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August 22, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

Third Annual ERISA, Employee Benefits, and Social Insurance National Conference
March 28, 2014 in WI
(Marquette University School of Law)

Advanced Cross-Tested Plans: Adding More Tools
September 19, 2013 in TX
(SunGard Relius)

Connect with Sal Tripodi
September 11, 2013 in CA
(San Diego County Chapter of NIPA)

Fall Seminar
September 10, 2013 in MN
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Greater Twin Cities)

Affordable Care Act 101 for Small Business
September 5, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA))

Solving Cross-Testing Headaches Seminar
September 10, 2013 in GA
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Atlanta)

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]

Wellness Programs: The Path to Compliance
Infographic. Step-by-step flow chart explains why participatory wellness programs are generally exempt from the five wellness requirements while health-contingent wellness programs must follow the requirements, and provides an assessment tool for existing programs. (Findley Davies)  


Benefit Administrators & HR Managers Easily Locate Lost Plan Participants

Sponsored by APSCREEN

We quickly locate current address, name changes, and living/deceased status for your lost plan participants and/or past employees. Easily meet IRS/GATT/ERISA compliance regulations for $10 per name within 24 hours and pay no sign-up fees or minimums.

[Guidance Overview]

2013 Q&As: EEOC Meeting with ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (PDF)
Eight questions; topics include: Wellness Plans and Financial Incentives; FMLA Leave; Smoking Cessation; Enforcement Activity. In response to one question, EEOC provided a detailed report of discrimination charges filed with the EEOC related to employee benefits and other employment matters. (Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, American Bar Association)  

The ACA's Early Renewal Loophole
"Insurers are offering healthy and younger individuals and small businesses favorable rates to renew their policies in 2013 instead of 2014. Those who do so will be carved out of the risk pool for the new marketplace in 2014. Yet it is young, healthy people that the new marketplace needs in 2014 to keep premiums affordable. If the only people who enroll in new plans in 2014 are more expensive to cover than insurers have accounted for in setting their rates -- which have been coming in lower than anticipated in a number of states -- insurers will need to make up for the higher risk the following year. That means higher premiums for everyone in 2015." (The Commonwealth Fund)  

The Role of Agents and Brokers in the Market for Health Insurance
"[The authors] 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)  

Why Uninsured? Most Workers Cite Cost (PDF)
"[T]he percentage of uninsured workers reporting cost as a reason for not having coverage has been at or near 90 percent since late 2009.... Between December 1995 and early 1997, uninsured workers citing cost as a reason for that status increased from about 73 percent to 84 percent, and then settled in the low-80-percent range through 1999." (Employee Benefits Research Institute [EBRI])  


National Business Coalition on Health Annual Conference

Sponsored by National Business Coalition on Health

Register now for the National Business Coalition on Health's (NBCH) 17th Annual Conference, November 18-20, 2013 in Scottsdale, AZ to gain insight and learn best practices for improving health and transforming health care.

High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans Ease Extra Costs from ACA
"[R]rising healthcare premiums in the state [of Pennsylvania] have led more employers to embrace HDHPs, with only 6 percent offered in 2006. In 2012, the number of employers offering HDHPs rose to 36 percent ... More than a third of Americans belong to HDHPs, which is up from 10 percent nationwide in 2006[.]" (ConnectYourCare)  

Changes to Health Plan for University of Virginia Employees Include Ending Coverage for Some Spouses
"The University's self-funded health plan covers more than 13,600 employees, plus family members, with annual premiums that have tracked well below the national and state average.... Starting Jan. 1, spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer will no longer be eligible for coverage under U.Va.'s plan. Spouses who do not have coverage elsewhere can remain on the employee's plan, and coverage of children is not affected." (UVAToday)  

Growing Number of Companies Favor Individual Market-Based Strategies for Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Benefits
"[M]ore than 60 percent of employers are reassessing their long-term retiree health strategies due to the ACA. 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." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)  

Insurers and Hospitals Could Take Hit from Detroit Bankruptcy
"Health care insurers and hospitals under contracts or that provide services to city of Detroit employees and retirees could be on the hook for unpaid bills depending on how the city's bankruptcy proceedings go.... Detroit is notoriously slow and often delinquent in paying premiums and ... millions of dollars are owed to several payers." (Crain's Detroit Business; free registration required)  

With Promises Company Won't Sell Stock, Regulators Give Green-Light Florida Blue Reorganization Plan
"The reorganization pitched by Jacksonville-based Florida Blue, which still needs approval from policyholders, would create a new 'corporate parent' known as a mutual insurance holding company. That parent company would be a non-profit and oversee all subsidies, including the insurance company. Currently, Florida Blue sits atop the company's flow chart." (jacksonville.com)  

19 State Exchanges Expect 8.5M Enrollees
"At least 8.5 million people could enroll in health insurance exchanges operating in 19 states, according to a [recent] survey. Of that total, California said it expects 5.3 million people to enroll in its online marketplace.... The Congressional Budget Office originally predicted 7 million people would enroll in the exchanges, but later adjusted its estimate, forecasting 1 million fewer consumers would seek coverage under exchanges. And that's for all 50 states." (FierceHealthPayer)  

Peabody Energy Co. on Hook for Some Patriot Coal Retiree Healthcare Benefits
"[The Eighth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel] ... said Peabody Energy Co. must remain on the hook for retiree benefit costs for 3,100 retired workers at a unit of Patriot Coal Corp., its former subsidiary now in bankruptcy. The decision ... reverses an earlier ruling that abrogated Peabody's agreement to fund those costs. The reversal is a small victory for workers in their fight against Peabody, which they allege knowingly bankrupted Patriot by spinning it off in 2007 with heavy debts and few strong assets." [Patriot Coal Corp. v. Peabody Holding Company, No. 13-6031 (8th Cir. B.A.P. Aug. 21, 2013)] (Thomson Reuters)  

Consumers Want Same Tax Advantage That Businesses Have When Paying Health Insurance Premiums
"When asked 'Should consumers' premium payments to buy health insurance be tax free the same way it is for companies paying for health insurance?' the largest majority of respondents answered 'Yes, the payments should be tax-free.' At 47%, this preference for paying for health insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars was over 6 times more popular than the preference to pay for health insurance premiums with after-tax dollars." (HealthPocket)  


Why Controlling Healthcare Costs Is Almost Impossible
"Those higher deductibles are probably part of the reason costs are slowing. But they make health care feel more expensive to employees. And while economic theory suggests that the savings will eventually show up in wages, there's little hard evidence it's happening yet -- and given the weakening relationship between firm performance and median wages, it might not happen at all." (Ezra Klein in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  


Workplace Wellness Programs: Continuing The Discussion
"A central issue in this discussion of workplace incentives is whether an organization should be involved in influencing personal health matters of its workers. If the health of employees had no effect on the business, then the answer would certainly be 'no' -- an organization has no business interfering in the private lives of employees. However, if the organization is paying a large portion of the health insurance coverage for its workers, then it does have an interest in maintaining the health, well-being, and overall performance of its workforce. That is, after all, one of the main reasons why companies introduced health insurance programs in the first place, to keep workers healthy and productive." (Health Affairs Blog)  


Workers Falling Behind: How Modest Healthcare Premium Increases Hide Important Part of Story
"Many of the media reports about this annual Kaiser survey of employer-sponsored plans are expressing relief that the increases in premiums are relatively modest -- only about 4 or 5 percent. But these numbers are not so reassuring when you consider that they are over twice the rate of wage increases and four time the rate of inflation. Workers continue to fall behind.... [P]lans requiring high deductibles have increased and the amounts of those deductibles also have continued to increase. Thus the percentage increase in the premiums can be quite deceptive if you ignore the increase in out-of-pocket expenses that workers and their families are experiencing." (Physicians for a National Health Program)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

This Time the Employer is Responsible for the Withholding Error
"[The] employer should have withheld and paid FICA taxes on the present value of the [nonqualified] benefit [when employment terminated]; however, the employer failed to do so. A number of years later, the employer determined that it had mishandled the FICA taxes at retirement.... The employer paid the back FICA taxes to the IRS and reimbursed itself by reducing the former employee's monthly benefit payments for several months. The employer also began withholding FICA taxes from each benefit payment.... The former employee sued claiming harm because the amount of FICA taxes to be paid from each benefit payment is quite a bit more than the amount that would have been owed had the FICA taxes been imposed at the time of retirement.... The district court ... [ruled] that the suit was one for benefit payments, namely, the full monthly payment which would be owed if the withholding had been properly handled in the first instance. Rather than a suit to stop withholding, it was instead a suit for damages, with the damages being measured by the amount of the withholding. The court allowed the suit to proceed on that basis." (Leonard, Street and Deinard)  

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