To EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com To BenefitsLink home page

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 27, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

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

Business Development Manager
for Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in CA, IL

Participant Counselor - Retirement Services
for Diversified in AL

Benefits Representative
for Automatic Data Processing (ADP) in GA

Post Your Job on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

2011 Ethics for the Retirement Plan Professional with Bill Grossman
Nationwide on October 5, 2011 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Is Your 401(k) Plan Keeping Up with the Times? New Trends and Hot Features
in New York on October 20, 2011 presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network ), New York Chapter

Mergers and Acquisitions Webcast
Nationwide on October 19, 2011 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)


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

[Guidance Overview]
Medicare Prescription Drug Reminders: Notices, Disclosure and RDS Applications
"This year, the notice is due by Oct. 15—a month earlier than in past years. For calendar-year plans that participate in Medicare's retiree drug subsidy program, the deadline to start 2012 applications is Oct. 3, 2011." (Mercer LLC)


Health & Welfare Benefit Plans National Institute, Washington, DC   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Learn the latest on PPACA, HITECH, Wellness Programs, benefits for same sex spouses and health and welfare benefits litigation. Sessions include practical breakouts, two ethics topics, lively updates on legislative, regulatory and other developments.


[Guidance Overview]
A Note about Advance Notice of Health Plan Benefit Changes
"Employers with group health plans get to kill two disclosure birds with one stone in that a timely-distributed SBC will also fulfill the requirement to: distribute a Summary of Material Modifications (due within 210 days after the close of the plan year in which the change occurred) or provide written notice of a material reduction in benefits (due 60 days after the employer action to implement the change)." (E is for ERISA)

Cost Of Employer Health Insurance Plans Surges in 2011
"Employers' spending on health coverage for workers spiked abruptly this year, with the average cost of a family plan rising by 9 percent, triple the growth seen in 2010. Family plan premiums hit $15,073 on average, while coverage for single employees grew 8 percent to $5,429, according to a survey released Tuesday . . . . [The article includes a link to the full survey.]" (The Kaiser Family Foundation / Health Research & Educational Trust)

Administration Skips Reconsideration of 11th Circuit's Decision Striking Down Mandated Health Insurance
The timetable has sped up for a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of healthcare reform's requirement that individuals purchase health insurance. On Monday, the administration decided not to request reconsideration of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision finding that mandate to be unconstitutional. One consequence: it becomes more likely that the Supreme Court will hear and decide the issue before the November 2012 Presidential election. (AP via Fox News)

Supreme Court Could Rule on Health Care Law Early Next Year
"The Justice Department announced it will forgo an appeal to the full U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Such an appeal to the 11-member court could have taken months and delayed a final decision from the high court until at least 2013." (Los Angeles Times)


Want effective benefits communication without spending thousands?   [Advert.]

Sponsored by Benz Communications

Use our Social Media Starter Kit. You'll get 43 pages all about blogs, Twitter and other new media. Plus over 50 tips and best practices to help you use these powerful tools! Effective year-round communication is easier than you think! Learn more.


Federal Employees Could Donate Sick Leave to Agency Banks under House Bill
"Federal workers currently can apply accrued sick leave toward their annuity calculation in full year or month blocks, but employees nearing retirement have to use or lose any remaining sick leave. That has led to millions of dollars in annual lost productivity, according to the bill's sponsors." (Government Executive)

2011 Health Confidence Survey: Most Americans Unfamiliar with Key Aspect of Health Reform (PDF)
"Americans' ratings of their own health plan are generally favorable. Sixty percent of those with health insurance coverage are extremely or very satisfied with their current plan, and 29 percent are somewhat satisfied, the HCS finds." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Chart: Outpatient Prescription Drug Coverage, March 2010
"In March 2010, 69 percent of all private industry workers had access (ability to receive benefits) to outpatient prescription drug coverage and 50 percent actually received outpatient prescription drug benefits. The takeup rate, which is the percentage of workers with access to outpatient prescription drug coverage who actually participated in this benefit, was 73 percent." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured (PDF)
"Employment-based health benefits remain the most common form of health coverage in the United States. In 2010, 58.7 percent of the nonelderly population had employment-based health benefits, down from 69.3 percent in 2000." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Many Physicians Feel They're Delivering Too Much Care
"A survey of primary-care doctors conducted in 2009 finds that 42% of the 627 respondents believed the patients in their own practice were getting too much care. Just 6% of doctors believed their patients were getting too little care." (The Wall Street Journal)

Employers Interested in ACOs To Decrease Health Care Costs, According to Report
"The survey by Aon Hewitt and Polakoff Boland of 674 U.S. employers reveals that 28% are interested or very interested in exploring ACOs, while 37% are somewhat interested . . . ." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Local Governments Look to Health Care Costs To Balance Budgets
"[T]he number of local governments setting aside dollars to pay the long-term costs of retiree health care has fallen from 30% in 2010 to 19% in 2011. In addition, local leaders are using strategies ranging from wellness programs to higher out-of-pocket costs to bring costs under control." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Employment-Based Health Coverage Continues to Decline, According to EBRI
"[I]n 2010, 58.7% of the non-elderly population (under age 65) had employment-based health benefits, down from 69.3% in 2000." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Controlling Health Insurance Premiums: Perspectives from the States, the Federal Government and Industry
"The Affordable Care Act creates a process for states and [HHS] to review 'unreasonable' premium increases and provide information to consumers about the process. . . . This briefing by the Kaiser Family Foundation, held on September 22, 2011, addressed how these new rules might work and what the implications may be for the growth in health insurance premiums and the underlying cost of health care." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Defense Health Care: GAO's Report on the Cost Impact of Health Care Reform and the Extension of Dependent Coverage
"Overall, DOD expects to incur minimal costs to implement the 21 PPACA and HCERA provisions with which department officials have determined it is required to comply." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

[Opinion]
To Save on Health Care, First Crack Down on Fraud
"[B]efore charging consumers more and eliminating valuable services, we should be much more aggressive in recovering money stolen from these taxpayer-supported programs. According to some estimates, health care fraud is a $250 bil.lion-a-year industry, and about $100 bil.lion of that is stolen from [Medicare and Medicaid]." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Cell Phone Tax Treatment Guidance (PDF)
"Accordingly, as long as the cell phone is provided 'primarily for noncompensatory business reasons,' there is no longer a requirement to track or substantiate the calls—the entire use of the phone is non-taxable to the employee (i.e., not reported on the W-2 as wages), and the employer should be entitled to the full deduction for the cost of the cell phone (and related data plans)." (Groom Law Group)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Explains Effect of Tax Home Changes on Business Travel Deduction
"This simple information letter highlights a source of recurring confusion for employers and employees. Relocations that may be thought of as temporary by both the employer and the employee because the employee is fully expected to return to his or her previous location, are not considered temporary for business travel deduction purposes if they continue for more than one year." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Should We Give Employees the Benefits They Want?
"Employees generally seek more lifestyle-related benefits, such as pet insurance and discounted day-care, as opposed to what the experts say they need—such as disability insurance. Isn't the purpose of employee benefits to benefit employees?" (Human Resource Executive Online)

A Tax Plan That Might Not Be So Painful by Utilizing Employment-Based Plans
"[You can significantly reduce any tax increase] by signing up for (and maxing out your set-asides in) those flexible spending and other accounts for health and dependent care plus public transportation or parking. With these accounts, your employer makes it possible to put aside money before it takes out income taxes (or to make a deposit in a way that qualifies you for a deduction)." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Press Releases

2012 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey Released
(The Segal Company)

Americans in the Dark About Key Element of Health Reform; Confidence in U.S. Health System Remains Low but Unchanged
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

U.S. Retirement Plans Offering SRI Options Could Double In Next Three Years
(Mercer)

Klein Decisions Releases K4 Plan Goals for Small Business
(Venture (k) Corp.)

Many Employers Interested in ACOs to Decrease Health Care Costs and Increase Value-Based Approaches, Says Aon Hewitt and Polakoff Boland
(Aon Corporation)

Evolution1 has Been Named by the Connecticut Technology Council as an Award Winner in the 2011 Marcum Tech Top 40
(Evolution1)

CAMRADATA Launches First Pension Risk Transfer Database to Serve U.S. Defined Benefit Plan Sponsors and Advisors
(CAMRADATA Analytical Services)



BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

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

Copyright © 2011 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All rights reserved.
All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.
Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

More useful links: