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March 6, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Education Specialist
for The Newport Group, Inc. in NC

Loan and Withdrawal Specialist
for Kravitz, Inc. in CA

Pension Administrator
for Jack A. Cross & Associates, Inc. in CA

Relationship Manager
for Verisight, Inc. in CA

Compliance Account Manager
for Verisight, Inc. in CA

Wellness Administrator
for Graymont in UT

Sr. Implementation Consultant
for American General Life Insurance Company in TX

Account Manager/Executive (TPA/Insurance)
for Zenith American Solutions in NV

Coordinator
for University of California Office of the President in CA

Director, Pension Risk Transfer Product & Market Development
for Prudential in NJ

Pension Administrator
for The Benefit Advantage in MI

DB/DC Administrator
for Bay Area TPA in CA

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[Guidance Overview]

ACA Guidance Issued on Minimum Value
"HHS confirmed that this determination is made on an aggregate basis tested against national utilization data and is not on a plan specific basis. Simplistically, if a plan imposes a $1,000 deductible and the national data show that 90% of all individuals in the national database incur annual costs of less than $1,000, then most of the total costs of the plan would be expected to be paid by employees and therefore the plan may in fact not provide MV." (Blank Rome LLP)


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[Guidance Overview]

HHS Regs Address Final Minimum Value Guidance and Calculator (PDF)
"This Legislative Brief summarizes the available methods for determining minimum value and provides information on the MV Calculator." (The Chelko Consulting Group LLC)

[Guidance Overview]

Final DOL Regs on MEWAs Include Modifications to Form M-1
"The Form M-1 is substantially different from the previous version of the M-1. The revised Form M-1 includes additional fields for filers to indicate the type of entity and the type of filing being submitted (i.e., annual report, registration, origination or special filing). The revised Form requires more custodial and other financial information to be provided." (Sidley Austin LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

Ensuring the Health Care Needs of Women: A Checklist for Health Exchanges
"[This] checklist identifies key coverage, affordability and access issues that are important for women.... [It] considers essential health benefits, implementation of no-cost preventive services including contraception, provider networks and affordability, outreach and enrollment efforts, and the importance of including gender and other demographic characteristics in data collection and reporting standards." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

[Guidance Overview]

How to Take Advantage of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
"Does My Business Qualify for the Health Care Tax Credit? ... Who Will the Small Business Tax Credit Help Most? ... How Do I Claim the Tax Credit?" (U.S. Small Business Administration)


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Health Care Reform Faces Challenges to State Agencies
"Understanding the law is a challenge even for governors, state lawmakers and agency officials, but delivering its message to non-English speakers who can benefit from it is shaping up as a special complication." (The Reporter)

Sixth Circuit Allows Retroactive Change to Disability Benefits
"[A dissenting judge noted that] a person participates in a disability plan specifically to ensure a reliable income stream during a period of covered disability. If a plan may unilaterally terminate already-awarded benefits while the participant remains disabled, the plan provides no meaningful protection.'" [Price v. Board of Trustees of the Indiana Laborer's Pension Fund, No. 11-4126 (6th Cir., Feb. 15, 2013)] (Business & Legal Reports, Inc.)

Five Key Healthcare Reform Considerations for HR
"Many employees are currently over-insured for health coverage. A private exchange with compelling decision support and access to other benefit products that enable employees to manage their risks will help drive adoption of medical plans that will be less expensive and have a slower rate of cost increase. Importantly, the employer's role changes when it provides benefits through a private exchange." (Human Resource Executive Online)

More Employers Are Embracing Nicotine Testing to Penalize Puffers
"While most firms that penalize smokers through tobacco surcharges -- or that reward nonsmokers with lower premiums -- still rely on their employees' word, roughly 10% have started screening for nicotine (or its biometric marker, cotinine) to keep their employees honest ... That's up from only a handful of firms a few years ago." (MarketWatch.com)

Did Massachusetts Reforms Hurt Access to Health Care for the Previously Insured?
"[R]ates of preventable hospitalizations fell somewhat more rapidly in Massachusetts after the reform than it did in control states ... What is clear is that if Massachusetts Health Reform did lead to a negative spillover on the previously insured, it was not substantial enough to have a deleterious effect on their outcomes." (The Health Care Blog)

Why Do Employers Need Help Managing FMLA Leaves? (PDF)
Infographic. Excerpt: "Absences are costly... Mismanagement of absences is costly too... The risks are real... Difficulties are common[.]" (Guardian Life)

13 Employer Tips for Coping with Health Care Reform Now
"The small business sequester wrinkle is just the latest in a long list of challenges for business in setting a reliable direction for their health and other employee benefit programs.... While the shifting regulatory and market environment means businesses unfortunately must deal with some continuing uncertainty, many business leaders will find the [steps described in this article] helpful in dealing with these uncertainties[.]" (Solutions Law Press)

Obamacare's Biggest Beneficiaries Are Skeptical of Obamacare
"Low and middle income Americans have overwhelmingly negative views about shopping for health insurance.... Very few are aware of the new health law provisions ... and even when they do learn about them, they remain skeptical that insurance will be affordable.... [F]or unmarried adults, 'mom' would be the family member they would most likely seek advice from.... Really engaging women is going to be key to reducing the uninsured." (The Washington Post)

Will New Health Benefits-Eligible Workers Wreck Your Company's Finances?
"Such remedial steps as resetting insurance-premium tiers so that higher earners pay more, charging more for family coverage, or cutting back benefit levels across the board could mitigate the new costs. But in most cases, such steps wouldn't eradicate them." (CFO.com)

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Take a Hit from Sequester
"The IRS noted in an email to tax-exempt organizations that the required cuts under sequestration include a reduction to the refundable portion of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for certain small tax-exempt employers under Section 45R of the Tax Code. As a result, the refundable portion of the claim will be reduced by 8.7 percent. The sequestration reduction rate will be applied until the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2013) unless there is some intervening congressional action, at which time the sequestration rate is subject to change." (On Wall Street)

How Income Impacts Employee Health Benefits Participation
"[E]mployees earning $22,340 or more per annum (200% of the FPL for a single wage earner in 2012) would likely obtain better coverage at lower cost through their employer's group health plan. For large, self-funded employers, extending affordable health coverage to lower-income employees is likely to be financially preferable as well[.]" (ADP Research Institute; free registration required to download full report)

[Opinion]

Rep. Charles Boustany's Statement at Hearing on the Tax-Related Provisions in the President's Health Care Law
"The President's health care law contains over a trillion dollars in new taxes on employers, medical device makers, families buying health insurance, and others.... The new insurance tax and employer mandate threaten to stifle small business growth across all industries." (U.S. House Ways and Means Committee)

[Opinion]

Obamacare Will Make Health Insurance More Expensive
"Buried on page 308 of the 'HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2014' is a new 'user fee' that will be imposed to run the ObamaCare federal Exchanges. While it was expected that such a funding mechanism would be levied on plans offering coverage in the Exchanges, it was not known until last week that the Obama Administration will charge these fees to those who buy coverage outside of the Exchanges as well." (U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp)

[Opinion]

Text of Letter to HHS Regarding 45-Day Notice Proposing Negative Medicare Advantage Growth Percentage
"This 2.3 percent cut is the most severe [Medicare Advantage ('MA')] Growth Percentage reduction since the introduction of the MA program.... This reduction equates to between $50 and $90 in higher costs for the average MA beneficiary per month in 2014 ... [The Business Roundtable urges] you to use your authority ... to calculate MA rates for 2014 based on an assumption that legislation will be enacted later this year to maintain Medicare physician payment rates at their current levels in 2014[.]" (Business Roundtable)

[Opinion]

Health Reform's Tax Provisions Are Sound Health and Tax Policy
"Even if health reform were to impose some costs on employers, economic principles strongly suggest that it would have little impact on hiring decisions. Employers would ultimately pass on any such effect to workers in the form of slower growth in their after-tax compensation." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

[Opinion]

Does Community Rating Have an Economic Rationale?
"[A recent] NBER paper ... finds an economic benefit from community rating.... However, the study ignores the most basic harm caused by the mispricing of health insurance; those who are over-charged will underinsure and those who are undercharged will over-insure." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Executives' Deferred Compensation on the Uptick
"The decline in traditional defined-benefit pension plans means more executives (like most employees) are relying on less-generous DC plans as a cornerstone of their retirement. However, the limits on what high-earning employees can contribute to these plans means that for executives hoping to have income replacement of 70 percent to 80 percent during retirement, other options are necessary[.]" (Human Resource Executive Online)

Press Releases

Life & Health Insurance Startup Community Launched
New England Life & Health Insurance Startup Community

NCPERS Responds to Media Coverage about Annual Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

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