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May 15, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

for Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP in AL

Account Executive
for Alliance Benefit Group in MN

Daily Team Associate III
for MBM Advisors, Inc. in TX

Client Delivery Analyst - Health and Welfare
for The Savitz Organization in PA

Benefits Consultant, Small Group
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Manager Retirement Administration
for Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. in AZ

Retirement Plan Services Representative
for Capital Group Companies in CA

Director, Business Support-Institutional Investment Solutions
for Prudential in CT

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Webcasts and Conferences

Teaching Business Literacy
July 16, 2013
(National Center for Employee Ownership) WEBCAST

What ESOP Participants Should Know About the Law, Regulations, and the Courts
July 23, 2013
(National Center for Employee Ownership) WEBCAST

Effective ESOP Communications Committees
July 30, 2013
(National Center for Employee Ownership) WEBCAST

Solving Cross-Testing Heartaches!
June 5, 2013
(National Institute of Pension Administrators) WEBCAST

View All Webcasts and Conferences


[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS FAQs on Health Insurance Marketplaces (PDF)
Ten Q&As on the following topics: [1] Oversight of Premium Stabilization Programs, Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit, and Cost-sharing Reductions; [2] Issuer Oversight; [3] State-based Marketplace Reporting Requirements; [4] Privacy and Security; [5] Cost-Sharing Reductions and Health Savings Accounts; [6] Eligibility and Enrollment. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


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Carriers Keep Plan Rates Steady in Advance of Major ACA Reforms
"Between February 1 and May 1, 2013, health insurance premiums increased by an average of 1.2 percent per plan. States where plan premiums increased 5 percent or more over this period include Wyoming (7.8%), Illinois (7.7%), Wisconsin (5.4%) and Delaware (5.0%)." (HealthPocket)

New Obamacare Rules on Wellness Programs Deal Blow to Employers
"Employers' hopes about the majority of their wellness program incentives helping their health plans meet minimum-value and affordability requirements have effectively been crushed by the feds. Many experts in the benefits community aren't happy with the distinction the feds made between wellness programs and feel the moves adds more confusion to complying with Obamacare's many regs." (HRBenefits Alert)

Two Million Fewer U.S. Uninsured to Gain Health Coverage
"[A new CBO report] said 25 million people who currently lack insurance will obtain coverage through subsidized marketplaces or an expanded Medicaid program over the coming decade, down from a February CBO estimate of 27 million people. The office attributed the drop to a change in administration policy that will exempt 500,000 to 1 million more people from the law's individual mandate[.]" (The Baltimore Sun)

Chicago to Phase Out Health Care Subsidy for 30,000 Retirees
"Chicago will phase out its 55 percent subsidy for retiree health care by January 2017 but continue that coverage for the oldest retirees, under a mayoral plan that will free taxpayers from a $108.7 million a year burden. Thirty thousand retired city employees will be forced to switch to Obamacare." (Chicago Sun-Times)


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Patterns of Health Insurance Changes
"A number of industries can expect big changes in employee health insurance in the next year or two, while others will continue with business as usual.... [W]e can readily predict the industries that will retain employer insurance and predict those that will drop whatever health benefits they currently have." (Casey B. Mulligan in The New York Times)

New Study Tracks Impact of Aging on Health Costs
"[T]he average 55-year-old retiree will spend $226,000 more on health care than a person retiring at age 65, assuming they both live to age 85.... [R]etiree health care costs will be $146,400 for someone age 65 who lives 20 more years, while individuals retiring at age 55 will need $372,400 to cover their health care costs to age 85." (Health Care Cost Institute)

Settling Its First Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) Lawsuit, EEOC Acts on Declared Priority (PDF)
"At the end of 2012, the EEOC declared that genetic discrimination would be one of its top priorities over the next four years. Employers should confirm that none of their policies run afoul of GINA, and should make sure that they are not requesting family medical history or other genetic information from employees -- whether directly or through a required medical exam. Employers should also update their employee handbooks to reflect that they do not discriminate on the basis of genetic information." (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP)

Hospital Prices Across the Country
"CMS' recent release of hospital pricing data has been picked up by news outlets across the country. [This map] shows highlights of this coverage across the U.S." (America's Health Insurance Plans)

Even After Overhaul, Gaps In Coverage Remain for Young and for Pregnant Women
"[Young adults] can now stay on their parents' health plans until they turn 26.... [T]he Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires that companies with 15 or more workers that provide health insurance for employees and their spouses.... However, the law doesn't require maternity coverage for dependent children and ... roughly 70 percent that pay their workers' claims directly don't provide it." (National Public Radio)

Are Converted Individual Disability Policies Governed by ERISA?
"[A]n individual disability policy may nevertheless be governed by ERISA ... when the employees benefit from a rate structure or premium discount the employer was able to negotiate in obtaining group benefits. But does ERISA apply when the employee 'converts' a group disability policy to an individual policy? What does 'conversion' mean, anyway? Can the policy merely be a 'continued' policy, rather than a 'converted' policy? Does ERISA apply then? Maybe yes." (Lane Powell PC)

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, May 13, 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)

Continuity of Medicaid Coverage (PDF)
"While it is intuitive to believe that the cost of Medicaid services for a person enrolled 12 months would be twice as high as a person enrolled six months, this analysis shows that this is not the case. The cost of 12 months of coverage ($3,996) is only 42 percent more than the cost for six months ($2,814)." (Association for Community Affiliated Plans)

Obamacare Brings New, Expensive Contractor Misclassification Penalty
"[W]hen classifying workers, follow the IRS' three-point checklist for determining a worker's classification: Behavioral control... .Financial control.... Type of relationship." (HRBenefits Alert)

CBO Estimate of Costs of H.R. 45 (Bill to Repeal the ACA)
"[T]he savings over the 2014-2023 period from repealing the insurance coverage provisions would be greater than the $1.2 trillion estimated last year for the 2013-2022 period. But the net costs of repealing the other provisions of the ACA were estimated last year to total about $1.3 trillion for the 2013-2022 period, and with the addition of 2023, they too would probably be greater this year -- although CBO does not know the magnitude of the changes." (Congressional Budget Office Blog)

Text of CBO Projection of ACA's Effects on Health Insurance Coverage (PDF)
Data tables include: Effects on Insurance Coverage, Effects on the Federal Deficit, Net Cost of Coverage Provisions, Exchange Enrollment, Direct Spending, Premium Credit Revenue Reductions, and Total Exchange Subsidies. (Congressional Budget Office Blog)

CBO's Estimate of the Net Budgetary Impact of the ACA's Health Insurance Coverage Provisions Has Not Changed Much Over Time
"CBO and JCT's current projection of the budgetary impact of the ACA's coverage provisions is $1,363 billion over the 2014-2023 period. That amount represents an increase of $40 billion from the February 2013 estimate of $1,323 billion, as shown in the table below. Although the gross cost of those provisions is now projected to be $74 billion less over the 10-year period, various payments to the government and other savings related to those provisions are now also estimated to be less -- by $114 billion; the combination of those two effects has boosted the projected net cost of the coverage provisions." (Congressional Budget Office Blog)


Why Health Care Should Bring Back the House Call
"If we hope to rein in health care costs and improve quality, we need, in effect, to bring back the house call.... As the older demographic expands, so, too, does the number of people who live with chronic diseases ... That's why an estimated, 49% of our health care costs go toward 5% of Medicare beneficiaries.... [H]ome care is doing exactly what's most needed -- increasing quality and driving down costs." (Harvard Business Review; free registration required)


Can We Talk About the ACA Train Wreck?
"Why shouldn't we abandon ACA? Because, quite simply, it is all that we have right now, and it will provide some limited relief for millions of people. If we were to abandon ACA now, mobilizing a social movement and then enacting and implementing single payer would still take many years--- too long for those who would receive some benefit from ACA now." (Physicians for a National Health Program)


Why 'Medicare-For-All' Is Not the Answer
"The argument for universal Medicare basically comes down to three key claims: (1) Medicare gets lower prices; (2) Medicare's administrative costs are lower; and (3) greater spending does not mean better health. Each of these deserves closer attention." (Dana Goldman and Adam Leive in Health Affairs)


Study of Massachusetts Health Reform Does Not Adequately Examine Obamacare
"[A recent] study of Massachusetts's experience with health care reform [has led to claims] that under Obamacare most employers will not reduce or eliminate the health coverage they currently offer. However, there are at least three aspects the study did not directly address, all of which suggest that employers will, in fact, scale back their health insurance offerings: 1) Obamacare is a federal program, not confined to one state.... 2) Obamacare contains fewer restrictions for employers who want to drop coverage.... 3) Obamacare subsidizes more individuals than the Massachusetts plan." (The Heritage Foundation)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

The State and Local Government Workforce: 2013 Trends
"Twenty-two percent of retirement-eligible employees accelerated their retirement date in 2013, the same as 2012. The number of governments making changes to health and retirement benefits remains high, with 56 percent modifying health benefits in 2013 and 44 percent making changes to retirement plans. The change most often cited was to shift more health care costs from the employer to employee (reported 52 percent of governments that made changes). Twenty-eight percent of governments that made changes created wellness programs." (Center for State & Local Government Excellence)

Minnesota Employers Affected by Same-Gender Marriage
"Based on the rules of construction in Minnesota's civil marriage law, it is likely that Minnesota group health insurance contracts will extend coverage to a same-gender spouse if a 'spouse' must be eligible for coverage. However, Minnesota insurance law cannot regulate the terms of the employer's plan, such as the portion of the premium paid by the employer for such coverage.... [E]mployers can design retirement plans to treat same-gender spouses similar to opposite-sex spouses. For example, a retirement plan can name a spouse, regardless of sex, as the default beneficiary, but employers are not required to do so." (Faegre Baker Daniels LLP)

More Thoughts About the Proposed Regs under Code Section 162(m)(6) Capping Deductible Compensation at Covered Health Insurance Providers
"[H]ow does a covered health insurance provider legally 'get around' this ridiculous limit? The answer is that -- generally, it does not get around the limit. It simply loses the deduction. Code Sec. 162(m)(6) has no compensation policy shaping goal or other tax related purpose. Congress intended to make Section 162(m)(6) punitive and, therefore, included no exceptions to the limit." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Press Releases

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