EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 19, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
         Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

"Advanced Cross-Tested Plans: Adding More Tools," 12 Cities
September 12, 2013 in KS
(SunGard Relius)

Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar
September 11, 2013 in WI
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

Savings Fitness Workshop
August 22, 2013 in MA
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

2013 SPARK Forum
November 3, 2013 in FL
(SPARK Institute)

Current and Future Impact of the Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision
September 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits)

Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning Workshop
September 5, 2013 in IN
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

IRS COBRA Audit Guidelines
November 7, 2013 WEBCAST
(Lorman Education Services)

What to Expect in a DOL Investigation
September 5, 2013 in FL
(ASPPA Benefits Council (ABC) of North Florida)

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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

There Is Plenty Left to Be Done to Get Ready for 2014 ACA Implementation (PDF)
"What should employers be doing now? Continue to plan for how the health plan will meet the new Play or Pay rules in 2015. Prepare HR personnel to respond to questions about the new Marketplace and to confirm employee data and coverage if requested by the Marketplace to help determine an employee's eligibility for premium subsidies. Decide on a method to determine if variable hour employees are full-time and therefore subject to the Play or Pay rules.... Make sure the plan documents and summary plan descriptions are updated to reflect the required changes." (Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP)  


Member Retention and Customer Service for Consumer-Based Health Plans - Sept. 19-20 - Boston

Sponsored by World Congress

Health plan executives and industry thought leaders discuss actionable strategies in the transformation to a consumer-driven and customer-focused health plan marketplace.

HSA Denied Bankruptcy Protection
"There are many similarities between HSAs and IRAs, but protection from creditors under the federal Bankruptcy Code is apparently not one of them. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized federal bankruptcy protection for IRAs in its 2005 Rousey opinion ... and shortly thereafter, Congress amended the Bankruptcy Code to acknowledge and cap the federal exemption for IRA assets. But Congress has never explicitly recognized any protection for HSAs; in light of that omission, it is not surprising that the courts would be reluctant to apply the federal exclusions or exemptions to HSAs." [In re Leitch, 2013 WL 3722091 (8th Cir. B.A.P. 2013)] (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  

Chart Illustrates Number of Carriers Competing in the Various Health Insurance Exchanges (PDF)
[Infographic] "As Qualified Health Plans (QHP) application and rate filing deadlines begin to pass, details surrounding the competitive land scape of each state's health insurance exchange (HIX) are beginning to emerge. Here's an analysis on the number of medical carriers we're likely to see competing in state's individual HIX markets in 2014." (Paul Keckley, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)  

Colorado Exchange Releases Health Insurance Rates
"The state earlier made the call to be a clearinghouse exchange, rather than an active purchaser, and so, it has approved all 242 health plans submitted for sale on its marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado. Thirteen carriers will offer 150 plans in the individual marketplace, and 92 for small businesses.... Prices range from $135 a month on the low end to almost $1,000 a month for the most comprehensive coverage with some variation depending on a person's age, where they live and whether they use tobacco." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

The Role of Agents and Brokers in the Market for Health Insurance
"This paper [investigates] the influence of agents/brokers on health insurance decisions of small firms, which are particularly vulnerable to problems of financing health insurance. Using a unique membership database from the National Association of Health Underwriters together with a nationally representative survey of employers, we find that small firms in more competitive agent/broker markets are more likely to offer health insurance and at lower premiums. Moreover, premiums are less dispersed in more competitive agent/broker markets." (National Bureau of Economic Research; purchase required to view entire document)  


ACI's Managed Care Disputes and Litigation – October 22-23, 2013 – Atlanta, GA

Sponsored by American Confeence Institute

Based on overwhelming feedback and demand, we're bringing this acclaimed event to Atlanta. Attend our updated event and benefit from extensive learning and networking opportunities that Managed Care leaders enjoy every spring in Philadelphia.

Physician Beliefs and Patient Preferences: A New Look at Regional Variation in Health Care Spending
"There is considerable controversy about the causes of regional variations in healthcare expenditures.... [The authors] test whether patient demand-side factors, or physician supply-side factors, explains regional variations in Medicare spending.... [P]atient demand is relatively unimportant in explaining variations. Physician organizational factors (such as peer effects) matter, but the single most important factor is physician beliefs about treatment: 36 percent of end-of-life spending, and 17 percent of U.S. health care spending, are associated with physician beliefs unsupported by clinical evidence." (National Bureau of Economic Research)  

What You Need to Know to Enroll in Health Exchanges
"Before diving into the enrollment process, be sure to have the Social Security numbers of the people you're looking to insure; employment and income information, such as pay stubs, tax return or W-2 form; and policy numbers if you currently have any health insurance. Eligibility for tax credits and subsidies is based on modified adjusted gross income." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

Learning from Medicare Advantage and Part D: Lessons for the Individual Insurance Market Under ACA (PDF)
"Prior to ACA, private carriers of individual insurance policies could typically file rates much later in the year ... just a few months before implementing them, and could often re-file revised rates at any time if necessary. Now, individual markets will be on a calendar year bid schedule like the MAPD market, with most states requiring rates to be filed in mid-to-late spring of each year for plans that will be sold in the following calendar year.... Having to file rates so far in advance will require major operational and strategic changes at these organizations. The change represents a fundamental shift in the risk of this line of business. Overall, this shift will create significant new pricing risk for participants in the individual market[.]" (Milliman)  

HHS Secretary Sebelius Expresses Concern for Florida Consumers
"U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Florida lawmakers' decision to suspend the state's power over health insurance rates leaves consumers at the mercy of the market.... The federal health care law ... assumed states would continue to take a lead role in setting insurance rates. Florida legislators, however, suspended that authority for two years, saying federal officials could do it since they were already planning the online insurance exchange. But the federal government says it lacks legal authority to deny rate increases in the states." (Tampa Bay Times)  


How Much Do You Want to Pay for Medical Care?
"If you go back over the health policy literature of the past 60 years, you will find almost without exception that writers who are left of center either explicitly or implicitly endorse two propositions: [1] In health care, prices don't matter (if you artificially change them nothing bad will happen); and [2] The way to make health care more accessible (especially to poor people) is to make it free at the point of delivery. For the past half-century we have had a grand test of these ideas in the contrasting ways we subsidize medical care and food for the poor." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)  


Controlling Health Care Spending, Revisited
"[If] either inflation or the growth in real G.D.P. in the United States should pick up again, then the growth of national health spending should be expected to pick up again as well. There is an emerging consensus among health economists, however, that other factors within United States health care itself have contributed to the decline in health spending growth and will prevent that growth rate from returning to levels observed in previous decades.... [A] pronounced decline in the annual growth of health spending is not unique to the period 2002-12. There was a similar decline during 1989-96, only to end up in a sharp reversal. So is this time different?" (Uwe E. Reinhardt, in The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Beginning at the End: Designing Benefits that Work
"The tendency of many companies is to first and foremost look at budget.... It's much more important to start with the desired outcomes or behaviors.... The company may want employees to save more for retirement. Or, they may want employees to improve their health as a way to help manage overall healthcare costs. Having a good understanding of the actions the company wants employees to take, helps the company design benefit structures that motivate and reinforce the desired behaviors." (The Principal Blog)  

IRS Finalizes Regulations on Reimbursed Entertainment and Other Expenses
"These regulations complement the accountable plan rules by filling in the rest of the tax picture. When reimbursements to employees are excludable from their income under an accountable plan, the deduction restrictions apply to the payor. But when the reimbursements are taxable, it is the employee who uses the deduction and is subject to the restrictions. The approach to multi-party arrangements is of particular interest, and suggests that leasing organizations and the companies that use them should ensure that their reimbursement agreements efficiently and effectively allocate the restricted deduction." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  

Press Releases

Connect   LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook
BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

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

Copyright © 2013 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. but feel free to forward this newsletter if done without modification in any way.

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

Useful links: