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November 8, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Consultants/Administrators
for Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm in NJ

Senior Plan Consultant
for Scholz, Klein & Friends Enlightened Retirement Group, Inc. in TX

Client Service Specialist
for BeneTrends, Inc. in PA

DB Systems Analyst
for Milliman in TX

Business Review Manager
for Prudential in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

ACOs Summit: A Transitional Model to Full Risk Care Management
in Texas on January 23, 2012 presented by Opal Events

Best Practices in Participant and Plan Service Provider Disclosures
in California on November 17, 2011 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Orange County Chapter

Building a High-Performance Engine for Healthcare: Why Cloud Computing Architecture Matters Webcast
Nationwide on December 1, 2011 presented by Healthcare Performance Management Institute

Fee Disclosure - Are You Ready? and Washington Update!
in New York on November 17, 2011 presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of New York

Hospital Revenue Cycle Management in the Era of "Affordable Care"
in California on February 6, 2012 presented by Opal Events

The Strategic Retirement: Opportunity for Impact by Benefits Professionals
in California on November 16, 2011 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Sacramento Chapter

Webcast: End of Year Regulatory Update
Nationwide on December 8, 2011 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Webinar: CMS' Final ACO Regulations Summary: What You Need to Know
Nationwide on December 8, 2011 presented by Opal Events

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

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Plan Summary of Benefits and Coverage: Still No Final Model, But Substantial Excise Taxes Are Looming Anyway
"Although the SBC does not need immediate attention, we caution employers not to wait too long or take the SBC responsibilities too lightly. The penalties for failing to satisfy the SBC requirements are severe." (Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP)

DATAIR’s FlexPlus System – Makes Administration Profitable   [Advert.]

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

Proposals, Testing, Claims Processing, Debit Cards and more!
Plus CafeDocs/SPDs and 5500s/SARs
(888) 328-2474

[Guidance Overview]
Philadelphia Ordinance to Require Some Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave
"Certain Philadelphia employers will be required to provide full-time employees with paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2012 . . . [including] for-profit service contractors and subcontractors with annual gross receipts above $1 mil.lion on contracts with the City in excess of $10,000 over a 12-month period . . . ." (Jackson Lewis LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Reminder: New York Employers Must Report Whether Health Insurance Is Available to Employees' Dependents
"Recently, new reporting requirements under the Low Income Support Obligation and Performance Improvement Act of 2010 went into effect; they require all New York employers to report whether health insurance benefits are available to their employees' dependents in their quarterly wage reports." (VedderPrice)

[Guidance Overview]
Michigan Imposes 1% Paid Health Claims Assessment
"Employers with Michigan-based employees will soon see a spike in their health care costs." (Mercer Select)

[Guidance Overview]
Wisconsin to Begin Tax-Free Treatment of Health Care Coverage of Adult Children
"Wisconsin is the last state in the country to conform its state tax treatment of such coverage with federal tax treatment, which means that once this law takes effect, employers will no longer need to worry about imputing income for the value of such coverage to employees in any state." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
No Stop-Loss Coverage for Employer Who Extended COBRA Pursuant to Undisclosed Separation Agreement
"Since an insurer's obligation is frequently limited to the coverage required by COBRA, plan sponsors must be cautious in agreeing to provide continuation coverage beyond the maximum COBRA coverage period. . . . [T]his is especially important to remember when negotiating severance agreements that contain health coverage provisions that are not incorporated into the terms of the plan through an amendment or that may otherwise fall outside the limits of the insurer's obligation under its contract." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
EEOC Letter Addresses Coordination of Current Employees' Health Benefits With Medicare
"[T]he letter explains that eliminating coverage for current employees when they become eligible for Medicare will violate the ADEA unless the 'equal benefit or equal cost' defense is satisfied. For this purpose, 'equal benefits' are not provided if, taking the employer-provided and Medicare-provided benefits together, older employees are entitled to a lesser benefit of any type (including dependent coverage) than similarly situated younger employees." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Clarifications Affect Employee Benefits for Domestic Partners and Same-S.ex Spouses
"The IRS has issued Q&As supplementing IRS Publication 555 (Community Property) to address federal tax issues for registered domestic partners and same-s.ex spouses residing in the community property states of California, Nevada, and Washington." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Workplace Flexibility in the United States; A Status Report (PDF)
31 pages; extensive charts. Workplace flexibility programs benefit employers of all sizes and industries, resulting in increased employee job satisfaction, lower turnover and lower insurance costs, according to the new report, 'Workplace Flexibility in the United States: A Status Report." (Families and Work Institute; Society for Human Resource Management)

What Happened to The CLASS Act?
"Program on Retirement Policy Director Richard Johnson walks us through CLASS's aims and design, why greater access to long-term care is needed, and where the program ran into problems." (Urban Institute)

Health Care Reform Update, November 7, 2011 (PDF)
Items include Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); Other HHS and Federal Regulatory Initiatives; Other Congressional and State Initiatives; Other Health Care News; Hearings & Mark-ups Scheduled. (ML Strategies)

Obese Teens Don't Grasp Weight Loss Rules
"[T]eens trying to drop the pounds don't seem to fully understand the link between exercise and calories." (USA TODAY)

Report: Fewer Than Expected Claiming Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit
"The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration found that, by May, roughly 228,000 taxpayers had claimed the small-business credit to the tune of more than $278 mil.lion. The IRS had previously tried to reach out to some 4.4 mil.lion taxpayers that it thought could have been eligible for the credit, and the Congressional Budget Office had estimated that up to $2 bil.lion could be claimed for 2010." (The Hill)

Over 2,100 Health Insurance Mandates in The States in 2010
"Rhode Island tops the list with the most mandated benefits, at 69. This is closely followed by Maryland (67); Minnesota (64); Texas (60); and Connecticut (59)." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

On Tour Now: The Balancing Act at the Center of Healthcare Reform
"Why is the definition of 'essential services' so critical? Because the success of the entire law depends on finding the right balance between how comprehensive required coverage will be and how affordable it will be." (

California Appellate Court Distinguishes Sabbaticals from Vacations
"California employers do not have to treat sabbaticals as accrued vacation payable at termination if the leave program meets four requirements, a state appellate court has held." (Mercer Select)

Survey Finds Very Few Employers Plan to Drop Health Care Coverage
"Of nearly 900 employers participating in the [Mercer survey,] just 2% said they are 'very likely' to terminate medical plans after insurance exchanges are operational, while 6% said they were 'likely' to do so — figures essentially unchanged from a year ago." (Mercer Select)

Poor Economy May Be Coloring Views of Nation's Health
"45 percent of people thought the health of Americans had become worse during the past five years, and 40 percent thought it had stayed about the same. Only 13 percent thought it was better." (National Public Radio)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]
IRS and Treasury Request Comments on Possible Approaches to Governmental Plan Guidance
"The IRS and Department of Treasury are soliciting comments on possible standards for determining if a retirement plan is a governmental plan under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. This issue is important to Federal, State, Local and Indian tribal government . . . ." (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]
Proskauer ERISA Litigation Newsletter, November 2011
"[W]e review the Department of Labor's decision to re-propose a controversial regulation expanding the definition of an ERISA fiduciary. . . . [Additional commentary addresses] high deductible health plan/health savings account re-design and planning for open enrollment; the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act . . . the Supreme Court's Decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara . . . and reconciling obligations relating to the production of documents under ERISA § 104(b)(4) versus the claims regulation . . . ." (Proskauer)

[Guidance Overview]
DOL Amends Prohibited Transaction Exemption Procedure
"In addition to consolidating existing policies and guidance on the exemption process into a single source, the regulations clarify the types of information and documentation that must be submitted and expand the method for transmitting filings to include electronic submissions." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Results of HayGroup 2011 Executive Retirement Benefits & Perquisites Survey (PDF)
"The impact of 409A may account for the relatively static prevalence of these types of arrangements. In addition, the restrictions placed on deferral elections and payment timing may have diminished the attractiveness of these types of programs. Participation in NQDC programs is on average 39%." (HayGroup)

As States Shift to Contract Workers, Savings Are Not Clear-Cut
"What governments save in salaries and benefits often 'ends up on the government books through all sorts of programs,' said Paul C. Light, a professor at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, referring to unemployment insurance, Medicaid and other public assistance for workers earning low incomes." (New York Times; free registration required)

2011 Best Places to Work in Insurance
"Business Insurance this year honored 50 companies . . . But what makes these companies attractive employers? Is it their benefits and compensation programs? Their attention to work/life balance? Or is it other, more unusual perks? . . . [This article contains] profiles of the honorees, which are organized by type of company and size . . . . [F]ind out what it is that sets the leading insurance industry workplaces apart." (Business Insurance)

More Necessary Pension Pain Ahead for Governmental Employees
"Sooner or later, state and local governments must further rein in benefits for current employees — so that the cost of providing for public servants tomorrow does not make it impossible to provide actual public services today." (Washington Post; free registration required)

Press Releases

MassMutual Survey Says: Among American Workers, Women Much More Concerned Than Men with Keeping Up With Monthly Expenses
(MassMutual Retirement Services)

US Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration Announces 5 Senior Leadership Appointments
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

New "Future Income" Annuity Setting Sales Records at New York Life
(New York Life Insurance Company)

Employee Satisfaction is Primary Driver of Employers’ Voluntary Benefits Offerings; Cost Cutting Less Influential
(Prudential Financial, Inc.)

HighRoads Launches Free Compliance Assessment Tool for Checkup on Employee Health Benefits Communication Practices
(HighRoads, Inc.)

Seventh Annual AllianceBernstein Defined Contribution Survey Finds Most Investors Understand Target-Date Funds -- but Expect Them to Provide Sufficient Retirement Income

Lincoln Financial Group, Primerica Form Strategic Alliance to Offer Clients New Retirement Solutions
(Lincoln Financial Group)

Lockton Ranked #1 as Best Place to Work in Insurance

IRA Financial Group Announces the Expansion of its Self-Directed IRA Program To Meet Growing Demand
(IRA Financial Group )

Shenkman Capital Management, Inc. Announces the Appointment of Former Executive Director of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Bradley D. Belt, as Director
(Shenkman Capital Management, Inc.), 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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