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October 31, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Onsite Participant Counselor - Retirement Services
for Diversified in OH

Group Benefits Account Manager
for AUL/OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc in PA

Daily Retirement Plan Administrator
for CMC Interactive, LLC in NY

Senior Benefits Administrator for Retirement
for University of Maryland Medical System in MD

Director, ePlatform Strategy and Solutions
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

"ERISA Workshop 2011" - Chicago
in Illinois on December 1, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

"ERISA Workshop 2011" - Cincinnati
in Ohio on December 2, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

"ERISA Workshop 2011" - New York
in New York on December 2, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

"ERISA Workshop 2011" - Philadelphia
in Pennsylvania on December 1, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

The Challenges: Moving Retirement Plan and IRA Assets
Nationwide on November 15, 2011 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

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

[Guidance Overview]
Wisconsin Bill Passed to Conform State Tax Treatment of Health Insurance Coverage of Adult Children
"Although health care reform legislation excluded the value of employer-provided health benefits provided to any employee's child under the age of 27 at the end of the taxable year (not just tax dependents) effective March 30, 2010, several states did not incorporate that change into state law. As a result, there has been some confusion as to whether the value of employer-provided health benefits provided to non-tax dependent children would be subject to state taxes in those states." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

American Health Care Congress and Exhibition   [Advert.]

Sponsored by World Congress

Bringing together the health care community to discuss strategies aimed at more efficient and effective operation of our health system post-reform. December 5-6, 2011, Anaheim, CA.

Dependent Coverage Won't Explode Military Health Expenses
"In May 2011, DOD began implementing TRICARE Young Adult (TYA), a premium-based health plan that extends TRICARE coverage to unmarried dependents who do not have access to employer-provided health coverage. The NDAA directed the GAO to assess what it would cost DOD to extend coverage in this manner." (SmartHR)

Will Self-Insured Employers Drop Health Care Coverage?
"Stephen Rasnick, president of Self-Insured Plans, a Naples, Fla.-based company which designs benefits plans and manages claims on behalf of self-insured employers, said healthcare reform has left many companies facing 'too many unknowns.'" (Human Resource Executive Online)

Wellness and Disease Prevention Appear Higher in FEHBP Priorities
"More plans are offering gym membership reimbursement and incentives for completing health assessments or other wellness programs." (Government Executive)

Supervisor's Inadvisable Email Creates Basis for FMLA Claim
"The advice might seem a bit obvious here, so let me put it succinctly: 1) When you shift course and decide to terminate an individual not initially slated for layoff (and especially after they request protected leave), your thought process and documentation must be precise and well reasoned; and 2) when you actually document, be consistent, thorough and careful." (Franczek Radelet P.C.)

The One Thing in Your Office That's Holding Back Your Wellness Program
"It's your desk. Or more specifically, the fact that you and likely the majority of your workforce sit at one all day. Combine that with the fact that employees likely sit during their commute to and from work, and then sit again watching TV in the evening. All told, it equals an average of 7.7 hours a day spent being sedentary, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology." (Employee Benefit News)

Legislation Introduced to Boost Use of Electronic Medical Records
"The legislation, which would focus its legal protection on providers who participate in Medicare and Medicaid, is designed to encourage the adoption of health information technology." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Firms to Charge Smokers and the Obese More for Health Care
"Overall, the use of penalties is expected to climb in 2012 to almost 40 percent of large and mid-sized companies, up from 19 percent this year and only 8 percent in 2009, according to an October survey by consulting firm Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health." (Thomson Reuters)

Self-Funded Health Plans Can Be Less Expensive for Employers
"Because self-funded health care plans are governed by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, they are exempt from state premium taxes and state laws that mandate minimum coverage requirements." (Business Insurance)

Self-Funded Health Plans Under Attack in New Jersey
"Advocates of self-funding health benefits are fighting an attempt by New Jersey regulators to crack down on the practice among small businesses, saying it is part of a broader attack on self-insurance at the state and national levels." (Business Insurance)

Wellness Programs Adapted for Workers Comp
"The trend represents a form of benefits integration aimed at reducing employers' overall medical spending, reducing accidents, improving productivity, and improving return-to-work outcomes by engaging employees with wellness programs and chronic disease management offerings . . . ." (Business Insurance)

Corporations Offer Help in Trimming the Waistline
"Dow [Chemical Company] offers heavily subsidized gym fees, fitness trainers and nutrition specialists. Why? Of course it wants workers healthy and happy. But in 2004, managers got a jolt. Despite Dow's decades-long promotion of good health, a study found that 1 in 3 employees was obese, the same as the national average." (NPR)

A Merger Wave Hitting Health Care
"[Big managed health-care companies], which try to coordinate patients' medical providers to keep a lid on costs, are facing the double whammy of market saturation and margin-squeezing health-care reform. As a result, giants like Aetna, Cigna and Humana have started snapping up smaller players to keep earnings growth alive." (The Wall Street Journal)

Big Insurer Fights Back in Court Against Regulation of Profit Margin
"A lawsuit challenging Maine's authority over health insurers' profit margins is drawing national attention from state regulators worried about the impact on their power to hold down rate increases." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Insurers' Earnings Show Americans Still Using Less Medical Care
"With four big insurers already done announcing earnings, there are scant signs of an uptick in what health experts call 'utilization.'" (The Wall Street Journal via HealthLeaders Media)

Employees Are Warming Up to Health Care Reform, Survey Finds
"Overall, the new health care law is being viewed more positively. This year, 31% of those surveyed claimed that they are better off because of the changes made by the Affordable Care Act, up from only 18% the prior year. On the flip side, 33% of respondents believe that they are worse off, down from 43% in 2010." (Littler Mendelson P.C.)

The Role of Disease Prevention in Bending the Cost Curve
"This brief examines the budgetary implications of unchecked prevalence growth, describes promising approaches to reducing that growth, and estimates the potential return on investment in these approaches as envisioned in the ACA, finding ample justification for these efforts in a larger cost-control strategy." (Urban Institute)

Transparent Cost Network: A Practical Consumer-Driven Health Care Solution
"In no other area of our economy do consumers receive services where they do not know the cost in advance and are not able to make comparisons to alternative suppliers. As a result, healthcare provider costs have remained immune from the economic forces that could control them. This immunity has contributed to greatly increasing provider costs, a major component in today's rising healthcare costs." (Milliman, Inc.)

A Framework of Adjusting Medical Claims Involving Possible Experimental Treatment
"Modern health insurance policies and ERISA plans exclude coverage for experimental medical treatments. The question of what types of treatments qualify as experimental is problematic." (Wells Publishing, Inc.)

New House Committee Report Says President Obama's Health Care Plan Discriminates Against Families
"The Oversight Committee report is based on staff analysis of data provided to Chairman Darrell Issa by the Joint Committee on Taxation . . . . Combined with data from the Congressional Budget Office . . ., the report concludes that married couples will receive only 14 percent of the tax credits authorized by the [PPACA]." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

Legislation Amends Health Coverage Tax Credit
"The President has signed the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011, which generally reauthorizes the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program through December 31, 2013. Among other things, the legislation increases the health coverage tax credit (HCTC) to 72.5% of the health insurance premiums of certain eligible individuals and their qualifying family members for eligible coverage months beginning after February 12, 2011." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
The Taxation Treatment of Employer-Provided Cell Phones
"The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-240, removed cell phones from the definition of listed property, which is subject to the strict substantiation requirements in order for the business use of such property to be excluded from income." (Nexsen Pruet, LLC)

Nonqualified Plans a Key to Recruiting and Retaining Senior Employees
"[Three critical features for a nonqualified plan can be cited]: If the company plans to match contributions or contribute other amounts, some part of that award must be deferred for retention purposes; the plan must have the potential for yielding a significant payout as a percentage of the executive's salary; and the plan must be clearly communicated to the executive." (Workplace Management: free registration required)

Employee Benefit Plan Action Items for 2012
"Now that the fourth quarter of 2011 has begun, employers should review their employee benefit plans for changes that are required or desirable later this year and in 2012. This summary briefly highlights key year-end and 2012 action items for employee benefit plans that an employer should consider when conducting its review." (Sidley Austin LLP)

Benefits Matter to Employees Now More Than Ever, According to Survey
"When employees were asked to rate benefits in terms of their importance, regardless of whether or not they were available through their employer, financial protection benefits saw some of the highest gains." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Press Releases, 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

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