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November 6, 2012          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Administrative Assistant
for Shore Tompkins Actuarial Resources, LLC in IL

for Berenbaum Weinshienk PC in CO

Plan Implementation Manager - Retirement Plan Services
for John Hancock in MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Innovative Strategies for Communicating to ERISA Plan Participants
in California on November 15, 2012 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter

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Employers Expected to Keep Some Popular Health Reform Features Even If Obama Loses
"[E]mployers will continue looking for ways to cap expenses, moving toward higher deductible policies, or placing limits on how much they pay toward their workers' premiums -- both trends that predate the federal health law, analysts say. Many employers have also embraced some of the more popular rules in the federal health law, such as no copays for certain cancer screenings and preventive care, and allowing parents to keep their adult children on their policies until age 26." (Kaiser Health News)


How Will the Election Impact the Affordable Care Act?

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Following the election, join the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Webcast to explore the impact on health care reform, the next steps for Congress and the next steps for plan sponsors. Register now for this November 8 Webcast!

Michigan Judge Temporarily Blocks Mandated No-Cost Contraceptive Coverage
"[Michigan District Court] Judge Cleland is the second judge to issue such an order. In July, a federal district judge in Colorado issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the contraceptive mandate against Hercules Industries, a maker of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. In September, a federal district judge in St. Louis rejected a similar challenge ... [saying] that the plaintiffs, a Missouri company and its owner, 'remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives.'" (The New York Times; free registration required)

Employer Hit by $83,000 COBRA Penalty for Participant Notice Failure
"An 'inefficient, unwieldy' notice process -- coupled with evasive and contradictory answers from employees on why a qualified beneficiary did not receive a COBRA election notice -- led a federal district court in Alabama to deem the notice failure as intentional and assess the employer/plan administrator more than $83,000 in penalties and legal costs." [Evans v. Books-A-Million, Civil Action No. CV-07-S-2172-S, (N.D. Ala. Oct. 29, 2012)] (Thompson SmartHR Manager)

Bankruptcy Court Allows Kodak to End Retiree Health Benefits
"In his ruling Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Allan Gropper called the move fair and reasonable. The Rochester-based photography company reached an agreement last month with a court-appointed committee of retirees to eliminate its current $1.2 billion liability for medical, life insurance and survivor benefits. In exchange, Kodak will pay a total of $650 million in claims and $7.5 million in cash into a fund to be used for future payments." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Ten Modifiable Health Risk Factors Cause More Than 20 Percent of Employer Health Care Spending
"Examining ten of these common health risk factors in a working population, [the authors] found that similar relationships between such risks and total medical costs documented in a widely cited study published in 1998 still hold. Based on [a] sample of 92,486 employees at seven organizations over an average of three years, $82,072,456, or 22.4 percent, of the $366,373,301 spent annually by the seven employers and their employees in the study was attributed to the ten risk factors studied." (HealthAffairs)


The most important thing you can do today

Sponsored by BenefitsLink.com

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. (Samuel Adams in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781)

Heart Attack, Chest Pain Costly for Employers
"Heart attacks and chest pain suffered by workers can also be agonizing for employers who are hit with productivity losses of as much as $52,473 per disability claim. A study presented [recently] at the American Heart Association meeting in Los Angeles found that for every short-term disability claim filed due to acute coronary syndrome, the cost to employers was about $7,943 in lost productivity. Each long-term disability claim cost employers about $52,473." (Bloomberg)

Harvard Says Its Health Care Costs Are Growing at 'Unsupportable' Rate
"Benefit costs at Harvard hit $476 million for the year that ended June 30, double what they were a decade ago, with health care accounting for the largest portion. The university's medical care obligation for retired faculty and staff is causing even greater fears. At $901.5 million, it's nearly equal to the pension obligation for retirees -- $910 million." (Boston.com)

The Emerging Marketplace of Private Health Insurance Exchanges (PDF)
"Key Points: (1) Employers are moving to Defined Contribution health benefits, as they did for retirement programs. (2) Employers are using Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) to make fixed annual contributions. (3) Private health insurance exchanges are being created to help employees choose their own benefit programs. (4) Private health insurance exchanges offer an array of benefits and costs. (5) ACA exchanges are costly, will collect detailed personal data to share with the IRS, and should not be set up." (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Dodd-Frank's Impact on Compensation Administration
"In response to this new regulation, financial institutions will need to implement new compensation tools, infrastructure, data architectures and resources to meet the Federal Regulators' monitoring and reporting requirements.... [T]hey must identify covered employees, submit annual reports disclosing their respective incentive compensation plans to the appropriate Federal Regulator and describe how risk taking behavior is mitigated through policies and procedures governing these incentive plans. Financial institutions that adapt most effectively to the regulatory changes could gain a competitive advantage by reducing unnecessary costs, improving productivity and becoming more flexible and efficient in their compensation administration processes." (Deloitte)

Leave-Sharing Programs, Other Steps to Assist Employees Affected by Hurricane Sandy
"In the aftermath storms like Hurricane Sandy, generous employees often want to share their paid leave with employees adversely affected by the storm. Employers can set up leave sharing banks to allow donated paid leave to be used by employees that need time off on account of the storm. Internal Revenue Service Notice 2006-59 provides guidance for setting up these programs to avoid adverse tax consequences." (Jackson Lewis LLP)

Managing the Hidden Cost of Sick Days
"In the U.S., the average employer cost for unplanned absences is $1,000 per employee each year. This is the second-highest benefit cost to employers after medical benefits. Employers should be thinking about how to address unexpected absences, considering that American companies lose 2.8 million workdays a year from them." (The Dolan Company)

Employers May Provide Tax-Free Relief To Employees Hit By Storm
"Employers can provide benefits, tax-free, to employees who are victims of Superstorm Sandy under tax code Section 139 and Internal Revenue Service guidance, a practitioner said Oct. 30. Section 139 provides that, in the case of a presidentially declared disaster, an employer can give cash or benefits to assist employees. The payments are exempt from federal income tax and employment taxes, no substantiation is required from the employees, and the employer is able to deduct the payments[.]" (Bloomberg BNA)

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