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May 24, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

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401(k) Plan Auditor
for The LBA Group in FL

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for AUL/OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc. in DC, MD

Client Relationship Manager /Pension Services Department
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[Guidance Overview]
How Do Non-Calendar Year Cafeteria Plans Comply With the $2,500 Health FSA Limit?
"Effective Jan. 1, 2013, health care reform imposes a new $2,500 limit on annual contributions to a health care flexible spending arrangement ('Health FSA'). However, it is unclear whether the $2,500 limit applies on a plan year or calendar year basis. This creates potential compliance issues beginning in 2012 for non-calendar year cafeteria plans." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

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Text Message Prescription Reminders Significantly Improve Patient Adherence to Oral Diabetes Medication
"The study of 580 employer-sponsored and Medicare members of a national pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) found that patients receiving text message reminders had better medication adherence rates than those who did not—85 percent vs. 77 percent. The adherence rates for those taking chronic anti-diabetes medication were even higher—91 percent vs. 82 percent. Medication adherence is defined as the extent to which patients take their medications as instructed by a physician." (MarketWatch)

GAO Report Calls ACA Tax Credit Disincentive to Small Business Health Coverage
"'[The] truth is that this credit does not incentivize those small employers not already offering coverage to begin doing so. Fuzzy estimates about the number of eligible business owners, the temporary nature of the credit and the increasingly high cost of providing health insur.ance all make this tax credit a mere talking point, not an incentive for action,' [said Amanda Austin, Director of Federal Public Policy for National Federation of Independent Business]." (Insur.ance News)

Fruit Juice Targeted in War on Obesity
"Over the past decade, the nation's war on obesity has targeted some fairly obvious culprits, including fast food, pastries, fried foods and soda. But recent scientific studies and a new government-sponsored documentary that aired last week on HBO have identified a new, less obvious enemy: fruit juice." (Chicago Tribune)

Federal Health Care Reform Hangs on the Constitution's Commerce Clause
"In the last 75 years, the commerce clause has become one of the Constitution's most potent provisions, underlying federal laws that affect every American business and consumer, from the 1938 minimum-wage statute to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations. Next month the 16-word clause will play a starring role again as the focus of the fight over President Barack Obama's health-care law." (Bloomberg)

Same-Gender Marriage Rulings: Impacts on Employee Benefit Plans   [Advert.]

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Exchanges Will Bring Scrutiny to Health Plan Design: Defining the Employee Benefit vs. Defining the Employer Contribution
"The advent of private health insur.ance exchanges may provide employers with the opportunity to shift from defined-benefit healthcare coverage to defined-contribution. That's a paradigm shift that can be likened to the corporate shift from defined-benefit pension plans to defined-contribution plans such as 401(k) retirement accounts." (HealthLeaders Media)

Can U.S. Remain the Leader in Healthcare If Innovative Culture Is Lost?
"A new report by Battelle, an international science and technology company, found that other countries are working aggressively to lure research facilities and high-paying jobs away from the United States. They are offering friendlier regulatory policies so companies can get products to patients faster, and they are lowering taxes and offering other incentives to boost private investment in new medicines and medical devices." (Galen Institute)

Individual Health Policies Fall Short, Study Finds
"The study found that some families who have very high medical expenses can pay $27,000 or more in out-of-pocket costs toward their care. The federal law caps both what people have to pay a year in medical bills and what they have to pay over their lifetime. But the study also showed that people now covered through an employer were already in plans that met the federal standards." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Insur.ance Premium Tax Credit Rules Leave Employees and Their Employers Waiting and Wondering
"Many questions remain unanswered for low-income employees who wonder whether they may enroll in a qualified health plan and claim the health insur.ance premium tax credit beginning in 2014 or whether coverage under their employer's health plan will be considered affordable for them. The answers to those questions also will impact employers who are trying to predict their exposure to the employer responsibility excise tax imposed if they offer health care that is unaffordable or does not provide minimum value, and to decide whether or not to continue their health plans." (Bloomberg BNA)

How Mobile Devices Are Transforming Health Care (PDF)
"[Mobile] technology is poised to alter how health care is delivered, the quality of the patient experience, and the cost of health care. Mobile technology is helping with chronic disease management, empowering the elderly and expectant mothers, reminding people to take medication at the proper time, extending service to underserved areas, and improving health outcomes and medical system efficiency. In this report, ... [Darrell M. West of the Brookings Institution] review adoption of innovative examples of m-health, its impact on service delivery and medical treatment, and how mobile devices are saving money in the health care system." (Brookings Institution)

Health Care Economics 101 and the Supreme Court
"The case that will decide the fate of the most important piece of health care legislation in the past fifty years has, perhaps unsurprisingly, broken a number of records.... Friends of the court ... filed a record 152 briefs. Of these, the two that garnered the most interest from the Justices were drafted by economists, not lawyers.... But we hope that the Justices won't repeat the economic and policy misunderstandings, discussed below, that pervade the economists' brief for the respondents and were reflected in the arguments." (Health Affairs Blog)

More Than Half of Americans With Individual Health Plans Could Gain Better Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act
"[A report by Battelle] suggests that once the state-based exchanges—set up to make it easier for individuals and small businesses to shop for health insur.ance—go into effect in 2014, many of these Americans will be able to purchase plans that offer better coverage. In addition, many will be eligible for premium subsidies that will help offset the cost of the plans.... [A] majority of those enrolled in employer group plans have far more comprehensive coverage with less cost-sharing. Most group plans had an actuarial value of 80 percent to 89 percent, qualifying them as 'gold' plans to be sold in the exchanges, compared with an actuarial value of below 60 percent for the 'tin' plans, according to the study." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Retirement Planning More Challenging for Women than Men
"[T]he life expectancy ... at age 65, which is a generally accepted retirement age, is 17.6 years for men and 20.3 for women. A three to four year difference in life expectancy may not seem like much, but when the cost of medical expenses during retirement is considered, along with other living expenses, the cost of living for a few years can be relatively high." (SFGate)

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