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December 30, 2011 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

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[Guidance Overview]
Invalid FMLA Certification Can Form the Basis of Employment Termination
"In order to support a valid claim of retaliation under [FMLA], an employee must demonstrate that the reason given for an adverse employment action was pretextual, and that the employee's request for or use of FMLA leave was the actual basis of the action." (Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC)

Self-Funding and Alternative Models for Health Benefit Financing   [Advert.]

Sponsored by World Congress

As employers struggle with increasing health care costs, rising premiums and instability in the market, explore creative approaches to financing benefits that deliver new opportunities to drive real savings. February 7-9, Washington, DC

[Guidance Overview]
HHS Outlines Essential Health Benefits, Granting Significant Flexibility to the States
"By making the states the locus of decision making, HHS has at least arguably respected the long history of state primacy in matters of insurance regulation, with much remaining on the horizon in implementing the EHB and other [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] provisions." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

More Employers Rewarding Healthy Workers with Cash
"The payoffs range from $50 to more than $1,400 a year, and the money tends to catch the attention of employees who may have been numb to previous get-healthy messages." (FOX News Network, LLC)

IBM Gets Patent on Healthy Eating Incentive Program
"For it to work, a person must use a micro-payment network to buy food, which allows their purchases to be monitored and compared against their health records. If they've made the right choices, the system then communicates with their employer's payroll server to issue a reward." (AOL Inc.)

Employer-Sponsored Laboratory Testing Identified Previously Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
"'Our findings show that, for a large proportion of working-age adults, health care access alone does not guarantee detection of risk factors for common chronic health conditions,' the researchers wrote. The availability of health risk assessment with laboratory tests serves an important role in addressing this shortcoming. By identifying such opportunities early, employer-sponsored laboratory testing may slow or prevent the progression of common medical conditions.'" ( via SLACK, Inc.)

Managing Health Care Reform Decision Making
"[T]he health insurance exchanges are coming on line and companies must make the so called 'pay-or-play' decision in just 24 months. Is it better for the company to continue to offer its employees health insurance (play)? Or is it more advantageous to eliminated health benefits and pay the resulting penalties (pay)?" (Penton Media, Inc.)

Lawsuits in New York State: No Retreat by Unions Over Increase in Retiree Health Care Premiums
"Public employee unions are suing over the state's decision to increase the health care contributions for current retirees, claiming the 2 percent increases that took effect in October are unconstitutional." (Hearst Communications Inc.)

Firms Adjust to Aging Employees with Morning Stretches at Duke Energy, Ice Packs at Harley-Davidson
"Companies also tend to value older workers because they are less likely to job hop. Besides, reducing strains on workers can cut medical-insurance and workers-compensation costs arising from injuries." (The Wall Street Journal)

No Co-Pay Pays Off for Pharma.ceutical Firms
"Several large pharma.ceutical companies . . . go beyond discounts and provide their prescription products with no co-payment to employees who have a script, and the reason is simple: profit. . . . [A]s employers, pharma.ceutical companies are [no different from other companies] in wanting to keep employee health-care costs low. The drug industry — like many doctors — is a proponent of patients taking medication prescribed by a physician." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Tax Benefits from Options as Windfall for Businesses
"The stock market's rebound from the financial crisis three years ago has created a potential windfall for hundreds of executives who were granted unusually large packages of stock options shortly after the market collapsed." (The New York Times; free registration required)

NYC Comptroller Weighs In on Clawbacks Controversy
"New York City Comptroller John C. Liu released a statement saying that Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley should hold their senior executives more accountable for improper behavior." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

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

Some Employers Turn to Quirky Perks for Workers
"Pet insurance, at-your-desk meditation services, jewelry discounts and funeral planning — from the quirky to the somber, workplaces are providing a range of unique benefits in 2012." (USA TODAY)

Changes in Illinois Civil Union Partner Tax Status
"Four other states allow or will allow civil unions: Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey and Rhode Island, but only Hawaii will recognize civil unions for opposite-se.x couples (the Hawaii civil union law is effective January 1, 2012). The implication of the IRS letter for Hawaii and other states with opposite-se.x domestic partnerships (such as Nevada, California and Washington) is unknown." (Faegre & Benson LLP), Inc.
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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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