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February 20, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

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Webcasts and Conferences

IRS 401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire - A Review of the Preliminary Report Webcast
Nationwide on March 1, 2012 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Participant Loan Basics Webcast
Nationwide on March 5, 2012 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Plan Termination Web/Audiocast Series Session 1 - Group Annuities 101 for Pension Actuaries
Nationwide on February 22, 2012 presented by Conference of Consulting Actuaries

Plan Termination Web/Audiocast Series Session 2 - Funding and Investment Strategy
Nationwide on March 21, 2012 presented by Conference of Consulting Actuaries

Plan Termination Web/Audiocast Series Session 3 - Getting It Done
Nationwide on April 11, 2012 presented by Conference of Consulting Actuaries

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[Guidance Overview]
HHS Releases Model Notices Related to Medical Loss Ratio Requirement
"Specifically, the HHS has made available the following documents: MLR Annual Reporting and Rebate Calculation[;] Notice to Subscribers in the Individual Market[;] Notice to Group Policyholders and Their Subscribers, Rebate Sent to the Policyholder[;] Notice to Subscribers of Group Policyholders, Rebate Sent to the Subscribers[;] Instructions for Notices 1, 2 and 3[;] Sample Notice to Policyholders and Subscribers When MLR Standard is Met[;] Sample Instructions for Notice to Policyholders and Subscribers When MLR Standard is Met[.]" (Littler)

9th Annual World Health Care Congress: Strategy, Innovation and Execution   [Advert.]

Sponsored by World Congress

The 9th Annual World Health Care Congress, April 16-18 in Washington, DC. Register now, save $300 with code RDR697. To register, call 800-767-9499 or learn more at

[Guidance Overview]
Stephen Colbert Takes FMLA Leave to Care for Mom; Will His 'Key Employee' Status Under the FMLA Deny His Return to 'The Colbert Report'?
"The FMLA allows employers to utilize this 'key employee' provision to deny reinstatement to an employee who is among the highest paid in the workplace and whose absence creates a significant financial hardship on the employer." (FMLA Insights)

[Guidance Overview]
Summary of Benefits and Coverage: Final Regulations, Model Template, and Related Guidance
"With the regulations, template, and other materials finalized, plan sponsors, insurers, and advisors now face the arduous task of undertaking and coordinating yet another significant disclosure obligation. While the regulations delay the applicability date, plans nonetheless face some urgency in gearing up for compliance." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
Health Care Reform Law Reaching the Workplace
"As employers have begun to implement the reporting mandate numerous questions have arisen about the scope of the requirement, what type of plans must be reported, how to account for a change in employment or coverage status and how to calculate the reportable cost." (Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Updates Guidance On Form W-2 Reporting of Group Health Plan Coverage
"[T]he FAQs, while streamlined, include a helpful chart that details the type of coverage taken into account for 'DD' reporting." (Groom Law Group)

Helping Employees Deal with Their Finances Can Help Companies Cut Health Care Costs and Boost Productivity
"A recent study from El Segundo, Calif.-based Financial Finesse lists money worries as the No. 1 source of stress among employees. It also shows significant differences in company healthcare savings between employees considered heavy users of financial education (three or more interactions with any of the financial services available within a year) and those considered light users or non-users." (Human Resource Executive Online)

California Effort Would Give Insurance Commissioner New Power to Fight Excessive Health Insurance Rate Increases
"The biggest applause line Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) got at a gathering of Democratic Party activists last week came when she endorsed a ballot initiative to give the California Insurance Commissioner power to reject excessive health insurance rate increases. Consumer advocates there decided to go the ballot initiative route after the insurance industry's friends in the legislature blocked a bill last year that would do the same thing." (iWatch News)

Insurance Industry Could Take Hit from Birth Control Mandate
"The trade group America's Health Insurance Plans has limited its comments to saying it worries about the 'precedent' the mandate would set. The concern is that the government could eventually require health plans to cover any number of preventive services — even prescription drugs — without copays or deductibles, under the theory that they save money in the long-term.' (TheHill)

Different States' Contraceptive Rules Leave Employers Room to Maneuver
"On one hand, as administration officials have repeatedly stressed, 28 states already have laws on their books similar to the rule the administration has imposed. Nearly a third of those states don't offer an exemption even for churches — let alone an exception for the church-affiliated charities, universities, hospitals and other employers that are pushing to be left free from the federal rule." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Health Insurance Coverage for 50 to 64 Year-Olds
"This report examines sources of coverage for this age group, issues confronting those not covered through an employer, characteristics of the uninsured, shifts in coverage with retirement, market trends, health care spending, and the impact of the ACA." (AARP)

Rising Costs, Health Care Reform Law Create More Interest in Self-Funding
"Fifty-eight percent of employers with 200 to 999 employees self-funded their health care programs in 2010, up from 44% in 1999, according to the annual Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits." (Business Insurance)

Health Insurance, Health Care and Labor Supply by Older Adults
"This paper examines the effect of elective surgery receipt on Social Security Disability Insurance application and receipt amongst older adults with common chronic conditions." (University of Michigan Retirement Research Center)

States Act to Regulate Insurance Coverage of Birth Control
Republican lawmakers in several states are introducing legislation to regulate insurance companies' coverage of contraception. (The New York Times / AP; free registration required)

Small Business to Obamacare: We'll See You in Supreme Court
"[T]he health reform law is threatening the solvency of small businesses. This tight community is known to be quietly proactive with lawmakers whenever legislation comes around that jeopardizes their collective entrepreneurial spirit. Now, things are about to get very, very loud." (HCPLive)

The New Goliaths: the 2010 Health Law Was Designed to Lower Costs
"Instead, by encouraging hospitals to merge, [the law] could boost the price of care. ... [it] may result in increased provider consolidation and higher prices for consumers[.]" (AHIP Coverage, summarizing the National Journal)

The Latest Health Care Related Legislation
Summary of bills introduced and pending before Congress. (AHIP Coverage)

What Health Benefits Do Employers Typically Cover?
[Video] "CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters, discusses the benefits typically covered in employer-sponsored health insurance and how this relates to essential health benefits to be covered by all insurance sold on state exchanges beginning in 2014." (Alliance for Health Reform / The Commonwealth Fund)

The Democratization of Health Care: Whose Money Is It?
"It might appear as if magnanimous employers are providing uncompensated dollars to buy health care for their workers, but that is a shell game. The employer contributions, the term 'copayment' notwithstanding, are wages taxable as such when government gets around to it." (The Huffington Post)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Washington State Is Latest Jurisdiction to License Same-Gender Marriages
"This Compliance Alert notes which jurisdictions license same-gender marriages and provides a brief introduction to the implications for retirement plan sponsors." (Segal)

[Guidance Overview]
Same-Gender Marriage: Action Steps for Pension Plan Trustees (PDF)
"[This] information may be helpful to retirement plan sponsors as they review their benefit offerings and plan documents to determine whether and how to accommodate participants' same-gender spouses." (Segal)

'Occasionally' Providing Meals to Employees? What Does it Mean for Employer Tax Compliance?
"How can an employer best determine whether employer-provided meals qualify as de minimis fringe benefits under the federal tax code? The employer must take into account how frequently the meals or meal money are provided, either on an employee-by-employee basis, or on the basis of the work force as a whole." (SmartHR Manager / Thompson)

Viewpoint: Strengthen Employee Loyalty with Corporate 529 Plans
"Making college savings easy and systematic can become a key differentiator for organizations that are committed to their employees' entire financial health." (SHRM)

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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