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April 16, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Planning Consultant
for Transamerica Retirement Solutions in IN

Retirement/ 401(k) or Health and Welfare Benefits Business Analyst
for Chesapeake Benefit Partners in VA

Assistant Manager, Retirement Services
for The Lafayette Life Insurance Company in OH

Plan Administrator
for Nationwide Financial in OH

Account Executive - Group Benefits
for The Plexus Groupe in IL

ERISA Consulting Associate
for July Business Services in ANY STATE

Retirement Planning Consultant
for Transamerica Retirement Solutions in CA

Manager, Implementation
for Lincoln Financial Group in IN

Senior Account Manager - Retirement Plan Administration
for Ohio National Financial Services in OH

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Webcasts and Conferences

Form 5500 for Health and Welfare Plans: Preparation and Filing Basics
Nationwide on April 11, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Free Webinar: Managing Family and Medical Leave Moving Beyond the Basics
Nationwide on May 21, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Denver
in Colorado on May 14, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Dallas
in Texas on May 15, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Minneapolis
in Minnesota on May 16, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Denver
in Colorado on May 15, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Dallas
in Texas on May 16, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Minneapolis
in Minnesota on May 17, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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


Supreme Court to Examine Contractual Limitations Periods Under ERISA
"The U.S. Supreme Court announced April 15 that it will address the question of when the statute of limitations for judicial review of an adverse disability benefit determination begins to accrue under [ERISA] ... [T]he court will not consider the extent to which an ERISA fiduciary must notify a claimant of the deadline for filing suit or the proper remedy for a fiduciary's failure to provide adequate notice of this deadline." [Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., U.S. No. 12-729, cert. granted in part, Apr. 15, 2013] (Bloomberg BNA)


The Only Conference Series 100% Dedicated to Innovative Health and Benefit Management

Sponsored by IHC

The IHC FORUM East helps employers, TPAs, benefit brokers, consultants and regional health plan providers learn to implement health care consumerism strategies and save money on health and benefit management programs. May 9-10, Atlanta - Code LINK - $100 discount.

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Time Limits for ERISA Disability Claims
"A Wal-Mart worker who waited too long to seek disability benefits can take her case to the U.S. Supreme Court ... The 2nd Circuit [rejected the plaintiff's claim] claim that Hartford's final of denial of benefits actually started the clock on her time to sue. 'Hartford's plan provided that its three-year limitations period ran from the time that proof of loss was due under the plan,' the unsigned opinion states. 'The policy language is unambiguous and it does not offend the statute to have the limitations period begin to run before the claim accrues.'" (Courthouse News Service)

Medicare Could Save Millions by Limiting Advance Payments to Insurers, Auditors Say
"Medicare could earn up to $111 million annually if it limited insurers' ability to retain investment earnings on the billions they are paid through the prescription drug program, according to a government report out today. That's because Medicare prepays the private insurers approximately 20 days before the insurers pay their pharmacy bills and does not require them to return any of the interest they earn while holding that money[.]" (Kaiser Health News)

Assessing the Impact on the Medicare Program of Investment Income Earned and Retained by Medicare Part D Plans in 2009 (PDF)
"If Federal requirements had been established to delay the prepayments to Part D plans until after the beginning of the beneficiary's coverage period (similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits program) by the same 20 days that the plans held Medicare funds, the Medicare Part D trust fund could have earned approximately $111.2 million of interest income in CY 2009." (Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services)

Hospitals Serving the Uninsured Face Challenges Under Obamacare
"Under the [ACA], the safety-net hospitals will gain a new source of revenue when millions of the uninsured gain coverage. At the same time, the law's spending cuts could prove challenging for hospitals that tend to operate with relatively small profit margins." (The Washington Post)


3rd Annual Prevention & Wellness Congress May 16-17, Santa Monica, CA

Sponsored by World Congress

Prepare to challenge the way you think about wellness and reposition your program by doing away with what you know doesn't work. Wellness 3.0 means reaching beyond the employee and impacting dependants and communities too. Promo Code BLINK3 for $300 off.

Young Adults on Parents' Health Plans Cost More
"[A recent study] found that the newly enrolled young adults incurred $2,866 in health costs, on average ... A comparison group of 13,000 young adults who had their own coverage through the company used an average $2,472 of health services each -- 15% less." (The Wall Street Journal)

Competitive Bidding Approach to Medicare Reform (PDF)
"[C]ompetitive bidding has been extensively tested in Medicare applications. It should be relatively easy to implement because so many steps required of the Medicare program already are in effect without notable problems. And it is amenable to political consensus because it allows decisions on key parameters to accommodate widely different political judgments." (American Enterprise Institute / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

When Physicians See Costs, They Act Like Consumers
"'Doctors have been shielded from costs for generations,' says Leonard S. Feldman, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 'As these systems were developing people thought it was inappropriate to expose the physicians to [cost information] while they were making decisions about care. Most physicians have no idea what the costs are for whatever they're prescribing.'" (HealthLeaders Media)

Questions About Colon Screening Coverage Still Vex Consumers
"No one looks forward to screening tests for colon and rectal cancers. But under the [ACA], patients are at least supposed to save on out of-pocket costs for them. Coverage is not always clear, however, and despite the federal government's clarifications, some consumers remain vexed and confused." (Kaiser Health News)

Deloitte Health Care Reform Memo, April 15, 2013
Articles include: [1] Final guidance for health insurance plans offering coverage through federal and federal partnership HIX; [2] Most (90 percent) consumers are unaware of the start date for HIX open enrollment; [3] House Health Subcommittee recommends amendments to ACA; and [4] Health Care Highlights of the proposed 2014 budget. (Deloitte)

The Estimated Impact of the ACA Health Insurer Fee on the U.S. Health Insurance Industry (PDF)
"We believe carriers will pass on the ACA health insurer fee to consumers through the form of higher member premiums (or reduced benefits) in the same manner that they pass on premium taxes and other fees and assessments. However, unlike many other fees, the health insurer fee is not deductible for federal corporate income tax purposes. Therefore, a carrier needs to load its premium for (a) the health insurer fee, and (b) an allowance to reflect the federal income tax the carrier will be charged on profits related to the health insurer fee, in order to fully pass on these costs to its members." (Milliman)

Witnesses, Lawmakers Disagree on Benefits of Allowing Comp Time for Federally-required Overtime Pay
"Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), along with Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), the subcommittee chairman, emphasized during the hearing that public sector employers already are able to offer workers the option of taking comp time instead of time-and-a-half pay for overtime.... But Democrats, and a witness representing a group that advocates for worker-friendly employment policies, said the measure would place too much authority in the hands of employers." (Bloomberg BNA)

Not So Hale and Hearty: Explaining Disability Rates in One Alabama County
"[A]bout one in five Hale County [Alabama] residents between 20 and 64 receives disability benefits from Social Security or Supplemental Security Income ... That's far above the national average of about one in 16.... Several facts make Hale County an outlier: [1] An unusual age distribution.... [2] Low educational attainment.... [3] A lopsided industry mix." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Hike in Medicare Premiums Could Hit Some in Middle Class
"Obama's budget would change Medicare's upper-income premiums in several ways. First, it would raise the monthly amounts for those currently paying.... Then, the plan would create five new income brackets to squeeze more revenue from the top tiers of retirees. But its biggest impact would come through inflation. The administration is proposing to extend a freeze on the income brackets at which seniors are liable for the higher premiums until 1 in 4 retirees has to pay. It wouldn't be the top 5 percent anymore, but the top 25 percent." (Reuters via Yahoo News)

HIPAA Preempts Florida Law Liberalizing Access to Medical Records, Eleventh Circuit Decides
"HIPAA establishes a 'floor' of privacy protections on which state laws can build, if the state law protections are more stringent than the federal HIPAA requirements. The Florida law, however, authorized sweeping disclosures of a deceased individual's protected health information to spouses and others, without the need for authorization, meaning it offered less protection than under HIPAA and the Privacy Rule, and was therefore preempted." [Opis Mgmt. Res., LLC v. Sec'y, Fla. Agency for Health Care Admin., No. 12-12593, 2013 WL 1405035 (11th Cir. Apr. 9, 2013)] (Practical Law Company)

Health Insurers Expect More Employers to Self-Fund
"Health insurance executives expect U.S. employers to increasingly self-fund their group health insurance plans as a result of the [ACA] ... Of those surveyed, nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) plan on growing their self-funding or [Administrative Services Only] portfolios over the next year." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

Hard Landing Ahead for China's Health Care Reforms
"China is in the midst of a comprehensive $178.3 billion health care reform that is arguably the most ambitious among a series of stalled, largely counterproductive post-1978 efforts to improve access and reduce inequalities between rural and urban areas within China's regionalized health care system. Unless the health care reforms are accompanied by a reform of fiscal policies, however, the absence of good governance brought on by financial constraints and perverse cadre payment incentives at the sub-national level is likely to undermine efforts to create a robust primary care infrastructure, and will consequently result in reform failure." (The Health Care Blog)

Audience Segmentation for the Emerging Health Insurance Marketplace (PDF)
18 presentation slides. Excerpt: "This presentation provides an overview of CMS Consumer Research related to Audience Segmentation for the emerging health insurance marketplace. It builds on prior and ongoing segmentation research that has been underway and reported in various forums." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

Gun Ownership Can't Be Used to Increase Health Insurance Rates
"With the renewed national debate on gun control, some people might be surprised to know that the health reform law, the [ACA], actually addresses the issue of guns and health plans and wellness programs." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)


Regulators Pressure NAIC to Restrict Use of Stop-Loss Health Insurance by Small Businesses
"The move currently under consideration would increase the minimum attachment point from $20,000 per employee to $60,000, making it more expensive for small businesses and making the stop-loss insurance model less attractive. It appears the goal of the three federal agencies is to add more healthy employees to the [ACA] Exchange to drive down the cost of insuring those with pre-existing conditions who will be covered by the Exchanges." (Citizens' Council for Health Freedom)


Beyond Obamacare: Moving On to Single-Payer Health Care
"What if there were a simple, streamlined solution that would guarantee health coverage for every Minnesotan while saving the state billions of dollars? A growing number of Minnesota physicians are endorsing what they consider to be such a solution: single-payer health care. Weary of having to comply with hundreds of different insurance plans' administrative requirements while their patients are denied needed tests and treatments, these physicians are drawn to the simplicity, cost-effectiveness and truly universal coverage offered by a single-payer system." (Physicians for a National Health Program)


AHIP Comments to House Ways and Means Committee Work Groups Urging Repeal of the ACA Health Insurance Tax
"The ACA health insurance tax, if allowed to take effect, will undermine efforts to control costs and provide affordable coverage options to the American people. The tax will be particularly painful for vulnerable populations, including consumers who buy coverage on their own [and] small business owners who struggle to provide coverage to their employees[.]" (America's Health Insurance Plans)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Recordkeeping Challenges Arise in Proposed Regs on Health Insurer Pay Deduction Limit
"Taking effect for years beginning in 2013, the limit applies first to compensation that is both earned and deducted in the same tax year (e.g., salary). If these amounts are below the annual $500,000 limit, the remaining deductible amount could be carried over to any deferred compensation attributable to services for that year. For example, if an individual receives $400,000 in salary this year, and also earns $100,000 in nonqualified deferred compensation this year, to be paid in, say, 2018, that individual has 'deferred deduction compensation' of $100,000 that can be deducted when paid in 2018." (Towers Watson)

Rising Work-Life Balance Concerns Tied to Employee Turnover Worldwide
"More than one in four employees (27 percent) at organizations that are not perceived to support work-life balance plan to leave their companies within the next two years ... That's compared to only 17 percent of those at companies that ranked among the top quartile for support of employees in achieving a reasonable balance between work and personal life. For an organization with 10,000 employees, a 10 percentage point reduction in turnover over two years would result in savings of $17.5 million[.]" (Hay Group)

Reinhart Employee Benefits Update, April 2013 (PDF)
Articles include: Annual Benefit Statement for Calendar Year Defined Contribution Plans with Plan-Directed Investment; DOL Issues Informal Guidance for Fiduciaries Regarding Target Date Funds; IRS Establishes Pre-Approved Document Program for 403(b) Plans; HHS Issues Final Regulations on Details and Payment Parameters for Reinsurance Program; Departments Issue Proposed Regulations Implementing the 90-Day Waiting Period Limit. (Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.)

CEO Compensation Increases Slowed in 2012
"[T]otal pay for CEOs increased just 1.2% in 2012, down from the 6.7% median increase CEOs received in 2011.... While salary increases declined slightly last year -- from 3.0% in 2011 to 2.8% in 2012 -- annual bonuses paid to CEOs dropped by 16% at the median, compared to 2011, when bonuses were relatively flat. Target long-term incentives, the largest component of executive pay in major companies, were up 5.6% at the median in 2012." (Towers Watson)

CFOs Should Play a Central Role in Setting Incentive-Compensation Practices
"When it comes to establishing incentive-compensation targets and weighting the measures used to calculate payouts, CFOs who are not heavily involved in the process -- especially where non-executives are eligible for bonuses -- are making a mistake.... The so-called 'Say on Pay' votes apply only to the compensation packages of a company's chief executive, CFO, and three other most highly paid officers. But ... Say on Pay for senior executives has opened the door to greater investor scrutiny about a whole range of incentive-compensation issues." (CFO.com)


Life Insurance Industry Reacts to 2014 Federal Budget Proposal
"The [corporate owned life insurance (COLI)] proposal would impose new taxes on life insurance used by businesses small and large. Many businesses use COLI to protect against financial or job loss stemming from the death of owners or key employees. COLI is also used to ensure business continuation. In addition, COLI is a widely-used funding mechanism for employee and retiree benefits. Congress affirmed the benefits and tax treatment of COLI and assured its responsible use in bi-partisan legislation enacted in 2006." (American Council of Life Insurers)

Press Releases

CalPERS Earns 'A' Grade in Asset Owners Disclosure Project 2012 Climate Change Survey
CalPERS (California Public Employees' Retirement System)

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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