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November 22, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Defined Benefit Calculation Analyst
for Diversified in MA

401(k) Administrator
for Swerdlin & Company in GA

Staff Consultant - Retirement Plan Administrator
for BKD, LLP in MO

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Webcasts and Conferences

"Keeping Current - A 2011 Review" Web Seminar
Nationwide on December 20, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

"Safe Harbor Plans" - A 3-Part Web Seminar
Nationwide on December 13, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

FutureOffice Network Presents December 6 Smartcast on Health Care Reform: A 2011 Look-back and a 2012 Look-Forward
in Wisconsin on November 21, 2011 presented by FutureOffice Network

Retirement Plan Electronic Disclosure Rules
Nationwide on November 30, 2011 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

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[Guidance Overview]
Health Plans Get Reprieve from Immediate Need to Develop and Provide Uniform Summary of Benefits and Coverage
"[The Departments of Treasury, Labor and HHS] released an answer to a frequently asked question (FAQ) informing group health plans and insurance issuers that (1) compliance will not be required until the rules are issued in final form; and (2) the final rules will set out an applicability date that will give group health plans and insurance issuers sufficient time to comply." (Segal)

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.

[Guidance Overview]
Summary of Benefits and Coverage Requirements Delayed; FAQs on Mental Health Parity Issued (PDF)
"The latest round of guidance includes several items of interest for employers: (1) a delay of the applicability date for the Summary of Benefits and Coverage . . . requirements under PPACA; (2) clarifications regarding the nonquantitative treatment limitations and copayment variations prohibited for mental health/substance use disorder benefits under MHPAEA, and (3) information on permissible copayment variations for mental health/substance use disorder benefits." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Agencies Issue FAQs on Health Care Reform's SBC Requirement and on Mental Health Parity Implementation
"This new FAQ seems to confirm that the final regulations may be significantly different from the proposals and suggests that there may be relief as to the applicability date as well." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
ERISA Plan Reimbursement Limited by Equitable Principles, Third Circuit Holds
"The Third Circuit answered a question left open in Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Inc.: whether 'appropriate equitable relief' under ERISA Section 502(a)(3) means that a plan's recovery from a participant is limited by the equitable defenses and principles, such as unjust enrichment, typically available in equity." (Practical Law Company)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Rolls Out HIPAA Audit Program
"The Pilot Audit Program will include only HIPAA-covered entities, i.e., health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses, and not their business associates, but OCR stated that business associates would be included in future audits." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]
Failure to Disclose Time Limit for Filing Suit Resulted in Extended Deadline
"This case reinforces the importance of thorough disclosure and adherence to ERISA's claims procedure requirements. In particular, if a plan imposes a time limit for filing suit under ERISA, this limit should be set forth in the benefit denial notice, as well as in SPDs and other communications, if the plan hopes to enforce it." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Agrees That Se.x Reassignment Surgery and Related Hormone Therapy Were for Medical Care
"The IRS had disallowed the deduction, based on an IRS Chief Counsel Advice memorandum (CCA) expressing the view that hormone therapy and se.x reassignment surgery did not treat a medically recognized disease or promote the proper function of the body . . . . With this AOD, the IRS has acquiesced in the Tax Court's position and indicated it will no longer take the position reflected in the CCA." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Wellness Efforts Often not Meeting Employee Needs
"A new survey from Aon Hewitt, The Futures Company and the National Business Group on Health, reveals consumers want their employers to do more to help them improve their health and get the most from their employer-provided health and wellness plans." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Health Insurers Fear Consequences of Individual Mandate Being Struck Down
"For insurers, the death of the mandate alone -- one of many plausible outcomes in the blockbuster case -- is the nightmare scenario, one Republican healthcare lobbyist told The Hill. 'They're terrified they're going to be left holding the bag,' the lobbyist said . . . ." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, November 21, 2011 (PDF)
Read this week's update on health care reform legislation, regulations, and initiatives. (ML Strategies, LLC)

Multiemployer Plans Look to Value-Based Health Care
"A new survey released by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans finds that in the last year, the number of multiemployer and public employer plans that consider their health and wellness offerings to be a part of a broader VBHC strategy more than doubled from 16% to 37%." (Employee Benefit News)

Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Funds 80% Used Up
"Of the total paid out so far, $387.2 mil.lion was distributed to the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. The trust is a voluntary employees' beneficiary association set up by the UAW under a 2007 collective bargaining agreement between General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler L.L.C. and the UAW." (Business Insurance)

Eighty-Six Percent of Estimated 3.2 Mil.lion U.S. Truck Drivers Are Overweight or Obese
"[B]eset by rising insurance costs and desperate to ensure their drivers pass government health tests, trucking companies and industry groups are working hard to persuade road warriors to change their habits." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Most Witnesses at IRS Hearing Criticize Proposed Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit Rules
"Many witnesses . . . said that proposed IRS regulations on the health insurance premium tax credit will deny the credit to eligible families and deprive them of access to family health insurance coverage. But one employer group disagreed, testifying that the government had correctly interpreted the law." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

Get a Legal Check-Up Before Lauching a Wellness Program
"Wellness programs fall into two broad categories: participation-based and standard-based. Both types may focus on raising health awareness, educating employees and/or encouraging lifestyle and behavior change. And both may even offer incentives." (GoLocalProv)

Retired California Public Workers Can Count on Promised Benefits, Court Says
"Health benefits for government retirees may not be eliminated if state and local governments had clearly promised workers those benefits, the California Supreme Court ruled in an Orange County case . . . ." (Los Angeles Times)

Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Health Insurance Rate Increases
"Starting September 1, 2011, in every State and for the first time ever, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more. . . . Today, we're announcing our first decision as part of this rate review process, including the decision that one insurance company's plan to raise rates in Pennsylvania was unreasonable . . . ." (

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
ISS 2012 Updates to Proxy Voting Guidelines
"The key change in the ISS 2012 updates is that, going forward, the first time a post-IPO company presents an equity plan for Section 162(m) approval, ISS will give the plan a full equity plan evaluation." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

Stock Ownership Guidelines Hard-Wired Into the Plan?
"I wanted to point out to readers a company that recently incorporated its stock ownership guidelines into its stock incentive plan document, which I had not seen previously. The amended Motricity, Inc. 2010 Long Term Incentive Plan, approved by stockholders on October 28, 2011, contains the following paragraph . . . ." (Michael S. Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans: Plan Decisions and Changing Tax Conditions
"This white paper will: Look at which individuals are potentially affected by proposed tax changes; Examine four key factors that need to be considered when comparing the effect of taxes on deferred compensation versus paying taxes currently; Provide scenarios of how tax rate changes might impact NQDC plan deferrals over time." (Principal Life Insurance Company)

Use of Statistical Sampling in Pay Ratio Disclosures Would Be 'Extremely Difficult,' SEC Told
"Allowing employers to use statistical sampling to comply with Dodd-Frank's employee-to-CEO pay ratio disclosure rule wouldn't make the calculation much easier, according to the Center On Executive Compensation." (Mercer LLC)

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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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