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June 14, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefits Consultant, Small Group & Mid Market
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Defined Benefit Calculation Analyst
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

Benefits Implementation Project Manager
for California Location in CA

Regional Bundled Sales Specialist
for Nationwide Insurance in AZ, CA, CO, KS, OR, WA

Relationship Manager
for Aspire Financial Services in FL

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for The Benefit Practice in CT

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Webcasts and Conferences

ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland - Half Day DB Plan Workshop
in Ohio on June 26, 2012 presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland

Not Your Ordinary TPA: What Wal-Mart and Nordstrom Can Teach Us Webcast
Nationwide on June 20, 2012 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Determination Letters and Plan Document Changes Webcast
Nationwide on June 26, 2012 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)


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Budget Office Director Says Health Law Hasn't Hit Economy
"[The] director of the Congressional Budget Office ... disputed the view pushed mostly by Republicans that the health care law has, to this point, hurt employment.... Based on his office's estimates, the law in its current form would potentially affect the employment of only a sliver of the labor force, perhaps just 0.5 percent of workers, he said. Under the law ... most job loss would be incurred by people exiting their jobs voluntarily because they would be able to obtain health insur.ance outside of work." (The New York Times; free registration required)


ftwilliam.com, TAG Data, CCH and Aspen Publisher’s User Conference   [Advert.]

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Learn from industry specialists! We’ll cover hot topics like Fee Disclosure, TPA Workflow, Multiple Employer Plans and much more! Make sure to drop in on our product specific round table discussions and talk about our products with fellow TPAs.


Self-Insured Employers Ponder 'Plan B' If Health Reform Is Axed
"Earlier this week, a number of big health insurers ... committed to offering some provisions of health reform, such as coverage of adult dependents up to age 26, regardless of how the court rules. But those commitments would only apply to the 15 mil.lion or so consumers who buy their insur.ance directly from insurers or work for businesses that do so. A vastly larger pool of people get their insur.ance through employers that are 'self insured,' meaning they act just like an insurer. They create their own health care plans and set premiums and deductibles for their employees." (CNNMoney.com)

Democrats, GOP Battle Over Health Care Law As 2013 Spending Bill Advances
"The Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill passed out of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee by a vote of 10 to 7 with the GOP united in its opposition to increased funding for the Affordable Care Act. It heads for a full committee vote on Thursday." (The Hill)

Geographic Variation in Access to Health Care: The Relationship to Quality
"The proportion of uninsured adults (ages 18 to 64) ranged from 5 percent in Massachusetts' three local areas to more than half in two local areas in Texas. Wide variation was also seen in the proportion of adults who went without care because of cost (5% to 33%) and among adults age 50 or older or with a chronic disease who visited a doctor in the previous two years (67% to 95%). Although the uninsured were at greatest risk, among the insured there was wide variation in having a regular source of care and receipt of recommend preventive care across the country." (The Commonwealth Fund)

GAO Says IRS Managing Implementation Risks, But Its Approach Could Be Refined
"To implement PPACA, IRS must work closely with partner agencies to develop information technology systems that can share data with other agencies.... [I]t will be important for IRS to have systems to consistently identify, assess, mitigate, and monitor potential risks to the program's success. [T]his report (1) describes IRS's progress in addressing GAO recommendations from June 2011 on PPACA implementation, (2) assesses IRS's revised risk management plan, and (3) assesses how IRS applies its plan in practice." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)


Outcomes-Driven Health Care & Benefit Design - July 24-26 - Chicago   [Advert.]

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California Health Insurers to Hike Premiums for Small Employers By As Much As 24%
"Health insur.ance companies will increase rates as high as 24% in July and August for small business customers [in California] but state regulators currently have no power to reject those increases that can't be justified. A pending ballot initiative would require health insur.ance companies to publicly justify rate increases and get approval before they take effect." (Consumer Watchdog)

Medicare Discounts Might End If Health Care Reform Law Overturned, Drug Makers Say
"The law provides 'the necessary legal framework' for drug companies to slash brand-name drug prices by half for seniors and people with disabilities when they enter a coverage gap in their Medicare drug plans, said ... a spokesman for the Pharma.ceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Eventually the discounts grow so that the gap, known as the doughnut hole, is closed by 2020. But if the law goes, the discounts may go, too." (Kaiser Health News)

Health Spending Growth Projected to Average 5.7 Percent Annually Through 2021
"New estimates released ... from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ... project that aggregate health care spending in the United States will grow at an average annual rate of 5.7 percent for 2011 through 2021, or 0.9 percentage point faster than the expected growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). The health care share of GDP by 2021 is projected to rise to 19.6 percent, from its 2010 level of 17.9 percent." (HealthAffairs Blog)

CalPERS Committee Recommends Higher Employee Contributions to Health Plan in 2013
"Reflecting growing health care costs nationwide, the California Public Employees' Retirement System's (CalPERS) Pension and Health Benefits Committee (PHBC) [has] recommended a 2013 health care package that would raise overall premiums next year by an average 9.6 percent for the Pension Fund's nearly 1.3 mil.lion health program members. The rate is higher than the 2012 increase of 4.1 percent and translates, on average, to an additional $30 a month per CalPERS member." (CalPERS)

Aetna Health Reform Weekly, June 11, 2012
This weekly compilation covers health care-related developments in Washington, D.C. and state legislatures across the country. (Aetna)

Micro-Businesses Unsure Whether They Will Provide Employee Coverage Under The Affordable Care Act
"Among the self-employed, ... the general opinion of the Affordable Care Act is fairly evenly divided, but one thing that nearly one in four believe is that the cost of their health coverage will increase after the law's implementation. [S]atisfaction levels among the self-employed continue to be low when talking about insur.ance cost and affordability. These concerns show little signs of abating in 2014, when the individual mandate in the law is scheduled to kick in. At that point, the self-employed will be required to purchase both more expansive and more expensive coverage." (National Association for the Self-Employed)

[Opinion]

If ObamaCare Is Judged Unconstitutional, Here's How To Reform Healthcare
"If the U.S. Supreme Court declares ObamaCare's individual mandate unconstitutional and non-severable, the first reaction from a large majority of Americans will be a huge sigh of relief, gauging from opinion polls that show two-thirds want the law, or at least its individual mandate, struck down. But then what? There is universal agreement that there are serious problems in the health sector that must be addressed, but there is absolutely no appetite among the American people or in Congress for another 2,800-page bill." (Galen Institute)

[Opinion]

Former Clinton Administration Chief of Medicare Says Deaths Will Increase If Health Care Reform Law is Struck Down
"Bruce Vladeck, who ran Medicare and Medicaid for four years under President Clinton, forecasts 'chaos' in the health care delivery system and increased deaths if the Supreme Court strikes down the health law. Killing the law would 'save a fortune' for the government, but at the expense of 'gutting Medicaid,' says Vladeck[.]" (Kaiser Health News)

[Opinion]

CMS Data Again Confirms Health Care Reform Will Increase Health Care Spending
"[A] report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) detailing national health care expenditures confirms that, despite the Obama Administration's promises to the contrary, health care costs continue to increase.... [The report states that from] 2015 to 2021, 'private health insur.ance spending is projected to grow an average of 5.9 percent per year from 2015 through 2021,' constrained from rising even faster because 'large employers with low-wage employees are expected to discontinue health insur.ance benefits.'" (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means)

[Opinion]

There's No Effective Substitute for the Mandate
"[The] director of the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy believes that the health law's requirement that most Americans have coverage by 2014 or pay a fine is necessary. By design ... the 'individual mandate' would attract both the healthier and sicker individuals to balance risk and the cost of coverage." (Kaiser Health News)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Effects of Nursing Home Stays on Household Portfolios (PDF)
"Medicare estimates that by 2020, 12 mil.lion older Americans will need some form of long-term care—care that can be very expensive and, for the most part, not covered by Medicare. This study looks at how a particular form of long-term care, nursing home care, affects asset holdings of senior households." (Employee Benefits Research Institute)

Sixth Circuit Upholds ERISA Preemption of State Law Claims Against Nonfiduciary Bank Holding 401(k) and Health Plan Assets
"[Tennessee's Uniform Fiduciary Act ('UFA')] shields depositary banks from liability arising from the actions of a fiduciary depositor, unless the bank acts with 'actual knowledge' of a breach or 'knowledge of such facts that its action ... amounts to bad faith.' Because ERISA provides a remedy against nonfiduciaries who knowingly participate in a fiduciary's violation of ERISA, see 29 U.S.C. Section 1132(a)(3), the district court found that ERISA preempted any allegations of 'knowing' or 'bad faith' conduct that escaped the UFA's bar. We agree." Editor's note: See also the strong dissenting opinion: "There is no ERISA purpose or policy served by withdrawing the protection of state laws of general application. What is the possible harm caused by the enforcement of state laws providing damages if a bank recklessly allows its depositors' money to be embezzled by a fiduciary?" [McLemore v. Regions Bank, Nos. 10-5480/5491, 6th Cir. June 8, 2012.] (Justia.com)

[Opinion]

Federal Civil Service Pay Reform's Time Has Come
"A panel of economists and public policy observers revisited the federal pay debate in Washington on Wednesday, spouting reams of information on methodologies, data sets and regression analysis, but offering little insight into what shape government compensation reform should take." (Government Executive)

[Opinion]

Text of Statement of American Academy of Actuaries to ERISA Advisory Council: 'Managing Disability Risks in an Environment of Individual Responsibility' (PDF)
"Starting to save early, saving consistently, investing prudently, and avoiding early use of retirement funds can lead to a financially secure retirement.... Unfortunately, there is much less activity in addressing another serious threat to the retirement security of workers: ... the loss of earnings and the related ability to save for retirement due to a long-term disability. While most of the challenges mentioned earlier can be addressed by improving individual decisions, the individual generally has little control over the onset of a disability. Losses due to disability are not adequately mitigated by saving more or starting earlier." (American Academy of Actuaries, Actuarial Value Subgroup)

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