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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 22, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Retirement Plan Third-Party Administration Firm in MO

Retirement Planning Consultant
for Diversified in IN

Health & Group Benefits Consultant
for Milliman in TX

Plan Administration Manager
for Fulton Financial Corporation in PA

Plan Administrator
for Fulton Financial Corporation in PA

Associate Director for the Graduate Employee Benefits Programs
for The John Marshall Law School, Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits in IL

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Human Resource Executive® Health & Benefits Leadership Conference
in Nevada on April 22, 2013 presented by Human Resource Executive Magazine

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Summary of Benefits and Coverage Must be Provided -- Soon
"For group health plans having open enrollment periods, this new requirement—created as part of the Affordable Care Act—takes effect on the first day of the first open enrollment period that begins on or after September 23, 2012. For group health plans that do not have an open enrollment period, the requirements take effect on the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after September 23, 2012." (Verrill Dana LLP)


DATAIR! More Choices – Better Guidance – Less Cost

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

FSA, DCAP, Full-Flex, HRA, HSA, 132(f)
Documents, SPDs, Amendments, Administrative Forms
(888) 328-2474

Well on the Way: Engaging Employees in Workplace Wellness
"Engagement—the holy grail of worksite wellness program success—begins with clear communication of program benefits and incentives for participation.... But a recent Colonial Life survey found that nearly 10 percent of employees reported having little or no understanding of their benefits packages. And slightly more than half of the employees whose employers offered wellness programs said they were only somewhat or not at all knowledgeable about them." (Colonial Life)

Bending Health Cost Curve Tied to Wellness Communication
"Employers counting on wellness programs to bend the benefits cost curve must include strong communication plans in their strategy if they hope to achieve their goals or risk wasting their investment in a sluggish economy." (Employee Benefit News)

GAO Study Finds that Results of Studies Examining Affordable Care Act's Impact on Employer-Provided Coverage Vary Significantly
"[T]he microsimulation studies indicated that anywhere from 2.5 percent fewer individuals to 2.7 additional individuals will be covered by employer-sponsored health coverage in the near future.....The employer surveys, however, by and large focused on the percentage of employers that planned to drop coverage beginning in 2014.... [which] ranged from 2 to 20%." (Littler Mendelson LLC)

Eleventh Circuit Finds Wellness Program Falls Within ADA Safe Harbor Despite Not Being a Explicitly Defined in Health Plan Documents
"The Eleventh Circuit ... rejected an argument that a wellness program must be expressly identified in a benefit plan's written documents to qualify as a 'term' of the benefit plan for purposes of the ADA safe harbor. The court reasoned that: Broward County's insurer sponsored the wellness program as part of the contract to provide Broward County with a group health plan. The wellness program was only available to group health plan enrollees. Broward County presented the wellness program as part of its group health plan in at least two employee handouts." [Seff v. Broward Cnty., No. 11-12217 (11th Cir. Aug. 20, 2012)] (Practical Law Company)

Hospitals in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Devoting More Resources to Keeping Their Own Employees Healthy (PDF)
"84 percent of the responding hospitals currently offer some form of wellness program or activity, and an additional 5 percent plan to establish a program in the next 12 months.... Of the hospitals surveyed that offer some form of wellness program, only 35 percent rely on wellness programs from an insur.ance carrier. A total of 58 percent have an internal designated wellness coordinator, while 68 percent have established wellness committees." (Cammack LaRhette Consulting)


Rationing Health Care More Fairly
"Older adults are understandably anxious about the political sniping over the future financing of Medicare.... Yet the cross-fire over who will cut Medicare by how much sidesteps a critical issue about the future of our medical care: If we must ration our care to hold down costs in the future, how can we do it in a fair, efficient and transparent way?" (The New York Times; free registration required)


What Can a Restaurant Teach Us About Health Care?
"[A] modern hospital might indeed function like The Cheesecake Factory. That it doesn't is not the fault of doctors wedded to tradition or unimaginative hospital managers. It's the fault of public policy.... What public policy changes would we need to enact to make The Cheesecake Factory resemble a typical hospital?" (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)


Comments to IRS on Final Regulations Relating to the Health Insur.ance Premium Tax Credit (PDF)
"Allowing plan sponsors flexibility to adapt their Affordable Care Act compliance procedures to existing benefit and payroll arrangements will reduce these burdens and allow plan sponsors to devote more resources toward maintaining and improving health benefits for their employees." (National Business Group on Health)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance Clarifies Company Withholding for Additional Medicare Tax on Compensation Income
"Stock compensation events that can trigger this 0.9% increase in the Medicare tax rate include the exercise of nonqualified stock options and the vesting of restricted stock or RSUs. Unlike with the 1.45% Medicare tax, the company does not also pay a similar 0.9% increase." (

Short-Term Incentives for CEOs Declined in 2011
"Despite strong performance in 2011, new analysis by Mercer indicates that annual bonuses for CEOs of S&P 500 companies were lower than the prior year. After hitting an all-time high in 2010, median short-term incentive payouts declined 0.9% in 2011 to $1.705 mil.lion. The pullback was more severe for those companies in the S&P 100, where median short-term incentive payouts decreased 3.3% from the prior year." (Mercer)

Financial Security and Health Benefits Go Together for Top Employers
"[T]he 10 best small and mid-size companies for employee financial security also have a commitment to health care, bankrolling at least 75 percent of coverage premiums in the Principal Financial Group's annual measure of employee financial security. The contest winners ... were more likely to cover routine health care coverage costs for both employees and their families, provide disability insur.ance, and contribute to 401k retirement plans. They were also more likely to incentivize employee participation in wellness programs." (The Des Moines Register)

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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