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June 13, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Services Program Director
for Nationwide Insurance in GA, TN

Senior Defined Benefit Data Analyst
for Transamerica Retirement Solutions in MA

Senior Specialist - Defined Benefit Plan Operations
for Charles Schwab in OH

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Webcasts and Conferences

Northeast Area Benefits Conference - Boston
July 8, 2013 in MA
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

Northeast Area Benefits Conference - New York
July 9, 2013 in NY
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

2013 ACOPA Actuarial Symposium
August 9, 2013 in IL
(American College of Pension Actuaries (ACOPA))

View All Webcasts and Conferences


 

Mayor Vetoes New York City Paid Sick Leave Bill But Council Override Expected (PDF)
"On May 8, 2013, the New York City Council passed legislation by a 45-3 vote that would require private sector employers to provide a minimum sick leave benefit to employees who work in New York City beginning in 2014 . New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has just vetoed the bill, but a veto override is expected.... Employers that already provide at least five days of paid leave or other paid time off (PTO) annually that may be used for these same reasons would not have to provide additional sick time as long as their existing leave policies satisfy all of the Act's requirements." (Buck Consultants)


[Advert.]

IRC Section 105(h) Testing and Design Alternatives June 24, 2013

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

This live audio conference will examine the nondiscrimination rules under Section 105(h) that apply to self-funded health plans, and comparable rules under the Affordable Care Act that apply to insured plans. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.


Analysts Surprised by Kaiser's High Health Insurance Rates on California Exchange
"The healthcare giant has the highest rates in Southern California and some other areas of the state, surpassing rivals such as Anthem Blue Cross and other smaller competitors.... Some experts say Kaiser intentionally bid high to avoid drawing too many customers next year who are sick or who have been uninsured for years and may be costlier to treat. Others suspect Kaiser was worried that lower premiums would bring an influx of newly insured patients that could overwhelm its in-house roster of doctors and hospitals." (Los Angeles Times)

Obamacare: Is a $2,000 Deductible 'Affordable?'
"States are starting to roll out details about the exchanges, providing a look at just how affordable coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be. Some potential participants may be surprised at the figures: $2,000 deductibles, $45 primary care visit co-pays, and $250 emergency room tabs. Those are just some of the charges enrollees will incur in a silver-level plan in California ... That's on top of the $321 average monthly premium." (CNNMoney.com)

Nearly Half of U.S. Employers Contemplating Changes to Reward Programs in Light of Health Care Reform
"[Of] those respondents considering making changes, nearly half (49%) either have redirected or are considering redirecting rewards from one program to another, while 42% either have reduced or are considering reducing subsidies for dependent health care coverage. More than one-third (37%) either have reevaluated or are considering reevaluating their employee value proposition to place more emphasis on variable pay." (Towers Watson)

Private Health Insurance Exchanges Are Looming (PDF)
"Private health insurance exchanges will rapidly upend insurance purchasing for many of the 170 million people who receive benefits through their employer.... [P]rivate exchange participation will approach public exchange enrollment levels as soon as 2017 and surpass them soon thereafter... 83 percent of consumers are entirely unfamiliar with the private exchange concept." (Accenture)


[Advert.]

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.


Pharmacy Benefit Manager Contracts Offer Potential for Significant Savings
"'With many medications having double-digit price increases, and with the continued consolidation among PBMs,' there's never been a better time for 'aggressive PBM negotiations,' says [Paul] Burns, principal and national pharmacy practice leader for [Buck Consultants]. 'Any PBM contract that is 18-to-24-months old should be reviewed for pricing competitiveness as well as up-to-date contractual language.'" (Human Resource Executive Online)

Small Businesses Equal Great Opportunities for Adding Employee Benefits
"A new LIMRA study finds that the majority (53 percent) of small businesses (2-99 employees) do not offer insurance benefits to their employees, often believing they cannot afford them ... This year's study found that two-thirds of small employers who do not currently offer benefits have not been approached within the last 12 months. However, more than 4 in 10 of these businesses have considered offering benefits and nearly half agreed to meet with a producer once they were contacted." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

Obamacare? We Were Just Leaving...
"The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.... If the issue isn't resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues -- like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform." (Politico)

Britain's National Health Service Visits D.C. for Some Pointers
"In the contentious debate over health care in this country, the United Kingdom's single-payer, government-funded National Health Service has been held up by both sides as a system to be either emulated as an ideal or avoided as an abomination. Neither of those extreme views allow that British health providers might have something to learn from the way things are done on this side of the Atlantic. But that is just what 20 doctors and nurses from northwest England came to do this week in Washington." (Kaiser Health News)

ACA Applies Multiple Definitions of Insurance Company
"While the term insurance company is defined in IRC Sec. 816(a), the term health insurance company had not been defined in the tax code until the ACA was enacted ... A company that is a health insurer under one ACA provision may not be subject to a different ACA provision that also applies to health insurers ... Under the regulations, a self-insured plan is not health insurance; thus, the company maintaining the plan is not subject to the deduction limits. There are de minimis rules for companies that derive small amounts of health premiums, and the rules exclude reinsurance payments from treatment as premiums." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Backers of Rate Regulation Aren't Satisfied with California Health Exchange
"Consumer Watchdog is campaigning for a November 2014 ballot measure that would grant the California Department of Insurance the power to approve or deny increases in health insurance premiums. Insurers, doctors and business groups oppose the measure, saying it would create a costly new bureaucracy and give the insurance commissioner too much control over healthcare coverage and prices." (Los Angeles Times)

Health Care Price Growth Approaches Record Lows (PDF)
"Health care prices in April 2013 were 1.1% higher than in April 2012, a whopping five-tenth drop from the March rise, and representing a historically low rate ... The 12-month moving average at 1.8% is the lowest since 1.7% recorded in September 1998." (Altarum Institute)

Medicare's Financial Condition: Beyond Actuarial Balance (PDF)
"The HI trust fund will be depleted in 2026, two years later than projected last year. Total Medicare expenditures will make up an increasing share of federal outlays and the gross domestic product (GDP), threatening the program's long-term sustainability. An alternative scenario illustrates the potential understatement of current-law projections if currently scheduled provider payment reductions are not realized." (Pension Committee, American Academy of Actuaries)

[Opinion]

ACA's Achilles Heel? Blaming Patients, Not Profiteering
"The law's tepid cost control measures targeted at healthcare spending that is gobbling up an increasing percentage of the economy and pricing more people than ever out of access to care have been widely viewed as the ACA's biggest pitfall. But from the outset, the Obama administration dismissed the most effective means to reduce costs... Those fateful decisions left only one option for significant reduction of overall health expenditures -- saving money in the delivery of care by shifting costs to those who use health services and discouraging them from getting care even if they have insurance." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

IRS To Be Closed June 14 Due to Budget and Sequester; Filing and Payment Deadlines Unchanged
"[A]ll IRS offices, including all toll-free hotlines, the Taxpayer Advocate Service and the agency's nearly 400 taxpayer assistance centers nationwide, will be closed.... No tax returns will be processed and no compliance-related activities will take place. In addition, the online preparer tax identification number PTIN system for tax professionals will also be shut down." (Internal Revenue Service)

Text of Enrolled Actuaries Basic Examination, EA-1 (PDF)
Text of questions and answers from the May 2013 exam. (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries; Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries; Society of Actuaries)

Hot Topics in Employee Benefits (PDF)
62 presentation slides. Topics include: The PCORI fee plan and headcount issues; Play, pay, or both: approaches straddling the divide; DOL's proposed regulations for life annuity illustrations on defined contribution plan participant benefit statements; Withholding and Form W-4 issues triggered by the 2013 Medicare and income tax increases; and The differences between S corporation and C corporation ESOPs. (Morgan Lewis)

A Practical Response to the McCutchen Case
"While not written, what may have been at least as important ... were these less conclusive elements: [1] Where plan documents are not unambiguous ..., the plan document may or may not be able to control. [2] In Firestone, Glenn, and Frommert, deference was given to the plan administrator's interpretation of the plan document, but what happens when the plan administrator either has not interpreted the provisions of the document or has not consistently interpreted them?" (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)

Press Releases

DOL Files Suit To Remove Fiduciary From Investment Group Inc. 401(K) Plan in Chicago
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Public Affairs, Chicago

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