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April 23, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Relationship Manager
for Verisight, Inc. in CA

Compliance Account Manager
for Verisight, Inc. in CA

Defined Benefit Pension Administration Professional
for Milliman in NJ

401(k) Plan Client Services Manager
for a 401(k) Plan Advisory Firm in AZ

Director, Business Process & Workflow Management
for Prudential in NJ

Plan Administrator
for Verisight, Inc. in MN

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Webcasts and Conferences

Ethics Case Studies One
Nationwide on May 14, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

"Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans" - a 3-day Seminar, June-July. Register Now!
Nationwide on June 12, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"Form 5500 Workshop 2013: Issues and Answers" - Norfolk
in Virginia on May 23, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Norfolk
in Virginia on May 24, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

Next Generation Advisory Council Meeting for Young Benefits Professionals
in Massachusetts on April 30, 2013 presented by New England Employee Benefits Council

Employee Benefits in the Cloud and on Social Media
in New York on May 16, 2013 presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network ), New York Chapter

How the Integration of Healthcare Accounts is Enabling Health Plans and Powering Exchanges Webinar
Nationwide on April 24, 2013 presented by Evolution1

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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[Official Guidance]

From CMS: 'Narrative Description of Marketplace Timeline' (PDF)
This document sets forth the timeline for completion of various regulatory and infrastructure projects needed to prepare the healthcare marketplace (exchanges) for opening on October 1, 2013. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


Achieve a New Level of Professional Growth With CEBS!

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

As the most respected designation in the industry, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) courses give you the knowledge and confidence to succeed in today's business environment. Learn More!

Who Really Pays for Obesity?
"[The authors] argue that the existing literature ... suggests that obese people on average do bear the costs and benefits of their eating and exercise habits.... [This paper discusses] the extent to which private health insurance pools together obese and thin, whether health insurance causes obesity, and whether being fat might actually cause positive externalities for those who are not obese." (Journal of Economic Perspectives via American Economic Association)

[Guidance Overview]

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, April 22, 2013 (PDF)
Update on developments in federal and state health care reform legislation and regulations, including summaries of recent announcements and regulatory activity by HHS, CCIIO, IRS and CMS. (ML Strategies, LLC)

CMS Publication: 'Helping Consumers Apply & Enroll Through the Marketplace' (PDF)
"No matter what state they live in, consumers can get help as they apply for and choose new insurance options. You can help provide that assistance in a number of different ways: by becoming Navigators, in-person assistance personnel, or certified application counselors. In addition, agents and brokers can help consumers enroll in new insurance options.... Which assistance is available in the different types of marketplaces? ... What funding is available? ... What training is required?" (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

Health Law's Mandate, Tax Credit Could Help or Hurt Employers
"Business owners view the new health care law through many different paradigms. Some see it as onerous, while others find it helpful. Research suggests that one of its most contentious provisions, the employer mandate, will have minimal impact." (United Press International)


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.

Health Exchanges May Lack Competition When They Launch in October
"Health economists predict that in states that already have robust competition among insurance companies -- states such as Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon -- the exchanges are likely to stimulate more. But according to Linda Blumberg of the Urban Institute, 'There are still going to be states with virtual monopolies.'... Competition aside, the exchanges face a number of technical and logistical problems." (Pew Center on the States)

2013: What's Around the Corner for the Health Care Industry? (PDF)
"In 2013, major elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are scheduled to be implemented, including health insurance exchange (HIX) open enrollment, and new rates for small groups. But health cost containment will be the central theme as the federal government tackles deficit reduction involving possible cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs, states wrestle with their portion of Medicaid funding and possible coverage expansion, and employers and consumers grapple with health inflation and increased insurance costs." (Deloitte)

New Website Will Disclose Health Industry Payments To Doctors
"To comply with a provision in the [ACA], drug and device manufacturers, along with group purchasing organizations, will have to disclose all of their payments and other compensation to physicians and teaching hospitals. Those who don't comply could be fined." (Kaiser Health News)

Questions Arise About Robotic Surgery's Cost, Effectiveness
"At this time, health insurers generally pay for robotic surgery just as they would any other surgical procedure, and patient out-of-pocket costs are typically no different either. That could change, some say, as more comprehensive data become available that clarifies when robotic-assisted surgery helps improve patient outcomes -- and when it doesn't." (Kaiser Health News)


BenefitsLink would like your help

Sponsored by BenefitsLink

On April 19, the BenefitsLink newsletter celebrated 18 years of publication. Unlike most 18-year-olds, we're asking for your advice. We're excited to be working on ways to enhance your experience with BenefitsLink.com and we'd really appreciate your feedback and opinions. Please take our quick survey. Thanks!

Assessing the Effects of the Economy on the Recent Slowdown in Health Spending
"Two macroeconomic variables were found to be highly predictive of the growth in health spending in any given year: Inflation in the current year, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) deflator, as well as inflation in the prior two years. The growth in real GDP in the current year, as well as GDP growth in the prior five years. These variables explain over 85% of the variation in health spending growth rates from 1965 through 2011." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Here's Why Healthcare Costs Are Slowing
"A new study ... suggests that most of the slowdown is indeed temporary -- but even the smaller fraction that is permanent has the potential to cut a half-trillion health-care costs over the next decade.... [H]ealth-care costs grew at a rate of 4.6 percent [between 2008 and 2012], one percentage point slower than the economic slowdown can explain." (The Washington Post)

COBRA Extension Notice Needed from Beneficiary Despite Employer's Awareness of Disability
"Group health plan terms clearly explained that the plan administrator had to be notified of a disability determination within 60 days in order to trigger an 11-month COBRA extension; therefore, the plan administrator was justified in denying the extension when notice was received five months after the determination was issued ... [T]he plan administrator's early, general knowledge of the disability was not sufficient to trigger the extension when the plan terms required actual notice within a certain time frame." [Rayle v. Wood County Hospital, 2013 WL 1654898 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 16, 2013) (Thompson SmartHR Manager)

CMS Sets Termination Dates for Processes Under ACA's Early Retiree Reinsurance Program
"Despite the termination of these processes, the CMS noted that plan sponsors are required to maintain, and furnish to the HHS upon request, certain ERRP-related records. These records must be maintained for six years after the expiration of the plan year in which the costs were incurred, or longer if otherwise required by law." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Text of Letter to DOL Secretary Reiterating Request for Results of Mandated Study on Impact of ACA (PDF)
"[On March 19,] we requested that ... you provide a draft of the study, all source data used to create the study, and a timeline under which DOL plans to complete and disseminate the study to congress. To date, DOL has failed to provide any of the requested materials and has made no effort to set up a briefing on this matter. We are extremely troubled by DOL's lack of response." (Committee on Education & the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives)

Deloitte Health Care Reform Memo, April 22, 2013 (PDF)
Articles include: [1] 25.7 million eligible for Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies; [2] ACA Prevention and Public Health Fund targeted to support HIX enrollment and PCIPs; [3] Analysis: 3.1 million newly covered under ACA adult-dependent mandate, 0.2% cost increase for employers; [4] Bipartisan Policy Center proposes plan for $560 billion health spending cost-containment; [5] State Update; [6] Industry News; more. (Deloitte)

Reductions in Transitional Reinsurance Fee are Possible
"Employers might pay less than $63 per covered life per year under health reform's transitional reinsurance fee rules ... [S]uch a reduction would be contingent on: (1) collections exceeding claims; and/or (2) the government collecting more than $10 billion in the first year." (Thompson SmartHR Manager)


Does an $8 Million Advertising Campaign Really Make Obamacare Into the Iraq War?
"The particular irony of Suderman's critique is that Baucus's specific concern was that there would be a 2014 'train wreck' because the Obama administration wasn't doing enough to advertise and explain the exchanges. The announcement that it will spend more money to advertise and explain the exchanges is, in part, a way of responding to Baucus's concerns." (The Washington Post)

ACLJ Contraceptive Mandate Scorecard: 7-0
"Judge Ruben Castillo of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a preliminary injunction protecting ... Hart Electric and H.I. Hart, from having to comply with the Mandate.... What's most noteworthy about this order is that the Department of Justice, charged with the responsibility of defending the government in the nationwide challenges against the Mandate, did not oppose it." (American Center for Law and Justice)


HHS to Spend Another $8 Million Marketing Obamacare
"When you've already spent $3 million promoting ObamaCare's exchanges, and yet the senator who claims to have written the bill on which the law was based thinks those exchanges are about to be a "huge train wreck," you kind of have to wonder whether the agency is really getting much value out of its marketing budget." (Reason.com)


Obamacare Resulting in Fewer Hours, Less Work for Americans
"Despite claims by Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius that nothing in the law affects work hours, reports of ObamaCare forcing employers to replace full-time positions with part-time positions or increase part-time employment are growing[.]" (Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman, U.S. House Ways and Means Committee)


CalPERS Decision to Open Up HMO to Additional Carriers Could Shake Up California Health Insurance Market
"In a change from years ago, CalPERS will be risk-adjusting HMO rates so that one plan isn't saddled with more than its share of unhealthy members and is not prompted to jack up premiums to compensate. In another change from years ago, all the major carriers have narrow provider networks that can drive bigger discounts." (HealthLeaders InterStudy)


Health Savings Accounts on the Obamacare Exchanges: Early Warning Signs for HSAs -- and the Exchanges
"[It] could be that Obamacare regulations are pushing HSA-qualified plans to have a higher actuarial value than the non-HSA plans ... even though both are within the range of actuarial values permitted for the Bronze coverage tier. And since deductibles are also typically the single largest determinant of premium price as well, one could see how Vermont's limits on deductibles might also be driving the comparatively large HSA pricing differences that will soon be available in the state." (MedicalProgressToday.com)


Some Thoughts on the McCutchen and Heimeshoff Cases
"McCutchen seems wrong to [the author] on many levels. What is depressing is not only that the usual Justices are aligned against ERISA plaintiffs, but normal allies of plaintiffs on the Court just don't seem to understand the consequence of their decision in a case like this. In short, ERISA continues to baffles the Supreme Court. All this does not bode well for ERISA plaintiffs in the case the Supreme Court granted cert in last week, Heimeshoff v. Hartford." (Workplace Prof Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Your Shareholders Get It, But Do Your Executives? (A Surprising Number Don't)
"We can all agree on the criticality of ensuring that you have strong shareholder support and demonstrating that your executive compensation program is aligned with shareholders. But it's equally important to ensure that your program and reward opportunities are well understood by participants. After all, didn't you just tell your shareholders that your program is designed to pay for performance?" (Towers Watson)

Are Executive Bonuses an Obstacle to Shareholder Value?
"[Do] executive bonus plans actually encourage long-term value growth? Unfortunately, many do not.... To design the proper bonus scheme requires consideration of unique business factors such as the industry, business model, strategy, investment time horizon and corporate culture. [This article provides] some guidelines that should be used for better executive bonus design[.]" (CFO.com)

Press Releases

ASPPA Urges Lawmakers to Oppose 401(k) Tax
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

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