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July 24, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Plan Administrator
for TPA in CA

Vice President, Participant Communications
for Transamerica Retirement Solutions Corporation in NY

Internal Business Development Specialist
for Benefit Plans Plus LLC in MO

Defined Contribution Pension Analyst (Entry Level)
for United Retirement Plan Consultants in CO

Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
for Trinity Pension Consultants, Inc. in OH

Defined Contribution Relationship Manager
for Trinity Pension Consultants, Inc. in OH

401(k) / Retirement Plan Administrator / Consultant
for SuperiorUSA Corporation in MN

Employee Benefits Conversion Specialist
for Chemical Bank in MI

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[Guidance Overview]

Minnesota Expands Mandatory Sick Leave
"Minnesota employers that offer employees sick leave benefits have long been required to allow their employees to use such benefits to care for not only themselves, but also for their sick or injured children. Starting August 1, 2013, amendments to the Minnesota Parenting Leave Act ... will require employers offering sick leave benefits to allow their employees to use them to care for many other family members as well. 'Covered' family members will include not only minor children and those attending school, up to age 20, but also the employee's own spouse, siblings, adult children, parents, grandparents and stepparents." (Jackson Lewis LLP)  


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[Guidance Overview]

DOMA Ruling Affects Most Health and Welfare Benefits
"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June on the Defense of Marriage Act changes the rules for how employers administer health and welfare benefits in states that recognize same-sex marriage, and it might even lead to changes that are not legally required ... [E]mployers that are not legally required to change benefit plans might find themselves considering changes 'for employee relations purposes or for administrative simplicity'[.]" (Bloomberg BNA)  

Health Plan Trends, July 2013 (PDF)
"The factors contributing to rising costs are complicated. Some factors can be influenced by employers, while others can't. Health care reform will add to rising costs in 2014 and beyond. Employers can take steps to achieve health plan budgets. This [article] reviews local and national data on how employers are controlling health plan costs." (McGraw Wentworth)  

Penn State Faculty Object to Details of New Preventive Health Care Plan
"It's increasingly common for colleges and universities, like other businesses, to offer the employees they insure incentives for staying healthy. And that makes sense; experts agree it's a lot cheaper to treat illnesses earlier rather than later, or to prevent them altogether. But instead of offering 'carrots' to its employees for seeking preventive care, Pennsylvania State University starting this fall is opting for the 'stick,' imposing a $100 monthly surcharge on those who don't meet new health requirements." (Inside Higher Ed)  

Who Made Call to Delay Obamacare Mandate? Republicans Want Names
"Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and other Republicans questioned on Tuesday whether the decision was constitutional, since the law contained statutory deadlines to implement new regulations, and called upon the administration to explain the decision and say who made it.... Roe said the decision would only delay inevitable job losses, as employers are saddled with new costs and incentives to stop hiring and limit the hours of their workers." (The Hill)  


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Views of U.S. Physicians About Controlling Health Care Costs
"U.S. physicians reported having some responsibility to address health care costs in their practice and expressed general agreement about several quality initiatives to reduce cost but reported less enthusiasm for cost containment involving changes in payment models. The increasing cost of U.S. health care strains the economy.... Given their roles, physicians' perspectives on policies and strategies related to cost containment and their perceived responsibilities as stewards of health care resources in general are increasingly germane to recent pending and proposed policy reforms." (JAMA)  

Group Health Insurance Plans: Americans Prefer to Choose Their Provider
"40% of survey respondents answered 'No, I would prefer to make the decision' when asked 'Would you prefer your employer choose your health insurance annually or would you prefer to make the choice yourself?' Only 22% of respondents answered, 'Yes, I prefer my employer make the decision.' An additional 38% of respondents indicated that they were either unemployed or their employer did not offer health insurance. When excluding this latter group, 65% of respondents would prefer to be the decision maker with respect to health insurance company choice." (HealthPocket)  

Constitutional Rights to Health, Public Health and Medical Care: The Status of Health Protections in 191 Countries
"This article examines the level and scope of constitutional protection of specific rights to public health and medical care, as well as the broad right to health. [The authors] analyzed health rights in the constitutions of 191 U.N. countries in 2007 and 2011 [and] examined how rights protections varied across the year of constitutional adoption; national income group and region; and for vulnerable groups within each country. A minority of the countries guaranteed the rights to public health (14%), medical care (38%) and overall health (36%) in their constitutions in 2011. Free medical care was constitutionally protected in 9% of the countries." (Taylor & Francis)  

Got a Bank Account? Many People Don't, Possibly Affecting ACA Rights
"Bank accounts aren't mandatory, at least not yet. But if you don't have a bank account and you're a candidate for individual insurance through a state exchange, how will you pay premiums? Will the insurance company even want your business? ... Low earners, the underemployed and the unemployed are most likely to not have bank accounts and to be uninsured. How likely is it that an uninsured individual will purchase something as tenuous as health insurance even if he or she DOES have a bank account?" (HighRoads)  

As Clock Ticks, Fierce Turnout Effort by Administration for ACA Enrollment
"Royal blue and emblazoned with the White House seal, the 'Official Affordable Care Act Enrollment Countdown' is a paper calendar that keeps track of the time before uninsured Americans can begin signing up for coverage under the president's signature health care law. On Tuesday, the top page said simply: '70 Days Left.' The message is clear. Few things are more important to the White House this year than a successful health care rollout on Oct. 1, when millions of uninsured Americans will be required to obtain private health coverage in government-run marketplaces." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

These Maps Are the Key to Obamacare's Success or Failure
"So much of the White House's thinking about getting the health-care law right rests on one number: 2.7 million. That ... is the number of young adults between 18 and 35 who the White House thinks it needs to sign up for private health coverage next year.... So what do we know about these young people? Here are a few points that will be especially helpful to keep in mind as we keep talking about this demographic going forward." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post)  

GAO Report on Private Health Insurance: The Range of Base Premiums in the Individual Market by State in January 2013
62 pages. Excerpt: "[B]eginning in 2014, the way insurers may calculate base premiums prior to underwriting may change. GAO was asked to report the range of premiums offered to consumers in the individual market in the month of January 2013. We examined the range of premiums for the individual market that were displayed on the HealthCare.gov Plan Finder, which reflected insurers' base premiums prior to underwriting. A range was developed for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia and for urban and rural zip codes in select states for different types of consumers." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)  

Joint Congressional Hearing on the Employer Mandate: Examining the Delay and Its Effect on Workplaces
Page includes links to a recorded webcast of the hearing, along with transcripts of opening statements by Chairman David P. Roe (TN) and Chairman Tim Walberg (MI), and written testimony of four witnesses: Ms. Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute; Mr. Jamie T. Richardson, a senior leader with the White Castle restaurant chain; Mr. Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA ; and Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of American Action Forum. (Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions jointly with the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Education and the Workforce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives)  

Employer Costs and Conflicts Under the ACA
"As employers actively attempt to minimize the costs that they will incur, the possibility emerges that employers will retaliate against or harass employees who seek coverage. This Essay ... shows that employers and employees often have contrasting incentives -- employers to avoid coverage, and employees to take coverage -- and these incentives may result in employer harassment and retaliation of employees." (Cornell Law Review Online via SSRN)  

[Opinion]

Should Women Pay Higher Premiums for Health Insurance?
"[W]omen appear to use more health care even after their childbearing years are over. It is unlikely that babies are responsible for the entire cost differential. Even if they are, a price system that does not reflect differential usage will do a poor job of allocating resources." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)  

[Opinion]

Introducing 'Medicare Integrate': A Proposal for a New Benefit Option For Medicare Beneficiaries
"Since 1987, 10 percent of the growth in Medicare spending is associated with a doubling of obesity among seniors. Moreover, over half the Medicare population receives treatment for five or more chronic conditions during the year, accounting for nearly 80 percent of spending.... Clearly the original Medicare program needs comprehensive care coordination and more effective approaches for reducing the rise in chronic disease incidence and prevalence." (Ken Thorpe in Health Affairs)  

[Opinion]

Testimony of Galen Institute to Joint Congressional Committee on the Employer Mandate: Examining the Delay and Its Effect on Workplaces (PDF)
"Certainly a decision with such significant implications should have been reviewed by those in the administration with responsibility for implementing the law to determine its legality, its implications on other provisions of the law, and its implications for businesses and their employees. Now, employers are more confused than ever about what their responsibilities and liabilities are during this period of 'transition relief' from the reporting requirements. Regulations explaining the details of this announcement are not expected until later this summer, adding further to the uncertainty in their attempts to comply with the law." (Galen Institute)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Location of Taxpayer Affects Claim for FICA Refund on Past Severance Pay
"For a taxpayer in the Sixth Circuit: The taxpayer will have to wait six months after filing a claim for refund with the IRS before it can file a suit for refund. The two-year limit on when lawsuits for refund must be filed will not begin until and unless the IRS lifts the suspension and issues a disallowance of the claim for refund. For a taxpayer outside of the Sixth Circuit: Under section 6532, the taxpayer has two years from the date of a notice of claim disallowance in which to file a lawsuit to obtain a refund." (Calhoun Law Group)  

[Guidance Overview]

Pillsbury Executive Compensation Update, Spring/Summer 2013 (PDF)
"[N]ew tax laws enacted in 2012 require the design and purpose of current and future deferred compensation to be reviewed. Further, as companies become more global, it has become necessary to understand how foreign laws may impact these arrangements.... [This publication] explore[s] new developments regarding global stock plans compliance issues, and the legislative impact on the taxation of stock options and other forms of equity compensation, as well as how the 2012 tax law makes deferred compensation a more attractive benefit." (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)  

Balancing Costs, Risks, and Rewards: The Retirement and Employee Benefits Landscape in 2013
"Respondents report that their companies continue to de-emphasize DB plans in favor of DC plans. Finance executives are more actively considering their options for managing the remaining risk in their DB plans.... Respondents express concern about employees' ability to ensure adequate funding for their retirement. They say they are considering the options available for enhancing DC plan offerings, including the addition of lifetime income guarantees to target-date funds.... The rising cost of healthcare continues to be a top concern, but almost all respondents agree that providing a balanced mix of health insurance, retirement, and group benefits, including voluntary benefits, is important to their companies' success." (CFO Research and Prudential Financial)  

Federal District Judge in Ohio Rules State Must Recognize Marriages from Other States
"[A] federal judge in Cincinnati on Monday ordered state officials to recognize the unions of same-sex couples who were married in other states but live in Ohio.... Although conceding that the Supreme Court's ruling last month in United States v. Windsor did not directly involve state power to ban same-sex marriages, U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black declared that the Court's ruling was pointing toward that issue. He also applied some of the equality principles in the Windsor majority opinion to support his order." (SCOTUSblog)  

Press Releases

NAGDCA Encourages Employers to Celebrate National Save for Retirement Week
National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators

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