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May 22, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Part Time On Call Retirement Planning Consultant
for Transamerica Retirement Solutions in AR, CA, MO, NC, NY, UT

Retirement Plan Consultant
for TRA, Inc. in ANY STATE, WI

Communications and Marketing Coordinator
for TRA, Inc. in WI

Senior Associate or Lateral Partner
for Kaufman and Canoles, P.C. in VA

Conversion Specialist
for Professional Capital Services in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Understanding the Health Insurance Marketplace Webinar
June 27, 2013 WEBCAST
(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))

Health Insurance Marketplace 101 Webinar
June 26, 2013 WEBCAST
(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))

Health Insurance Marketplace 101 Webinar
July 3, 2013 WEBCAST
(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))

Plan Considerations in Sales, Mergers and Acquisitions
June 18, 2013 in FL
(ASPPA Benefits Council (ABC) of North Florida)

The Roadmap to Employee Disclosures: Best Practices and Practical Solutions to Benefits Communication Overload TeleConference
June 4, 2013 WEBCAST
(American Bar Association (ABA))

Health Care Reform: Tips in Combating Communications Burdens Webinar
May 30, 2013 WEBCAST

NY HR & Employee Benefits Summit
January 27, 2014 in NY
(Forum Events Inc)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


[Guidance Overview]

All Employers Subject to FLSA Must Provide Employees with Notice of Health Insurance Exchanges by October 1
"Whether or not they are required to 'pay or play' under the [ACA], all employers subject to the FLSA must provide their employees with notice. The FLSA generally applies to employers that employ one or more employees and are engaged in, or produce goods for, interstate commerce. The FLSA also covers, among other things, hospitals; schools; institutions of higher education; and federal, state, and local government agencies." (Epstein Becker Green)


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]

New ACA Notice to Employees Must Be Provided by October 1, 2013
"While the marketplaces will not open until fall, and the coverage they offer will not start until January 1, 2014, the [DOL] has announced that notices for current employees must be provided by October 1, 2013, a fairly short timeframe given the potential complexity of preparing the notice and the limited methods of delivery permitted." (Jones Day)

[Guidance Overview]

Due Soon: Notice to Employees of Health Coverage Options
"Part A of the sample Notice for employers that offer health coverage suggests that employees check their summary plan descriptions (SPDs) for more information. You may want to confirm, in advance of sending the Notice, that your SPD is up-to-date or that summaries of material modifications (explanations of changes to your SPD) are available." (Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP)

[Guidance Overview]

Myth: My State Isn't Setting Up a Marketplace So the Affordable Care Act Doesn't Affect Me
"Small employers in all states will be able to compare a range of insurance options for their employees ... This is true whether a business is exploring options for coverage in a state-based Marketplace or a federally-facilitated Marketplace.... In 2014, employers will be able to choose a plan, from a variety of Marketplace options, to offer their employees. In states like California in 2014 and in all states starting in 2015, employers will be able to choose a variety of plans to offer to their employees -- empowering each employee to choose the plan that best suits his or her needs." (U.S. Small Business Administration)

[Guidance Overview]

Proposed ACA Regs on Minimum Value, Premium Tax Credits Help Employers with Health Plan Duties for 2014 (PDF)
"While the safe harbor plan designs described are not yet formally recognized, it is encouraging to see that the government is considering typical high deductible health plans as providing minimum value. Presumably, employers with plans meeting the safe harbors can assume that the plans provide minimum value and disclose this in upcoming employee communications (i.e. the Notice and the Summary of Benefits and Coverage)." (PricewaterhouseCoopers)


Best Practices in Medicare Advantage Member Accounting & Reconciliation

Sponsored by Healthcare Education Associates

Hear from top health plans and vendors -- retroactive reconciliation process, spectacular data validation results, and other nuts and bolts processes that can make or break your plan's financial status. July 25-26, Washington DC. Code HMP164 - 10% discount.

Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers
"The percentage of workers employed part-time has been rising since 2007, increasing from 16.7 percent to 22.2 percent in 2011. Part-time workers have experienced a much larger decline in coverage than full-time workers. Between 2007 and 2011, full-time workers experienced a 2.8 percent reduction in the likelihood of having coverage from their own jobs, while part-time workers experienced a 15.7 percent decline." (EBRI)

Court Approves Consent Judgment Against School Board on Multiple FMLA Violations
"Pursuant to the court-approved consent judgment, the school board has agreed to implement a number of measures to prevent future violations of the FMLA.... Additionally, the school board must review all denied requests for employee leave for the 2012-2013 school year to ensure that it did not interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under the FMLA, and remedy any FMLA-related errors found." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Most Employers Will Continue to Provide Health Coverage Next Year
"The number of employers that plan to keep their grandfathered health plan status continues to decline. The larger the employer, the more likely it is to maintain its grandfathered plan status.... Approximately one in five employers (18%) claimed that they had increased their employees' share of plan premiums to contain costs." (Littler)

Are Profits Making Health Insurance Unaffordable?
"[In] 47% of the comparisons a city's nonprofit plans had the lowest average premium within a given deductible range. For-profit health plans had the lowest premium in 39% of comparisons with the remaining 14% classified as ties since the differences between the nonprofit and for-profit averages were less than 3%." (HealthPocket)

Health Care Costs Consuming the U.S. Economy
"Spending on health care is consuming the American economy, and it will take more than raw data to figure out how to fix the system.... The challenges facing the industry are no longer technical or mathematical, [industry expert Jay Want] said; the system is 'drowning in data.' Instead, the task at hand is transforming information into knowledge and building relationships that will improve care and cut down costs, he said." (Foster's Daily Democrat)

Wellness in the Land of Confusion
"Backed into a corner on May 8 by a panel of experts representing business, advocacy groups and providers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is being pressed to state its position on issues of discrimination within company wellness programs. Until they do, employers may be at risk of violating anti-discrimination laws." (Human Resource Executive Online)

House Lawmakers Grill CMS Over Health Exchange Navigators
"The role of navigators, expected to help millions of uninsured make their way through the health insurance market, came under fire Tuesday by members of Congress who raised questions about oversight and the role of the IRS in the implementation of healthcare reform.... The meeting veered further off topic into concerns over the fundraising efforts of Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services." (HealthLeaders Media)

Market, Insurers Will Keep Premiums Low, Analysts Say
"Market forces and an impetus to attract younger, healthier people into the insurance market will help keep health insurance premiums lower as the 2010 health care law takes effect on Jan. 1, industry analysts and insurance officials say. 'If they price too high, young people won't buy insurance, and that's going to hurt the companies,' said Jay Angoff, who led initial implementation of the law for HHS. 'They need these people to come in. It's an industry problem.'" (USA TODAY)

Loophole in Health Care Law Could Stick Doctors with Tab
"A chain of events would create a two-month period during which a family has medical coverage but no insurer must pay its claims.... Federal law provides a three-month grace period before cancellation -- but insurers are responsible only for the first month. Doctors say the liability might keep many physicians from participating in next year's program." (Sacramento Bee)

New Tool Helps California Healthcare Consumers Compare Prices
"Now patients and doctors will be able to not only compare the frequency of procedures such as heart surgery, childbirth, and joint replacement but also spine procedures, breast cancer treatment and prostate cancer screening and treatment. By comparing one community to another, patients and doctors will be able to make more informed decisions about their individual cases and treatment choices." (NBC Bay Area)

Employers Can Minimize Exposure to Obamacare's Penalties by Offering Low-Cost 'Skinny' Coverage
"[A]ny health insurance plan that is legally sold within a state's boundaries counts as an 'eligible employer-sponsored plan.' In many states, insurers market inexpensive plans that cover a limited range of services.... [E]mployers can offer these inexpensive plans to their workers and thereby avoid the employer mandate's strong penalty.... Nonetheless, Obamacare's designers expressed surprise that employers would do such a thing." (Forbes)

Check Your Health Plan's Subrogation and Reimbursement Language to Eliminate 'Contractual Gaps'
"Plan language should also be examined to avoid the 'contractual gap' with respect to the source and right of repayment of the reimbursed or subrogated claim. For example, the plan's right of recovery should extend to any amount paid with respect to, associated with, or stemming from the injuries incurred whether paid directly or indirectly to the injured party, his spouse, dependents, beneficiaries or estate, or whether held in trust or constructive trust for the benefit of the injured party, his spouse, dependents, beneficiaries or estate. The plan should further provide that amounts shall be recoverable regardless of whether the funds have been commingled with other assets and the plan may recover from any available funds, without the need to trace the source of the funds." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

Sixth Circuit Upholds Summary Judgment for Employers in Two Cases Brought by Terminated Pregnant Employees
"[These two cases] demonstrate that an employee's pregnancy does not immunize her from discipline or termination. This, of course, does not mean that a discipline or termination decision is not going to result in lengthy and costly litigation against a potentially sympathetic plaintiff. Nevertheless, particularly where legitimate business reasons -- whether they be economic or performance-based -- can be documented, the employer may be better served by taking the litigation risk rather than whatever risks may be associated with retaining the employee." (Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP)

FMLA Blunders Allow Employee's Lawsuit to Move Forward
"Two areas where [the employer] dropped the ball: Curry's supervisor was on record as having said she wasn't happy that Curry had requested medical leave, and [the employer] had no paperwork to back up its claims that Curry was terminated for timekeeping violations or performance issues." [Curry v. Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:11CV-00093-JHM (W.D. Ky. Apr. 8, 2013)] (HRBenefits Alert)


Will Obamacare Implementation Really Be a 'Train Wreck'?
"[T]here are a few key indicators to watch over the next few months to assess how well implementation is progressing ... [1] can individual and small group purchasers of health insurance in the new marketplaces afford the likely cost? ... [2] will state marketplaces be operational by October? ... [3] CMS did not get the nearly $1 billion they said they need for outreach and implementation of the marketplaces. While this seems like a lot of money, it is not nearly enough to accomplish the task, especially given the difficulties CMS will have with some of the consumers they are trying to enroll -- low-income, less healthy, and 'young invincible' consumers, many of whom have not had insurance before." (Brookings)


Text of Comments by U.S. Chamber of Commerce on HRA Provisions of ACA FAQ XI (PDF)
"[T]he Chamber understands that the Departments believe that any employer subsidy to buy individual health insurance ... violates PPACA's annual limit proscription.... We believe that employers around the country are completely unaware that in nine months' time, the Departments intend to prohibit many common arrangements ... Under these non-HRA arrangements, employers typically reimburse employees for all or part of the cost of the individual coverage they obtain. The [IRS] long ago concluded that such arrangements qualify as tax-free employer-provided health coverage ... We believe that interpreting the PPACA as prohibiting such arrangements runs counter to the central goals of the PPACA, which are to make health insurance coverage more affordable and to increase the number of individuals insured in the United States." (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

IRS Provides Tax Relief to Oklahoma Tornado Victims; Return Filing and Tax Payment Deadlines Extended to Sept. 30 (PDF)
"[A]ffected taxpayers in Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties will receive special tax relief. Other locations may be added in coming days based on additional damage assessments by FEMA. The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on May 18, 2013.... Beyond the relief provided to taxpayers in the FEMA-designated co unties, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose books, records or tax professional are located in the areas affected by these storms. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227." (Internal Revenue Service)

2013 Comp Survey: Finance Pros See Healthy Salary Increase
"Overall, financial professionals garnered an average increase in their base salary of 3.4 percent in 2012, up from the 3.3 percent increase reported in last year's survey. The executive level earned the greatest percentage increase -- 3.8 percent. Management level financial professionals had an average increase of 3.5 percent, with those at the staff level garnering an average increase of 3.1 percent." (Association for Financial Professionals)

NYSE and NASDAQ Compensation Committee Adviser Independence Rules Become Effective July 1, 2013
"Publicly traded companies are reminded of the approaching deadline for compliance with certain of the SEC-approved final amendments of the NYSE and Nasdaq stock exchange listing rules governing compensation committee independence: By July 1, 2013, compensation committees must have the authority to retain and pay outside consultants, legal counsel and other advisers and the responsibility to consider certain independence factors before selecting such advisers." (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Section Blog)

Press Releases

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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