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February 28, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Relationship Manager
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Webcasts and Conferences

(K)onvergence Summit
in New York on June 17, 2013 presented by EACH Enterprise

Recent Research on Employee Owned Companies
Nationwide on April 16, 2013 presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Handling the Repurchase Obligation- Legal Issues
Nationwide on May 7, 2013 presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Handling the Repuchase Obligation: Planning for the Repurchase Obligation
Nationwide on May 14, 2013 presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Handling the Repurchase Obligation- Valuation
Nationwide on May 21, 2013 presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Equity Compensation in Pass-Through Entities
Nationwide on May 22, 2013 presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

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[Official Guidance]

Form M-1 Online Filing System
"With respect to all 2012 filings, MEWAs and ECEs should use this electronic Form M-1 for filing purposes." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Final Revision and Publication of 2012 Form M-1 to Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs), etc.
"To reflect the regulatory amendments to the Form M-1 reporting requirements, the Department has made revisions ... to the Form M-1. Corresponding changes were also made to the Form M-1 instructions including the line-by-line instructions. The revisions result in a Form M-1 that is substantially different from previous versions of the Form M-1. The changes ... are very similar to those described in the notice of proposed form revisions published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2011[.]" (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Official Guidance]

EBSA Fact Sheet: Final ACA Regs Related to Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs)
"The final rules contain the following components: [1] Cease and Desist Orders ... [2] Administrative Hearings ... [3] Summary Seizure Orders ... [4] MEWA Reporting/Registration ... [5] Changes to the Form M-1 ... [6] Changes to the Form 5500[.]" (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Official Guidance]

Text of Revised Questions on Form 5500 Reflecting Change in Reporting Requirements for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs)
"As in the proposal, the final forms revisions make compliance with the Form M-1 filing requirements an integral part of compliance with ERISA's Form 5500 annual reporting requirements for plans required to file the Form M-1 by requiring all such plans to file a Form 5500 Annual Return/Report (with new Form M-1 compliance questions), regardless of the plan size or type of funding. The changes to the Form 5500 and its instructions, together with companion Final Rules amending the annual reporting regulations under ERISA section 103 and 104, being published separately in today's Federal Register, accomplish several interrelated objectives." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Official Guidance]

Text of Final Regs on Filings Required of Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and Certain Other Related Entities (PDF)
Scroll to page 3 of the target document; the first two pages appear to be nonsubstantive. Excerpt: "These final rules amend the existing Form M-1 reporting rules by incorporating new provisions enacted as part of the [ACA]. They also amend existing Form 5500 annual reporting rules for ERISA-covered plans subject to Form M-1 reporting rules." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Official Guidance]

Text of Final Regs on Ex Parte Cease and Desist and Summary Seizure Orders -- Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs)
"These two regulations ... set forth the criteria for determining whether the statutory grounds for issuing an order have been met, and, in the case of a cease and desist order, to establish reasonable administrative review procedures.... The substantive criteria for issuing an order are based on several decades of enforcement experience by the Department and the States regarding fraudulent or financially hazardous conduct of MEWAs (and persons acting as their agents and employees). The administrative procedures will allow affected persons to challenge a cease and desist order and obtain expeditious review, including the right to a hearing." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)


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[Official Guidance]

Guidance on Complying with the Maintenance of Contribution Requirement for ERRP
"This guidance is intended to give plan sponsors some clarifications and flexibility in applying the maintenance of contribution requirement, which is one way to help ensure that sponsors do not violate the prohibition against using ERRP reimbursement as general revenue and that [Early Retiree Reinsurance Program] reimbursement is used properly.... To the extent that a plan sponsor is unable to use the approaches for demonstrating maintenance of contribution set forth in this guidance, the sponsor may demonstrate compliance with this requirement in other ways." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues ACA FAQs Part XII Providing Details on Preventive Care Rules
"The FAQs illustrate the somewhat uncomfortable fit between some of the guidelines and the workings of health plans/policies. The guidelines are mostly directed at providers, not at plans and policies. Therefore, applying them to plans and policies results in providers having a lot of power to determine what a plan/policy has to cover without cost-sharing." (Benefits Bryan Cave)

[Guidance Overview]

Employers Must Begin Using Updated FMLA Forms and Poster Starting March 8, 2013
"Notably, the DOL's model forms will no longer be included as part of the appendices to the regulations. Instead, they will be available on the DOL website. This allows the DOL to make changes to the forms without having to approve every change through the [OMB] ... A new certification form related to the serious injury or illness of a covered veteran also was created." (FMLA Insights)

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Releases New FMLA Model Forms and Notice Poster
"Employers should keep in mind that family and medical leave obligations under state/territorial laws may provide for a greater leave entitlement than the FMLA and (most notably in California, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.) require employers to provide other forms or information." (Jackson Lewis LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues Updated and Expanded FMLA Regulations, Forms and Poster to Match Current Law (PDF)
"Employers can find the updated forms and poster on the DOL's website. The updated regulations become effective on March 8, 2013, so employers should be sure to post the new FMLA poster, update their FMLA policies, replace old notice or certification forms in their files with new ones and let Human Resources staff and management know about these changes before March 8." (Locke Lord)

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Finalizes the Essential Health Benefits Regs for 2014
"HHS remains consistent with its previously articulated positions on these topics, including prior bulletins and the November 26, 2012, proposed rule, despite receiving more than 15,000 public comments on the issues. Appendix A to the EHB Final Rule lists the EHB benchmark plans for the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]

Final Guidance Issued on Essential Health Benefits and Cost-Sharing Requirements (PDF)
"The final regulations do not provide any additional guidance on what are considered EHB for purposes of the prohibition on annual and lifetime dollar limits for large group health plans.... Self-insured and large group plans will need to determine which definition of EHB they will utilize for 2014, review any annual or lifetime dollar limits that apply to any EHB in the plan, and make any needed modifications." (Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]

What the ACA Means for Small Businesses (PDF)
"Currently, small businesses pay on average 18% more than big businesses for health insurance. The [ACA] will help small businesses by lowering premium cost growth and increasing access to quality, affordable health insurance." [31 slides explain key ACA provisions as they apply to small businesses.] (U.S. Small Business Administration)

[Guidance Overview]

Key Effects of the New HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule
"The notice of privacy practices (NPP) must now include a description of the types of uses and disclosures that require written authorization. Covered entities may be required to update their NPPs in other ways and to redistribute the revised NPPs ... The final rule eliminated the safe harbor that previously protected covered entities from liability for acts of business associates when proper precautions were in place." (VedderPrice)

An Analysis of 2007-2009 Filings of Form M-1 (Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and Certain Entities Claiming Exception) (PDF)
"[P]rimary findings include: [1] The annual number of MEWAs/ECEs that filed a Form M-1 was between 450 and 500 in 2007-2009. [2] MEWAs/ECEs tend to cover many participants.... [3] Health benefits may be fully insured through an external insurer or self-insured by the MEWA/ECE.... [4] More than one-half of MEWAs/ECEs that filed a matched Form M-1 provided dental, life, or vision benefits in addition to health benefits in 2009.... [5] Virtually no MEWA/ECE reported being involved in a litigation or regulatory action in 2007-2009." (Prepared by Deloitte for the Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Growing Shift in How Employers Intend to Offer Health Care Benefits in the Future
"[The] survey of nearly 800 large and mid-size U.S. employers covering more than 7 million employees found that 94 percent of those surveyed will continue to offer health benefits to their employees in the next three-to-five years. However, of those employers, almost two-thirds plan to move away from a traditional 'managed trend' approach to one that requires participants to take a more active role in their health care planning." (Aon Hewitt)

Health Insurance Reform: Ramifications for Employer Considering Expansion or Relocation to Another State
"Organizations on the move will want to take a close look at the prospective states' exchanges.... Suppose State A's exchange offers more affordable and better quality policies than State B's? State A may be more attractive as a company's new home.... State A's workers, receiving access to more healthcare, will be healthier and thus more productive and incur less absenteeism." (AreaDevelopment Online)

Hospitals Will Cut Prices For Exchange Patients -- But Only So Much
"How much will hospitals reduce prices in an effort to win what are expected to be millions of newly insured patients under the [ACA]? A little, not a lot, if deals disclosed this week by Tenet Healthcare are any indication.... [Its] first contracts to treat patients buying policies in the ACA's online marketplaces next year include total discounts of less than 10 percent compared with existing business." (Kaiser Health News)

Some States Will Rate Health Plans on Quality
"Maryland is considering ranking insurers on how they deal with chronic illnesses and interact with minority groups. Colorado will rate them based on a federal consumer satisfaction survey. Those states and a handful of others ... are opting to do the ratings early, before the federal health law requires them to do so in 2016. They're scrambling now to decide what to measure and how to translate that into something useful to the millions of individuals and small businesses expected to shop for coverage in the new marketplaces beginning in October." (Kaiser Health News)

The U.S. Public's Health Care Agenda for 2013
"This [infographic] takes a look at the U.S. public's priorities for health care in 2013, including actions by state governments (such as creating a health insurance exchange or marketplace), Medicaid expansion, Medicare spending, and spending for specific types of public health activities." (JAMA)

Employer-Based Health Coverage Steadily Declining
"Employer-sponsored coverage has been declining steadily since 2008 among all major subgroups, including income, race, gender and age. People with high incomes, earning more than $90,000 a year, are the most likely to have employer-based insurance (69 percent), while low-income Americans are among the least likely to have this type of health plan (22 percent)[.]" (FierceHealthPayer)

Stabilizing and Strengthening Medicare in the Context of Broader Health Reform (PDF)
"[U]sing provider payment reform to promote value and accelerate delivery system innovation; engaging consumers with information and positive incentives to choose high-value care and care systems; and undertaking systemwide action to improve how health care markets function ... [together] could reduce federal government spending by more than $1 trillion relative to current policy over the next 10 years, and the entire health system more than $2 trillion[.]" (The Commonwealth Fund)

Early Plan Participant Experience with the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) (PDF)
"[Findings include:] Awareness of the new benefit is low.... Among shoppers that did see the Summary, their impressions were very favorable.... When asked specifically about problems with the Summary, respondents were evenly divided over whether there was too much or too little information ... Few consumers reported seeing the new feature called 'Coverage Examples'." (Consumers Union)

[Opinion]

Under ACA, Employer Mandate Could Mean Fewer Jobs
"Despite the gentle sounding title, the Shared Responsibility provision actually takes the two parties who should be making decisions about employer-sponsored health coverage (the employer and the employee) completely out of the equation.... Under the guise of improving access to coverage, the mandate presents a false choice for owners: provide one-size-fits-all health care coverage at the expense of higher wages and other benefits; or potentially pay a penalty." (Politico)

[Opinion]

Think Selling on an Exchange Will Be Challenging? Just Wait Until You Collect Payments
"Health insurance exchanges could mean millions of new members for health insurers. But those new enrollees might also bring enormous challenges in collecting and assigning premiums. About 80% of payments for individual coverage are likely to be paper and could be from multiple sources." (AISHealth.com; free registration required)

[Opinion]

Text of Testimony to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the Summary of Benefits and Coverage Form (PDF)
"While the SBC does not reduce the underlying complexity of health plans, testing showed it does help consumers make sense of the coverage. In particular, consumers ... liked: [1] Uniform layout of SBC so they can line up forms for different plans and compare them; [2] 'Why this matters' information to provide a sense of how important specific features are; [3] Having 'exceptions to coverage' all in one place; and [4] Coverage Examples." (Consumers Union)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

IRS Expands Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program
"The Internal Revenue Service has expanded its Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), paving the way for more taxpayers to take advantage of this low-cost option for achieving certainty under the law by reclassifying their workers as employees for future tax periods.... Normally, employers are barred from the VCSP if they failed to file required Forms 1099 with respect to workers they are seeking to reclassify for the past three years. However, for the next few months, until June 30, 2013, the IRS is waiving this eligibility requirement." (Internal Revenue Service)

Employers Ask Court to Outlaw Federal Defense of Marriage Act
"278 employers signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief ... [which] says, 'DOMA forces [the businesses] to administer dual systems of benefits and payroll, and imposes on them the cost of the workarounds necessary to protect married colleagues' ... [I]n those states that allow gay marriage, companies must treat employees with same-gender spouses as single for federal tax withholding and benefits, and many employers keep two sets of books -- one for state and one for federal purposes." (UPI.com)

You Make $70k But Cost Your Boss $88k
"How much does an employee really cost? While that depends on benefits -- and several layers of taxes -- it typically ends up being 18% to 26% more than a worker's base salary. It can be even higher for larger companies." (CNNMoney.com)

Benefits Litigation Update, February 2013 (PDF)
Articles in this issue included: DOMA Update; Obamacare: Round 2; and Important Issues in Pending Cases. (Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.)

The U.S. Is Aging Faster Than Anticipated
"Although the latest census forecast still says the number of Americans 65 and older will double over the next 30 years to 80 million, the government now believes the under-65 crowd will grow more slowly than estimated four years ago.... The nation will be affected in significant ways due to an increasing number of retired Americans and relatively fewer young people paying taxes and earning money to support themselves and their families." (Next Avenue)

[Opinion]

Shareholders Need Robust Disclosure to Exercise Their Voting Rights as Investors and Owners
"In recent years, investors have increasingly focused on corporate accountability. In December 2009, the SEC took steps to enhance the information that companies provide to shareholders in connection with the solicitation of proxies. The amendments required public companies registered under the federal securities laws to make new or revised disclosures about compensation policies, the qualifications of board members, the board's leadership structure and role in risk oversight, and board diversity policies, among other things. Many public companies have made a good effort to enhance the quality of their proxy statements ... [but] many other companies continue to fall short of providing the robust, clear, and useful disclosure required by law." (Accountability-Central.com)

[Opinion]

Text of Amicus Brief by 278 Employers to Supreme Court Arguing for Overturning of Federal Defense of Marriage Act (PDF)
"We are located in or operate in states that recognize marriages of certain of our employees and colleagues to spouses of the same gender. At the same time, we are subject to section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act ... which precludes federal recognition of these marriages. This dual regime uniquely burdens amici. It puts us, as employers, to unnecessary cost and administrative complexity, and regardless of our business or professional judgment forces us to treat one class of our lawfully married employees differently than another, when our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees. Amici write to advise the Court concerning the impact on the employer of these conflicting legal regimes." (Via the American Benefits Council)

Press Releases

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