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September 28, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Participant Service Center Representative
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in NJ

Project Manager, Trade & Trust Services
for Ascensus in PA

Manager, Client Service
for Ascensus in PA

Director, Financial Analysis
for Prudential in CT

Associate Manager, Customer Service
for Prudential in AZ

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Cambridge
in Massachusetts on October 27, 2011 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401k Fiduciary Focus: Reducing Your Corporate and Personal Liability
Nationwide on September 29, 2011 presented by Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.

Pension Risk Management Forum
in New York on October 31, 2011 presented by IQPC

The 5th Annual New Opportunities in the DCIO Market
in Massachusetts on January 23, 2012 presented by Financial Research Associates

The 9th Annual Taft-Hartley Benefit Fund Summit
in Nevada on January 22, 2012 presented by Financial Research Associates

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

[Guidance Overview]
A 2012 Group Health Plan Checklist (PDF)
"[Provided is a checklist of mandates to be implemented for 2012] as well as a list of existing enrollment and annual notice requirements that group health plan sponsors should consider during open enrollment." (Bryan Cave LLP)

2nd Annual Executive Forum on Creating a Culture of Health   [Advert.]

Sponsored by World Congress

Employee Benefits professionals clearly recognize the benefits of health and wellness programs. Learn how to obtain the maximum value from these initiatives by shifting organizational norms and behaviors to a Culture of Health.

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform Guide: Agencies Issue Guidance on Summary of Benefits & Coverage (PDF)
"The SBC rules have extensive coverage: they apply to both insured and self-insured plans, grandfathered and non-grandfathered, plans, and even to plans that are not covered by ERISA. A similar requirement is imposed on health insurance issuers when they receive an application or information request from a plan sponsor." (McGuireWoods LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Employee Suit Evaporates Because No FMLA Rights Denied
"The decision in Quinn v. St. Louis Co. illuminates a fine line for employers. While eligible workers must be granted unpaid time off for qualifying serious health conditions under the FMLA, the court showed that interference must have material consequences—such as actual denial of time off—for employees to make a convincing case that their rights were interfered with under the law." (SmartHR)

[Guidance Overview]
Required Health Plan Annual Notices in 2011
"[The article provides a list of notices to keep in mind and to] ensure that they are sent as necessary." (Kushner & Company)

Legal Opinion Could Spell Trouble for Plan to Roll Back L.A. Retiree Healthcare Costs
"[I]n a reminder of the risks faced by local agencies when they tinker with public pension benefits, a law firm retained by the city's Fire and Police Pensions board concluded this month that those benefits were already guaranteed—and that the city is legally obligated to cover the cost of rising healthcare premiums for its retirees." (Los Angeles Times)

Startup Helps Find Cheapest Prescription Drugs
"GoodRX, which launched a new Web site today at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco, aims to show consumers where they can find the lowest price on prescription drugs by ZIP code." (CBS Interactive)

Top Five Health Reform Issues Employers Should Focus on Today
"It will be important for employers to understand how the new [health insurance] exchanges work, which employees will qualify for subsidies, and which individuals and employers will be subject to the health insurance coverage mandates." (SmartHR)

Failing to Return Employee's Phone Calls May Be FMLA Retaliation
"As [reported] in The Employer Handbook blog, a federal court in Pennsylvania found that an employer's failure to return an employee's telephone calls while she was on FMLA leave is evidence of retaliation." (Franczek Radelet P.C.)

Employer Health Reform Survey Results, 2011 (PDF)
In the survey, employers are asked how concerned they are about the impact of the health reform law on their health insurance benefit offerings for their employees and about other health reform issues. (Lockton, Inc.)

Health & OPEB Funding Strategies: 2011 National Survey of Local Governments (PDF)
"Of the governments that provide active employee health care, 71% pay between 81% and 100% of their active employee's health care premiums (with 40% paying 100% of the premium)." (Cobalt Community Research)

Michigan Law Caps Public Employers' Payments for Health Insurance
"Under the measure . . . health care premium contributions by public employers, such as local governments and school districts, will be capped at $5,500 for single coverage, $11,000 for individual and spousal coverage, and $15,000 for family coverage." (Business Insurance)

Health Insurers Push Premiums Sharply Higher
"A study released on Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research group, showed that the average annual premium for family coverage through an employer reached $15,073 in 2011—9 percent higher than in the previous year." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Bill Would Repeal Affordable Care Act and Replace with Health Insurance Market Reforms
"The deluge of bills seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act has ebbed but not subsided entirely. On September 21, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) introduced the Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 3000), the latest bill that would rescind the new health care law and enact additional measures designed to promote health insurance coverage. Many of the provisions of this legislation have been included in previously-introduced bills." (Littler Mendelson P.C.)

Administration Skips Reconsideration of 11th Circuit's Decision Striking Down Mandated Health Insurance; Supreme Court Here We Come
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. (FOX News Network, LLC.)

Insuring Long Term Care in the U.S.
"Long-term care expenditures constitute one of the largest uninsured financial risks facing the elderly in the United States. This paper provides an overview of the economic and policy issues surrounding insuring long-term care expenditure risk. Through this lens we also discuss the likely impact of recent long-term care public policy initiatives at both the state and federal level." (National Bureau of Economic Research; paid subscription or individual purchase required to retrieve fulltext)

Adverse Selection and Switching Costs in Health Insurance Markets: When Nudging Hurts
"Our identification strategy leverages a unique natural experiment that occurred at a large firm where we also observe individual-level panel data on health insurance choices and medical claims. We present descriptive results to show that (i) switching costs are large and (ii) adverse selection is present. To formalize this analysis we develop and estimate a choice model that jointly quantifies switching costs, risk preferences, and ex ante health risk. We use these estimates to study the welfare impact of an information provision policy that nudges consumers toward better decisions by reducing switching costs." (National Bureau of Economic Research; paid subscription or individual purchase required to retrieve fulltext)

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, September 26, 2011 (PDF)
"Read this week's update on health care reform legislation, regulations, and initiatives." (ML Strategies, LLC)

The 4-Page Mini-SPD: Coming to a Health Plan Near You - A Summary of Benefits and Coverage
"Yes, plan administrators of both ERISA and non-ERISA plans must now boil all of the goodness contained in your hundred-pages-plus document into [(wait for it)] four pages. You heard right! and the print may be no smaller than a 12-point font. And that's not all. The government has a 34-page proposed rule to explain how we're supposed to condense 100 pages into a 4-page document!!" (SmartHR)

Rising Health Costs Are Not Just a Federal Budget Problem
"Health care groups are maneuvering with defense lobbyists and health provider groups are jockeying with beneficiary advocates about who will take the brunt of the hit from the Super committee. But one thing that should be clear is that reducing federal health spending is not the same thing as controlling health care costs; just ask the 150 mil.lion Americans and their employers who will be paying $15,000 when they buy a family policy this year." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Comparing Compensation: State-Local Versus Private Sector Workers (PDF)
"This study, like many others, finds that state and local government employees earn less than private sector workers with similar jobs and education. The question then turns to benefits. While there is agreement that public employees have more generous benefits, does the public sector benefit package make up for the lower salaries?" (Center for State and Local Government Excellence)

Address Growing Employee Flight Risk with Benefits-Based Strategies (PDF)
"A benefits program is an appropriate, smart response to employee flight risk because the research shows a clear correlation between benefits satisfaction and job satisfaction. An unmistakably high percentage (72%) of small business employees who are very satisfied with their benefits feel a very strong sense of loyalty to their employer." (METLIFE, INC.)

Press Releases, Inc.
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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

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