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May 6, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Trainer
for Aspire Financial Services in FL

401(k) Administrator
for Blue Ridge ESOP Associates in ANY STATE, VA

401(k) Administrator/ Consultant
for Southfield Firm in MI

Sr. Implementation Consultant
for American General Life Insurance Company in TX

Benefits Tax Associate
for Boutique Employee Benefits Law Firm in DC

Corporate Counsel - Employee Benefits
for Marriott International Inc. in MD

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Webcasts and Conferences

Regional Event - New York City
May 8, 2013
(Women in Pensions Network) in NY

Regional Events - Chicago
May 13, 2013
(Women in Pensions Network) in IL

Fee Disclosure - One Year Later
May 16, 2013
(National Institute of Pension Administrators) WEBCAST

Community Pharmacists to Hold Media Call May 7, 11 A.M. On 2013 Legislative and Regulatory Priorities
May 7, 2013
(National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)) WEBCAST

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Guidance Overview]

Latest ACA Guidance Addresses HSAs, HRAs and Wellness Programs
"In analyzing current-year credits to an HRA, the key question is whether the HRA document allows those amounts to be used to pay premiums under the employer's health plan. If so, the employer may use those credits to help show that its plan is affordable (but may not use them in the minimum value analysis). By contrast, if the HRA is limited to the reimbursement of medical expenses -- and does not allow for the payment of premiums -- the employer HRA credits may be applied toward the 60% minimum value threshold." (SpencerFane)


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[Official Guidance]

EEOC to Explore Wellness Programs at Open Session on May 8
"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a meeting on Wednesday, May 8, at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time), at agency headquarters ... [T]he open session of the meeting will be open to public observation of the Commission's deliberations. The Commission will hear from invited panelists on the treatment of wellness programs under federal law, with an emphasis on understanding the ways in which the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, and other statutes EEOC enforces may be implicated by these programs." (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

[Guidance Overview]

Congressional Research Service Summarizes Potential Employer Penalties Under the ACA (PDF)
"ACA sets out a two-part calculation for determining, first, which firms are subject to the penalty (e.g., definition of large), and, second, to which workers within a firm the penalty is applied. Because the treatment of part-time and seasonal workers differs across these two parts of the calculation, this has led to some confusion among policymakers and employers.... This report describes these proposed regulations in greater detail and provides examples of potential dates when employers will need to begin measuring full-time status for their on-going employees." (Congressional Research Service, U.S. Library of Congress)

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Proposed Rule Clarifying Health Plan Minimum Value Determinations
"According to the IRS, commenters 'sought clarification of the health benefits considered in determining the share of benefit costs paid by a plan.' According to the proposal, employer-sponsored self-insured and insured large group plans are not required 'to cover every [essential health benefits (EHB)] category or conform their plans to an EHB benchmark that applies to qualified health plans.' To this end, the new proposed regulations 'provide that MV is based on the anticipated spending for a standard population. The plan's anticipated spending for benefits provided under any particular EHB-benchmark plan for any state counts towards MV.'" (Littler Mendelson LLC)

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Simplifies and Shortens Application for Health Insurance Marketplace and Includes an Employer Coverage Tool
"Further enhancements to the applications -- perhaps only non-substantive -- are still needed (for example, the address to mail the completed application and the phone number to call for further assistance have not yet been provided). Employers should familiarize themselves with the information requested on the Employer Coverage Tool so that they are ready to provide this information to employees upon request when Marketplace enrollment begins in October." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

Obamacare Could Lower Premiums in New York
"While insurers in states such as Maryland expect the general mix of people they cover to become significantly less healthy, as those with pre-existing conditions gain access to coverage, New York expects the exact opposite: Healthier people will be buying coverage. Deloitte expects that this influx of healthier consumers into the market will mean that the average person buying her own policy will have health care costs that are 13.9 percent lower than those of the current population buying now." (The Washington Post)

The Future of Insurance in an Era of Health Care Reform
"Nobody knows exactly what the health reform law -- along with the relentless rise in health-care costs -- will do to the insurance industry and to insurance premiums. Many in the private sector, however, are starting to sound the warning bell, saying that it's time for the industry to change.... Aetna's viability depends on the health of America's health-care system. That's why [Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini] is trying to stay ahead of the curve by re-imagining what his 160-year-old company's business model might look like in the decades ahead." (MedCity News)

The 'Medicare Essential' Option: Promoting Better Care and Curbing Spending Growth
"Researchers propose a new coverage option for Medicare beneficiaries that would provide comprehensive benefits, protection from catastrophic costs, and incentives for choosing high-quality, high-value care. Combining hospital, physician, and prescription drug coverage, the 'Medicare Essential' option could save $180 billion in national health spending in the next decade while also improving care." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Health Poll Question Finder
"Health Poll Search is a comprehensive database of public opinion questions on health issues that can be searched by topic or keyword." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Group Chosen to Help Implement ACA in Maryland Had Previously Settled with Feds Over Fraud
"Maryland [has] tapped the nonprofit Seedco to help implement health care reform despite a $1.7 million settlement the agency agreed to in December to resolve a federal fraud suit. The U.S. government [had] sued the agency, saying it defrauded a federal employment program by falsely saying it found jobs for hundreds of New Yorkers. As part of the agreement, Seedco admitted to the false reporting." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

State Spending on Consumer Assistance Could Have 'Huge Impact' on Marketplace Enrollment
"The wide variation in spending to hire and train people to provide consumer assistance in the first year of the new marketplaces could have a major impact on how many people actually get coverage under Obamacare, experts say. Yet states with some of the nation's highest uninsured rates, such as Florida and Texas, are getting far less federal money per uninsured resident than states with low rates, such as Maryland, Vermont and Rhode Island, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis." (Kaiser Health News)

Florida Rejects Medicaid Expansion, Leaves 1 Million Uninsured
"Unless the Republican-controlled legislature comes back for a special session later this year ... Florida will not expand Medicaid in 2014. In Florida, where one in five non-elderly residents lack insurance coverage, the consequences are especially large: An estimated 1.3 million Floridians were expected to gain coverage through the Medicaid expansion. About a quarter of those people ... would still be eligible for tax subsidies on the health insurance exchange." (The Washington Post)

Minnesota Same-Gender Marriage Bill to Receive Another Committee Hearing
"Minnesota Management and Budget predicts that legalizing same-gender marriage would result in 114 more people enrolling for state benefits for their married partners. Fiscal agents estimate the added benefits would cost $688,378 a year. The fiscal note also projected that 5,186 same-gender couples would get married over the next two years if same-gender marriage were legalized in Minnesota on August 1." (Minnesota Public Radio)

Another Reason Why Accurate Comparison of Health System Costs in Different Countries Is Difficult
"In order to compare health costs in different countries, expenditures must be converted into a common currency. In practice, this is a more difficult problem than many people think." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)

Four Myths about Private Health Care Exchanges
"Myth 1: Private exchanges will fix an employer's rate of health-care cost increases year after year.... Myth 2: Offering a private exchange will equate to offering nongroup medical coverage.... Myth 3: Employers using private exchanges will offer a single pot of benefits money to each employee.... Myth 4: While private exchanges may fix an employer's costs, they won't affect the overall costs of the health-care system." (CFO.com)

[Opinion]

What Health Insurance Doesn't Do
"if it turns out that health insurance is useful mostly because it averts financial catastrophe ... then the new health care law looks vulnerable to two interconnected critiques.... [I]f the benefit of health insurance is mostly or exclusively financial, then shouldn't health insurance policies work more like normal insurance? ... If the marginal dollar of health care coverage doesn't deliver better health, isn't this a place where policy makers should be stingy, while looking for more direct ways to improve the prospects of the working poor?" (The New York Times)

[Opinion]

Oregon Medicaid Study Is Devastating News for Obamacare Backers
"[I]f Medicaid doesn't make people any healthier than they were when they were uninsured, that implies that the entire ObamaCare program could be one huge waste of money. (Actually, the results weren't a complete disappointment. There was less depression among the Medicaid enrollees; they reported that they were a tiny bit happier; and among those who had out-of-pocket expenses, they spent about $215 less out of pocket each year. But, remember, we could have reimbursed out-of-pocket spending and spent far less than was actually spent on this program.)" (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Final Rules Require EIN Updates
"[F]ollowing the publication of the final regulations ... the IRS will publish a form for persons issued an EIN to use to disclose the correct application information to the IRS. The relevant form will require these persons to update application information about the name and taxpayer identifying number of the responsible party within the applicable time frame. The regulations apply to all persons possessing an EIN on or after Jan. 1, 2014 (which means the rules apply retroactively and not only to persons that applied for or were issued EINs after the effective date)." (Journal of Accountancy)

Equity Plan Proposal Failures, 2007-2012: Lessons to Consider (PDF)
"Overall, there were approximately 4,800 equity plan proposals submitted to shareholders of Russell 3000 Index companies for the period 2007-2012. Of these proposals, only 54 failed to be approved by shareholders.... [T]his report looks at the voting on these equity plan proposals and then focuses on the 54 proposals that failed to see what, if any, lessons can be learned." (ExeQuity and Alliance Advisors)

Executive Compensation Design: The Shift in Balance
"[M]ore and more companies have jumped on the bandwagon of using relative total shareholder return (TSR) as the key metric in their [long term incentive (LTI)] plans. TSR is now the most prevalent metric used in LTIs and, in fact, is the only performance measure used by over half of the companies studied in our annual proxy analysis. But, while TSR is clearly important, it's more of an outcome than a driver of company performance." (Towers Watson)

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