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November 17, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

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[Official Guidance]
EBSA FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation and Mental Health Parity Implementation
"The six classifications of benefits defined in the interim final rules are: (1) inpatient, in-network; (2) inpatient, out-of-network; (3) outpatient, in-network; (4) outpatient, out-of-network; (5) emergency care; and (6) prescription drugs." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

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[Guidance Overview]
D.C. Circuit Upholds Constitutionality of Health Care Reform's Individual Mandate
"Unconvinced by the argument that an individual cannot be subject to Commerce Clause regulation without taking affirmative steps to enter into or affect interstate commerce, the court explained that it was not the behavior of any one individual that mattered, but whether the national problem being addressed by Congress substantially affected interstate commerce." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

State Trends in Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles, 2003–2010
"If premium trends continue at the rate prior to enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the average premium for family coverage will rise 72 percent by 2020, to nearly $24,000. Health reform offers the potential to reduce insurance cost growth while improving financial protections." (The Commonwealth Fund)

San Francisco OKs Compromise on Health Reimbursement Arrangements
"The proposal, unveiled by Malia Cohen, a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors, would require that funds employers contribute to HRAs to satisfy the health care spending law be available for 24 months after the contribution." (Business Insurance)

CMS to Survey Employers on how They Used Early Retiree Reimbursement Funds
"That survey, the CMS explained in a notice published in Wednesday's Federal Register, is required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a mechanism 'to monitor the appropriate use of the funds.'" (Business Insurance)

San Francisco's Universal Health Plan Rests on Unstable Funding
"While the Department of Public Health has kept its own spending on the program at under $100 mil.lion a year—about the same amount it spent on indigent care before Healthy San Francisco's 2007 launch—it has spread an additional $78 mil.lion in costs to businesses, patients, the federal government and the health care providers themselves." (SF Public Press)

Health Policies That Impose Financial Penalties on Employees Have Doubled in Last Two Years
"More and more employers are demanding that workers who smoke, are overweight or have high cholesterol shoulder a greater share of their health care costs, a shift toward penalizing employees with unhealthy lifestyles rather than rewarding good habits." (The New York Times; free registration required)

New Study Shows Health Insurance Premium Spikes in Every State
"The District of Columbia had the highest annual total premiums, including both the employer's and the worker's share. In 2010, they averaged $5,644 for a single policy and $15,206 for a family version—a rise of 51 percent and 41 percent, respectively, since 2003." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

A Commentary on The Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey on Health Spending and Reform Implementation
"In the 20 months since President Obama signed the historic Affordable Care Act into law, millions of Americans are already receiving help they need to improve their health, improve their care, and save money." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Supreme Court Will Act on Health Care Reform Law
"Our best advice to employers at this point is to move forward with plans for compliance with the legislation (in that regard, certain compliance steps will need to be taken in 2012), but with an eye for possible changes if the legislation is modified or even made void. With careful planning (including careful plan document drafting), employers can best preserve an ability to react positively to any detours . . . ." (Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP)

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, November 14, 2011
Read this week's update on health care reform legislation, regulations, and initiatives. (ML Strategies, LLC)

Health Care Costs Can Exceed 20 Cents of Every Revenue Dollar
"The nonprofit Center for Health Value Innovation released the initial results of employers completing the Health Value Accelerator finding that over 20 cents out of every dollar of revenue are going toward health care costs that are under-managed." (Employee Benefit News)

Employers Step Up Efforts to Curb Health Care Costs
"Employers are increasingly using financial incentives to encourage employees to participate in programs to help them adopt healthier lifestyles or better manage their chronic conditions, according to the survey. A third of the large employers that offer these programs provided incentives for workers to use them in 2011, up from 21 percent in 2009." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Reform Law and the Broccoli Test
"There are, of course, limits to what Congress can do under the commerce clause. If it tried to enact a law requiring Americans to eat broccoli, that would be likely to violate bodily integrity and the right to liberty. But the health insurance mandate does not require Americans to subject themselves to health care. It requires them only to buy insurance to cover the costs of any health care they get." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
How Does 1,000-Hour Rule Apply to Non-Retirement Benefits?
"The best-known 1,000-hour rule is contained in Part 2 of Title 1 of the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and generally only applies to employee pension benefit plans. It's also mentioned in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sections 410(a) and 411(a) regarding participation and vesting in retirement plans." (Workplace Management: free registration required)

How Do Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior Vary by State? (PDF)
"After controlling for the effect of individual demographic characteristics, most bottom-ranked states have a statistically significant effect on their residents' financial literacy and almost all states have a statistically significant effect on their residents' financial behavior. This suggests that there might be something going on at the state level whereby individual financial literacy and financial behavior are being shaped not only by individual demographic characteristics but also by the state in which people live." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

U.S. Equal Rights for Same-S.ex Marriage Clears Hurdle
"By a 10-8 vote along party lines, [on November 10, 2011,] the Senate judiciary committee approved a bill entitling g.ay and les.bian spouses to the same Social Security, family welfare and income tax benefits as wedded straight couples." (Yahoo! Inc.)

Headlines in Employee Benefits Law, November 2011 (PDF)
The newsletter covers select compliance deadlines and reminders, retirement plan developments, health and welfare plan developments, and general developments. (Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.)

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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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