EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 30, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefits Account Administrator/Coordinator- Health & Welfare
for The Plexus Groupe in IL

Pension Consultant
for Farmer & Betts in TX

Director of First Impression & Office Operations
for AFS Financial Group / AFS 401(k) Retirement Services in DC, MD

Conversions Specialist
for The Newport Group in NC

Post Your Job on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Dallas
in Texas on August 29, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - San Francisco
in California on August 30, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Denver
in Colorado on August 29, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - St. Louis
in Missouri on August 30, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

Webinar - SEP Plans
Nationwide on October 11, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Frontline Fundamentals - Part 2
Nationwide on October 23, 2012 presented by Ascensus

HSA Basics
Nationwide on October 25, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Basics
Nationwide on October 30, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Establishing and Amending IRAs
Nationwide on November 1, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Roth IRA Distributions
Nationwide on November 8, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Advanced HSAs
Nationwide on November 13, 2012 presented by Ascensus

QRP Beneficiary Rollovers to Inherited IRAs
Nationwide on November 15, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Choosing the "Right" Retirement Plan
Nationwide on November 21, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Reporting
Nationwide on November 27, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Understanding and Processing Transfers and Rollovers
Nationwide on November 29, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Required Minimum Distributions
Nationwide on December 4, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Rollovers Between Retirement Plans and IRAs
Nationwide on December 11, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Conversions and Recharacterizations
Nationwide on December 13, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials
in Illinois on November 13, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Advanced IRAs
in Illinois on November 14, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials
in Nebraska on September 24, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Advanced IRAs
in Nebraska on September 25, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials
in Illinois on November 15, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials
in Nebraska on September 26, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Advanced IRAs
in Nebraska on September 27, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials
in Indiana on October 30, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Advanced IRAs
in Indiana on October 31, 2012 presented by Ascensus

We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe


Colorado Federal Judge Bars Birth Control Mandate
"A federal judge in Colorado, acting on one of two dozen cases across the nation challenging the new health care law's promise of free birth-control for women workers, on Friday temporarily barred the enforcement of that mandate against a Catholic family's private business firm. The eighteen-page ruling by Senior District Judge John L. Kane, Jr., appears to be the first in those lawsuits. The order will remain in effect while the judge studies further whether to make the ban permanent. It applies only to one company, but it marked a significant initial victory for the challengers." (SCOTUSblog)

Take the Hassle Out of Enrollment   [Advert.]

Sponsored by BeneCom Associates, LLC

BeneCom creates effective enrollment communications. And with our 20 years of experience behind you, communications is one less job you have to worry about so you can get back to what matters most ̶ your employees!

A Federal Court Ruled Against the Contraceptive Mandate. Here's What Happens Next.
"The U.S. District Court for Colorado [has] blocked the Obama administration from requiring an air-conditioning company in Colorado to provide no co-pay contraceptives to its employees, as the [ACA] directs. It was ... the first time a federal court has ruled against that provision of the health-care law. It's not yet, however, exactly a victory for the contraceptive mandate's opponents: The injunction is specific to that one company, and it holds only until the judge can reach a verdict on the case's merits. Still, it could mark the start of a long period of litigation involving one of the health-care law's most polarizing provisions." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Text of Federal District Court Opinion Blocking Enforcement of ACA Birth Control Mandate for One Colorado Employer (PDF)
"On balance, the threatened harm to Plaintiffs, impingement of their right to freely exercise their religious beliefs, and the concommittant public interest in that right strongly favor the entry of injunctive relief." [Newland, Hercules Industries, Inc. et al. v. Sibelius et al. (D.C. Colorado, No. 1:12-cv-1123-JLK)] (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Colorado Business Wins ACA Birth Control Mandate Ruling
"A U.S. district judge in Colorado ... blocked the Obama administration from enforcing its requirement that a Colorado employer provide its workers with insur.ance coverage of contraceptives without a co-pay.... The ruling applies to one specific business, and does not stop the whole rule from going into effect [on August 1]. 'On balance, the threatened harm to plaintiffs, impingement of their right to freely exercise their religious beliefs, and the concomitant public interest in that right strongly favor the entry of injunctive relief,' Judge John L. Kane, an appointee of former President Jimmy Carter, wrote in the order." (The Star-Ledger)

New Preventive Options for Women Take Effect This Week
"Breast-feeding supplies and support are just two of a number of additional preventive care services women will receive starting Aug. 1. This particular provision of the act adds well-woman visits, gestational diabetes screening, HPV testing, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, counseling and screening for HIV, domestic violence screening and contraceptives—to the existing list of preventive services, all free of co-pays and deductibles for those with insur.ance plans.... 'Grandfathered' plans—meaning those plans in place before the Affordable Care Act was signed on March 23, 2010—are not required to comply with this provision, meaning women with these plans would still have to pay co-pays and deductibles." (Kitsap Sun)

Survey Shows Employees Oppose Linking Cost to Wellness Participation
"Most employees don't think they should be required to participate in wellness programs to qualify for employer-provided health insur.ance, according to a new survey ... Moreover, they don't think employers should charge employees more for health coverage if they don't meet specific health goals." (Employee Benefit News)

Most U.S. Employees Satisfied with Health Care Benefits
"Nearly two in three workers (63%) are very satisfied with the health coverage currently provided by their employer or union, and roughly one-third (35%) are more satisfied with their coverage now than they were three years ago. Only 12% are less satisfied, and the remaining 53% reported their satisfaction level has remained the same. The National Business Group on Health also found that roughly one in three (37%) employees are not confident in their ability to shop for health insur.ance on their own, and more than half (53%) doubt they could purchase the same or better quality insur.ance than their employers offer on their own. While workers are satisfied with their health benefits, a majority (62%) are unable to estimate how much their employers pay for their health benefits." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Employees Favor Employer Health Plans—Even as Some Employers May Dump Them
"Higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health care benefits rule the roost, as most covered employees realize. But [a recent] survey finds that roughly one in three employees are not confident in their ability to shop for health insur.ance on their own. More than half are not confident they can purchase the same or better quality insur.ance on their own." (Treasury & Risk)

ACA Opponents Argue That States' Refusals to Establish Exchanges Protects Employers From Penalties
"Notwithstanding the Supreme Court's decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, the law's opponents have seized on a provision which authorizes state exchanges to provide premium tax credits but does not give federal exchanges the same authority. Under the ACA, the employer penalty is triggered when any full-time employee receives a premium tax credit through an exchange. However, the law's opponents argue that because the Act's language only provides for premium tax credits in exchanges 'established by a state,' the tax penalties could not be imposed on businesses in states with federal exchanges." (HR Policy Association)

Health Care Spending Remains Concentrated on Small Set of Expensive Illnesses
"Spending for health care in the U.S. is highly concentrated among a small subset of Americans. Just 5 percent of the population accounted for nearly half of all health care spending in 2009. Understanding these high-spenders is vital for developing strategies to reduce overall spending growth." (National Institute for Health Care Management)

Most Employers Will Not Drop Health Insur.ance Care Coverage as a Result of the Affordable Care Act, Survey Finds
"Only 9% of employers representing 3% of the workforce responded that they were likely to drop coverage within the next three years. In contrast, 81% of companies representing 84% of the workforce stated that they did not anticipate abandoning coverage. The remaining 10% representing 13% of the workforce responded that they were unsure of their plans regarding the provision of health insur.ance. As expected, the larger the company, the less likely the organization is to drop coverage." (Littler Mendelson LLC)

The Role of Federal and State Dependent Coverage Eligibility Policies on the Health Insur.ance Status of Young Adults
"[F]indings indicate that controlling for state laws, early implementation of the ACA increased young adult dependent coverage by 5.3 percentage points and resulted in a 3.5 percentage point decline in their uninsured rate. The interaction between state laws and the ACA suggests that the increase in dependent coverage and decline in the uninsured rate may have been greater among young adults who were targeted by both the ACA and state laws." (National Bureau of Economic Research; purchase required)


Health Care's New Rules: If You Don't Buy Insur.ance, Will You Really Pay the Tax?
"Generally speaking, if you owe the IRS, it will get the money from you—with the possible exception of the ObamaCare tax. Though ObamaCare's individual mandate imposes a tax on people who do not purchase government-approved health insur.ance, the law explicitly neuters the IRS's ability to collect the tax.... [T]he law counts on most of the scofflaws turning themselves in. If you do not have insur.ance and think you owe the tax, then you will be asked to check a box to that effect on your tax return. If you choose to ignore the mandate, you might also choose not to check the box." (The Health Care Blog)


Hercules Injunction Halts Obamacare in Round One of HHS Mandate Fight
"As [Colorado District] Judge Kane acknowledged, granting a preliminary injunction is 'an extraordinary remedy,' concluding that the harm to the government of non-enforcement 'pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs' constitutional and statutory rights' to operate their business consistent with their convictions. Judge Kane concluded that the government's interests in enforcing the mandate were undercut by the numerous exceptions to the mandate that the Administration created for other entities. 'These interests are countered, and indeed, outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion,' he stated." (The Heritage Foundation)


Employers Need Clarifying Regulations to Comply with Health Care Reform
"The importance of providing guidance to employers ... cannot be overstated. One provision subjects employers to financial penalties if they do not offer coverage to full-time employees, but the [ACA's] definition of a full-time employee is sparse: someone who works an average of at least 30 hours a week. That definition cries for guidance." (Business Insur.ance; free registration required)


Health Insur.ance Aids Employers
"On its 50th anniversary in 1964, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers union proclaimed that its pioneering employer-financed health insur.ance programs 'assist the workers by protecting their health and prolonging their lives; they aid the employers by reducing absence from work because of illness.' Today, more than 90 percent of unionized, private-sector workers have access to employment-based health insur.ance" (The Tennessean)


What Are the Odds Your Employer Will Drop Health Coverage?
"The reason employers will drop coverage under Obamacare but didn't before is that Obamacare creates a place for employees to get coverage outside of the employer.... However, this unintended consequence isn't frowned upon by the pushers of Obamacare. When asked about the results of the McKinsey study, House minority leader and Obamacare advocate Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that 'the way we see it is an innovative prevention-oriented way for businesses to be emancipated from health care costs because they have a way out or whatever works for them.'" (The Heritage Foundation)


Will More Employers Drop Coverage Under the ACA? Don't Bet on It
"According to a new study by Deloitte consulting, around one in 10 U.S. employers with more than 50 workers plans to drop health coverage in the next few years as the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act kick in.... This finding is reminiscent of another employer survey released by McKinsey in June 2011.... [which] reported that when the ACA fully takes effect in 2014, it could prompt 30% of employers to drop coverage, pay the modest fine, and let their employees pursue coverage through one of the new state-based health insur.ance exchanges. A problem with using surveys like Deloitte's or McKinsey's to predict behavior is that they measure employer sentiment toward the ACA today, rather than the economic decisions employers typically make when the time comes." (RAND Corporation)


CBO Report Notwithstanding, Obamacare Still Costs More, Covers Less
"The Congressional Budget Office did, in fact, report that two provisions, the expansion of Medicaid and subsidies to help middle-class families buy insur.ance, might cost $84 bil.lion less over the next 10 years than previously projected. But that's a drop of less than 5 percent of the law's total cost over that period. Plus, it's a 'savings' only in the Washington sense that, instead of spending $1.76 tril.lion on those subsidies, now we're only going to spend $1.68 tril.lion. ObamaCare will cost more and insure fewer people. And the reason for this cost reduction isn't that Uncle Sam has found some new way to provide insur.ance less expensively—it's that the government is going to cover 3 mil.lion fewer people." (Cato Institute)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

New Jersey Public Employees Retiring at Slower Pace
"After two years in which teachers, cops, firefighters and other public workers headed for the exits in record numbers as Trenton took aim at their pensions and benefits, the pace of retirements has slowed drastically, the latest records show. A total of 13,865 local and state public workers are expected to call it quits this year, significantly fewer than the 19,585 who retired last year, when Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers forced them to pick up a greater share of their health and pension costs[.]" (The Star-Ledger)

Cypen & Cypen Newsletter, July 26, 2012
Covers employee benefit developments with an emphasis on governmental plans. Topics in this issue include: Five Myths About Public Employee Pensions; How Big Is the Leakage From 401(K) Loan Defaults and What Can Policymakers Do To Preserve Americans' Nest Eggs?; NASRA's Take on COLAs; Moody's Requests Comment on Adjustments To U.S. State and Local Government Reported Pension Data; Retirement Readiness—Consensus on a Course of Action; Pension Accounting for Dummies; State Budget Crisis Task Force Report; and Jersey Judges Dodge Increased Pension and Healthcare Contributions. (Cypen & Cypen)

Press Releases

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Copyright © 2012 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All rights reserved, but feel free to forward this newsletter if done without modification in any way.

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

Useful links: