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March 22, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Client Conversions Manager
for Charles Schwab in NC

Client Relationship Consultant
for Gallagher Retirement Services in MA

Benefits Analyst (ECRO)
for Chugach Alaska Corporation in VA

Tax Specialist
for Charles Schwab in TX

Manager of Retirement Plan Processing
for Aspire Financial Services in FL

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Webcasts and Conferences

Follow the H.R. Leader - Live FutureOffice Network Smartcast
Nationwide on April 16, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

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

HIPAA Omnibus Rule Changes for Covered Entities Webinar
Nationwide on April 9, 2013 presented by BridgeFront

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Atlanta
in Georgia on April 18, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - New Orleans
in Louisiana on April 18, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - New York
in New York on April 18, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Philadelphia
in Pennsylvania on April 23, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

What the Pension Rights Center Can Do for You and Your Clients Webinar
Nationwide on March 29, 2013 presented by Pension Rights Center

Workforce Benefits Online Conference 2013
Nationwide on April 10, 2013 presented by Workforce

HIPAA Omnibus Rule Changes for Business Associates Webinar
Nationwide on April 11, 2013 presented by BridgeFront

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Technical Corrections to Proposed Regs on Shared Responsibility Payment for Not Maintaining Minimum Essential Coverage
"This document contains corrections to a notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing ... that was published in the Federal Register on Friday, February 1, 2013 ... The proposed regulations relate to the requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, as amended by the TRICARE Affirmation Act and Public Law 111-173. These proposed regulations provide guidance on the liability for the shared responsibility payment for not maintaining minimum essential coverage." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Advert.]

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[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Health Reform Mandate and Penalties Will Continue Into 2014 (PDF)
"Individual and small group plans will be required to cover [essential health benefits ('EHB')] as defined by Massachusetts. However, since the federal guidance allows self-insured and large group health plans to use any permissible definition of EHB under federal regulations, it appears that these plans do not need to cover EHB as defined by Massachusetts." (Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]

Recent FMLA Regulations and Guidance: Action Items for Employers
"While the DOL's recent guidance may not require employers to modify their written FMLA policies, they should reexamine their FMLA practices and educate all human resource professionals and supervisors who need to be able to recognize an employee's request for FMLA leave to care for an adult child with a disability.... [E]mployers should consider revising medical certification forms for this type of leave to gather the necessary eligibility information." (Thompson Hine)

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues Final Rules on MEWA Reporting and Enforcement
"MEWAs can provide employers with an effective, affordable way to make medical coverage available to their employees. However, historical gaps in enforcement and regulation of MEWAs have often given rise to abuses and fraud perpetrated by MEWA promoters and operators, particularly those associated with unlicensed entities. In extreme cases, MEWAs have been drained of their resources and left unable to pay benefit claims. Both sets of final rules are intended to help combat such abuses." (McGuire Woods LLP)

CMS on Obamacare's Health Insurance Exchanges: 'Let's Just Make Sure It's Not a Third-World Experience'
"Increasingly, officials in the Obama administration are worried that the rollout of the exchanges will be chaotic, given the law's complexity and unrealistic deadlines.... [Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] said that he'd once held high hopes that the exchanges would run smoothly from the beginning, but that those hopes had been dashed." (Forbes)

Giving Employees a Stake in Health Care Decisions
"Wellness and prevention programs are making a difference when it comes to chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or unhealthy cholesterol levels. That's why [the authors] found it so puzzling that CVS Caremark is being criticized for offering their 200,000 employees the option of having their health assessed by medical professionals so they can take better care of themselves." (Business Roundtable)

Administration Urging States to Expand Medicaid With Private Insurance
"The idea of using 'premium assistance' to buy private insurance for new Medicaid beneficiaries is a sharp departure from the 2010 health care law, in which Congress expanded Medicaid to cover the poorest Americans and assumed that people with higher incomes would obtain private coverage through the exchanges." (The New York Times)

Health Insurers Warn About Premium Hikes
"Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation's biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans.... The gulf between the pricing talk from some insurers and the government projections suggests how complicated the law's effects will be[.]" (The Wall Street Journal)

Insurers on Average Spent Less Than 1 Percent of Premium Dollars on Health Care Quality Improvement Activities in 2011
"insurers spent a combined $2.3 billion on direct quality improvement activities--an average of $29 per subscriber.... Carriers in the top quartile of the range reported spending more than $40 per member, compared to less than $12 per member in the bottom quartile. The median investment in quality improvement among provider-sponsored plans was $37 per member, compared to $23 spent by non-provider-sponsored plans. Nonprofit plans spent $35 per member, compared to $19 spent by the median for-profit plan, which spent the least[.]" (The Commonwealth Fund)

Take Kaiser's Health Reform Quiz and Spread the Love
"The health reform law promises to deliver big changes in the U.S. health care system. But, as with other sweeping pieces of legislation, it can be hard to get the real facts about what it does. And it is all too easy for misinformation about the law to spread. Take [this] short, 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of the law. Take our short, 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of the law, and then share your results with friends on Twitter or Facebook." (Kaiser Health Reform)

More Doctors Planning to Retire Early
"Most physicians have a pessimistic outlook on the future of medicine, citing eroding autonomy and falling income ... Six in 10 physicians (62%) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next 1 to 3 years ... Four in 10 doctors reported their take-home pay decreased from 2011 to 2012, and more than half said the pay cut was 10% or less ... Among physicians reporting a pay cut, four in 10 blame the [ACA], and 48% of all doctors believed their income would drop again in 2012 as a result of the health reform law." (MedPage Today)

Health Care Reform Law Uncertainty Grips Small Businesses
"[M]any employers have seen their premiums rise or plans disappear as insurers prepare for the coming changes. One in eight small-business owners [in a recent survey] said their health insurance providers had notified them that their plans would be terminated.... [Another study] showed that nearly a third of employers said they stopped hiring or cut their workforce because of the law." (The Washington Post)

Measuring Consumer Sentiment on Health Care Services (PDF)
"While there are some positive signs regarding consumers' ability to pay for and use healthcare services, there are variations based on demographic factors such as age, education, and income. In addition, some provider services are experiencing growth, such as physician office visits, while others are seeing declines, such as hospital admissions for elective procedures." (HealthLeaders Media)

[Opinion]

ACA Anniversary Finds Two Americas
"Civic leadership -- from governors, legislators, mayors and business and religious groups -- is shaping up as a huge factor in the launch of Obama's plan, particularly since the penalty for ignoring the law's requirement to get coverage is as low as $95 the first year. People-to-people contacts will be key, and the potential for patchwork results is real." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

The ACA at Three Years: A Video Roundtable of Health Reporters
"A roundtable of reporters weighs in on what's changed since the ACA became law three years ago for consumers, businesses, state governments, and what's next for expanding Medicaid and launching exchanges." (Kaiser Health News)

Obamacare at 3 Years: Unrealistic Expectations for Accountable Care Organizations
"Thus far, the experience of the first group of ACOs, the 32 'Pioneers' (as the government calls them), has been shaky, and some have suggested they might even drop out of the program. In the first year of operation, ACOs are only required to report their quality outcomes in order to receive a shared-savings payment; and in the second year, their payment is tied to performance -- actually meeting the quality metrics. The Pioneers are scheduled to move this year from pay-for-reporting to pay-for-performance -- but they don't think they're ready." (The Heritage Foundation)

[Opinion]

50 Vetoes: How States Can Stop the Obama Health Care Law
"Collectively, states can shield all employers and at least 12 million taxpayers from the law's new taxes, and still reduce federal deficits by $1.7 trillion, simply by refusing to establish Exchanges or expand Medicaid." (Cato Institute)

[Opinion]

Stop Obamacare's Massive 'HIT' Tax Before It Puts More Americans Out of Work
"This massive health insurance tax, like the rest of the health care law, is completely flawed. For example, the cost of the tax stays the same -- regardless of how many companies and people have to pay it. While larger businesses may be able to avoid the tax by self-insuring, the remaining customers will have to pay more each. The tax will fall most heavily on those least able to afford it: small businesses and self-employed people. Faced with higher health insurance costs, many businesses will push more of the costs to their employees." (Fox News)

[Opinion]

Access to Health Care, Basic Necessities Is Matter of Life or Debt
"Most industrialized nations have publicly-funded universal health care systems paid for through taxes that cover virtually 100 percent of necessary care. Their systems have been in existence for many decades, and while no system is perfect, other countries spend half what the United States does per person on health care, cover everyone and have better health outcomes." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

[Opinion]

Medicare's Rising Costs -- and the Urgent Need for Reform
"The traditional program's fee-for-service payment system, in which doctors and hospitals receive a fixed payment for each procedure and service, encourages an increase in the volume of services requested, which encourages excessive spending. The system also does not ensure quality, which contributes to unnecessary costs and higher spending as well." (The Heritage Foundation)

[Opinion]

Text of Statement by U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Three Year Anniversary of ACA
"After three years, we have only just begun to see the real impact of the health care law, and we still don't know what the repercussions will be next year when the employer mandate and a host of new requirements, taxes, fines, fees, and rules on businesses take effect. But it is clear already that the law has failed to live up to its lofty promises. The health care law is overwhelming businesses and individuals with costly and confusing regulations that will drive up costs and create even more uncertainty in our economy." (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

[Opinion]

Three Year Obamacare Anniversary: The Nightmare
"It's Obamacare's third anniversary. Though many key parts of Obamacare -- including some of its tax hikes and mandates -- don't go into effect until next year, Americans are feeling many of its changes already. Please share these impacts to mark three years of this bureaucratic nightmare." (The Heritage Foundation)

[Opinion]

After Three Years, Health Care Reform Is Closing the Gap
"The healthcare law is demonstrating the right way to deal with rising costs. Instead of simply shifting the burden onto seniors and the needy, it's bringing down costs across the system by improving care coordination and cutting waste. And it's holding insurance companies accountable by limiting how much of your premium they can spend on marketing and overhead. This protection has already produced $123.6 million in rebates for residents of Florida." (Miami Herald)

[Opinion]

Happy Birthday, Obamacare
"The president's health care takeover annexed one-sixth of the U.S. economy under direct government control, which, in turn, threatens the other five-sixths. You can't escape it. Now, three years since Obamacare was signed into law, it has become simply undeniable that it was based on deception." (Washington Times)

[Opinion]

Affordable Care Act Hasn't Earned Its Name
"While reform was needed, change is only good if it brings with it real reforms that reduce costs and empower individuals and small-business owners in making healthcare choices for themselves, their employees and their families. The [ACA] does neither of those things. Three years later, the law is not living up to its moniker." (USA TODAY)

[Opinion]

Privacy, Security of Data in State Exchanges and Federal Data Services Hub is Impossible (PDF)
"[T]he speed of implementation will result in insufficient data protections in a PPACA technology infrastructure that is a rich target for data thieves and that patient data will be compromised, and therefore implementation must be halted until patient data security can be assured." (Citizens' Council for Health Freedom)

[Opinion]

Pharmacists Commend Congress' Concern over Medicare Preferred Pharmacy Drug Plans
"Thirty-one U.S. Representatives and a U.S. Senator have written to Medicare raising questions about the impact of so-called 'preferred pharmacy' drug plans, which may actually raise costs to the Medicare Part D program and taxpayers ... Most plans do not allow independently owned pharmacies to participate as a preferred pharmacy in their network. The increasing number of preferred pharmacy plans are especially challenging for seniors in rural areas, where independent or regional pharmacies are often the closest pharmacy and where the nearest preferred pharmacy may be 20 miles or more away." (National Community Pharmacists Association)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Paying Executives Today Requires Wider View of Pay and Performance
"Both pay and performance can be measured in various ways, and the methods don't always align neatly, depending on the measurement period.... The tenuous correlation between corporate financial performance and stock returns complicates companies' struggles to appropriately reward executives for meeting corporate performance goals while maintaining a strong linkage with the shareholder experience." (Towers Watson)

BLS Report of Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, December 2012
"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. Of total benefit costs, private industry employer costs for paid leave benefits in December 2012 averaged $1.98 per hour worked, or 6.9 percent of total compensation. Included in this amount were employer costs for vacations, holidays, sick leave and personal leave." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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