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March 13, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Client Service Representative
for Associated Pension Consultants in CA

Client Service Manager
for J.P. Morgan in CO, KS, MO

Consulting Actuary
for Milliman in TX

Actuarial Analyst
for Milliman in TX

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Webcasts and Conferences

Form 5500 Update
Nationwide on March 26, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Employee Plan Compliance Resolution Systems (EPCRS) 2013
Nationwide on March 28, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

The Road to 2014: ACA Considerations for Individuals Webinar
Nationwide on March 21, 2013 presented by Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

The Road to 2014: ACA Considerations for Group Health Plans Recorded Webinar
Nationwide on March 25, 2013 presented by Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

EPCRS Changes - Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, as revised by Revenue Procedure 2013-12
in Connecticut on March 21, 2013 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators-CT Chapter

ERPA Conference
in Colorado on May 30, 2013 presented by AIRE, LLC (American Institute of Retirement Education)

Taking a Fresh Look at Target Date Funds: What Advisors Need to Know About DOL and SEC Regulations and Guidance Webcast
Nationwide on March 21, 2013 presented by National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA)

Handling Rehired Employees Webcast
Nationwide on April 9, 2013 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Guidance Overview]

Insured 'Expatriate Plans' Get Temporary Reprieve from ACA Compliance
"The Expat FAQ makes clear that the Agencies generally view expatriate health plans and other health benefit coverage provided by businesses subject to U.S. law for employees working outside their home country generally are subject to the mandates of ACA, as well as other federal health plan mandates. However, ERISA section 4(b)(4) may exempt from ERISA coverage 'plans maintained outside the United States primarily for the benefit of persons substantially all of whom are nonresident aliens.'" (Solutions Law Press)


[Advert.]

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[Guidance Overview]

New HIPAA Omnibus Rule: Issues for Employer Plan Sponsors and Group Health Plans (PDF)
"[T]he changes most significant for employer plan sponsors and group health plans include changes to the definition of business associate and breach; a more stringent enforcement scheme, including new rules regarding civil monetary penalties; modifications to the content of business associate agreements, notices of privacy practices and breach notifications; and implementation of the prohibition, under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), on use or disclosure of PHI that is genetic information for underwriting purposes." (Alston & Bird)

[Guidance Overview]

It's About Time to Start Counting Up the Hours
"[This article describes] how you determine full-time employees (so you know who has to be offered coverage effective January 1, 2014) in a Q&A format... 'How do I determine if someone works an average of 30 hours per week?' ... 'I have a calendar year plan and I want to use a 12-month [standard measurement period], but it's too late! This stuff is effective January 1, 2014! What do I do?'" (Benefits Bryan Cave)

[Guidance Overview]

New Rules Define Minimal Essential Coverage and Affordability Under ACA
"This [article] focuses on how these rules affect plan sponsors of group health plans, including plans that provide coverage to retirees. Now that the key terms that apply to the individual mandate, the employer penalty, and the premium assistance tax credit have been defined, plan sponsors can finally begin to put the pieces together." (Segal)

How Much Does an MRI Cost? In D.C., Anywhere from $400 to $1,861
"The clearest takeaway from [this] data is that there is huge, huge variation in what doctors charge. The map of Washington {D.C.] which shows the prices for ankle MRIs, is pretty much par for the course. Across the country, a number of cities see four-fold variation in how much providers charge for the same procedure." (The Washington Post)


[Advert.]

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How Employers Are Getting Creative with ACA
"One [employer] moved to Aon Hewitt's private exchange and while the other considered this option, [it] has instead chosen to enhance their consumer-driven health plan's delivery system and quality of care for employees.... 'Have the courage to look at your situation and choose a strategy grounded in data and relevance,' said Craig Dolezal, a large market consultant at Aon ... He added that employers have a lot to balance these days, address declining health of employees, rising health care costs and of course, PPACA." (Employee Benefit Adviser)

Language Access Checklist for ACA Marketplace Implementation (PDF)
"One in four consumers who will apply for health coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces will speak a language other than English at home.... It is critical that marketplaces develop robust standards to ensure that these language services enable [people with limited English proficiency] to successfully enroll in, use, and retain coverage." (Families USA)

Survey Says . . . FMLA Isn't Easy
"[The DOL] last month ... proclaimed 'employers generally find it easy to comply with the law' and FMLA has resulted in 'very little disruption in the workplace.' Meanwhile, most respondents to [this law firm's] survey said FMLA laws pose an 'increased administrative burden' and result in 'unpredictable staffing levels.' Coupled with amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 'My job is becoming increasingly impossible because of all the accommodations that have to be made,' said one West Michigan HR professional who works with about 500 employees." (Warner Norcross & Judd LLP)

Engaged Employees Are Key to Effective Population Health Management (PDF)
"Senior level support and a high-level of employee engagement in healthy behaviors are key elements of successful population health management, whether for medium or large employers and increasingly for smaller employers.... This paper discusses the fundamentals of an effective engagement process as a key factor in an employer-sponsored population healthcare management strategy, and shows how combining targeted 'high touch' R.N. nurse health coaching with high-tech automation and digital tools can facilitate the process of mitigating healthcare costs by promoting health." (Healthcare Performance Management Institute)

Implementing the ACA: Choosing an Essential Health Benefits Benchmark Plan (PDF)
"This issue brief examines state action to select an essential health benefits benchmark plan and finds that 24 states and the District of Columbia selected a plan. All but five states will have a small-group plan as their benchmark. Each state, whether or not it made a benchmark selection, will have a set of essential health benefits that reflects local, employer-based health insurance coverage currently sold in the state. States adopted a variety of approaches to selecting a benchmark, including intergovernmental collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and research on benchmark options." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Here Comes the CO-OP Health Insurance Program
"Many analysts are enthusiastic about the potential for CO-OPs to bring competition and choice to the market. Others question whether the federal loan initiative has been a wise use of taxpayer dollars, since many CO-OPs will be at a disadvantage competing against well-established insurance companies and may fail. This policy brief describes the CO-OP program and examines issues related to its implementation and likelihood of success." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Inside or Outside of Exchanges, Health Insurance Products Won't Be Free of the Fee
"Individual and small-group plans sold outside of public insurance exchanges won't be immune to the user fees that will be assessed for exchange-based products. While a user fee won't be tacked on to products sold outside of state-run or federally facilitated exchanges, HHS wants health insurers to spread the user fee across their product lines." (AISHealth.com; free registration required)

Obamacare Insurance Application Complexity Rivals Tax Return Forms
"The government's draft application runs 15 pages for a three-person family. An outline of the online version has 21 steps, some with additional questions. Seven months before the Oct. 1 start of enrollment season for millions of uninsured Americans, the idea that getting health insurance could be as easy as shopping online at Amazon or Travelocity is starting to look like wishful thinking." (Associated Press)

Five Guys Franchise Owner Says Obamacare Will Boost Burger Prices
'"Any added costs are going to have to be passed on,' said Mike Ruffer, a Five Guys franchise holder with eight of the popular restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area. He will need all the profits from at least one of his eight outlets just to cover his estimated added $60,000-a year in new Obamacare costs. What's more, he's iced plans to build another three restaurants until after the administration explains the exact rules and penalties employers will face." (The Examiner)

[Opinion]

How Obamacare Is Dividing the U.S.
"The reality is this: Many systems that have to come together in order to provide consumers with the means to make these kinds of purchases is cumbersome, expensive and complicated. What further makes the situation ugly, is many of the firms that have been contracted to build these exchanges have absolutely no expertise or solution, which clearly articulates how these marketplaces will be built and will function." (Fox News)

[Opinion]

ACA is Working to Bring Down Health Care Costs
"Fully repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit by $100 billion over ten years and more than a trillion dollars in the next decade. It would also shorten the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. Health care spending grew by 3.9 percent in 2011, continuing for the third consecutive year the slowest growth rate in fifty years. Health-care costs grew slower than the rest of the economy in 2011 for the first time in more than a decade." (Healthcare.gov)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

2013 Top Five Global Employer Rewards Priorities Survey (PDF)
"Though rankings varied somewhat across geographies, the Top Five priorities reported are: [1] The ability of reward programs to attract, motivate and retain employees; [2] Clear alignment of Total Rewards strategy with business strategy and brand; [3] Motivating staff when pay increases are flat or non-existent; [4] The cost of providing benefits to employees; [5] Demonstrating appropriate return on investment for reward expenditures." (Deloitte)

Call Me: Applying the Attorney-Client Privilege for Employee Benefit Plans
"Several courts have recently held that the attorney-client privilege should not block participants from learning the content of communications between the plan fiduciary and its attorney. The reasoning follows one of two lines: (1) the benefit of any legal advice runs to the plans' beneficiaries (the participants), so that anything legal counsel says to the administrator is in effect being said to the participants, or(2) the fiduciary duty to act in the 'best interest of the participants' and disclose information related to plan administration outweighs the attorney-client privilege." (Warner Norcross & Judd LLP)

Press Releases

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