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June 7, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Risk Consultant
for OneAmerica Financial Partners in IN

Defined Benefit Retirement Administrator
for Belcan in AZ

401(k) Administrator
for Swerdlin & Company in GA

Business Analyst
for McCamish Systems, An Infosys Company in GA

Executive Director
for Taft-Hartley Benefit Funds in IL

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Webcasts and Conferences

Getting UnstuckŪ Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance (WiPN Boston Regional Event)
June 20, 2013 in MA
(Women in Pensions Network)

Executive Compensation, 28th Annual National Institute
November 4, 2013 in NY
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits)

EBIA's Advanced Cafeteria Plans and Benefits Conference 2013
July 10, 2013 in WA
(Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

Strengthening the Multiemployer Pension System: What Reforms Should Policymakers Consider? (Hearing - Live Webcast)
June 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Frequently Asked Questions (Set II) on Rate Review Cycle III Funding Opportunity
Seven questions and answers, including: "Can a state agency act as the Data Center under this grant opportunity? ... Can a grant application focus on price transparency or must the application link Cycle III grant funding to enhanced rate review? ... Can grant funds be used to work with an existing All-Payer Claims Database and focus on price transparency as part of a rate review program? ... Does CMS retain a list of 'qualified' Data Centers?" (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


Self-Auditing Your Employee Benefits - June 12, 2013

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

This live audio conference gives you a legal and a practical perspective for each type of benefit plan. Helps you identify and prioritize so you can focus your time and resources on the important areas. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.

[Official Guidance]

Text of Technical Corrections to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules (PDF)
9 pages. "HHS has discovered a number of minor inadvertent errors and omissions in citations, and one typographical error, in several provisions of the HIPAA Rules.... [W]ith one exception, the errors and omissions are related to the modifications made in the final rule published on January 25, 2013. This final rule contains technical corrections to the HIPAA Rules to revise these errors and omissions[.]" (Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

[Guidance Overview]

Final Wellness Program Rules -- Beware What You Wish For
"The Agencies even say that there may be wellness programs hiding within other wellness programs -- requiring employers and plan sponsors to examine the rules at even a more granular level than ever before. With all the differentiation in wellness programs and the hyper-analysis that is now required, all of this leads employers and plan sponsors to what is now becoming a familiar tune for wellness programs. That is, if you have seen one wellness program, you have only seen one wellness program." (Kilpatrick Townsend)

Glitches Expected in Health-Exchange Websites
"'Something will be up and running on Oct. 1' when open enrollment starts, said Dan ... a former director of technology for Utah's health-insurance exchange. 'It will be full of issues, bugs and technological challenges,' he added.... [T]he chief information officer of Access Health CT, Connecticut's health-insurance exchange ... had hoped to be finished building his system by now, but changes made by the federal government in recent weeks -- such as shortening the application consumers fill out -- are forcing programmers to redesign parts of the state's website." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that FEGLIA Preempts State Laws Purporting to Change Designated Life Insurance Beneficiary (PDF)
"Although the Court's decision focused on the language and purposes of FEGLIA, Maretta is likely to bear on similar preemption questions that arise under other benefits programs, such as ERISA and FEHBA.... The Court's conclusion that preemption turns on a practical view of the effect of state law could have a significant effect on these cases, which continue to perplex the lower courts" (Winston & Strawn LLP)

ACA and Employer Costs: Are Employers Too Optimistic?
"[A recent survey] showed that 33% of respondents expected the [ACA] not to increase health care costs at all, 29% expected the ACA to increase health care costs by one to two percent ... [A] full 64% of respondents had not completed a formal analysis of the cost impact of the ACA. Seven percent were unsure if they had or not, and 29% had completed a cost impact analysis." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Employers Act to Control Prescription Drug Spending
"A majority of U.S. employers (71 percent) spent 16 percent or more of their total health care budget on pharmacy benefits ... Ninety-nine percent of respondents provided active employees with prescription drug coverage, an increase from 96 percent ... in 2011. Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported that affordable pharmacy benefits will have a major impact on containing health care costs over the long run." (Society for Human Resource Management)

The Path to Defined Contribution (Infographic)
"In 2012, 31% of firms that offer health benefits offer a high deductible plan, compared to 15% in 2010 ... The number of tax advantaged healthcare spending accounts is expected to nearly double from 32.8 million in 2011 to 61.6 million in 2015[.]" (Alegeus Technologies)

Independent Contractor/Employee Classification and the ACA (PDF)
"[S]ignificant costs may be associated with providing (or not providing) health care coverage for employees under the [ACA]. There are no such costs for independent contractors. Misclassification poses expensive dangers for companies[.]" [Article revised July 9, 2013.] (Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP)

Will New Health Insurance Be Too Expensive for America's Lowest-Paid?
"While the employees might say they're interested in employer coverage, 'we believe they will opt out,' says [one small business owner]. His reasoning? 'They'd rather have the cash than pay the employee portion of the premium.' ... [M]any low-wage workers could remain uninsured next year, despite the law's subsidies and penalties." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)

Consumers Saved $2.1B On Individual Coverage Under ACA
"[R]esearchers estimate that premiums for the 11 million Americans who buy their own insurance would have been $1.9 billion higher in 2012 without the law. Some consumers will also see rebates estimated at $241 million, which will be sent out later this year. While not every consumer saw savings or a rebate, the researchers estimated that the savings averaged $204 per person." (Kaiser Health News)

Vermont's Decision to Deny CO-OP a Place on the Exchange Is Likely to Stand
"In May, Vermont became the only state (out of 24) to reject a healthcare consumer-oriented and -operated plan, which had hoped to offer products in the state's health insurance exchange.... In denying the CO-OP's license, state regulators pointed to a laundry list of concerns, including unaffordable rates, unrealistically high enrollment projections, and the risk of insolvency.... CO-OP officials said they were blindsided by the ruling, and came out swinging." (HealthLeaders InterStudy)

Few Insurance Carriers to Participate in NC Health Insurance Exchange
"Only Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coventry and FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Co. in Pinehurst will participate in the individual exchange next year, though other carriers could join and offer products in future years. That compares to about seven carriers who now offer individual insurance products in North Carolina." (Business Courier)

A Health Information Technology Framework For The Accountable Care Environment
"Unlike the capitation models contracted by commercial insurers as Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) products in the 1990s, today's arrangements emphasize quality and patient-centered care. They also rely on health information technologies which hold significant potential to enable high value care." (Health Affairs)

A Demographic and Geographic Analysis of the Uninsured After Implementation of the ACA
"if all currently undecided states opt-in, 29.8 million people will remain uninsured, whereas if all opt-out, the number of uninsured will total 31.0 million, 1.2 million above the opt-in scenario.... Overall, the ACA will minimally alter the demographic composition of the uninsured, regardless of whether undecided states opt-in or out." (Health Affairs)

Medicaid-Supported Senior Centers Luring Relatively Healthy Clients in New York City
"[T]he Cuomo administration's Medicaid redesign ... has rapidly transferred tens of thousands of elderly and disabled people from a fee-for-service system to managed care, in an attempt to reduce Medicaid spending and nursing home use. Under the new system, managed care plans get roughly $3,800 a month for each eligible person they enroll in New York City, regardless of what services are provided." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)

Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries of Medicare and Medicaid: Characteristics, Health Care Spending, and Evolving Policies
"Federal and state policymakers have growing concerns about the high costs of dual-eligible beneficiaries -- particularly full duals -- as well as about the appropriateness of the care they receive and the ways in which the separate structures of Medicare and Medicaid may affect their costs and care.... Those separate funding streams, and the different payment rates and coverage rules within them, create conflicting financial incentives for the federal and state governments and for health care providers, potentially increasing the costs of care." (Congressional Budget Office)

Premium Assistance in Medicaid: Policy Issues and Next Steps
"Skeptics of premium assistance contend the option is less attractive than first thought. States must show that the novel model is cost-effective compared to enrolling people in Medicaid. They must also ensure that the coverage provided through exchange plans is consistent with federal Medicaid requirements" (Health Affairs)


Evidence Supports Medicare For All
"Acknowledging Medicare's greater success at controlling costs than private insurance plans, [a recent article] raise[d] the specter of 'underprovision of services' and doctors leaving the system if Medicare were universal. But Medicare patients are significantly less likely to have problems with access to care and medical bills than non-elderly adults with private insurance, according to a recent study ... The same study found that Medicare beneficiaries are also more satisfied with their coverage than people with private insurance." (Health Affairs)


Some Youths Unlikely to Pay for Obamacare Coverage
"Consider, for example, a 27-year-old earning about $34,000 a year. He now could buy health insurance for about $200 a month. However, the new rules and more generous benefits required under the health law mean he would have to pay about $300 a month instead. He could get a subsidy of about $20 a month but, even with that, he still would be paying nearly $1,000 a year more for health insurance than without the law." (Galen Institute)


Will Young Adults Want Obamacare? Let's Ask a Young Person Who'd Know.
"The term 'young invincibles' is a health insurance industry term. It tries to explain the fact that young people are disproportionately uninsured.... [P]eople just dramatically underestimate how hard it is for someone who [doesn't] get health insurance at their job to get health insurance. Less than 50 percent of young adults get employer-sponsored health insurance." (The Washington Post)

[Official Guidance]

Text of NASDAQ Reminder About Approaching Deadline for Compensation Committee Listing Standards (PDF)
"Compensation committees for NASDAQ-listed companies must have certain responsibilities and authority by July 1, 2013.... NASDAQ Listing Rule 5605(d)(3) ... requires a compensation committee to have: The sole discretion to retain or obtain the advice of a compensation consultant, legal counsel or other adviser, and the direct responsibility for the appointment, compensation and oversight of the work of any compensation consultant, legal counsel and other adviser it retains." (NASDAQ)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

2013 Top Five Global Employer Rewards Priorities Survey (PDF)
"The global race to attract and retain top talent is foremost on employers' minds as reward challenges continue in a difficult economy.... [T]he Top Five priorities for 2013: [1] The ability of reward programs to attract, motivate, and retain employees; [2] Clear alignment of Total Rewards strategy with business strategy and brand; [3] Motivating staff when pay increases are flat or non-existent; [4] The cost of providing benefits to employees; [5] Demonstrating appropriate return on investment for reward expenditures." (Deloitte, IFEBP and ISCEBS)

Health Plan Coverage for Terminated Executives After the ACA
"[A] change under the [ACA] would subject an employer to daily penalty taxes if it offers post-termination health benefits to executives only ... Ironically, the penalty tax applies to insured plans and not to self-insured plans." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Equity Compensation -- Are Stock Appreciation Rights the Right Tool for You?
"For companies who do not want to or can't give up any ownership, SARs provide an opportunity to share the growth in the company's value without providing new shareholders. For types of corporate entities like S-Corps this can allow for broader plan participation that might otherwise be possible." (PayScale)

Press Releases

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