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March 5, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Actuarial Specialist
for Kravitz, Inc. in CA

Specialist, Benefits
for Aurora Public Schools in CO

Direct Marketing Specialist
for Diversified/Transamerica Retirement Solutions in ANY STATE

Client Service Manager
for The Newport Group in NC

Senior Actuarial Analyst
for Diversified / Transamerica Retirement Solutions in MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Plan Design Trends in Higher Education
Nationwide on March 12, 2013 presented by Multnomah Group

Executive Compensation Litigation: New Risks and Latest Strategies Webinar
Nationwide on March 13, 2013 presented by Winston & Strawn

NAGDCA Annual Conference
in Kentucky on September 8, 2013 presented by National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators

Retirement Industry Conference
in Louisiana on April 17, 2013 presented by Society of Actuaries

Investment Symposium
in New York on March 14, 2013 presented by Society of Actuaries

International Issues Involving Retirement Plans in U.S. Territories Phone Forum
Nationwide on March 21, 2013 presented by Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Free Webinar: A Straightforward Approach to HIPAA HITECH
Nationwide on March 19, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

Health Care Reform Webinar: Improvements Effective January 1, 2014
Nationwide on March 29, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

Free Webinar - Use Data to Design a Plan That Controls Costs for Specialty Drugs
Nationwide on April 9, 2013 presented by University Conference Services

Free Webinar: Real Results - Using Outcomes-Based Wellness Designs
Nationwide on April 17, 2013 presented by University Conference Services

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Letter to Issuers on Federally-Facilitated and State Partnership Exchanges (PDF)
Dated March 1, 2013. Excerpt: "The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ... is issuing this draft Letter to Issuers on Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Exchanges ... This Letter provides Qualified Health Plan (QHP) issuers in Federally-facilitated Exchanges ... and Federally-facilitated SHOPs ..., including State Partnership Exchanges, with operational and technical guidance to help them successfully participate in Exchanges." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


Achieve a New Level of Professional Growth With CEBS!

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

As the most respected designation in the industry, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) courses give you the knowledge and confidence to succeed in today's business environment. Learn More!

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Letter to Health Insurers Describes Rate Reviews, 'Meaningful Difference' Requirement
"Much of the information in this guidance can be found in already-released regulations or guidances, but the level of operational detail found in this letter -- including in particular implementation timelines -- is unprecedented. It is perhaps the clearest sign to date that the FFE is in fact going to happen, and will arrive on time." (Timothy Jost in HealthAffairs)

[Guidance Overview]

Counting the Hours of Adjunct Faculty Under the ACA (PDF)
"There have been numerous media reports about certain higher education institutions ... imposing limits on the number of hours that Adjuncts can work in order to avoid having them be subject to the employer mandate. There are several issues a college or university should consider before taking such an action[.]" (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC)

[Guidance Overview]

Carrot or Stick: ACA Individual (Mandate) Responsibility (PDF)
Detailed discussion includes terminology, definitions, calculation of the premium tax credit, cost-sharing, and calculation of the individual penalty. (Chao & Company, Ltd.)


Summit on Ancillary Products and Voluntary Benefits - March 13-15, Lake Mary, FL

Sponsored by World Congress

This Summit is a must attend for health plans, insurance carriers and brokers looking for the most current insights, innovations and solutions available in the ancillary and voluntary benefits sector. Promo Code BLINK3 good for $300 off registration fee.

[Guidance Overview]

Present Law and Background Relating to the Tax-Related Provisions in the ACA (PDF)
Summary of health insurance law changes made by the ACA, prepared for a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on March 5, 2013 on implementation of the tax and tax-related revenue provisions of the ACA. (JCT document number JCX-6-13.) (U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation)

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Final Rules Target MEWA Abuses
"The DOL rejected commenters' requests to narrow the scope of entities subject to cease and desist and seizure orders, and indicated ... that third-party administrators (TPAs) that work with MEWAs could be subject to an order." (Practical Law Company)

[Guidance Overview]

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, March 4, 2013 (PDF)
Update on developments in federal and state health care reform legislation and regulations, including summaries of recent announcements and regulatory activity by HHS, CCIIO, IRS and CMS. (ML Strategies, LLC)

Eating Your Broccoli and Getting Fit Might Not Cut Health Care Costs for Your Employer
"[A] new study raises doubts that workplace wellness programs save the company money.... Hospitalizations for employees and family members dropped dramatically, by 41 percent overall for six major conditions. But increased outpatient costs erased those savings." (The Washington Post)

Corporate Wellness Programs: Not Quite the Cost Savers
"The wellness program, at least in its nascent stages, changed what care individuals received but not how much it ultimately cost." (Tom Daschle and Bill Frist in The Washington Post)

Wellness Incentives in the Workplace: Cost Savings Through Cost Shifting to Unhealthy Workers
"[S]avings to employers may come from cost shifting, with the most vulnerable employees -- those from lower socioeconomic strata with the most health risks -- probably bearing greater costs that in effect subsidize their healthier colleagues." (Health Affairs; purchase required to view full article)

Sequester Will Cut Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
"[E]mployers qualifying for the [Small Business Health Care Tax Credit ('SBHCTC')] should expect to see an 8.7% percent reduction in the amount of reimbursement received for health premiums under the SBHCTC." (Solutions Law Press)

Four-Month Leave for California Pregnancy Disability is Beginning, Not End, of Employer's Obligation
"California employers may be required to provide leave for pregnancy, pregnancy-related disabilities, and even baby bonding for much longer than the length of a typical pregnancy." [Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc., No. B237761 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 21, 2013)] (Jackson Lewis LLP)

Ninth Circuit Breathes New Life Into Retirees' Claim for Lifetime Healthcare Benefits
"Notably, the Ninth Circuit did observe that the retirees faced a 'heavy burden' of establishing that the county intended to create a compensation contract with them by ordinance or resolution, and demonstrating that implied terms in that contract provided for vested healthcare benefits in perpetuity." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Buck Consultants Rolls Out New Private Health Exchange, with a Twist
"Buck's exchange ... will have contracts with several carriers. But within any particular geographic area, employees of client companies will choose among plans offered by a single carrier. If a company has workers in multiple geographic areas, each will use the one carrier Buck has a contract with in the area where he or she lives." (CFO.com)

U.S. Traditional Drug Spend Fell in 2012 for First Time
"[T]otal spending on traditional prescription drugs fell 1.5% in 2012. However, this decline was offset by an 18.4% increase in spending on specialty medications[.]" (Express Scripts)

Health Care Spending Is Transferred Out of ICU
"Health care spending last year rose at one of the lowest rates in a half-century, partly the result of cost-saving measures put in place by the [ACA] ... Total health care spending still rose 1.7 percentage points faster than inflation in 2012 because of an increased use of medical services[.]" (USA TODAY)

Offering Group Discount on Individual Policies Constitutes 'Contribution' Sufficient to Create an ERISA Plan
"By doing something more than merely permitting an insurer to publicize a plan or collecting premiums through payroll deductions, an employer demonstrates a sufficient degree of control over a plan to consider it part of the company's benefits package." [McCann v. UNUM Provident (D.N.J., Jan. 31, 2013)] (Lane Powell PC)

2013 Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care (PDF)
"Only 26% of respondents say they are very confident that health care benefits will be offered by their organization 10 years from now[.]" (Towers Watson)

Why the ACA's Limits on Age-Rating Will Not Cause 'Rate Shock'
"Loosening the bands would have very little impact on out-of-pocket rates paid by the youngest purchasers once subsidies are taken into account." (Urban Institute)

Can My Insurer Charge Me for Name-Brand Contraceptives?
"[H]ealth plans can use 'reasonable medical management techniques' to keep their costs under control. So if there is both a generic and a brand-name version of a birth-control pill available, for example, a plan could decide to cover only the generic version without cost to the patient." (The Washington Post)

Despite Free Treatment, Britain Lags Others on Health
"Years of universal healthcare, rising health spending, cancer screening, immunization and anti-smoking laws have failed to stop Britain falling behind its peers in reducing early death and disease[.]" (Reuters)


ACA Will Impose New Burdens on Consumers and Businesses
"73% of small businesses say health costs are a top concern. Sixty-one percent of these owners point to worries about the potential cost of health care as the reason they are not hiring." (Galen Institute)


Obamacare Is Trillion Dollar Tax Hike That Hurts Small Businesses
"[T]he Administration's own documents state that the compliance burden of the new tax rules it has thus far written pursuant to ObamaCare will add over 40 million hours of paperwork per year to individuals and job creators." (U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp)


Stuck in the Obamacare Quagmire
"Obamacare actually makes self-insurance less of a gamble because you can always throw workers on public exchanges without penalty. Naturally, the administration's response is to look for ways to tighten the ratchet and make self-insurance harder. It's a typical response. The shortcomings of a wildly ambitious law only justify more regulatory strong-arming." (Los Angeles Times)


High Risk Pools Closing -- Money Running Out
"The reason this program lasted as long as it did was that the premium charges to join these pools were so high many of the people who needed it most couldn't afford the premium." (Cracking Health Costs)


Deloitte Health Care Reform Memo, March 4, 2013
"[T]he story is not the sequester cuts. Its impact will be felt, but not as robustly as perhaps imagined. It's about the cumulative impact of cuts by employers, households, and the government's health plans ... that impact our system. The compounded impact is profound[.]" (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Employers and Employees Agree on Value of Voluntary Benefits
"63% of employees who say their employer offers at least one voluntary benefit agree that such benefits increase the value of their company's benefits program. And, employees who said they are interested in receiving more voluntary benefits through the workplace increased 10 percentage points; 34% from 24% a year ago." (Prudential)

Press Releases

Fiduciary Consulting Group at PSA Honored with 401(k) Advisor Leadership Award
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Burnham Benefits Announces New Addition To Compliance Team
Burnham Benefits Insurance Services Inc.

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