To To BenefitsLink home page

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 29, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Participant Counselor - Retirement Services
for Diversified in AL

401(k) Plan Administrator
for PASI, LLC in CT

Benefit Services Manager

ERISA/Employee Benefits Attorney
for Morgan Stanley in NY

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates in IL

Retirement Plan Specialist - Installations
for Benefit Plans Plus, LLC in IL, MO

Qualified Plan Consultant
for The Newport Group in FL

Administrator Assistant
for GF Pension Corp. in NJ, PA

Post Your Job on

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

"Government Plans: The Oddity of the Retirement Plan World" Web Seminar
Nationwide on March 28, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

401(k) Essentials Plus Series
Nationwide on May 17, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

A Practical Guide to Negotiating ERISA Service Provider Agreements
Nationwide on March 22, 2012 presented by Practical Law Company

Legislative Update of Defined Contribution Plans Webcast
Nationwide on April 26, 2012 presented by National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators

Qualified Plan Essentials Plus Series
Nationwide on March 27, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

The 401(k) Questionnaire - Follow-up
Nationwide on March 22, 2012 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Webinar - Advanced HSAs
Nationwide on May 15, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Choosing the "Right" Retirement Plan
Nationwide on May 23, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Comparing Roth & Traditional IRAs
Nationwide on March 13, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Conducting Your Own Compliance Audit
Nationwide on May 17, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Conversions and Recharacterizations
Nationwide on April 5, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Establishing and Amending IRAs
Nationwide on March 8, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Handling IRA Legal Issues
Nationwide on May 3, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - HSA Basics
Nationwide on April 26, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Introduction to QRP's
Nationwide on May 8, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Beneficiary Distributions
Nationwide on May 10, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Contributions
Nationwide on March 1, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Excess Contributions
Nationwide on April 24, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Investments and Investment Issues
Nationwide on March 15, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Reporting
Nationwide on March 29, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Reporting
Nationwide on May 1, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Required Minimum Distributions
Nationwide on March 6, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Roth IRA Distributions
Nationwide on May 22, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - SEP Plans
Nationwide on March 20, 2012 presented by Ascensus

We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe

[Guidance Overview]
Understanding the Medical Loss Ratio (PDF)
"Beginning in 2012, insurers failing to meet the applicable MLR standard for the prior year must issue rebates to consumers proportionate to the amount in premiums paid by each consumer. In the case of employer-sponsored insurance plans ... the handling of refunds to employers and employees may depend on the plan's contract and the manner in which the policyholder and participants share premium costs." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

DATAIR! 5500 Filing for Welfare, Flex & Pension Plans   [Advert.]

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

EFAST2 5500 filing with all schedules and SAR. Instant validation.
Includes customized web-based employer access.
(888) 328-2474

[Guidance Overview]
Essential Health Benefits: New FAQs Disclose Direction of Future Guidance
"The guidance not only impacts the states — each of which will need to select an EHB benchmark plan — but also impacts large group health plans and self-insured group health plans, which are not required to provide EHBs but will need to identify EHBs in order to impose permitted annual or lifetime dollar limits on non-EHBs." (Deloitte)

[Guidance Overview]
Recent Guidance on Automatic Enrollment, 90-Day Waiting Periods, & Shared Responsibility (PDF)
Slide presentation covering implementation of PPACA provisions that will be effective in 2014; includes detailed review of specific requirements and decision tree charts. (Lockton Benefit Group / American Benefits Council)

[Guidance Overview]
FAQ Addresses Whether Self-Insured Plan with Annual Limit Waiver May Move to Insured Arrangement without Losing Grandfather Status
"For sponsors with self-insured arrangements, this guidance clarifies what may have been unclear about grandfathered status and makes the prospect of moving to an insured arrangement less risky." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

[Guidance Overview]
HHS's Additional Guidance on Essential Health Benefits, Including Implications for Self-Insured and Large Group Plans
"Existing interim final regulations on annual and lifetime dollar limits provide that, until final regulations defining EHB are issued, the agencies will take into account good faith efforts to comply with a reasonable interpretation of the term.... Now, Q/A-10 ties good faith compliance with the dollar limit prohibitions to the benchmark plan approach for the individual and small group markets, thereby making compliance more complex and burdensome even before final regulations are issued." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

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

Sponsored by World Congress

What can we do as an industry now, to fix health care. The 2012 Congress brings together multi-disciplinary CEO panels from health systems, health plans, purchasers, state policy and government. Long-term strategic planning and practical solutions.

What to Expect When Health Plans Have to Cover the 'Essentials'
"There are 10 mandatory categories, and the agencies predict many plans will have to create new coverage for: (1) pediatric oral services, (2) pediatric vision services and (3) habilitative services." (Thompson / SmartHR Manager)

Health Care Utilization Uptick, Greater Regulatory Scrutiny Could Spark Stormy Rate Battles
"Regardless of the federal oversight, rates will push higher over the next several years because there is no downward pressure on provider charges ... The cost shifting that is occurring — and will continue to occur — by hospitals to the commercial sector because of reductions in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid will exacerbate the problem ... If the government wants to truly have an impact they need to regulate hospital rates that are charged to commercial health plans.'" (AISHealth; free registration might be required)

Studies on a $6 Bil.lion a Year Problem for Business: Intimate Partner Violence
"Every year, intimate partner violence costs an estimated $18 mil.lion in earnings for victims and an additional $6 bil.lion in direct costs to business. Employers use various workplace strategies to address this issue, including EAPs, training programs, and/or educational campaigns. However, little research has been conducted on the effectiveness and costs of these interventions." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Smaller Companies Want Workers to Shape Up
"A recent ... survey found 29 percent of small businesses offered some sort of wellness options, compared to 22 percent last year, and 16 percent five years ago. Research ... found that for every $1 spent on worksite health promotion programs, a company can see an average of $3.50 in savings related to fewer sick days and health care costs." (Life Inc.)

A Decade of Coverage Losses: Implications for the Affordable Care Act
"[P]arents and adults without dependent children are the two groups that stand to gain the most from both ACA's Medicaid expansions and subsidized coverage available through state insurance exchanges.... [I]f these coverage-related provisions are not implemented, the number of uninsured is predicted to grow significantly in the coming years." (Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Connecticut Considers LTC Insurance Deduction Bill
"If implemented as written, the deduction would take effect on passage and apply to taxable years starting on or after Jan. 1, 2012. The bill would allow a state resident to deduct 'any amount paid during the taxable year for the premium on a long-term care insurance policy,' according to the bill text." (LifeHealthPro)

New Jersey Municipalities Overpay for Health Insurance
"The New Jersey state comptroller said [February 28] that local and county governments are wasting more than $100 mil.lion a year by enrolling employees in private health-insurance plans — some of them politically connected — instead of the state health plan." (The Wall Street Journal)

States Should Study Spending Before Picking Benefits, Report Says
"The report issued Tuesday by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that the under-65 population, which will be affected the most by the federal healthcare overhaul, has very different medical spending patterns than Medicare beneficiaries, [which] policymakers should take into account as they prepare to extend coverage to millions of the uninsured." (Los Angeles Times)

Maine's Top Court Backs State Authority to Limit Health Plan's Profits
"The Court said that Maine's insurance superintendent had 'properly balanced the competing interests' in arriving at an approved rate increase of 5.2 percent. The insurer ...had sought a 3 percent profit margin as part of an overall 9.2 percent increase in health insurance rates for policies sold to individuals in 2011." (Kaiser Health News)

Save $36 Bil.lion in U.S. Health Care Spending through Price Transparency
"Studies show that healthcare costs for the same procedure in the same market can vary by more than 100 percent. Providing consumers with clear, comparative information on the cost of services is key to further engaging them in the decisionmaking process and, ultimately, reducing healthcare costs.... [This paper] offers eight best practices for implementing successful price transparency initiatives." (Thomson Reuters)

Coming to a Strip Mall Near You: A Health Insurance Store
"One way that some health insurers are angling to appeal to millions of new insurance shoppers by opening retail stores where people can buy a policy, check on an existing claim, maybe even take a class in healthy cooking or yoga." (NPR)

Premium Incentives to Drive Wellness in the Workplace: A Review of the Issues and Recommendations for Policymakers
"Recent changes enacted in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allow employers to link greater financial incentives to the achievement of [specific] clinical targets.... As more and more employers implement wellness incentive programs for their workers, it will be important to establish standards at the state and federal level for consumer protections to guard against those programs that inappropriately punish workers in poor health, are overly coercive, or create perverse financial incentives that result in poorer health outcomes." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Revised EEOC Guidance Clarifies Interplay Between ADA and USERRA for Employers, Explains Rights to Veterans with Service-Related Disabilities
"The Commission's revised Guide for Employers explains how the ADA applies to recruiting, hiring and accommodating veterans with disabilities. It also explains how protections for veterans with service-connected disabilities differ under the ADA and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as well as laws and regulations that may be helpful to employers that want to make hiring veterans with disabilities a priority." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

Contraception Conundrum
"As the problem is no more complicated than two sets of equally valid rights in direct opposition, neither is the solution all that complicated, at least in principle: employment and health insurance should have nothing to do with each other.... Thanks to the tax-advantaged status of employer-sponsored health coverage, U.S. employers are forced to make decisions about the most intimate details of their employees' private lives." (The Health Care Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Employee Benefits Developments, February 2012
The newsletter covers recent rulings, opinions, and cases. (Hodgson Russ LLP)

Efforts to Align Executive Pay with Performance Underscore How Seriously Companies Take 'Say on Pay' Votes
"Since the piece of the Dodd-Frank law requiring public companies to put their compensation practices to a non-binding shareholder vote went into effect in January 2011, some 45 publicly held U.S. companies — or less than 2% — have received negative votes from a majority of shareholders[.]" (EisnerAmper)

American Workers Seek More Security in Retirement and Health Plans
"The silver lining is that the downturn has sharpened the focus on retirement security and health spending. Recent financial losses and higher health costs have highlighted the value of security, and many workers exhibit a new willingness to pay for guaranteed benefits." (Towers Watson)

Administration Moves to Advance Benefits for Same-S.ex Partners of Federal Workers
"[T]he Obama administration is preparing to finalize regulations that would advance benefits for the same-s.ex partners of federal employees.... [T]he administration believes it must do what it can through regulation while still advocating related legislation, even when prospects for it are dim in this Congress." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Press Releases, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Jeanette Hull, News Editor
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Lois Baker, J.D., President
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Copyright © 2012, Inc. All rights reserved.

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

More useful links: