan year to the value of his or her HRA account, it is virtually impossible for an HRA to comply with the annual limit prohibition." (Ballard Spahr LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
HRAs Get Exemption from Annual Limit Waiver Process
"This class exemption ends most of the uncertainty surrounding application of the annual limit restrictions to HRAs—at least for plan years beginning before January 1, 2014." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Proposed Premium Tax Credit Regulations Signal Direction of Future Guidance on Employer Pay-or-Play Penalties
"Health insurance premium tax credits will go into effect concurrent with the establishment of the state insurance exchanges and employer pay-or-play mandate in 2014." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]
Seventh Circuit Rules That a Plan's Notice of Benefit Denial Did Not Comply with ERISA
"In this case, the Plan's denial letter merely stated that the plaintiff was not permanently disabled and thus not entitled to disability benefits under the Plan. Given the plaintiff's prior disability and attempt to return to work, this denial letter did not comply with ERISA's notice requirements." (Stanley D. Baum, ERISA Lawyer Blog)

The Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act Introduced in House and Senate
"This legislation would permit the reimbursement of medical expenses of non-spouse, non-dependent beneficiaries from health reimbursement arrangements . . . ." (Investment Company Institute)

More Organizations Offering Paid Time Off
"According to the report, 58% of responding companies have a PTO program. Of the 58%, most include vacation (96%), sick leave (92%), and personal days (86%). Forty-two percent include care for dependents." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Taxpayers Funding Benefits for Big-Company and Government Retirees
"Companies didn't have to demonstrate financial need to apply; they just had to have a health care program for early retirees and have to maintain those benefits until 2014." (

Reasonable Health Insurance Design Reform Trumps In Massachusetts
"The Bay State's new law will enable its cities and towns to save as much as $100 mil.lion a year by allowing localities to change the design of their employee and retiree health plans, mostly by setting co-payments and deductibles to match those offered in the plans that the Massachusetts state government provides to state workers and retirees." (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Mass. Cities and Towns, Public Employees Find Hard-Fought Compromise on Municipal Health Care Costs
"We asked Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Paul Toner, president of Massachusetts Teachers Association, for their respective insights into these fiscal circumstances, why the compromise is acceptable and what lessons were learned." (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Smarter Health Care Spending Key, According to Harvard Study
"The overuse of expensive medical interventions is a prime culprit behind rising U.S. health care spending that's encouraged by private health plans and Medicare . . . ." (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

GAO Report: Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans: Program Features, Early Enrollment and Spending Trends, and Federal Oversight Activities
"Individuals applying for health insurance are often denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act appropriated $5 bil.lion to create a temporary pool—known as the Pre- Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) program—to provide access to insurance for such individuals until new protections take effect in 2014." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Companies Reduce Expenses by Investing in Programs That Help Employees Get Fit and Eat Better
"With an investment of less than 1 percent of total health costs in wellness programs, [John Hancock Financial] has reduced medical expenses enough to keep annual premium increases, on average, about 3 percentage points below the national trend." (The Boston Globe)

New Rules Will Make It Easier for Consumers to Compare Health Policies—on Cost and Coverage—Before Signing Up
"The new rules, which carry out provisions of the health care reform law, would require insurers and employers, starting next year, to provide a brief summary in plain English listing such items as premiums, deductibles, services not covered, and the costs of using a provider in the network as compared with one outside the network." (The New York Times; free registration required)

More Tax Dollars Should Not Be Funding Retiree Health Insurance
"The $5 bil.lion Early Retirement Reinsurance Program has provided cash to private employers and public pension programs nationwide for continuing their early retiree health care coverage through 2014. Companies don't have to demonstrate any financial need." (

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Five Things Employers Should Like About Restricted Stock
"These five attributes that make restricted stock compare favorably to other forms of equity-based compensation can really be summed up in one word: simplicity." (Verrill Dana, LLP)

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Jeanette Hull, News Editor
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Lois Baker, J.D., President
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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