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May 16, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Corporate Benefits Manager
for PVH Corp. in NJ

401(k) Recordkeeper/Account Manager
for AAAA Benefits, Inc. in NC

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Northeast Professional Planning Group, Inc. in NY

Retirement Plan Document Sr. Specialist
for Charles Schwab in TX

Retirement Recordkeeping Director
for Charles Schwab in TX

Plan Implementation Manager
for Aspire Financial Services in FL

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Third Party Retirement Plan Administration Firm in GA

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Webcasts and Conferences

2013 Health Meeting
June 10, 2013
(Society of Actuaries) in MD

Medical School for Actuaries Seminar
June 12, 2013
(Society of Actuaries) in MD

Introduction to Reinsurance Boot Camp
June 12, 2013
(Society of Actuaries) in MD

Current Developments - Spring 2013 Webcast
June 11, 2013
(ASC Institute) WEBCAST

The Pension Risk Transfer Process: A Dietrich & Associates hosted live webinar
May 23, 2013
(Dietrich & Associates, Inc.) WEBCAST

Health Care Reform for Employers: Now What?
June 12, 2013
(Lorman Education Services) in LA

Self-Auditing Your Employee Benefits: A Guide to What May Need Fixing
June 12, 2013
(Lorman Education Services) WEBCAST

Health Care Reform for Employers: Now What?
June 18, 2013
(Lorman Education Services) in IN

IRC Section 105(h) Testing and Design Alternatives 2013
June 24, 2013
(Lorman Education Services) WEBCAST

Executive Compensation: Strategy, Design, and Implementation Seminar
June 20, 2013
(American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Group (ALI CLE)) in NY

Executive Compensation: Strategy, Design, and Implementation Webcast
June 20, 2013
(American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Group (ALI CLE)) WEBCAST

A Busy 2013 for Executive Compensation Webcast
June 20, 2013
(Winston & Strawn) WEBCAST

Texas HR & Employee Benefits Summit
July 15, 2013
(Forum Events Inc) in TX

Government, Legal and Regulatory Conference 2013
June 17, 2013
(Insured Retirement Institute (IRI)) in DC

Ethics for Professional Plan Administrators
June 18, 2013
(National Institute of Pension Administrators) WEBCAST

View All Webcasts and Conferences


[Official Guidance]

CMS Announces $1 Billion Initiative to Launch Health Care Innovation Awards
"This second round of Health Care Innovation Awards will fund applicants that have a high likelihood of driving health care system transformation and delivering better outcomes.... Made possible by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Innovation Awards provides another opportunity to improve the quality of health care and bring down costs for taxpayers and patients." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


DATAIR! 5500 Filing for Welfare, Flex & Pension Plans

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[Guidance Overview]

More Guidance on Health Insurance Marketplaces: Three Sets of FAQs Released by HHS
"The first set of section 1311 funding FAQs primarily summarizes earlier guidance on state activities in federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) and state partnership marketplace (SPM) states, but in some instances goes into greater detail.... The Consumer Partnership FAQ states again that section 1311 prohibits HHS from using such funding for state navigator programs.... The final ... FAQ set covers a number of topics. It begins with two questions on oversight of state-operated premium stabilization, advance payment of premium tax credits, and cost-sharing reduction payment programs." (Timothy Jost in Health Affairs)

Employer Roundtable Discussion: The Future of Health Care Benefits
"[A]bsent some needed guidance about nondiscrimination rules, it is difficult for [employers] to move forward, and options for replacing employer-sponsored coverage and paying penalties are still too immature for most employers to seriously consider for their active employee population.... Most roundtable participants had not yet considered potentially leveraging public exchanges and paying a penalty to enable employees more affordable options, but were intrigued with the idea." (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Report Predicts Drop in Health Care Costs During Retirement
"For only the second time since [2002], Fidelity Investments reported ... that the average projected cost of health care expenses for retirees has gone down. A 65-year-old couple exiting the workforce in 2013 is estimated to need $220,000 to cover health care costs throughout their retirement, an 8% decrease from last year's $240,000.... Fidelity Benefits Consulting ... does not include nursing home costs in its projections, which apply to retirees with traditional Medicare insurance coverage." (Employee Benefit News)

Utah Gets Approval for Unique Dual-Model Exchange
"Utah is set to become the only state in the country with a dual-model health insurance exchange, which will be split into two parts that will be run separately by Utah and federal officials.... The two exchanges will operate completely independently of each other, including providing their own navigators and certifying health plans for each online marketplace." (FierceHealthPayer)

California Counties Still Not Prepared to Offer Expanded Mental Health Care
"When the final phase of the new federal health care law starts in January of next year, more California residents than ever before will be able to seek help for problems ranging from depression, anxiety, and addiction to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But mental health providers in the state's Central Valley are unprepared for an influx of thousands of patients. State and county officials remain in the planning phases, even though new patients will be able to access these services in less than nine months." (HealthyCal)

Reducing Retiree Medical Costs with an Indirect Employer Group Waiver Plan with Wrap Arrangement (PDF)
"[T]he Indirect Employer Group Waiver (EGWP) with Wrap arrangement, using a Standard Medicare Part D plan design and a second plan that wraps around the EGWP [can produce] annual savings [of] as much as $600 per person greater than under the Retiree Drug Subsidy. However, effective communication with participating retirees is essential for its success." (Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company)

Marilyn Tavenner Confirmed as Medicaid and Medicare Chief
"Fierce disagreements over health policy had made confirmation difficult for any nominee for the Medicare job. Ms. Tavenner, a nurse who worked for more than two decades at the Hospital Corporation of America, will be the first Senate-confirmed administrator since Dr. Mark B. McClellan stepped down in October 2006." (The New York Times)

Subsidy Calculator: Premium Assistance for Coverage in Exchanges
"This tool illustrates health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in new health insurance exchanges ... created by the [ACA]. Beginning in October 2013, middle-income people under age 65, who are not eligible for coverage through their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare, can apply for tax credit subsidies available through state-based exchanges." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

2013 Group Health Plan Notices Calendar
"The 2013 edition of the Group Health Plan Notices Calendar features a number of important updates as a result of new requirements under Health Care Reform, including the new Model Exchange Notices required to be distributed by all employers no later than October 1, 2013." (hr360; registration required)

Cancer Patients Found to Be at Greater Risk for Bankruptcy
"[C]ancer patients were 2.65 times more likely to go bankrupt than people without cancer. Younger cancer patients had 2-5 times higher rates of bankruptcy than cancer patients age sixty-five or older ... Medicare and Social Security may mitigate bankruptcy risk for the older group.... [E]mployers and governments may have a policy role to play in creating programs and incentives that could help people cover expenses in the first year following a cancer diagnosis." (Health Affairs)

Take Me Out to the Ballgame ... and Sign Me Up for Health Insurance
"So, what's the best way to get the word out about the ACA, the exchanges, and the importance of signing up for health insurance? ... [T]he first answer is obvious to everyone -- Facebook! And, of course, it was obvious to the folks in charge, so we have Healthcare.gov on FB.... [H]ere are a few other ideas to spread the word: Celebrity tweets.... Sporting events.... School kids.... Public transportation." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

California Health Insurance Exchange Announces Grants
"Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, announced $37 million in grants Tuesday to begin the massive task of educating millions of Californians about the new healthcare law. The grants will go to 48 organizations, including universities, nonprofit groups, health foundations and unions. They will help state officials explain the new benefits, show people how to access insurance, and encourage small businesses to enroll." (Los Angeles Times)

Characteristics and Employment of Applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance Over the Business Cycle
"[The authors] find that almost all of the increase in applications and allowances during recession periods is due to increasing applications and allowances of people whose applications are either rejected or determined by vocational factors. People who apply during economic downturns also have lower income and assets at the time of application and lower earnings several years after application." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)


Yes, the 37th Obamacare Repeal Vote Matters
"It's easy to write off these votes as pure political spectacle with no substantial [meaning]. Members of Congress can tell their constituents that they voted to repeal Obamacare and move on to other issues. But there's actually a compelling case on the other side, that these actions do really matter in a substantive way. This slew of three dozen repeal votes have changed both how the Affordable Care Act works and how the public perceives it." (Sarah Kliff, in The Washington Post)


Wal-Mart Could Transform Health Care -- But Does It Want To?
"Back in 2007, Princeton University's Uwe Reinhardt suggested to NPR that Wal-Mart could be 'taking aim at the entire health care system' by expanding its new discount drug program.... And in subsequent years, Wal-Mart did grow its health care footprint, from launching retail clinics based within its stores to advocating for national health reform. Considering its history -- as recently as 2005, Wal-Mart had little involvement in the health care market and was being pilloried for skimping on its own employees' benefits -- it's been a significant turnaround for the firm, and has positioned Wal-Mart as one of the leading disruptive innovators in health care." (The Health Care Blog)


Your Next IRS Political Audit: Tax Agency Gets Vast New Powers Under ACA
"To monitor compliance with these rules, the IRS and HHS are now building the largest personal information database the government has ever attempted.... Good luck in advance to anyone who gets caught in this system's gears, assuming it even works. Centralizing so much personal information in one place is another invitation for the IRS wigglers in some regional office -- or maybe higher up -- to make political decisions about enforcement." (The Wall Street Journal)


Obamacare Is Not About Health Care -- It's About Power
"Obamacare's heavy reliance on the IRS seems somehow fitting, as the entire law relies on a scheme of government controls and regulations to work its will on the health care system. The law imposes price controls on insurance companies and extends a system of price controls for pharmaceutical companies. Obamacare also places a board of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at the center of its plans to control health care costs." (The Heritage Foundation)


More Analysis of the Oregon Medicaid Experiment
"[B]ased on statistically insignificant effects of coverage from the Oregon Experiment: (1) The effects that are closest to statistical significance are that coverage would increase the rate of smoking and damage the cardiovascular prognosis of sick people; (2) the best estimated net effect on total population cardiovascular health is extraordinarily tiny; (3) this effect would be achieved by making the sick sicker, while very slightly improving the health of already healthy people; and (4) this effect is almost certainly unattractive on a risk-adjusted basis." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)


How Many Pages of Regs for Obamacare?
"At the very least, one can point to 10,000 pages of tiny regulatory type regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Frankly, this is to be expected in any large and complex governmental undertaking. Depending on your perspective, the visual of a seven-foot-high pile of documents may be meaningful -- or not." (The Washington Post)


Smoking Determined to be 'Preexisting Condition' by D.C. Regulators
"[In the District of Columbia,] henceforth insurers shall be forbidden by law to charge smokers higher rates than non-smokers. Smoking, as it turns out, 'is a preexisting medical condition,' according to Dr. Mohammad Akhter, the chairman of the D.C. Health Exchange Board. Two liberal states, California and Connecticut, have decided likewise, while Colorado and Alaska have rejected the idea. As expected, the definition of 'preexisting condition' is proving infinitely malleable, with behaviors born again as conditions." (National Review)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

IRS to Be Closed on May 24 and Four Other Days -- Filing and Payment Deadlines Unchanged (PDF)
"The Internal Revenue Service announced ... additional details about the closures planned for May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30, 2013.... [A]ll IRS operations will be closed on those days. This means that all IRS offices, including all toll-free hotlines, the Taxpayer Advocate Service and the agency's nearly 400 taxpayer assistance centers nationwide, will be closed on those days.... No tax returns will be processed and no compliance-related activities will take place." (Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]

Minnesota Employers Affected by Same-Gender Marriage
"Generally, self-funded medical plans and retirement plans are not required, but can offer, coverage or survivor benefits, respectively, to an employee's same-gender spouse. For insured plans, new and renewed contracts underwritten in Minnesota will likely be required to cover a spouse of a same-gender marriage, but there should be future guidance on this and other interpretation issues." (Faegre Baker Daniels LLP)

Minnesota Legislation Allowing Same-Gender Marriage: Impact on Employee Benefit Plans
"An employer who provides coverage under an insured life insurance plan will likely find that spouse is defined to include a same-gender spouse so that same gender spouses will likely be eligible for spousal life insurance coverage and will be considered default beneficiaries." (Dorsey & Whitney LLP)

CEO Pay Levels Increased Slightly in 2012 as Companies Continue to Navigate Say-On-Pay Era
"After seeing CEO pay jump a significant 11 percent in 2010, 2012 marked the second consecutive year that total compensation showed only modest increases. Base salaries grew 1.3 percent to $1.15 million in 2012, while annual incentive payments were flat at $2.1 million. For the third year in a row, however, long-term incentives (LTI) increased, growing 3.8 percent to $7 million. In sum, total direct compensation increased a modest 3.6 percent to $10.1 million in 2012." (Hay Group)

Proposed Deferred Pay Rules Present Tax-Saving Opportunities
"Until the Section 409A regulations are finalized, the proposed rules can be used to correct unvested amounts deferred under a plan in the year of failure before the amounts vest without disclosure ... Alternatively, employers that want greater certainty and are willing to follow expanded reporting requirements could subject their deferred pay programs to the IRS correction program[.]" (Bloomberg BNA)

2013 Say on Pay Results as of May 15
"So far 1,175 companies have held Say on Pay votes in 2013. 13 companies have failed with an average 61% 'Against' vote.... 73% of companies have received a greater than 90% 'For' vote." [Article includes chart with breakdown by company size and industry.] (Steven Hall & Partners)

Press Releases

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