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December 27, 2012          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Account Administrator
for Alerus Retirement Solutions in MN

Director, Defined Contribution - Intermediary Distribution
for Russell Investments in WA

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Webcasts and Conferences

VFCP Advanced Workshop - Prohibited Transactions Related to Loans Issued from the Plan
in Illinois on January 23, 2013 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Beyond the Buzzword--Exploring Pension De-Risking Options
in New York on January 17, 2013 presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network ), New York Chapter

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Emergency Injunction in Contraceptive Mandate Case
"Justice Sonia Sotomayor said [Hobby Lobby] doesn't meet the extremely high standards required for a preliminary injunction. It's not 'absolutely' clear that they need the injunction and lower courts have been divided on whether to grant similar requests, she wrote, though she adds that the court doesn't have much experience with similar religious-based claims for emergency injunctions." (Politico)


Earn your CEBS (Certified Employee Benefit Specialist) Designation

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

CEBS is the most respected benefits designation in the industry. Co-sponsored by the International Foundation and the Wharton School, the program is an essential step for those who want to advance in the employee benefits industry. Learn More.

Supreme Court Leaves Contraceptives Mandate Intact, for Now
"Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor refused on Wednesday afternoon to block enforcement of the new federal health care law's mandate that profit-making companies begin providing free birth-control drugs and methods for their women workers, beginning next week.... This marked the first time that the Supreme Court has been drawn into a nationwide controversy over the contraceptives mandate. More than 40 lawsuits have been filed against that requirement by non-profit religious schools, colleges and hospitals, and by religion-oriented, profit-making companies. Justice Sotomayor, noting that the lower courts that have ruled so far on pleas for emergency court orders have reached mixed results, concluded that the Hobby Lobby family's right to an injunction could not meet the rigorous standard that it be 'indisputably clear.'" (SCOTUSblog)

Healthcare Provider Discounts -- Achieving Cost Savings Without Any Change to Current Structure (PDF)
"The carriers who most successfully negotiate with providers can offer some employers significant cost savings with no modifications in their current utilization or provider access..... [This paper covers] the most frequently asked questions by the market around the calculation and evaluation of medical discounts ... various methods for estimating discount differences ... [and] how these discount differences impact the overall medical cost to the employer." (Milliman)

Five Ways Your Health Care Will Change in 2013
"Here's a quick guide to what will happen in health care in the next year. 1. Health-care cost growth will slow to a new low.... 2. Your Medicare taxes will increase.... 3. Your insurance plan will be explained in plain English.... 4. Primary care providers in Medicaid will get a 73 percent raise.... 5. The Obamacare exchanges will open for business." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

The Looming Challenges for Obamacare in 2013
"[R]egulators, states, employers, and health care providers are rushing to get ready for a transformed system that is coming in 2014.... Industry is readying itself for hundreds of pages of regulations, insurance companies for new products and some 7 million new customers in the first year, states for an IT infrastructure unlike anything they have seen. Employers are facing a raft of new requirements, including an obligation to cover all of their workers or pay fines for not doing so.... But the lingering uncertainty around the law -- and its expansive ambitions -- means that the work to be done between now and January 2014 is enormous." (The Atlantic)


Alternative Models for Health Benefit Financing - February 21-22, 2013 - Orlando, FL

Sponsored by World Congress

Forward-looking employers and brokers, along with key innovators in the self-funding industry, explore financial strategies that achieve sustainability for the employer in a post-PPACA climate.

Health Reform: The Political Storms are Far From Over
"A huge amount of work remains to be done by October 1, 2013 when people can begin enrolling for insurance coverage in the new exchanges. [1] Data systems have to be developed. [2] Software must be written and computers purchased to permit on-line enrollment or assist officials in signing people up in hundreds, if not thousands, of offices. [3] State insurance regulations need to be conformed to the new national law. Insurance companies must design the plans they will offer through the exchanges and, in most states, the separate products that they will offer outside the exchanges. [4] Small businesses will have to decide what plans to offer their employees. Individuals and employees of those businesses need to be informed of the options they face and decide what products to buy. [5] The state insurance exchanges or their federal equivalent will have to enroll people, compute the subsidy to which each person is entitled, and pay that subsidy to the insurer that each person has selected." (Brookings)

Rush Is On to Spend Flex Accounts Before Year End
"It's tough to beat the retail business for December craziness, but some health providers also have a last-minute flurry of activity as patients empty their use-it-or-lose-it flexible spending accounts, or slip in treatments before deductibles are reset.... Dubbed the 'benefits rush' and 'the fourth-quarter crunch,' it often gives eye doctors, dentists and even weight-loss doctors a rise in end-of-the-year business." (InsuranceNewsNet)

57 Percent of Workers Say 'Let Us Choose Our Health Plans'
"[A recent] survey of more than 800 workers ... found that nearly a third expressed little confidence they could find a suitable plan for themselves. Most are satisfied with the health plans they get at work, and 59 percent are sure their employer has found the best available plan. Too bad that nearly everything about our health insurance system will soon be changing." (CNBC)


Text of Comments to HHS on Proposed Standards for Essential Health Benefits, Actuarial Value and Accreditation (PDF)
"The 30-day comment period provided in the Proposed Rule is wholly insufficient and has hampered the Chamber's ability to conduct a thorough analysis and develop meaningful comments.... While [the Chamber appreciates] the general affirmation in the preamble that CMS will not 'prohibit issuers implementing EHB standards from applying utilization management techniques,' we remain very troubled and concerned by the subsequent statement. CMS continues by saying 'However, issuers could not use such techniques to discriminate against certain groups of people.' This statement in the Preamble not only indicates CMS's misguided view that all plans nefariously use utilization management solely for the purpose of depriving treatments or misdirecting patients, it also reveals CMS's intent to improperly extend the statutory language regarding nondiscrimination." (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Financial Advisors Present Strategies for Stock Compensation and Company Stock Holdings at Year-End
"Year-end planning can be tricky, and it has never been more so than now, amid the tax-rate uncertainty that hangs over the close of 2012. [This article presents ideas from] six financial advisors ... on financial and tax planning for year-end 2012 and beyond." (myStockOptions.com)

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