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May 4, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

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[Guidance Overview]
Proposed IRS Regs Address Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee on Group Health Plans
"Insurers and plan sponsors must report and pay these fees annually on IRS Form 720, which will be due by July 31 of each year. The first due date is July 31, 2013. A return will generally cover policy or plan years that end during the preceding calendar year. In other words, fees for a plan year are due by July 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year containing the plan year end. Form 720 may be filed electronically. The IRS has not yet updated Form 720 to reflect the reporting of these fees." (Proskauer)

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[Guidance Overview]
Proposed IRS Regs Address Fees to Be Paid by Health Insurers and Sponsors of Self-Insured Health Plans
"If the Supreme Court agrees that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and cannot be severed from the rest of the Act, the Section 4375 and 4376 fees [on health insurers and plan sponsors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund] would be invalidated along with the PCORI. The Court's decision is expected this June." (McGuire Woods)

[Guidance Overview]
Minnesota State Agency to Pay Damages Plus Insur.ance Coverage to Resolve Case of 'Age 55 Cliff' Discriminatory Early Retirement Plans
"This decree ... resolves the last in a series of cases brought by the EEOC against Minnesota state agencies regarding early retirement incentive plans contained in collective bargaining agreements for certain employees. The incentive plans provided that the employee had to retire by age 55 to obtain the incentive, and would lose it if he or she worked longer, according to an EEOC statement. For an employee who did retire by age 55, the employer continued to pay the employer's share of the insur.ance premiums which generally ranged from 85 percent to 100 percent of the total amount of the premium, and continued to do so until the retiree reached age 65. For an employee who retired after age 55, the employer paid nothing, and the cost of retiree insur.ance fell entirely on the retired employee." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

A Republican Health Reform Plan Might Look a Lot Like Obama's
"Republicans would have the chance to pass a plan of their own if the Supreme Court strikes down all or some of the current law or if they gain control of Congress and the White House in the next election. [If so,] prominent Republicans believe the party will have to come up with something. Almost certainly, Republicans would drop the mandate that all individuals have health insur.ance.... But what other changes would they make? ... Current proposals put forth by Republicans in Congress run the gamut from doing almost nothing to creating a system that looks surprisingly like Obama's." (

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Five Exceptions to the Health Care Reform Law for Small Employers
"If your company employs fewer than 250 employees, at least one and possibly more requirements under healthcare reform may not apply to you. Before you spend unnecessary time or money, check out these five exceptions to the law." (

Public Opinion on Gender Rating for Health Insur.ance Premiums
"While relatively few Americans are aware that the ACA [already includes a provision prohibiting gender rating in health insur.ance beginning in 2014], many Americans like the idea of leveling the playing field for health insur.ance premiums. Overall, six in ten (61 percent) have a favorable view of this provision, a number that rises to seven in ten (69 percent) among women as a group, and about three-quarters among women under age 50 (73 percent of whom back it)." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Potential Accounting Implications of Upcoming Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act
"If the ACA's treatment of Medicare Part D subsidies were among those provisions invalidated by the Supreme Court's decision, the increase in deferred tax assets resulting from the change for those employers receiving retiree drug subsidies (RDS payments) would be immediately recognized in the income statement in the quarter during which the provision was invalidated... The effect of this ... would be to effectively unwind the tax write-off that was taken in 2010." (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP)

Using Workplace Flexibility As a Business Strategy
"Whether it's telecommuting, compressed work weeks, alternative scheduling or other arrangements, [a conference speaker] called workplace flexibility—granting employees autonomy to control when, where and how they will get their work done—'close to the "silver bullet" among nonfinancial rewards.' But while studies indicate that 80 percent of U.S. businesses say they have implemented workplace flexibility, most have done do so ad hoc rather than establishing a 'flex culture' and embedding flexibility as part of the talent management strategy." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Tax Benefits of Opening a Health Savings Account
"These accounts, commonly referred to as HSAs, are tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and were created to encourage people to save for future health problems, but there are other reasons to open such an account." (Fox Business)

Text of Comments by American Academy of Actuaries to CMS on Revised MLR Annual Reporting Form (PDF)
"The Medical Loss Ratio Work Group sent a letter to CMS offering comments on the revised annual reporting form, specifically on the definition of premiums, contract reserves, and the definition of pre-tax underwriting gain/(loss)." (American Academy of Actuaries)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
SEC Guidance Addresses Scaled Disclosure and Other Emerging Growth Company Issues under the JOBS Act
"Certain provisions of the JOBS Act conflict with SEC form requirements, Regulation S-X and Regulation S-K. An [Emerging Growth Company] may comply with the JOBS Act disclosure provisions in its registration statements, periodic reports and proxy statements, even if doing so would be inconsistent with existing rules and regulations. The disclosure provisions in the JOBS Act supersede, in relevant part, existing rules and regulations." (Hinshaw)

Tuning Up Your Company's Severance Plan (PDF)
"This article reviews the history of severance plans, explains how supplemental unemployment benefit (SUB) plans work, provides plan sponsors with questions they should ask when reexamining their severance offerings, and suggests options for plan sponsors to consider in terms of optimizing their severance plan's cost control and certainty, tax savings and appropriate cost sharing with employees." (Buck Consultants)

'It's Good to Be the King!'—CEO Pay Is 231 Times Pay of Average Worker
"From 1978-2011, CEO compensation grew more than 725 percent, substantially more than the stock market and remarkably more than the annual compensation of a typical private-sector worker, which grew a meager 5.7 percent." (Economic Policy Institute)

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
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