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March 28, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

Spring Conference San Francisco Chapter of WP&BC
in California on May 2, 2013 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference, San Francisco Chapter

Demystifying Fund Revenue Equalization Webinar
Nationwide on April 16, 2013 presented by Transamerica Retirement Services

Third Annual Health Care Privacy and Security Forum
in New York on May 22, 2013 presented by American Conference Institute

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Atlanta
in Georgia on April 19, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - New Orleans
in Louisiana on April 19, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - New York
in New York on April 19, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Philadelphia
in Pennsylvania on April 24, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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

 

[Official Guidance]

Text of Technical Correction to Proposed Regs on Shared Responsibility Payment for Not Maintaining Minimum Essential Coverage
"In proposed rule document 2013-2141 ... in the issue of Monday, February 1, 2013, make the following correction: On page 7321, in the first column, in the 26th line from the bottom, '1/2' should read as '1/12'." [Editor's note: the corrected version, including some surrounding sentences, is: "Section 36B(b)(1) provides that the premium tax credit for any taxable year is the sum of the premium assistance amounts with respect to all coverage months occurring in the taxable year. Under section 36B(b)(2), for any coverage month, the premium assistance amount is the lesser of the following: (1) The monthly premiums for the month for one or more qualified health plans in which the taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer's family (coverage family) is enrolled through the Exchange serving the rating area where they reside or (2) any excess of the adjusted monthly premium for the month for the applicable second lowest cost silver plan for the taxpayer over an amount equal to 1/12 of the product of the applicable percentage and the taxpayer's household income for the taxpayer. Section 36B, therefore, calculates the allowable credit by treating the family as a single, aggregated unit."] (Internal Revenue Service)


[Advert.]

Early Bird Rate Ends Monday for Benefits Conference

Sponsored by Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

Make the right moves with your employee health, wellness & benefits program. Join your peers already registered from Hormel Foods, Perfumania, Safeway, Cheesecake Factory, UCLA and more leading organizations. Register today at Benefitsconf.com


[Official Guidance]

Health Insurance Marketplace Branding Guide (PDF)
"These guidelines provide standards related to the Health Insurance Marketplace identity mark ('logo') and its use with other identity marks.... The Health Insurance Marketplace identity mark is available for use by DHHS staff for official Marketplace products. It also is available for use by approved State Marketplaces through the password-protected State resource web portal, without obtaining any additional approvals from DHHS." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

[Guidance Overview]

Proposed Regulations Address Fees on Health Insurance Companies
"The annual fee for each covered insurer is its pro rata share of an aggregate dollar amount set forth in section 9010 of the ACA. For calendar year 2014, the aggregate amount is $8 billion; for 2015 and 2016, $11.3 billion; for 2017, $13.9 billion; and for 2018, $14.3 billion; and for years 2019 and thereafter, the aggregate amount will be based upon the aggregate amount for the preceding year, increased by the rate of health insurance premium growth." (Sidley Austin LLP)

Want to Buy Private Coverage with Medicaid Dollars? Good Luck!
"Tennessee wanted to pursue a plan like that of Arkansas, one where it would use the Medicaid expansion dollars to buy private insurance coverage. And while Arkansas received a preliminary go-ahead from HHS, Gov. Bill Haslam had a quite different experience: He says that Health and Human Services would not support his plan to expand Medicaid and, as a result, he will not move forward." (The Washington Post)


[Advert.]

Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference - April 28 - May 1

Sponsored by University Conference Services

The road ahead for employer-sponsored benefits is uncharted. You cannot afford to fall behind with your organization's healthcare and retirement plans. This in-person, 2-1/2 day program provides answers & ideas that no online course or webcast can.


How Fortune 500 Companies Plan to Cut Health Costs: Act Like Medicare
"For as long as we've had a health-care system, insurers have paid doctors and hospitals a fee for every service they provide. This isn't an especially unique model. Any widget-maker tends to earn more money for selling more widgets. That's the whole goal in the world of widget sales -- selling more widgets -- but it's not the same aim for the health-care system. At GE, [the director of health services] knew more widgets just meant higher health insurance spending." (The Washington Post)

Obamacare's Impact on Insurance Claim Costs
"[A recent study from the Society of Actuaries] forecast that insurer costs -- medical claims per policyholder -- will soar, on average, 32 percent for the individual market in 2017, with wide variations among states.... Opponents of the health overhaul seized on the figure to suggest the law could really be called the Unaffordable Care Act. The Obama administration says the study leaves out factors that will restrain what plan members actually pay, including more competition among insurance companies." (Kaiser Health News)

District Court Applies Presumption against Suicide When Interpreting AD&D Policy
"[T]he Court held that federal common law 'firmly established a negative presumption against suicide.' Under this rule, 'the presumption[] never drop[s] out of the case until the fact finder, [i.e., the Court] becomes convinced, given all the evidence, that it is more likely than not that the insured committed suicide'.... Implicit in the Court's ruling was its sense that the 'official' reports did nothing more than rule out a homicide." [Acree v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 2013 WL 140097 (M.D. Ga. 2013)] (Womble Carlyle)

Portland, Ore. Adopts Mandatory Sick Leave Law; with Pay, If Employer Has Six or More Employees
"The ordinance covers any employee who works more than 240 hours per year in Portland. This includes anyone who travels to the City of Portland to work, who works in an office in Portland or who makes a stop in the city. However, an employee can use Portland sick time (PST) only for work in Portland. The employer does not need to be based in Portland or in Oregon for the coverage to apply." (Perkins Coie LLP)

So Many Drugstores, So Many Prices
"If you shop around, a month's supply of generic Lipitor will set you back $17 at Costco, CR's secret shoppers found. However, if you fail to do your homework and purchase it from CVS, you could pay $150.... For the antidepressant Lexapro, Consumer Reports found a month's supply available of the generic version at a cost of $7 at Costco and $126 at CVS." (Consumer Reports)

Health Care Transparency: What Employers Don't Know
"What employers are missing is an understanding of how employees are making health care decisions and how that impacts their health care costs. A large population of health care consumers are starting with a search engine to find health care information online.... Doctors lament that they often have to correct misinformation or incorrect conclusions after patients do health research online." (Insurance Thought Leadership, LLC)

More Evidence That Rate Shock is Coming
"Defenders of the [ACA], including the administration, have been quick to point out that these increases won't be felt by those receiving premium subsidies -- likely 60% of consumers. That is right. But... the federal government, [which] will pay the excess premium on account of those getting subsidies, will feel the impact of these big rate increases.... That said, the 40% of consumers who will not be eligible for subsides are going to see some very high prices." (Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review)

Entire Obamacare Law Being Tweeted
""Folks ... this will probably take a long time to do, but I decided I will read every page, word by word, of Obamacare, and tweet every word," [actor Jake McClain] tweeted last week.... The lengthy process of tweeting is six days in and McClain has currently tweeted through 27 pages of the document.... The process is particularly poignant since former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously said, 'We have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it.'" (The Heritage Foundation)

Carriers Must Reach 'Nomophobiacs' on Their Terms
"Bill Lan, who heads industry and insurance at Google, Inc., warned insurers that they will be left in the dust if they don't develop a digital presence that lets consumers connect through a variety of formats.... Health insurers need a digital presence that's easy to access via mobile devices, Lan said. Many searches begin on a mobile device and continue on a desktop. To keep up, health plans need a digital 'path' that lets consumers seamlessly shift from device to device ... [M]obile phones have become such an invaluable tool that 66% of Americans now suffer from nomophobia -- the fear of being out of mobile phone contact." (AISHealth.com; free registration required)

The Commuter Benefit Chase at Federal Agencies
"The sequester is squeezing nearly every agency's budget. Managers are scouring the books to find all available savings, and that could include less generous public transit and parking benefits for federal employees. The Labor Department, for instance, has already decided to provide a maximum monthly transit subsidy of $125 to employees in 2013 -- $120 less than the maximum that agencies can give feds this year under the law." (GovExec.com)

Employers Increasingly Look to HSA Health Plans for High-Quality, Affordable Coverage
"HSA plans have consistently grown in popularity among both small and large employers. Between January 2011 and January 2012, the fastest growing market for HSA plans was for large-group coverage, which rose by 26 percent, followed by small-group coverage, which grew by 9 percent[.]" (America's Health Insurance Plans)

2013 California Health Care Quality Report Cards Are Vital Tool for Consumers Making Health Care Choices
"The [California] Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) released the 2013 Report Cards today on a redesigned, consumer-friendly Website ... The Website and [mobile] app make it easy for consumers to review quality ratings on more than 40 clinical care measures for the state's 10 largest commercial Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), six largest commercial Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), and 209 medical groups. The Report Cards are an easy-to-use tool for Californians making decisions about health care coverage or medical groups." (ExpressScripts)

[Opinion]

The Affordable Care Act at 3: Big Cost Burden, Big Consumer Impact
"As the [ACA] celebrates its third anniversary, the law has already imposed $21 billion in private-sector burdens, $9.8 billion in unfunded state liabilities, and 111 million paperwork burden hours.... [A review] last year [found that] the ACA had imposed a combined cost of $12.4 billion and 50 million hours, meaning in the last year the administration has more than doubled the cost of implementation and added 21 million compliance hours." (American Action Forum)

[Opinion]

Obama Can't Break His Own Health Care Law Through IRS Regulations
"With so many states refusing to play the role the law's drafters envisioned, the Obama administration has embarked on a legally dubious effort to bypass the plain language of the law. Obama's IRS has issued a rule that delivers the expensive subsidies through federally run exchanges as well. If it stands, this extralegal rule will undermine the decision-making role offered to states by Obamacare, and cause hundreds of billions of dollars of taxes and spending not authorized by the president's health care law." (Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, via The Examiner)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

New York Refines Limits on Executive Pay at State-Funded Organizations; Effective Date Pushed Back to 2014 (PDF)
"The New York State Department of Health (DOH) and a number of other state departments have recently issued revised regulations that, among other changes, defer the effective date of new restrictions on executive compensation and administrative costs at state-funded not-for-profit and for-profit service providers.... The most noteworthy change is the proposal to further delay the effective date of the new limits until July 1, 2013. As revised, the limits will apply to reporting periods commencing on or after that date. In other words, for organizations that report on a calendar-year basis, the rules become effective January 1, 2014." (Towers Watson)

DOL Updates Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) Program, Including New Guidance for Top Hat Plans (PDF)
"Pension plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees (top-hat plans) are subject to the reporting and disclosure obligations ... that require the annual filing of a Form 5500. However, sponsors of top-hat plans may be exempt from the annual reporting requirements if they file a statement with the DOL. The sponsor of a top-hat plan that did not timely file a statement to request an exemption from the Form 5500 filing requirement may file the applicable notice and statement under the DFVC program in lieu of filing any past due annual reports." (Prudential)

Press Releases

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