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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 23, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Vice President, Total Rewards

Retirement Plan Services Administrative Officer
for Security National Trust Company in WV

Retirement Plans Administrator
for Oregon University System in OR

Trading & Corrections Associate
for Aspire Financial Services in FL

Nationwide Financial Operations Director
for Nationwide in OH

Executive Relationship Manager
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

NCEO/Beyster Institute Employee Ownership Conference
in Washington on April 24, 2013 presented by National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and the Beyster Institute

Preconference Sessions - NCEO and Beyster Institute Employee Ownership Conference
in Washington on April 23, 2013 presented by National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and the Beyster Institute

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[Guidance Overview]

Retroactive Relief for Transit Benefit Requires Immediate Employer Action
"If an employer fails to take this action by Jan. 31, the employer should file IRS Form 941-X for each calendar quarter of 2012. In doing so, the employer must refund the Social Security and Medicare overpayments to the employee, and it must also secure the employee's written statement that the employee has not, and will not, file a claim for a refund. Thus, by dealing with the issue when filing Form 941 by Jan. 1, 2013, the employer avoids the need to obtain employee statements and also avoids the need to file a separate refund for each of the four quarters of 2012." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)


Health Savings Accounts - Rules and Design Considerations

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink.com

Live audio conference explains rules and explores current studies on whether HSAs are reducing total health care costs through consumerism, as well as new design opportunities for employers considering how to implement a successful HSA program. Discounted pricing for BenefitsLink readers.

[Guidance Overview]

Employers Can Obtain Refund for Excess FICA Tax Paid as Result of Increased Excludable Limit for Transit Benefits
"Employers that have not yet filed their fourth quarter Form 941 for 2012 must repay or reimburse their employees the over-collected FICA tax on the excess transit benefits for all four quarters of 2012 on or before filing the fourth quarter Form 941. The employer, in reporting amounts on its fourth quarter Form 941, may then reduce the fourth quarter wages, tips and compensation reported on line 2, the taxable social security wages reported on line 5a and Medicare wages and the tips reported on line 5c by the excess transit benefits for all four quarters of 2012. By taking advantage of this special administrative procedure, employers will avoid having to file Forms 941-X, and will also avoid having to file Forms W-2c." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]

FMLA Leave for Employees with Adult Disabled Sons and Daughters
"The new Administrator's Interpretation ... clarifies that the disability of the son or the daughter need not have onset before the son or daughter turned 18 years of age. For example, a 70 year old employee may be eligible for FMLA for a 50 year old son or daughter who had just had a stroke or other disability interfering with self-care. The Administrator's Interpretation also reconfirms that 'son or daughter' is a broad concept covering far more than a biological relationship. It also covers adoptive relationships, foster parent-child relationships, stepchildren, legal wards, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis." (Spencer Fane)

[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA Omnibus Rule Reference Chart
"The [13-page] chart lists provisions of the proposed privacy, security, and enforcement rules mandated by [HITECH] published in a proposed rule on July 14, 2010; the interim final enforcement rule -- including HITECH's new, tiered penalty structure -- published on October 30, 2009; and the interim final breach notification rule published pursuant to HITECH on August 24, 2009 ... and compares them to the same regulatory provisions published on January 17, 2013 as part of the Omnibus Rule ... For quick reference, [the] chart indicates whether or not there were changes between the Proposed Rules and the Final Rule and includes commentary on certain notable provisions." (Mintz Levin)

[Guidance Overview]

Five Key Takeaways for Employers Confronting the Massive, Omnibus HIPAA/HITECH Final Rule
"At approximately one-half the length of War and Peace, the recently published Omnibus Final Rule, which modifies the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules and implements the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, can overwhelm ... Stepping back from this superabundance of detail, [here are] five 'big picture' takeaways for employers who sponsor HIPAA-covered plans: [1] Not That Much Has Changed For Employers ... [2] Employers Have Some Time To Comply ... [3] Not Every "HIPAA Violation" Is A Security Breach ... [4] Employers Will Need To Issue Revised Privacy Notices ... [5] Employers Should Review And Possibly Amend Business Associate Agreements[.]" (Littler)


Employer Health & Human Capital Congress - February 21-22, 2013 - Orlando, FL

Sponsored by World Congress

With deadlines looming, and Private Exchanges potentially shifting the employer-health care marketplace, focus on strategy planning and benchmarking. Talk directly to your counterparts in similar industries about next steps in these uncertain times.

[Guidance Overview]

Employer Shared Responsibility/Pay or Play Requirements Under ACA
"Employers who wish to continue offering coverage in 2014 should be: [1] Examining their employee population now to determine which employees could be considered full-time employees in 2014 based on various measurement and stability periods. Employers who decide to use the measurement/stability period safe harbor will need to identify their measurement and stability periods before the beginning of the 2014 plan year. [2] Communicating with company executives about how these requirements apply to the organization and the potential costs of extending coverage versus paying a penalty." (Thompson Hine)

[Guidance Overview]

Health Care Reform Update: Large Employers Must Offer Health Coverage or Pay Assessment (PDF)
"In anticipation of the implementation of the shared responsibility rules in 2014, [each employer should] [1] Determine whether it is an 'applicable large employer' subject to the rule; [2] Elect a method to determine which employees are 'full-time employees' that must be offered health insurance, and consider whether the plan should be amended to close any gaps in coverage; [3] Calculate whether the employer's existing health plans are 'affordable' and provide 'minimum value' ... and consider whether benefits or costs should be adjusted for 2014; [4] For an employer that has fiscal-year plans, amend its cafeteria plan to allow participants to make mid-year election changes." (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

Health Insurance Exchange Eligibility: HHS Proposes Verification and Appeals Procedures
"The proposed regulations provide that the Exchange must accept an individual's attestation regarding whether he or she is enrolled in an eligible employer-sponsored plan or is eligible for such a plan. However, if the individual's statements are not reasonably compatible with information the Exchange has from other sources ... or are internally inconsistent, then the Exchange must take further steps to resolve inconsistencies, such as contacting an employer of the individual ... to verify whether the individual is enrolled in or eligible for qualifying coverage. Employers should be prepared to receive inquiries from Exchanges who are attempting this type of verification." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

New FMLA Interpretation Will Increase Leaves for Care of Adult Children
"Prior to this interpretation there was some question as to whether the adult child's disability must have developed before the child reached age 18 for the parent to be eligible for FMLA leave. The DOL has now clarified that the age of onset of the disability is irrelevant." (Faegre Baker Daniels LLP)

Should Health Insurance Offer 'Safe-Consumer' Premium Incentives Like Car Insurance?
"Car insurance companies reward good behavior: Drivers with records free of 15-car pileups and tickets for doing 90 in a 55 pay cheaper premiums. Health insurers, on the other hand, offer people little incentive to stay out of harm's (and doctor's) way. But a growing number of health advocates say this is a mistake, and that the system would function better if bodies were treated more like Buicks." (MarketWatch.com)

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, January 22, 2013
Update on developments in federal and state health care reform legislation and regulations. Includes summaries of recent announcements and regulatory activity by HHS, CCIIO, IRS and CMS. (Mintz Levin)

New Health Insurance Product Pits Hospitals vs. Employers
"As employers throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky seek the newest ways to stem the inexorable rise in health care costs that are choking the system, they will have to face doctors and hospitals that traditionally have been able to set their own price. The so-called 'balance billing' by systems could leave consumers as the casualty.... With nearly 60 percent of Americans still getting insurance through a company-sponsored plan, the dispute is only the latest result of a health care marketplace that has left employers desperate for solutions to skyrocketing costs." (USA TODAY)

HMO-Like Plans May Be Poised To Make Comeback In Online Insurance Markets
"[L]imited network plans -- which have begun a comeback among employers looking to slow rising premiums -- are expected to play a prominent role in new online markets, called exchanges, where individuals and small businesses will shop for coverage starting Oct. 1. That trend worries consumer advocates, who fear skimpy networks could translate into inadequate care or big bills for those who develop complicated health problems." (Kaiser Health News)

Essential Health Benefits Rule Might Not Have 'Teeth'
"[I]t appears that one of those EHBs might not be as essential as the others -- at least as far as HHS is concerned. As it stands now, consumers who purchase medical coverage through an exchange won't be required to buy pediatric dental coverage either as part of a medical plan or as a stand-alone benefit, HHS has indicated. However, people who enroll in individual or small-group coverage outside of an exchange are required to have pediatric coverage as part of their medical policy -- regardless of whether they have a child." (AISHealth.com; free registration required)

Developments of Interest to Employers That Provide Health Coverage, First Quarter 2013 (PDF)
Topics include: Trend and CPI; ACA and Compliance News; 2013 Survey of Health Plan Cost Trends; and What Health Plan Employers Are Doing to Manage Costs: Selected Strategies. (Sibson Consulting)

Survey Finds Continued Slow Growth in Consumer-Driven Health Plans
"[T]he most important take away by far is that people are doing exactly what we predicted they would do. They are paying more attention to the cost of the services they consume on every one of nine measures. For example, 53% of CDHP enrollees requested a generic drug instead of a name-brand, while only 41% of traditional plan enrollees did." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)

First Circuit Creates Split in Circuits; Unwritten Risk-of-Relapse Exclusion Held Unreasonable
"Judge Bruce M. Selya, writing for the court, described the ruling as narrow but concluded that the plan administrator's decision denying benefits based on an unwritten categorical exclusion for risk of relapse was unreasonable. The court acknowledged that its decision created a split among the circuits regarding whether the risk of relapse into substance abuse dependence constituted a current disability." (Bloomberg BNA)

Diagram of Minnesota's Health Insurance Exchange (PDF)
Flowchart diagrams the interactions required for operation of the health insurance exchange and its interface with health care providers, data services, governing bodies, and other stakeholders and entities. (Citizens' Council for Health Freedom)


Deloitte Health Care Reform Memo, January 22, 2013
"Medicare is a popular program but its cost is not sustainable. Cost shifting by providers borne by the privately insured is not a long-term solution to the $105 trillion obligation owed current and future beneficiaries. And solutions that incrementally modify the program's funding -- higher premiums, delayed eligibility, required co-payments in MediGap coverage, changes to its annual cost formula using the Chain Consumer Price Index (CPI), a voucher-type alternative and others -- without fundamentally restructuring the delivery of services will fall short." (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)


Small-Employer Responses to ACA Provisions Extending Employee Insurance Coverage
"Currently, individuals who receive employer-sponsored health insurance predominantly work for large employers. As such, small employers are a specific target in the ACA to expand access to coverage for their employees." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

NYSE and NASDAQ Compensation Committee and Compensation Advisers Listing Standards
"The SEC's final rules mandate that compensation committees will be required to include only "independent" directors. In determining an individual's independence, the applicable securities exchange or association is required to take into account relevant factors ... The new NYSE and NASDAQ listing standards require boards to consider a director's compensation sources and affiliations, in addition to satisfying the stock exchanges' existing categorical independence standards." (Pepper Hamilton LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Approves NYSE and NASDAQ OMX Rule Changes Relating to Compensation Committee Independence Standards (PDF)
"These new listing standards should not prove onerous for NYSE- or NASDAQ-listed companies. Standing compensation committees composed of independent directors was already a requirement for NYSE-listed companies and is a common practice among NASDAQ-listed companies. The most significant new listing standard is the requirement that compensation committees, prior to retaining an adviser, evaluate the independence of the adviser against six specific independence factors. Although this requirement is not effective until July 1, 2013, many public companies have already undertaken such evaluation of their advisers." (Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC)

Proskauer ERISA Litigation Newsletter, January 2013
Includes articles discussing: "[1] the role of expert evidence in class certification issues arising in ERISA litigations, and identifies particular areas where the Comcast ruling may have significant implications for ERISA practitioners.... [2] cost-control strategies for employers as they struggle with retiree-medical expenditures in the era of the ACA ... with practical advice for employers hoping to reduce retiree-medical costs while minimizing abrupt changes to coverage." (Proskauer Rose LLP)

ERISA Advisory Council to Meet March 1
"The purpose of the open meeting, which will run from 1:30 p.m. to approximately 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, is to welcome the new members, introduce the Council Chair and Vice Chair, receive an update from the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and determine the topics to be addressed by the Council in 2013." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Employee Reward Strategies for the 21st Century (PDF)
"Employees' concerns about their financial security have reached the point that many are willing to sacrifice current rewards for retirement income that doesn't vary with investment returns.... While defined benefit plan sponsors will be heartened by this heightened appreciation for a traditionally undervalued benefit, the growing number of defined contribution-only sponsors ... need to recognize just how important security has become to employees and how ill-equipped many people feel to manage entirely on their own." (Towers Watson)

Press Releases

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