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August 6, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Virtual Actuary
for The Retirement Plan Company, LLC in ANY STATE

Retirement Account Analyst
for Alerus Financial in MI

Account Manager
for Lincoln Financial Group in ANY STATE

Manager, Defined Benefit Operations
for Prudential in CT

Consulting Actuary
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in OH

Team Manager Defined Benefit Operations
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in OH

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Webcasts and Conferences

Communication Issues for Ongoing ESOPs
October 15, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Fiduciary Implications of Stock Drop Lawsuit in 401Ks and ESOPs
October 29, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Handling the ESOP Repurchase Obligation Seminar
October 22, 2013 in MN
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Health Care Reform for Employers: Now What? - Scott, LA
October 16, 2013 in LA
(Lorman Education Services)

Health Care Reform for Employers: Now What? - Warwick, RI
October 16, 2013 in RI
(Lorman Education Services)

Department Of Labor Strategic Plan Outreach Webchat - Strategic Goal 4
August 8, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. Department of Labor)

The New GASB Pension Standards Series -- Webcast
August 7, 2013 WEBCAST
(American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA))

2013 Webinar: IRA Contributions
August 13, 2013 WEBCAST

2013 Webinar: Comparing Roth & Traditional IRAs
August 13, 2013 WEBCAST

39th Annual Conference
May 7, 2014 in TX
(SouthWest Benefits Association)

View All Webcasts and Conferences

  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.
[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Frequently Asked Questions on Health Insurance Marketplaces and Income Verification (PDF)
"Q: Will Marketplaces be verifying the income of consumers as a part of the eligibility process for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions? A: Yes.... Marketplaces will always use data from tax filings and Social Security data to verify household income information provided on an application, and in many cases, will also use current wage information that is available electronically." [Unnumbered document dated Aug. 5, 2013.] (Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  

[Official Guidance]

Text of Notice of Computer Matching Agreement between CMS and SSA for Determining Enrollment or Eligibility for Insurance Affordability Programs under the ACA (PDF)
"As set forth in the [Computer Matching Agreement (CMA)], SSA will provide CMS the following information when relevant: (1) Social Security number (SSN) verifications, (2) a death indicator, (3) an indicator of a finding of disability by SSA under title II of the Social Security Act, (4) prisoner data, (5) monthly and annual Social Security benefit information under title II of the Social Security Act, (6) quarters of coverage, and (7) confirmation that an allegation of citizenship is consistent with SSA records." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  

[Guidance Overview]

Advising Clients During a Big Health Care Data Breach
"Covered entities that experience a breach affecting more than 500 residents of a state or jurisdiction are, in addition to notifying the affected individuals, required to provide notice to prominent media outlets serving the state or jurisdiction.... To add insult to injury, the HITECH Act also requires HHS to post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals on its website. This is the infamous HHS 'Wall of Shame.' And, once an entity ends up on this website, there is no getting off. The entity is forever on the list of HIPAA's big data breaches." (Vorys)  

Growing Number of Companies Favoring Individual Market-Based Strategies for Post-65 Retirees
"Of those companies that have already decided to make strategy changes for their post-65 retirees, more than 40 percent have moved forward with one that will direct retirees to the individual market for coverage, oftentimes accompanied by a defined contribution subsidy. Of those companies expecting to make changes to their post-65 retiree strategies in the future, more than half indicate strong interest in this approach." (Aon Hewitt)  

Health Savings Accounts Reach $18.1 Billion in June
"The total number of HSA accounts rose to more than 9.1 million with assets totaling nearly $18.1 billion, a year over year increase of 29% for both accounts and assets for the period of June 30th, 2012 to June 30th, 2013.... The average account balance halfway through 2013 grew to $1,981 from $1,879 at the end 2012, over a 5% increase. When you eliminate identified zero balance accounts that average rises to $2,228, an almost 3% year over year increase." (Devenir)  


Evaluating Your Third-Party Administrator: Are You Getting What You're Paying For?

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Identify key areas for identifying and evaluating proper plan administration. Covers both retirement and health and welfare plans. >Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.

UnitedHealthcare Experience Illustrates How Payers Can Enable Patient Engagement
"As an employer, UnitedHealth Group has used ... an 'earn-back' program that provides positive financial incentives through reduced premiums to employees who adopt healthful habits.... This program identified 7,200 people who were at high risk for diseases, including undiagnosed diabetes, but had not previously been identified as such.... [T]here was also an associated lower growth rate in UnitedHealth Group employee health care costs compared to industry averages over three years (2008 to 2011), worth approximately $107 million in savings compared to industry averages." (Health Affairs)  

A Threat and an Opportunity: Shifting Health Care Costs to Consumers
"Increasingly, the health care industry's economics are tied to the consumer pocketbook. These reports point to a slowdown in consumer spending in health care for two reasons: the overall economy has slowed and for consumers, health care spending out of household budgets is problematic, especially for middle income Americans who can only afford an insurance plan that requires a high co-payment or defined contribution product." (Paul Keckley, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)  

Federal District Courts in Virginia Disagree on Life Insurance Coverage for Improperly Enrolled Employee
"[T]wo district courts in Virginia have reached opposite conclusions on similar facts. One difference between the cases may be that in the case where the family won, the family had made explicit requests of the employer as to whether coverage continued and were told that it had. In the case where the family lost, the employer had simply failed to inform the family that the coverage did not continue. Both cases would be heard by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals if appealed." (Leonard, Street and Deinard)  

Employer Plans Evolve with Health Care Reform Deadlines and Changes
"'Creative cost management is going to be a fact of life under reform, and the delay doesn't change that,' says Tracy Watts, Mercer's U.S. health care reform leader. 'In the short term, we expect to see an increase of 2% to 3% or more in health plan cost in 2014, even if employers table plans to extend coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours per week. Longer-term, avoiding the excise tax on high-cost plans slated for 2018 remains a daunting challenge[.]'" (Mercer)  

House and Senate Bills Would Change Obamacare Definition of Full-Time Employee
"Prompted by growing concern about the apparent adverse impact of Obamacare on job opportunities for hourly workers, legislation now is pending in both the House and Senate to amend the Obamacare's definition of 'full-time.' ... H.R. 2575 has garnered the support of 144 Cosponsors.... Although introduced before H.R. 2575, S. 1188 to date has drawn less interest among members of the Senate.... [M]any expect the bill to require significant public pressure and support for the Committee to report the bill out from the Committee[.]" (Solutions Law Press)  

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, August 5, 2013 (PDF)
Update on developments in federal and state health care reform legislation and regulations, including summaries of recent announcements and regulatory activity by HHS, CCIIO, IRS and CMS. (ML Strategies, LLC)  

Workplace Wellness Done Right: 'Population Health Management' Programs
"While studies show that many of these conditions are preventable, the economic burden of chronic disease in the United States falls in large part on employer-sponsored health plans which cover roughly 150 million workers and includes illness-related direct costs of medical care, as well as indirect costs of lower productivity, higher absenteeism and greater worker turnover. In response to these trends, employers are increasingly turning to health promotion and prevention strategies -- commonly known as Population Health Management (PHM) programs -- that are showing promising results in helping to bend the cost curve." (Healthcare Performance Management Institute)  


A Lot of Unions Are Going to End Up Hating Obamacare
"[W]ith about 150 million Americans getting health insurance through their employers, ending it would be too much disruption, too fast. So the [ACA] only taxes the really expensive health plans, and even then, it only taxes part of them. But there's a bit of a trick here: The tax grows really quickly, so with each year that goes by, more and more health plans are exposed to it -- at least unless they're able to hold down costs." (Ezra Klein in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  


Maryland Health Insurance Exchange Costs: The ACA Will Make Insurance Less Affordable
"Maryland is getting ready to roll out its health insurance exchange so individuals who do not receive health insurance through their work can buy a policy there. State regulators recently released the premium prices they approved for insurance companies looking to sell their products in the exchange. They aren't good news for consumers." (The Baltimore Sun)  


Uwe Reinhardt's Proposed Health Plan for Rugged Individualists
"In 2009, Paul Starr had warned Democrats of a potential voter backlash against the individual mandate and proposed instead a nudging arrangement. Uninsured Americans would be auto-enrolled into health plan, if they chose not to select one, but could opt out of it with the proviso that for the next five years they could then not buy insurance through the insurance exchanges established by the ACA at community-rated premiums, and potentially with federal subsidies. My proposal is to make that a lifetime exclusion." (Uwe Reinhardt in The Health Care Blog)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Planning for Life During Retirement: The Middle-Income Boomer Perspective
"Middle-income Boomers expect their retirement to be defined by greater mental stimulation (63%), more physical activity (44%) and more personal satisfaction (41%), but less retiree health insurance from former employers (60%), less financial security (47%) and less care provided by family members (47%) than the retirement of previous generations.... Boomers envision retirement care of the future to include the use of remote monitoring technology (78%), independent living communities (78%), high-priced care (76%), outpatient care (74%) and long-term care insurance (72%). Nearly eight times as many Boomers (84%) prefer to receive care at home as those preferring a nursing home facility (11%) or care at the home of one of their children (11%)." (Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement)  

Helping Key Employees Understand the Benefits of a Non-Qualified Plan
"Personal enrollment consultations by a retirement specialist can increase the benefit perception, thus the success of your non-qualified plan. During a personalized consultation, the retirement specialist should: [1] Highlight the plan details including a quick review of 401(k) plan IRS limits. [2] Ask questions to identify participation goal ... [3] Review deferral election options ... [4] Highlight the investment options.... [5] Explain distribution options.... [6] Gather beneficiary information or explain how to enter the information on the plan website." (Retirement Town Hall)  

Here's Your Chance to Provide Input to ISS
"Companies and executive compensation professionals generally have four opportunities each year to interact with ISS: Two opportunities to make general comments on ISS policies, and Two chances (maybe) to address ISS' specific findings as to their company or client. The first opportunity is open now.... The policy survey will close on September 13 and ISS will release the results at the end of September." (Winston & Strawn LLP)  

Press Releases

Survey of Employer Reactions to DOMA
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

New Time & Attendance Tool Available from FutureOffice Network
Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

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