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May 17, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Manager of Retirement Plans
for Northern NJ Benefit Consulting firm in NJ

Senior Manager, Billing and Eligibility
for Associated Third Party Administrators in CA

Attorney
for BakerHostetler in OH

Retirement Plan Relationship Manager
for AEPG Wealth Strategies in NJ

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Webcasts and Conferences

Predictive Modeling Web Summit
June 13, 2013
(MCOL) WEBCAST

Retail Consumer Strategies for 2014: Healthcare Marketplace Shift from B2B to B2C
June 26, 2013
(MCOL) WEBCAST

Corporate Wellness Programs - Measuring Success Seminar
June 20, 2013
(New England Employee Benefits Council) in MA

401(k) Fees: Benchmarking What You're Responsible For and How to Make Appropriate Comparisons
July 25, 2013
(TRI-AD) WEBCAST

Orlando ERISA Update Seminar
August 22, 2013
(GrayRobinson, P.A.) in FL

Retirement Plan Insights Seminar
August 6, 2013
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.) in MA

View All Webcasts and Conferences


 

[Guidance Overview]

Notices Must Inform Employees About ACA Insurance Exchanges
"[T]he model Marketplace Notice describes affordability in terms of whether the cost of coverage exceeds 9.5% of the employee's wages from the employer, not the statutory threshold of 9.5% of the employee's household income. The model notice contains certain optional provisions on its last page that are intended to help ensure that employees understand their coverage options, but will require the notice to be customized for different groups of employees ... [T]hese optional provisions may not be practical at larger employers." (Vedder Price)


[Advert.]

Controlling Health Care Costs With Self-Funded Plans May 31, 2013

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

This live audio conference examines the factors that may motivate employers to self-insure and the way incentives to self-insure might change after PPACA becomes effective. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Proposed Regs Address Minimum Value, Affordability, Wellness
"Recently issued proposed regulations provide important clarifications on how employers determine minimum value, and how those determinations impact their compliance with the Act. The proposed rule also clarifies the relationships among minimum value and affordability, on the one hand, and wellness programs, Health Reimbursement Accounts and Health Savings Accounts, on the other.... [A] table summarizes the rules governing wellness programs, HSAs and HRAs[.]" (Mintz Levin)

Plan Administrators Not Always Required to Obtain Vocational Evidence or IME Before Making Long-Term Disability Determinations
"'[A] plan administrator is not required to obtain vocational evidence where the medical evidence contained in the record provides substantial support for a finding that the claimant is not totally and permanently disabled.' ... [T]he file reviewers 'made no credibility determinations about [the claimant] and did not second-guess [the claimant's] treating physicians.' For those reasons, the [Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit] held that 'MetLife did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in conducting a file review.'" (Lane Powell PC)

Wellness: Not Just About Health
"The simple truth of the matter is that healthier employees cost less. Employees with chronic health conditions often cost the bulk of healthcare costs. In reality, companies that have effectively developed a wellness culture also realize cost savings in reference to retention, recruitment, reputation, and employee engagement." (Healthcare Reform Magazine)

Posting of Proposed Premiums May Push Competition
"Proposed prices for Bronze-level individual coverage [in Oregon] ranged from $169 to $422, prompting at least one carrier to seek permission to go back to the drawing board ... [C]arriers will be allowed to resubmit bids as long as they can demonstrate a change is justified. Any additional information provided by the carrier won't supersede or replace information contained in the filing, and the division will not accept revised filing exhibits, such as rate tables or actuarial memoranda ... Carriers that propose low rates have likely made a strategic decision to grab market share early in the game, and might opt to adjust prices upward in the second year[.]" (AISHealth.com)


[Advert.]

Are you ready for the new reality for employer-sponsored healthcare?

Sponsored by University Conference Services

50+ workshops led by benefits experts prepare you for the challenges of complying with ACA, containing costs, understanding exchanges and more. Exclusively for employers. Earn 16 HRCI recertification credits. 99% of past attendees recommend this program!


Study Points to a Declining Cost Curve for U.S. Medicines in 2012
"[T]otal dollars spent on medications in the U.S. reached $325.8 billion last year, or real per capita spending of $898, down $33 from 2011. Underlying drivers for the overall decline in healthcare service use included fewer patient visits to office-based physicians, fewer non-emergency admissions to hospitals and outpatient facilities, and a less severe flu season in the early part of 2012. Patent expiries in 2012 contributed $28.9 billion to the reduction in medicine spending. This was their largest-ever impact as millions of patients accessed lower-cost generic versions of additional medicines." (IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics)

Health Law's Cadillac Tax Bite on Companies Drops by $57 Billion
"The U.S. health-care law's projected tax bite on businesses with more generous health benefits is dropping as medical spending slows and employers look to rein in the cost of coverage. The [ACA's] so-called Cadillac tax on high-premium health plans was initially projected [by the CBO] to bring in $137 billion over the next decade. That estimate has now been trimmed to about $80 billion, a $57 billion decrease[.]" (Bloomberg)

Fourth Circuit Court to Hear Challenge to Healthcare Reform's Employer Mandate
"The parties will address whether the Anti-Injunction Act applies to the employer mandate (after the Supreme Court's decision that it did not apply to the dispute involving the individual mandate), whether the employer mandate exceeds Congress' powers under the Commerce, Necessary and Proper, and Taxing and Spending clauses of the Constitution, and the impact of the Equal Protection, Free Exercise of Religion, and Establishment Clauses on the employer mandate and other insurance mandates, such as the requirement to cover preventative care, including contraceptive drugs. Importantly, Liberty University's claims regarding Congress' power to enact the employer mandate under the Commerce, Necessary and Proper and/or Taxing and Spending clauses of the Constitution apply to all employers -- both secular and religious." (Healthcare Reform Digest)

California Interpreters Push State for More Trained Healthcare Interpreters
"During the next five years, with the implementation of health care reform, more than 3 million Californians will require language assistance in health care. By state and federal law, these Californians must have access to translating services. And yet, the state does not yet have a clear plan for how a rapidly growing number of patients will access the care to which they are entitled and need." (AFSCME)

IFEBP Survey Finds Confidence in Continued Employer-Sponsored Health Care
"[T]he vast majority of employers (90 percent) have moved beyond a 'wait and see mode' and are actively developing tactics and taking steps to deal with new rules and regulations stemming from the new health care reform law.... 69 percent of employers stated they will definitely continue to provide employer-sponsored health care when health exchanges come online in 2014 -- a 23 point increase from 2012 (46 percent). Another quarter of respondents (25 percent) stated they are very likely to continue their employer-sponsored health care offering." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

[Opinion]

Job-Based Health Coverage and the ACA: Why the Law Won't Cause Employers to Drop Coverage (PDF)
"Ninety-eight percent of businesses with 200 or more workers and 94 percent of businesses with 50 to 199 workers offered insurance to their employees in 2012. Employers have overwhelmingly said that they are unlikely to change their policy of offering coverage for their employees under the [ACA]. A recent study found that 82 percent of employers with 100 to 199 workers and 95 percent of employers with 1,000 to 2,499 workers do not anticipate dropping health insurance in the next one to three years." (Families USA)

[Opinion]

The Cruel Things Obama Is Doing to the Labor Market
"[E]mployers are already reacting to ObamaCare. In fact, there was a huge shift to part-time employment in the fast-food industry beginning in January. The reason: ... in deciding whether a worker is full-time or part-time next January (when the mandate becomes effective) the government will look at the average weekly hours worked in the previous year. One fast-food restaurant owner ... (owning 100 franchises) [reported] that the average workweek for their employees has been reduced to 25 hours this year -- compared with 38 last year." (John Goodman, via Forbes)

[Opinion]

Text of Comments to CMS on Advance Notice of Methodological Changes for Calendar Year 2014 for Medicare Advantage Capitation Rates (PDF)
"Our comments relate solely to the proposal that Part D sponsors should require their network retail and mail pharmacies to obtain patient consent to deliver new or refill prescriptions prior to each delivery.... An alternative approach that strengthens protections for both Medicare beneficiaries and the Part D program would be to develop balanced, workable guidelines that require affirmative written or electronic consent when patients opt in to an automatic refill program and the opportunity for beneficiaries to opt out of an automatic refill program entirely or for any particular medication." (American Benefits Council)

[Opinion]

The 'Burden' of High Deductibles
"The folks at Harvard really, really hate cost sharing (i.e., deductibles, coinsurance and co-pays) in health care. They are much less concerned about high premiums or taxes.... The authors are remarkably unconcerned about what it would have cost these unsubsidized families to avoid such burdens. But they include a table that provides a hint -- if you compare the difference in annual premium to the annual deductible ... Gold plans have zero deductibles." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)

[Opinion]

Testimony Before the Health Committee of the District of Columbia Council, Supporting Mandatory Use of Exchange for Purchase of Individual or Small Business Health Insurance
"Designing the best exchange for the District has been challenging because DC's health insurance market is small and highly concentrated. There are only four carriers one of which one controls more than three quarters of the individual and small group markets.... In a small market with a dominant insurer, it is essential that the exchange risk pool be as inclusive as possible, both to stabilize the exchange -- which is the only source of federal subsidies for District residents with modest incomes -- and to maximize transparency and competition." (Brookings)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

IRS Statement on Court Ruling Prohibiting Testing of Tax Return Preparers
"In accordance with this order, tax return preparers covered by this program are not required to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. The ruling does not affect the regulatory practice requirements for CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents or enrolled actuaries.... Fee amounts collected for scheduled registered tax return preparer test appointments canceled due to the court ordered injunction are being refunded. Additionally, fees collected from return preparers who tested on or after January 18, 2013, the date the test was enjoined, are also being refunded." (Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Spotlights Problematic Compensation Practices at Colleges and Universities (PDF)
"The IRS has released its final report on the tax-exempt colleges and universities study, which began in 2008. Examination of employment returns for roughly one-third of the schools resulted in wage adjustments of about $36 million and over $7 million in taxes and penalties. Problems with retirement plan reporting resulted in additional wage increases, taxes, and penalties. These findings underscore the need for schools -- and other tax-exempt organizations -- to establish a process to set and provide appropriate executive compensation on an ongoing basis." (Buck Consultants)

Obama Appoints Daniel Werfel as Acting Head of IRS
"President Obama on Thursday appointed senior budget adviser Daniel Werfel as the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service... Werfel has served for most of the Obama administration as controller of the Office of Management and Budget, overseeing federal procurement, financial disclosure and working to fight waste. A lawyer by training who also worked as a budget official in the George W. Bush administration, Werfel has helped reduce the administration's level of improper payments to contractors and has been working to manage the mandatory budget cuts known as the sequester." (The Washington Post)

Reinhart Employee Benefits Update, May 2013 (PDF)
Articles include: Summary of Description of Material Modifications for Calendar Year Plans; PBGC Issues Proposed Regulations on Reportable Events and Other Notification Requirements; IRS Provides Relief from the Anti-Cutback Requirements for Certain ESOP Amendments; FAQs on SBC Requirements and Updated SBC Template for 2014; IRS Proposes Regulations on Determining Minimum Value; Supreme Court Issues Decision in US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen. (Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.)

The Duty of Advisors to Investigate Their Independence as to the Compensation Committee
"Inquiring minds want to know: 'Mike, how is Winston figuring out how to test for a "business or personal" relationship between the Firm and any director or executive officer of the client?' The answer is that law firm (and most other professional service firms) tend to have a good idea of all of their connections and relationships within a client." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Companies Work to Improve Say-on-Pay Outcomes in 2013 After Disappointing Earlier Votes
"A number of factors have contributed to enhanced shareholder support in 2013, including improved performance at some companies and reduced incentive payouts at companies where performance has lagged, driving better pay-for-performance alignment. Additionally, improved say-on-pay results have occurred due to the results of companies engaging shareholders and responding to concerns raised when voting on previous say-on-pay resolutions." (Towers Watson)

New NYSE and NASDAQ Compensation Committee Rules: Questions Clients Are Asking
Includes overview of the rules, followed by numerous Q&As. Excerpt: "Will the new rules prohibit a board designee of a significant stockholder from serving on the compensation committee of a listed company? ... Does a compensation consultant or other adviser need to be engaged by the compensation committee for the rules to be applicable? ... How does a company determine whether an adviser is providing services to the compensation committee? ... Do the new rules require that compensation consultants, outside legal counsel and other advisers providing advice to the compensation committee be independent?" (Bass, Berry & Sims)

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