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March 12, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefits Specialist I - Retirement
for Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold in AZ

Director, Plan Administration
for The Newport Group in FL, TX

Senior Benefits Administrator
for Precept in CA

Product Innovation Manager - Retirement Plan Services
for T. Rowe Price in MD

Senior Relationship Manager
for MassMutual Financial Group in ANY STATE, FL

401(K) Plan Administrator - Part Time
for Flagstar Bank in MI

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Webcasts and Conferences

Health Care Reform: Practical Strategies for Employers. Will You Pay or Will You Play? Webcast
Nationwide on March 21, 2013 presented by McDonald Hopkins

2013 Western Regional Conference
in Texas on April 3, 2013 presented by Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA)

Health Care Reform Webinar
Nationwide on April 2, 2013 presented by JRG Advisors

Health Care Reform Webinar
Nationwide on April 4, 2013 presented by JRG Advisors

Health Care Reform Webinar
Nationwide on April 10, 2013 presented by JRG Advisors

Health Care Reform Webinar
Nationwide on April 11, 2013 presented by JRG Advisors

Second Annual National ERISA Conference
in Michigan on March 22, 2013 presented by University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Pensions & Retirement Security 2013: A Roadmap for Policy Makers Webinar
Nationwide on March 15, 2013 presented by National Institute on Retirement Security

The High Price of Health Care Live Stream
Nationwide on March 13, 2013 presented by Center for American Progress

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Fact Sheet on HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2014 (PDF)
"The Payment Notice provides further detail and parameters related to: the permanent risk adjustment, transitional reinsurance and temporary risk corridors programs ... cost-sharing reductions, user fees for Federally-facilitated Exchanges, advance payments of the premium tax credit, the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP), and the medical loss ratio (MLR) program. ... Provisions of the Payment Notice and amendments to the Payment Notice are summarized [in this fact sheet]." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


[Advert.]

HRA Plans and the Annual Limit Prohibition Free Webinar 3/28

Sponsored by ftwilliam.com

Learn about recent guidance suggesting HRAs must be integrated with a major medical plan to be exempt from HCR's prohibition on annual limits. We'll cover other less-discussed exemptions that apply to HRAs under health care reform.


[Guidance Overview]

Expatriate Plans Receive Extra Time for ACA Compliance
"The Departments acknowledge in the FAQ that expatriate health plans may face special challenges in complying with the [ACA] ...It may be difficult for certain preventive services to be provided, or identified as preventive, when those services are provided outside the U.S. by clinical providers using different code sets and medical terminology ... Expatriate plans may need additional regulatory approval from foreign governments, and may face conflicting U.S. and foreign law requirements." (Practical Law Company)

[Guidance Overview]

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, March 11, 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)

[Guidance Overview]

Issues for Employer Plan Sponsors and Group Health Plans in the HIPAA Omnibus Rule (PDF)
"For business associate agreements in place prior to January 25, 2013, that are compliant with HIPAA requirements, and so long as they are not modified or renewed from March 26, 2013, until September 23, 2013, the deadline for having business associate agreements that comply with the Omnibus Rule is the earlier of September 22, 2014, or the date the business associate agreement is modified or renewed. If your business associate agreements do not need to be amended, be sure not to accidentally trigger compliance with the new rules by renewing or modifying them before it is necessary to do so." (Alston & Bird)

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Releases Final Regs on Transitional Reinsurance Fee
"The transitional reinsurance fee is tax deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense (unlike the [PCORI] fee, which is an excise tax and is not tax deductible). To the extent that a self-funded health plan is funded (through a [VEBA] trust or otherwise), the transitional reinsurance fee may be paid from plan assets under [ERISA] rules." (Ballard Spahr LLP)


[Advert.]

Driving Compliance and ROI through Wellness Programs - April 22-24, San Francisco

Sponsored by Human Resources IQPC

Focus on building, enhancing and implementing strategic wellness programs. HR, Benefits and Wellness professionals discuss how to move beyond making the business case to implement and expand your program. 1-800-822-8684 for registration - Code BLINK1 - $100 discount.


[Guidance Overview]

ACA FAQs Address Cost Sharing Limits and Coverage of Preventive Services
"Transitional relief from ACA's annual out-of-pocket maximums is available to plans that administer benefits using multiple service providers, which may impose different levels of out-of-pocket limits and use different methods to credit participants' out-of-pocket expenses." (HighRoads)

Adjunct Professors at Community Colleges Protest Cuts to Hours Due to ACA
"It's unclear whether most community colleges will adopt the practice of cutting adjunct hours to avoid Obamacare costs. 'We're learning what the rules are and how they impact employees and employers, and the decisions that need to be made,' said Mike Monaghan, director of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.... Still, he said the adjuncts' concerns are legitimate." (WBEZ Chicago)

States Wrestle with New Health Insurance Exchanges
"More than half the states have declared they want nothing to do with setting up or running those health insurance marketplaces opening in their states later this year. But a closer look shows that at least a few of these states, like Ohio and Virginia, may have a larger role than they're letting on." (Politico)

Consumers Don't View Curbing Costs As Their Job When Choosing Health Care
"[P]articipants [in a recent study] did not generally understand how insurance works and felt little personal responsibility for helping to solve the problem of rising health care costs. They were unlikely to accept a less expensive treatment option, even if it was nearly as effective as a more expensive choice." (Kaiser Health News)

Proskauer ERISA Litigation Newsletter, March 2013
"This [issue of the newsletter] addresses the First Circuit's decision in Colby v. Union Sec. Ins. Co., which held that a risk of relapsing into drug addition can constitute a current disability, absent unambiguous plan language. This decision is directly at odds with a previous Fourth Circuit decision ... [This] article discusses the distinctions between the two cases as well as how to avoid this type of plan language pitfall." (Proskauer Rose LLP)

Why'd Your Doctor Move Offices? It Could Be Obamacare.
"'The key impact on real estate in the Affordable Care Act comes from the attempt to bend the cost curve, [said Scott Mason, who leads the health-care practice group at Cushman & Wakefield, the world's largest, privately held real estate firm.] 'One of the key ways to do that is to build a physical system that has more capacity and delivers services in a less expensive way.'" (The Washington Post)

Navigators and In-Person Assistors: State Policy and Program Design Considerations
"This brief is designed to provide basic information about the Navigator and IPA programs, outline important policy issues, and share resources and ideas from leading states.... Navigators will educate people about the new system, help them understand their health plan choices, and facilitate their selection of the plan that is right for them." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

What Should Health Insurance Exchanges Know About Call Centers: A Guide for Implementation
"The Call Center is a main face of the Exchange to the outside world, along with the Exchange website and portal and, to succeed, it must have a cohesive strategy for optimizing people, processes, and technology to support Exchange goals and objectives. This brief reviews each of these three components within the context of the Exchange environment and offer tips for strategy development." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

The Bitter Pill of Health Care Costs
"[Author Steven Brill's] conclusion is that hospitals and other providers can simply charge what they want because consumers -- patients and their families -- are simply participants in a 'fixed poker game that [they are] forced to play in the worst of times with the worst of cards.' The cost of health care in the U.S. is only increasing, and these costs are placing an ever-larger burden on all payers." (America's Health Insurance Plans)

[Opinion]

The Price of Obamacare's Broken Promises (PDF)
"Some estimates show some Americans facing startling premium increases of 203 percent because of the law.... This report outlines the increase in premiums that Americans are projected to face because of Obamacare, describes the provisions of the law driving the premium spike, and provides historical examples of how state laws similar to Obamacare's key provisions made health coverage unaffordable." (House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Majority Staff; Senate Committee on Finance, Minority Staff; and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, Minority Staff)

[Opinion]

The Final Essential Health Benefits Rule: A Lost Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities?
"A draft CMS document ... suggests that the agency will monitor qualified health plans (QHPs) for potential discrimination. But the monitoring process suggested in the draft excludes any mechanism for detecting one of the most potent forms of plan discrimination, the use of benefit designs and coverage determination procedures that cause the denial of coverage for children and adults whose disabilities prevent them from 'recovering' from their disability. Whether the ACA protections are left unimplemented remains to be seen." (Timothy Jost in Health Affairs Blog)

[Opinion]

Deloitte Health Care Reform Memo, March 11, 2013
"Transparency is a tidal wave in health care. It might be the tsunami.... But do these efforts matter? Is anyone paying attention? The answer is yes, but not as some might think.... [T]he fact remains that much about the system remains hidden from public scrutiny, and in many circles, that's seen as a fundamental flaw." (Deloitte)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

More on Discounted Stock Options Under Section 409A
"[T]he court has not yet determined whether the options were in fact discounted so the taxpayers may yet win on that point. However, in the meantime, the IRS has won a clear victory that discounted options are subject to Section 409A and executives are on notice that they can be the ones who suffer even if they are not the ones who set the discounted price for the options." (Leonard, Street and Deinard)

It Pays to Add a Statute of Limitations to Your Plan's Claims Procedure
"[A federal district court in Michigan recently] upheld a three year limitations period that was not imposed by state law, but instead contained in the employer's plan.... Because the plan document described the contractual limitation and because the summary plan description described how to get a copy of the plan document, the court said that the claimant was on constructive notice of the limitations period." [Moyer v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No. 2-cv-10766 (E.D. Mich., Feb. 28, 2013)] (Leonard, Street and Deinard)

BLS: Employer Costs for Employee Compensation
"Private industry employers spent an average of $28.89 per hour worked for total employee compensation in December 2012 ... Wages and salaries averaged $20.32 per hour worked and accounted for 70.3 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $8.57 and accounted for the remaining 29.7 percent." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

GOP Budget Calls for Smaller Federal Workforce, Less Generous Benefits
"Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled his fiscal 2014 budget blueprint ... which proposes increasing the amount [that federal government employees] contribute to their pensions and changing pay and benefits to 'better align' with the private sector. Reforming federal compensation would save an estimated $132 billion over the next decade, claimed Ryan[.]" (GovExec.com)

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