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February 21, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Analyst, Benefits
for CareFusion in CA

Administrator - Smaller DC Plans
for Law Offices of R. David Danziger, P.C. in PA

Plan Document Specialist
for Lincoln Financial Group in IL, IN

Retirement Plan Assistant
for Pension and Retirement Services in MO

Client Relationship Consultant
for Gallagher Retirement Services in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

NIPA Webcast: Form 5500 - Independent Public Accountant's Audit
in California on April 26, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

NIPA Webcast: Managing Participant Loans
Nationwide on June 5, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

NIPA Webcast: The 401(k) Sales Champion Workshop: Grow Plan Referrals from Financial Advisers
Nationwide on February 28, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Plan Audits
in Minnesota on April 3, 2012 presented by ASPPA ABC Greater Twin Cities


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[Official Guidance]
From HHS: Frequently Asked Questions on Essential Health Benefits Bulletin (PDF)
The FAQ document provides additional guidance in the form of 22 questions and answers. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)


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[Guidance Overview]
COBRA Notification Lapse Has Five Year Limitations Period
"The ERISA statutory scheme is many things, but one thing it is not. It is most definitely not the ''comprehensive and reticulated statute'' (Massachusetts Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Russell, 473 U.S. 134 (1985)) that the federal judiciary has proclaimed. For example, nothing is more basic to a remedial statute than the limitations period that defines its reach." (Health Plan Law)

[Guidance Overview]
Agencies Issue FAQs on Automatic Enrollment, Waiting Periods, and Employer Shared Responsibility
"These FAQs provide a glimpse into the future — giving us a 'heads-up' on approaches that the agencies will be proposing in upcoming regulations and other guidance. It is interesting to see the agencies conceding on the automatic enrollment deadline at such an early date — signaling their recognition of the importance of 'coordinated guidance and a smooth implementation process' in order to give employers enough time to comply." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
Final Regulations Address Coverage of Contraceptive Services by Religious Employers and Provide Guidance on Temporary Enforcement Safe Harbor
"Much of the guidance is consistent with last month's HHS announcement on this topic ... However, the plan to involve insurers in providing coverage for contraceptive services is new, and open questions remain — such as the treatment of self-insured plans. We also note that the announcement indicated that HHS intended to require employers not offering coverage of contraceptive services under these rules to provide a notice to employees regarding where such services are available." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Your Perks Aren't Motivating Your Employees
"Whatever you call it, [recent] authors seem to feel that the larger environment, including the apparent worth of the work itself and the interaction between team members, is far more essential to motivation than gym memberships or an office espresso machine. These perks are nice, of course, but they're like sprinkles — they're of little interest to anyone if you don't have the cupcake of a good corporate culture to add them to." (Inc.)

Shyness, Grieving Soon to Be Classified As Mental Illness
"The [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)] is published by the American Psychiatric Association ... and has descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It is used internationally and is seen as the diagnostic 'bible' for mental health medicine." (Reuters via FoxNews.com)

Oregon State Workers Sue to Block Wellness Program Claiming Violation of Civil Rights and Privacy
"The lawsuit targets the Health Engagement Model (HEM), which requires that adults enrolled in the health plan for state employees complete an online health risk assessment survey conducted by their insurance provider, the Salem Statesman Journal reports. Those who don't participate in the HEM are charged a monthly penalty of $20 if they are single or $35 if they are covered as a couple." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Arizona Lawmakers Consider Long-Term Care Savings Account Bill
"One section of the bill would let an Arizona taxpayer deduct long-term care insurance (LTCI) premiums from the amount of income subject to state income taxes. Another section would let a taxpayer deduct contributions to an LTC savings account from state taxable income. An LTC account administrator would have a fiduciary duty to the taxpayer and would be responsible for making sure the account assets were spent on LTC expenses." (LifeHealthPro)

Essential Health Benefits Benchmark Picks Due Sept. 30
"PPACA itself requires EHB packages to include some benefits not typically included in today's health insurance plans, such as pediatric dental services and pediatric vision testing services." (LifeHealthPro)

Can This Towers Watson Plan Cut Corporate Health Care Costs?
"The Chicago office of Towers Watson, ... has teamed up with Salt Lake City-based Imagine Health Inc. to launch a pilot version of the Smart Employer Network in Chicago in 2013. Employers in Idaho, Texas and New Mexico, where similar networks have been launched since 2007, have seen double-digit reductions in provider reimbursements, while hospitals and physicians have at least doubled and many times tripled their patient loads, ..." (Chicago Healthcare Daily)

New York State Angers Insurers with In-Depth Rate Review Audits
"Insurers operating in New York likely will face scrutiny after the state announced new audits that will question the underlying data and actuarial assumptions used to justify rate hikes. The audits, which Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky announced Wednesday, will include on-site visits of health plans and will examine data about claims, administrative costs, premiums and claims reserves, reported the Buffalo News." (FierceHealthPayer)

Key Issues to Consider for Outreach and Enrollment Efforts Under Health Reform (PDF)
"Based on a discussion with federal and state officials and experts, this report identifies key issues to consider with regard to outreach and enrollment under reform ..." (Health Reform Roundtables: Charting A Course Forward)

Judge Asked to Dismiss Lawsuit on Health Care Claims Tax
"The state of Michigan is asking a Detroit federal court judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed in December by a trade group representing self-funded insurance plans who argued a new tax on health care claims is unconstitutional." (The Detroit News)

State Implementation of Health Care Exchanges
"Although the exchanges won't be available to consumers and small businesses until 2014, the clock is ticking for states to lay the groundwork for their respective exchanges. If the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determines that a state hasn't made sufficient progress toward establishing an exchange by January 1, 2013, or if a state chooses not to establish an exchange, HHS will step in and administer that state's exchange." (Faegre Baker Daniels)

Chicago's City Colleges Take Charge of Leave, Insurance
"The City Colleges of Chicago has ended its practice of allowing employees to 'cash out' sick days when they quit their jobs. In addition, the community college system has also capped the number of sick days an employee can accumulate at 200. The policy applies to administrators and nonunion employees hired after Jan. 1, 2012, and is a first change resulting from a comprehensive review of benefits ordered by the school's chancellor last fall." (Business Management Daily)

Systematic Review of the Impact of Worksite Wellness Programs
"The studies yielded mixed results regarding impact of wellness programs on health related behaviors, substance use, physiologic markers, and cost, while the evidence for effects on absenteeism and mental health is insufficient. The validity of those findings is reduced by the lack of rigorous evaluation designs. Further, the body of publications is in stark contrast to the widespread use of such programs, and research on the effect of incentives is lacking." (The American Journal of Managed Care)

Insurance Coverage Might Steer Women to Costlier, But More Effective, Birth Control
"In the heated debate over to what extent religiously affiliated employers should be required to provide free contraception for workers, no one has talked much about what methods are available to women who want to prevent pregnancy and how their choices might change if cost were removed from the equation. But it's an important subject." (Kaiser Health News)

National Journal Cover Story on the New Goliaths: the 2010 Health Law Was Designed to Lower Costs
"The cover story ... highlights how the new health care reform law may result in increased provider consolidation and higher prices for consumers. (AHIP Coverage)

[Opinion]
Brief Amicus Curiae of the Independent Women's Forum in Support of Respondents on the Individual Mandate (PDF)
"Amicus is gravely concerned that the Affordable Care Act represents a significant, unconstitutional increase in federal power, which if allowed to stand will limit competition, stifle debate and thus deprive us of the liberties and opportunities we would otherwise enjoy." (Independent Women's Forum)

Press Releases



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