EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 14, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
         Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Counsel - Benefits
for Aon Hewitt in IL

Jr. Plan Administrator
for Cornerstone Group in RI

Senior Technical Manager
for Benetrends, Inc. in PA

Retirement Plan Compliance Specialist
for MidAmerica Administrative & Retirement Solutions, Inc. in FL

Retirement Plan Project Manager
for Progressive Employee Benefits Firm in Atlanta in GA

Post Your Job on employeebenefitsjobs.com

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

Pension Focus Conference
in Missouri on May 2, 2013 presented by Pension Consultants, Inc.

Hope is Not a Strategy - A Pension Risk Management Framework Video
Nationwide on March 25, 2013 presented by Mercer

The ACA Roadmap: Shared Responsibility Requirements
Nationwide on April 16, 2013 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

View All Webcasts and Conferences

We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe


[Guidance Overview]

How the Final HIPAA Regs Affect Your Group Health Plan
"HIPAA regulations allow a [group health plan] to disclose participant [protected health information ('PHI')] to business associates, such as third-party administrators and vendors, if the [plan] obtains 'satisfactory assurances' in a written contract ('business associate agreement' or 'BAA') that business associates will protect participant PHI.... A model agreement and a full list of the BAA content requirements are available on the HHS website[.]" (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC)


DATAIR's FlexPlus System – Makes Administration Profitable

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

Proposals, Testing, Claims Processing, Debit Cards and more!
Plus CafeDocs/SPDs and 5500s/SARs
(888) 328-2474   Sales@DATAIR.com   www.DATAIR.com

[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA Omnibus Rule's Impact on Notices of Privacy Practices
"Because many covered entities may have modified their NPPs based on the [proposed regulations] issued on July 14, 2010, this [article] also details the similarities and differences between the NPRM and the Omnibus Rule related to NPPs. In addition, ... this [article] provides a quick summary of the NPRM proposals adopted -- or not adopted -- by the Omnibus Rule. As covered entities work toward compliance, they should keep in mind that the Omnibus Rule becomes effective on March 26, 2013, but the deadline for compliance is September 23, 2013." (Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.)

[Guidance Overview]

New Fees Will Fund Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust (PDF)
"The reporting and payment of the CER Fees must be performed by the plan sponsor, and may not be delegated to a third party. In contrast, the transitional reinsurance contribution, which is calculated using similar rules to those for the CER Fee (and which is sometimes confused with the CER Fee) will be paid and reported by the plan's TPA." (Alston & Bird)

Corporate Wellness Programs Are Secure Investment
"Is there a measurable and quantifiable Return on Investment (ROI) in corporate fitness and wellness programs? The answer is simple -- YES.... A meta-analysis of corporate health and wellness programs shows for every corporate dollar spent on wellness programs, an average of $3.37 was saved." (The Huffington Post)

Healthcare Reform Upping the Ante on Wellness
"[M]ore than two-thirds (68%) of employees do not think they should be required to participate in wellness programs in order to qualify for health insurance and 7 out of 10 (71%) don't want to be charged more for health coverage if they don't meet specific health goals.... A balanced strategy combining carefully-considered incentives and an engaging communication strategy can yield employee participation rates topping 90%[.]" (Benz Communications)


SouthWest Benefits Association 38th Annual Conference - May 8-10 - New Orleans

Sponsored by SouthWest Benefits Association

Staying up to date in the world of benefits has never been more critical. Changes in regulations, technology and the economy continue to influence benefits structures. Participation in the SWBA Conference is the most cost-effective way to stay informed.

HSAs, HRAs on Upswing
"As of 2012 there was $17.8 billion in health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), spread across 11.6 million accounts ... The balances continue to grow as more employers adopt high-deductible, consumer-driven health plans combined with HSAs/HRAs. However, assumptions about these plans are not always proving true." (Employee Benefit News)

Termination Upheld Where Employee's Facebook Photos Showed She Was Dishonest While on FMLA Leave
"While on FMLA leave, [the employee] took a planned, prepaid trip to Mexico. Her physician provided an affidavit that the trip was not as physically demanding for her as performing her work duties and would not conflict with her recovery. During her Mexican vacation and FMLA leave, [the employee] posted numerous pictures on her Facebook page. These showed her engaging in and participating in such activities as riding a motorcycle and holding bottles of beer.... The District Court found that the decision to terminate [her] employment was justified[.]" [Lineberry v. Detroit Medical Center et al., No. 11-13752 (E.D. Mich., Feb. 5, 2013)] (Jackson Lewis LLP)

Democrats, Republicans Clash Over Health Care Cost Savings
"Congressional budget leaders have now laid out their vision for federal spending over the next decade. House Budget Chair Republican Paul Ryan outlined a familiar budget yesterday, and Senate Budget Chair Democrat Patty Murray did the same today. Describing the distance between the two proposals, one journalist, said, 'It is not even apples and oranges, it's apples and bicycles.'" (Kaiser Health News)

Insurance Exchanges: Be Ready to Be Overwhelmed
"The [ACA] requires insurance companies selling policies on the exchanges to offer at least four levels of coverage ... from bare-bones coverage to the full works. This means they'll be complicated. Massachusetts is the only state with a full health exchange system up and running. 'Right now we have nine insurance carriers who offer plans on our site. We have 99 different plans from which people can choose,' [said a spokeswoman]." (NBCNews.com)

Getting Obamacare Coverage Could Be More Painful Than Doing Your Taxes
"For its part, the government says that filling out an online application should only take 30 minutes.... The government will actually have to check your background by instantly retrieving your birth records from Social Security, fetching income data from the IRS, and verifying your immigration status with Homeland Security. It won't, however, ask you to fill out a medical questionnaire -- a safeguard to make sure sick people pay the same premiums as healthy ones." (The Week)

Dick and Jane Sign Up for the Exchange
"The 21-page written application is printed in a fetching orange color. CMS estimates it will take 45 minutes to complete. Although critics worry it may be overwhelming to consumers, in the simplest case, single applicants are required to fill out only six pages." (Kaiser Health News)

Colorado Sets Fees for Listing Products on Health Insurance Exchange
"The price of policies in Colorado's health insurance exchange will include a 1.4 percent fee to help fund exchange operations.... Colorado's exchange board estimates it will need $22 million to $24 million annually to function. It's pitching the fee as one several 'balanced revenue sources' to meet those expenses. Others could include 'donations' from insurance plans in exchange for tax credits[.]" (Kaiser Health News)

Refusal by States to Expand Medicaid May Cost Employers $1 Billion
"In Texas, the largest state to refuse to increase Medicaid, employers may be liable for as much as $448 million in fines, the study found. In Florida, where the legislature has refused an expansion supported by Governor Rick Scott, employers may pay as much as $219 million." (Financial Advisor)

The ACA's Hidden Surprise for Employers: Without Medicaid Expansion, Employers Face Higher Tax Penalties(PDF)
"States that do not expand Medicaid leave employers exposed to higher 'shared responsibility' payments under the [ACA]. The associated costs to employers could total $876 million to $1.3 billion each year in the 22 states that have opposed, are leaning against, or remain undecided about expanding Medicaid. By way of example, the decision in Texas to forego the Medicaid expansion may increase federal tax penalties on Texas employers by $299 to $448 million each year." (Jackson Hewitt)

Precept Standard Newsletter for March, 2013
Articles in this issue: [1] Health Care Reform: Final Rule Issued on Essential Health Benefits; [2] Actuarial Value and Accreditation Standards Health Care Reform: Cost-sharing Limitations and Preventive Care Coverage Clarified; and [3] The FMLA -- What's New as of Its 20th Birthday. (Precept Group)


Don't Look for Workplace Wellness Programs to Produce Significant Cost Savings
"[W]e should not pretend that wellness programs, along with the other tweaks in the [ACA], are going to bring us enough cost savings such that we can abandon efforts to enact the fundamental reforms that we need to ensure that absolutely everyone receives essential health care services under a program that we can afford." (Physicians for a National Health Program)


Obamacare Nightmare #987: 15-Page Application for Benefits
"Remember when the president touted the ease with which consumers would be able to get a health insurance policy under Obamacare? It would be almost as easy as shopping on the internet, we were told. Oh, really? How many retail companies would stay in business if they required that you fill out a 15 page form before being able to purchase a pair of shoes?" (American Thinker)


Text of Testimony before House Subcommittee on Health on the Implications of the Affordable Care Act (PDF)
"Our analysis shows that, if the ACA had been fully implemented in 2012, [1] Employer-sponsored coverage would have increased by over 4 million people. In small, mid-sized, and large firms alike, more workers and their families would have private health insurance. [2] This 2.7 percent increase in individuals covered by employer plans costs employers the equivalent of .0003 percent of total wages. [3] For businesses in general, employer premium spending per person insured would not be affected by the law, remaining constant at about $3,650. But for small employers, premium spending per person insured would decline by about 4 percent. [4] Aggregate employer spending on health, taking into account the increase in the number of covered lives and new assessments, would increase by roughly 2 percent." (Urban Institute)


Physicians React to TIME Magazine's 'Bitter Pill' Article
"In 'Bitter Pill,' a well-researched and in many ways thoughtful essay, Steven Brill gets all the data right, but then draws conclusions that are surprisingly off the mark.... The largest single expense in American medicine is the administrative costs of private insurance that would be recovered with a single payer financing plan -- that's $350 billion annually and rising." (Physicians for a National Health Program)


[Video:] 828 Pages of New Obamacare Regs -- in One Day
Target item is a video clip (5:01) of a Greta Van Susteren "On the Record" story that aired on March 12. "A photo from Sen. Mitch McConnell gives an idea of how complicated the Affordable Care Act is." (FOX News)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Citi, Wells Fargo Broaden Executive Pay Clawbacks Due to Pressure from NYC
"Three more top banks, including Citigroup Inc., will expand the reach of clawbacks for executive pay when things go wrong, increasing to six the number of leading financial companies that have bowed to pressure from New York City's Comptroller.... The agreements comes after four months of negotiations with the comptroller, overseer of $127.5 billion of pension funds, which has made clawbacks a priority for the second year in a row." (MarketWatch.com)

Has the DOL's 'Right To Know' Rule Resurfaced?
"The DOL's proposed survey, intended to obtain information about the precise issues that prompted it to propose 'Right to Know' rules in the first place, could mark the revival of this regulation and emphasizes the DOL's focus on worker misclassification issues. The survey is scheduled to last until May 2014." (Vedder Price)

Press Releases

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Copyright © 2013 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. but feel free to forward this newsletter if done without modification in any way.

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

Useful links: