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June 7, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior DB Data Analyst
for Diversified in MA

Institutional Trust Relationship Manager - Western Region
for BMO Harris Bank in AZ, CA

Manager, ARRC Retirement Plans
for Alaska Railroad Corporation in AK

Loan and Withdrawal Specialist
for Kravitz, Inc. in CA

Retire Communications Consultant 3
for Wells Fargo in MN, NC

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Webcasts and Conferences

Who is the Fiduciary?
Nationwide on June 12, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Voluntary Correction Programs
Nationwide on June 20, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Participant Fee Disclosures and Investment Basics
Nationwide on July 11, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Timing is Everything: A Look at Fiscal Year Plan Issues
Nationwide on August 14, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Fee Disclosure—What Have We Learned from the New DOL Guidance in FAB 2012-02 Webcast
Nationwide on June 14, 2012 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Official Corrections to Interim HHS Regs on Establishment of Exchanges and Qualified Health Plans, and Exchange Standards for Employers (PDF)
"This document corrects technical and typographical errors that appeared in the final rule, interim final rule, published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2012, entitled 'Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Establishment of Exchanges and Qualified Health Plans; Exchange Standards for Employers.' ... These corrections are effective on May 29, 2012." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)


Do Plan Changes Confuse Your Employees?   [Advert.]

Sponsored by BeneCom Associates, LLC

No matter how savvy your employees, todayís benefits world can confuse the most sophisticated consumer. Thatís why more organizations use BeneCom for benefits communication. We know what employees need to make their benefits work for them - and you.


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Releases Guidance On New Health FSA Cap; Sponsors Should Prepare for $2,500 Cap
"Although there is a chance that all of the 2010 health care reform legislation will be declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, [there is a good chance that] the $2,500 annual limit on an employee's salary reduction contributions to a health flexible spending account will survive. Therefore, employers that maintain health flexible spending accounts should begin to plan for the new limit, taking into account the guidance provided in Notice 2012-40. For example, open enrollment materials that will be distributed to employees prior to the beginning of the 2013 plan year (e.g., salary reduction election forms and certain summaries of benefits and coverage) should include appropriate descriptions of the new limit." (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC)

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance on the $2,500 Health FSA Limit
"Employers that are members of a controlled group of employers or an affiliated service group should review their administrative procedures to ensure that they will be able to identify any employees that are eligible under more than one health FSA sponsored by related employers and limit the employee salary reduction contributions accordingly." (Perkins Coie LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance on Health FSAs and $2,500 Contribution Limit
"[The] ACA was unclear about the meaning of 'taxable year' and whether that year refers to an employee's tax year, an employer's tax year or the Health FSA's plan year. The ACA was also unclear on how this rule applies to amounts carried over to the following year -- i.e., a 'grace period.' The new IRS notice resolves these questions." (Quarles & Brady LLP)

HHS Has Missed Nearly Half of Health Care Law's Deadlines
"The Health and Human Services Department has missed nearly half of its legal deadlines while implementing President Obama's healthcare law ... For example, the statute gave HHS one year to implement new rules requiring insur.ance companies to provide plain-English summaries of their plans. Largely because of delays from a group of state-level advisers, HHS didn't issue its first proposals for the policy until months after the work was supposed to be finished." (The Hill)


A Medicare Exchange Could Be Your Answer.   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ExtendHealth

With the group model becoming increasingly unsustainable, how do you cut costs and still take care of your retirees? Discover the top 4 reasons organizations are exiting their Group Plan & moving to a Medicare Exchange.


New Poll: The Supreme Court and the Health Care Law; 68% Want Mandatory Insur.ance Purchase Removed
"Just 24 percent said they hoped the court 'would keep the entire health care law in place.' ... Forty-one percent of those surveyed said the court should strike down the entire law, and another 27 percent said the justices should overturn only the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to obtain health insur.ance or pay a penalty." (The New York Times; free registration required)

HHS Takes Another Step Toward Defining Essential Health Benefits
"HHS wants to use the small group market plan and product with the largest enrollment as the default benchmark plan, but only if a state doesn't select its own benchmark. HHS also proposes that the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the non-profit URAC serve as the interim accrediting organizations for health plans seeking to be part of the state health insur.ance exchanges." (HealthLeaders Media)

If Stockton, California Files Bankrup.tcy, Pensions Might Be Protected But Retiree Health Care Could Be Cut
"[P]ublic employee pensions may not be targeted for cuts if Stockton files for bankrup.tcy on June 26, a step authorized by the city council this week if mediation fails. But ... Stockton may use bankrup.tcy to cut generous lifetime health care promised retired city employees, which the council was told will soon cost more than health care for current workers.... Like the state and most cities, Stockton has set aside no money to invest and help pay for retiree health care. The debt or 'unfunded liability' for retiree health care promised Stockton workers is an estimated $417 mil.lion in the decades ahead. Less than 1,100 of the current 2,400 city retirees receive health care benefits, and their pensions are on average twice as high as retirees who do not receive health care benefits." (CalPensions)

California Wants Permanent Health Insur.ance Reform
"The main elements of the reform law, including requiring insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions and limiting how insurers set premium rates to age, geography and family size, would become permanent in California if S.B. 961 becomes law ... The legislation, which has an identical version in the state Assembly, also prohibits insurers from conditioning individuals' coverage and costs on health status, medical condition, claims experience or genetic information." (FierceHealthPayer)

Proposed HHS Regs Would Require Small Group Plans to Report Benefit Information
"The information would be used by HHS, states, exchanges, and issuers to define, evaluate, and provide EHBs, HHS said. HHS also asked for comment on whether plans that are closed to new business or health plans sold through associations should be included as options in selecting the largest three small group products that would have to report on their benefits." (Bloomberg BNA)

When Are State-Law Short-Term Disability Claims Exempt from ERISA Preemption?
"If the payment of benefits 'come[s] in regular paychecks, in amount tied to the employee's salary and not to the variable performance of a fund' then it is more likely 'normal compensation' and outside of ERISA." (Behjou v. Bank of America et. al, N.D. California May 1, 2012) (Lane Powell PC)

CCIIO Provides Coverage Examples Calculator for Summary of Health Benefits and Coverage
"The U.S. Center for Consumer Information and Insur.ance Oversight (CCIIO) has developed a tool to provide health plans and issuers with time to develop accurate methods to populate the coverage examples treatment tables in the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) template. In essence, this calculator is intended for use as a safe harbor for the first year of applicability to complete the coverage examples in a streamlined fashion. Because this approach will be less accurate, it is being allowed as a transitional tool for the first year of applicability." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Text of House Rules Committee Print of Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012 (PDF)
This bill combines four separate bills covering the use-or-lose it provision, OTC medication reimbursements, federal excise taxes on medical devices, and repayments of federal premium subsidies provided to low-income and middle-class uninsured individuals. (U.S. House of Representatives, Rules Committee)

Making Health Care Reform Work: Why Broad Participation Is Necessary (PDF)
"This guide is intended to assist voters understand why broad participation in the health insur.ance system is necessary to avoid higher premiums and how to evaluate candidates' positions on health care reform." (American Academy of Actuaries)

[Opinion]

Insurers, Not Insured, in Driver's Seat
"People buy health insur.ance expecting that it will protect them from financial disaster. The for-profit model of 'care' is fundamentally and inherently flawed. The Affordable Care Act represented reform only within the context of a for-profit system. ... Health care must not be out of financial reach for any American. There is only one solution: Medicare for All." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

[Opinion]

Letter From U.S. Chamber of Commerce to House of Representatives on the Health Care Cost Reduction Act (HR 436)
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ... strongly supports H.R. 436 ... The new requirement that FSA and HSA account holders cannot use tax-preferred funds from these accounts to purchase OTC items unless they obtain a prescription limits access to affordable care, increases costs to the health care system, and places a new administrative burden on medical professionals. ... However, the Chamber is concerned about the FSA cash-out provision of the bill, which would allow employees to take the funds that remain in their accounts at the end of the year." (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Fourth Circuit Tweaks Statute of Limitations Rules for ERISA Benefit Claims
"ERISA itself does not contain a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for benefits, nor does it specify when such a claim begins to accrue.... [Recently] the Fourth Circuit affirmed the District Court (E.D. Va.) which allowed the plan's language to trump the forum state's limitations statute, even if the plan's time limit was shorter, and even if the accrual date under the plan language was invalid." [Belrose v. Hartford, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 7506, 4th Cir. April 13, 2012.] (Womble Carlyle)

AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey
"This first-ever AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey of 9,000 people across nine countries was conducted with the aim of understanding the prevailing attitudes toward retirement and the levels of financial readiness among the current working generation in Europe and the United States.... Of those surveyed, 90% were still employed and 10% had already retired.... Survey findings point to a broad range of actions available to individuals, employers and governments to better prepare for a world in which people live longer than at any time in history." [Extensive findings and analysis are on the linked page.] (AEGON)

Press Releases



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