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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 27, 2012 Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Defined Benefit Operations Specialist
for Charles Schwab in OH

Litigation Associate
for Mid-Size Benefits Boutique Firm in DC

Manager of ERISA Compliance Department
for Retirement Alliance in NH

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Webcasts and Conferences

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Charlotte
in North Carolina on September 27, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Atlanta
in Georgia on September 28, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Jacksonville
in Florida on October 2, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Cincinnati
in Ohio on October 3, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Appleton
in Wisconsin on October 4, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Cross-Tested/Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Design and Troubleshooting" Workshop - Chicago
in Illinois on October 4, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

Retirement Savings: Saving More for Tomorrow by Paying Less in 401 (k) Fees Today
Nationwide on September 13, 2012 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Baltimore
in Maryland on September 25, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

Employee Benefits Committee Meeting
in Ohio on September 6, 2012 presented by Columbus Bar Association


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Administrative Simplification: Adoption of a Standard for a Unique Health Plan Identifier; Addition to the National Provider Identifier Requirements; and Extension of Compliance Date for Medical Data Code Sets (PDF)
"This rule adopts the [unique health plan identifier (HPID)] as the standard unique identifier for health plans and defines the terms 'Controlling Health Plan' and 'Subhealth Plan'. The definitions of these two terms differentiate health plan entities that are required to obtain an HPID, and those that are eligible, but not required, to obtain an HPID. This rule requires all covered entities to use an HPID whenever a covered entity identifies a health plan in a covered transaction." (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


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New Massachusetts Law Provides Employer Tax Incentives for Creating Wellness Programs
"Massachusetts recently enacted legislation that will give employers an annual tax credit of up to $10,000 for instituting wellness programs for their employees. The wellness program tax credit is [included in the recent Massachusetts health care reform act] aimed at reducing health care costs. The tax incentives provided in the new law will take effect on January 1, 2013." (Littler Mendelson LLC)

Lockton Health Care Compliance Newsletter for Summer, 2012 (PDF)
Articles Include: Let the Games Begin: DOL Includes Health Reform Compliance in its Health Plan Audits; Health Reform's Hidden Dangers: Limits on Deductibles and Out-of-Pocket Maximums; Plan Document Issues: What's what and What Plan Sponsors need at the end of the day; HSAs: Who May Establish Them and Who May Receive Distributions? "That's Not Fair!" Wins the Day in Subrogation Case; Additional Tax Will Apply in 2013 for High Wage Earners; State Roundup; and IRS Releases Audit Guidelines for COBRA Compliance. (Lockton, Inc.)

Essential Health Benefits Coalition Makes Recommendations for Benefits in Benchmark Plans
"According to [the Essential Health Benefits Coalition], providing flexibility in selecting a benchmark plan will help assure that states can tailor benefits to meet their residents' health needs. Of equal importance is the need to ensure availability of high-quality, affordable coverage options. Making certain that [essential health benefit (EHB)] packages do not put the cost of coverage beyond the reach of small businesses, their employees and individuals must be a central objective[.]" (PLANSPONSOR.com)

HHS Issues Clarification of Temporary Safe Harbor from Covering Contraceptives without Cost Sharing for Non-Profit Organizations with Religious Objections
"The clarification describes the religious exemption for contraceptive coverage as well as the 1-year temporary safe harbor delay for non-profit organizations that have not historically covered some or all required contraceptives, due to religious objection. Also, note that a notice (provided in the regulation) regarding applicability of the Temporary Enforcement Safe Harbor must be included in any application materials distributed in connection with enrollment (or re-enrollment) in coverage that is effective beginning on the first day of the first plan year that is on or after August 1, 2012." (HighRoads)

Fort Worth Wrangles with Rising Health Care Costs
"In the proposed 2013 budget, the city increases health insur.ance premiums for employees and retirees 8 percent. It's adding an optional high-deductible plan with health savings accounts that allow users to save for expenses with pretax dollars, moving to a program that lets the city in on federally negotiated discounts with drugmakers and auditing its plan to make sure beneficiaries are legit. One difficult question: How much the self-insured city wants to set aside to guaran.tee future retiree benefits." (Star-Telegram.com)

Cuba Campaign Takes on 'Free' Health Care
"The health sector has already endured millions of dollars in budget cuts and tens of thousands of layoffs, and it became clear this month that Castro is looking for more ways to save when the newspaper voice of the Communist Party, Granma, published daily details for two weeks on how much the government spends on everything from anesthetics and acupuncture to orthodontics and organ transplants." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Insur.ance Exchanges Aiming for Real-Time Eligibility Determinations Using Treasury, IRS Data
"HHS officials said that, through the exchanges, individuals will be able to learn if they are eligible for programs to make insur.ance more affordable, such as eligibility for the premium assistance tax credit, or health programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insur.ance Program (CHIP). HHS is aiming for real-time determinations of eligibility for coverage, the officials said." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Sixth Circuit Finds No Stop-Loss Coverage Where Employer Extended Health Plan Coverage for Ineligible Employee
"If a plan sponsor wishes to offer coverage beyond what is required by COBRA, it must be sure that the plan document reflects that decision, and that the stop-loss insurer has signed off on any plan amendments needed to accomplish this result. Otherwise, the employer, as here, may find itself without stop-loss coverage even though the plan has paid the employee's claims." [Clarcor, Inc. v. Madison Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 2012 WL 3089339 (6th Cir. 2012)] (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

District Court Dismisses Protestant College's Challenge to Contraceptive Mandate (PDF)
"[T]he Court concludes that, in light of concrete steps [the DOL is] taking to address Wheaton's concerns, including their commitment not to enforce the challenged regulations against Wheaton while accommodations are being negotiated, Wheaton has not alleged a concrete and imminent injury and that its claims are not fit for judicial review." [Wheaton College v. Sebelius (CVase 1:12-cv-01169-ESH, August 24, 2012)] (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Cypen & Cypen Newsletter for August 23, 2012
Covers employee benefit developments with an emphasis on governmental plans. Topics in this issue include: CalPERS Approves Five-year Strategic Plan; Court Upholds Miami Chief of Police's Removal; Deputy Fire Chief Applicant Who Was Not Given Required Veterans' Preference Has No Claim Where City Hired Best Qualified Applicant; FICA's Impact Upon Public Pensions; Civil Grand Jury Tells Pension System To Make Changes? and State Pension Forfeiture Laws. (Cypen & Cypen)

Bankrup.tcy Judge Nixes Plan for $5.3 Mil.lion in Bonuses for Eight Top Hawker Beechcraft Executives
"Senior management would have likely earned bonus pay under the proposed incentive plan merely by remaining at their jobs, regardless of the road the company takes to emerge from bankrup.tcy, and must therefore be denied, [the judge] noted.... The decision came down amid voting Friday by machinists union members on pension changes." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Unemployment Statistics on Older Americans: Updated August 10, 2012
"The recession has increased joblessness among older Americans. These graphs and tables report unemployment rates and how they have varied by age, se.x, race, and education since 2007." (Urban Institute)

Press Releases



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