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December 19, 2012          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Conversion Consultant
for Aspire Financial Services in FL

Consulting Actuary
for Charles Schwab in OH

Senior Client Service Manager
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in TX

Entry Actuarial Position
for Venuti & Associates in CA

Plan Administrator
for Verisight, Inc. in IL

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After Newtown Shootings, Policy Questions Arise About Mental Health Insurance Coverage
"Insurance coverage for mental health treatment has long been spotty. More than a quarter of U.S. adults have a diagnosable mental health problem in any given year, but fewer than half receive treatment. While the Affordable Care Act, along with the Mental Health Parity Act of 2008, go a long way toward assuring coverage for most Americans, some gaps persist." (Kaiser Health News)


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Hospital Systems Band Together to Form Own Health Insurance Company
"[T]wo of Atlanta's largest hospital systems ... are forming an insurance company -- a bold move in a rapidly changing health care marketplace. By elbowing their way into the domain of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and United Healthcare, the hospital systems could dramatically increase the competition in the state's insurance marketplace. The move could also change the way patients get care, because the hospital systems will have a financial stake in keeping patients healthy and controlling costs." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

New York State Speeds Through Federal Approval of Health Insurance Exchange
"New York's application for its state-run health exchange won approval from the federal government Tuesday, making the state one of the first cleared to set up an online marketplace for health insurance.... The state's estimate of one million potential customers for the new exchange includes some 615,000 private consumers and approximately 415,000 small businesses." (The Wall Street Journal)

D.C. Circuit Court Grants Partial Win for Colleges in Suit Over Contraceptives Mandate
"The D.C. Circuit Court ... [has ruled] that two colleges' lawsuits against the government's new contraceptives mandate will remain pending in federal court while officials work on finalizing a new exemption for some faith-centered organizations. In the meantime, the government will have to keep to its promise to the court not to enforce the current mandate on the two colleges, and will have to report to the Circuit Court every sixty days on how it is doing on the final exemption provision. This was the first ruling by a federal appeals court on the mandate that was written into the new federal health care law." (SCOTUSblog)

'If I'd Had to Wait Until 67 for Medicare, I'd Be Dead'
"A proposal to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 to ratchet down spending is one of the more explosive ideas in the fiscal talks between House Speaker John Boehner and the White House.... Whatever the politics, those approaching retirement are responding with anger and fear, while employers see themselves stuck holding the bag on long-ago social commitments made by the federal government." (Kaiser Health News)


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Health Care Expense Is Biggest Long-Term Driver of Federal Budget
"All together, nearly one in four federal dollars is devoured by health-care spending. That is more than double the 10% of the budget it consumed in 1960, before Medicare and Medicaid were created. The Congressional Budget Office projects that in just a decade, health care will consume nearly one in three federal dollars[.]" (America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP))

House Committees Want Regulatory Agencies to Give Details on Employer Health Plan Mandate
"[The Committees] request clarification concerning how an employer determines the average number of hours worked per week under [the ACA]... In guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service, a 'look-back' period of up to 12 months is considered when determining whether an employee has worked an average of 30 hours per week. Given that the new tax penalties begin in 2014 and employers are able to use a 'look-back' period of up to 12 months, the guidance seems to suggest employers should begin keeping track of their employees' hours for the purpose of the new tax penalties as early as January 1, 2013." (U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions)

[Opinion]

Obamacare Costs, Chaos Are Near
"For millions of people, Obamacare will mean, alone or in some combination: higher insurance bills, unwanted changes in status at work, higher taxes, loss of employer-based health insurance and a bewildering bureaucracy that will make today's already complex insurance maze seem downright simple. Whether Obamacare's benefits will outweigh the chaos it produces could decide the future of the program." (AppealDemocrat.com)

[Opinion]

Medical Officer Warns Employers Against Exchange-Only Health Benefits Model
"By implementing what amounts to a privatized health care exchange for their employees, Sears and Darden are succumbing to a tempting, but potentially dangerous, assumption that a health care market will behave like a stock market. But health care is not governed by efficient market forces. All available information is not 'priced-in' for health care consumers. In fact, our research on moving employer-sponsored health care coverage onto an exchange-based benefit design shows that there is no short- or long-term financial advantage." (Employee Benefit News)

[Opinion]

The Only Way Out of the Health Care Wilderness
"The claim that we have the best healthcare in the world is correct only if you have an acute condition.... But acute conditions generate enormous costs only because we have not addressed the chronic condition earlier, interrupting the disease progression that produces the acute events. Since most healthcare cost growth over the past 2 decades has been related to patients with 4 or more chronic conditions, this should be recognized as the foremost issue in healthcare reform." (The Health Care Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

NASDAQ Files Amendment to Proposed Listing Standards for Compensation Committee and Consultant Independence
"NASDAQ [recently] filed an amendment to its proposed listing standards relating to the independence of compensation committees, compensation consultants and other compensation advisers.... The amendment: [1] Clarifies the required independence assessment for compensation advisers. [2] Changes the effective date and transition period for the new rules. [3] Changes the phase-in schedule for a company that ceases to be a smaller reporting company. [4] Provides a form of the compensation committee certification that must be submitted to NASDAQ under the new rules." (Practical Law Company)

The Future of Executive Compensation at Publicly-Traded Banks
"[A recent] study of CEO compensation practices at 58 publicly-traded banks with assets between $1 and $5 billion ... [shows that] the following will be some of the key trends in executive pay as compensation committees work to balance competing expectations. Increase in percentage of pay delivered through incentives.... Broader view of performance.... Use of multiple long term incentives, with increasing use of performance-based vesting.... More transparency." (BankDirector.com)

Legacy Advisor Benefit Plans, Winter 2012-13 (PDF)
Articles in this issue include: FASB Update Regarding Employer's Participation in Multiemployer Plan Now Effective; News Prohibited Transactions and Plan Expenses Notice of Expiration: Temporary Unlimited Coverage for Noninterest-Bearing Transaction Accounts; New Audit Standards for 2012; and DOL Taking Close Look at Apprenticeship and Training Funds. (Legacy Professionals LLP)

Press Releases

Help Employees Afford the Legal Services They Need
Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife company

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