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March 2, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Distribution-Loan Administrator
for Scott, Tellier & Co., Inc. in AZ

Senior Account Executive
for The Fedeli Group in OH

401(k) Plan Compliance Administrator
for Ascensus in IN

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Bridgewater
in New Jersey on March 28, 3012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Detroit (Troy)
in Michigan on March 22, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

Cafeteria Plans
in Washington on March 27, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Washington on March 29, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Washington on March 28, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Health Care Reform
in Washington on March 30, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HIPAA Privacy & Security
in Washington on March 29, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Washington on March 28, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

SunGard's Relius Opens Form 5500 and 401(k) Plan Workshops, April-June, 23 Cities
Nationwide on April 18, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

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[Official Guidance]
U.S. Labor Department Extends Comment Period on Proposed Rules on Filings Required by Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements
"Interested parties now have until March 19, 2012, to submit comments on the proposed rule ... Those who have already submitted comments or plan to submit comments should note that there was an error in the preamble published in the Federal Register ... that incorrectly listed the EBSA email address.... [C]omments sent electronically [via email] prior to February 22, 2012, should be resent to the correct email address[.]" (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

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

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[Guidance Overview]
Employers Must Provide Group Health Plan Participants with a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (PDF)
"[F]ailure to comply with the SBC requirements can result in a daily penalty of up to $1,000 per willful failure per participant and $100 a day per participant in excise taxes. If the SBC is inaccurate, participants may sue under ERISA and allege that the administrator (usually the employer) breached its fiduciary duties by providing a disclosure that was materially misleading." (Paul Hastings)

[Guidance Overview]
Overview of Group Health Plan Summary of Benefits and Coverage Final Rules (PDF)
"A 'material modification' for this purpose includes any modification to the coverage offered under a plan or policy that, independently, or with other contemporaneous modifications or changes, would be considered by an average plan participant to be an important change in covered benefits or other terms of coverage under the plan or policy, including enhancements and reductions in covered services." (Drinker Biddle)

[Guidance Overview]
Must Participant Be 'Made Whole' Before a Plan Can Exercise Its Right to Reimbursement?
"[T]he court read into the plan the requirement that it perform a 'made whole' analysis when the plan document did not so provide, but rather left to the plan the discretion to reduce reimbursement if it concluded that the participant was not made whole." (Littler)

Senate Defeats Amendment to Overturn Prescription Contraceptive Rule
"Proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the amendment to a broader highway bill — S. 1813 — would have allowed employers and insurers to deny coverage of items or services if the coverage would be contrary 'to the religious beliefs or moral convictions' of the sponsor or issuer." (Business Insurance; free registration possibly required)

Employers Slow to Nurture Breastfeeding Break Rule; DOL Begins Enforcement
"Regardless of whether or not employees are aware, the Department of Labor has started enforcing the law, meaning employers can no longer plead ignorance of the new requirements. In fiscal year 2011, 23 companies were investigated for violations and 15 received citations[.]" (SmartHR)

Health Care Reform in 2012
"Two big uncertainties are at the top of everybody's mind this year as the United States travels the bumpy road of healthcare reform — the forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the [PPACA] and the November general election. It is hard for health plans, providers, and state government leaders to know whether to proceed with plans to meet the PPACA statutory deadlines or to hold back until the path ahead becomes clear." (Milliman)

Bill in Washington State Legislature Would Force Insurers to Cover Abortions
"The bill, H.B. 2330, requires insurers that provide maternity care coverage, which Washington mandates for its insurers, also to pay for abortions. The measure already passed Washington's House and currently is pending in the Senate. However, the legislation does include a conscience exemption for health plans that have a religious objection to providing such coverage[.]" (FierceHealthPayer)

Deadline Set for Use of Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Funds
"Employers and other early retiree health care plan sponsors have until the end of 2014 to use federal government claims reimbursement funds authorized by the health care reform law, [according to] the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services." (Business Insurance; free registration possibly required)

News of Health Reform Activity in the Federal Government
The information page was last updated February 15, 2012, and includes notes on congressional activity. (National Conference of State Legislatures)

State Benefit Mandates and National Health Reform (PDF)
"Essential health benefits include 10 broad categories of services, ranging from ambulatory care to hospitalization to prescription drugs. Federal guidance indicates states can define essential health benefits by selecting a benchmark from certain existing employer-sponsored health plans offered in a state. All of the benchmark plan options generally cover a wide range of benefits, including many state-mandated benefits." (National Institute for Health Care Reform)

GAO Report on Drug Pricing: Research on Savings from Generic Drug Use
"[GAO was asked] to identify research completed on estimates of cost savings from the use of generic drugs in the United States. This report summarizes the findings of peer-reviewed articles, government reports, and studies by national organizations, including trade and nonprofit organizations, on this topic. [Podcast of audio interview by GAO staff with John Dicken, Director, Health Care is at]" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Why Should Employers Control Health Care Benefits?
"Because it's all we have ever known in the U.S., we Americans think it normal for employers to be enmeshed in the provision of health care for their employees. Few realize that this arrangement is both unique and absurd in comparison with other industrialized countries, where employers have absolutely nothing to do with health care." (Huff Post)

ERIC Proposes Safe Harbor Approach for Determining Essential Health Benefits for Purposes of Annual and Lifetime Limits (PDF)
"ERIC proposes that employers with group health plans be permitted to continue to apply a 'good faith' interpretation of essential health benefits for purposes of implementing the prohibition on dollar limits on essential benefits. ERIC further proposes that the Department adopt a 'safe harbor' approach under which employers that utilized specified criteria to determine whether a benefit should be considered an essential health benefit would be deemed to have applied a 'good faith' interpretation." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Employee Ownership Update for March 1, 2012
NCEO Executive Director Loren Rodgers discusses a proposal to tax large S corporations as C corporations, an SEC no-action letter stating RSUs do not count under shareholder limits, a proposed pro-ESOP law in Iowa, and employee ownership in South Africa. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

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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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