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September 4, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

Effective Wellness Plans in Employee-Owned Companies
November 5, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics 2013 - Denver
October 2, 2013 in CO
(SunGard Relius)

How Will Health Care Reform Impact You in 2014?
November 13, 2013 WEBCAST
(Lorman Education Services)

Legislative and Regulatory Update with Stephen Forbes
September 18, 2013 in CA
(Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter)

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
September 5, 2013 in OR
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

Who's On Your Fiduciary Roster? - Recorded
September 18, 2013 WEBCAST
(Conrad Siegel Investment Advisors, Inc.)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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

What Small Businesses Need to Do for Obamacare Before Oct. 1
"Most small employers -- those with 50 or fewer full-time employees -- are not required to offer health insurance coverage under the [ACA].... But all companies, regardless of size, are required to notify their employees about the Obamacare marketplaces.... [P]enalties for businesses that don't comply could reach $100 per worker per day." (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)  


[Advert.]

The new "Go-to Annual Event" | Registration now open!

Sponsored by HRE's Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

Make a difference in your organization and the lives of your employees. From healthcare reform to the changing definition of retirement, this event delivers meaningful solutions to many of today's plaguing issues. Learn more.



Do Wellness Programs Work?
"For wellness programs, there are two notions of 'working,' health improvement and cost saving. The evidence on both is not very encouraging.... RAND found that wellness programs were associated with 'statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in exercise frequency, smoking behavior, and weight control, but not cholesterol control.' Nevertheless, the observed changes were small.... Without much analysis, employers overwhelmingly believe wellness programs save money. RAND found they did, but not to a statistically significant degree after four years." (The Incidental Economist)  

2013 Medical Stop-Loss Premium Survey (PDF)
"Indexing [individual stop loss (ISL)] to underlying trend is a recommended strategy to avoid the impact of leveraged trend renewal rate increases. However, when surveyed, only 7% indicate a definitive plan to pursue that strategy. Almost half (49%) will review a range and make a determination. The rest prefer to keep at the current levels.... [R]eflecting the impact of health care reform, unlimited lifetime maximums are commonplace, reported by 97% -- a significant increase from just 13% in 2010. For the 50% of respondents reporting an interim annual limit, amounts at $2 million to $5 million are the most prevalent." (Aegis Risk and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS])  

More Employers Looking at Private Exchanges for Health Benefits
"This fall, tens of thousands of U.S. workers will learn that they're getting their health benefits next year in a radical new way: Their employers will give them a fixed sum of money and let them choose their plan from an online marketplace. The approach ... has the most momentum among small and midsize employers. But interest is growing among companies of all sizes[.]" (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

Confused About Shopping for Obamacare? Try Nevada's Marketplace Site.
"Nevada has put together what seems to be one of the clearest Web sites to explore the price of health insurance coverage under Obamacare.... The Nevada site is not asking for income data, meaning it only shows the unsubsidized price for health insurance coverage. On the marketplace, shoppers will see the base price and the amount they're expected to contribute, based on their income. Still, the Nevada site is great to play around with to get a sense of what consumers on the marketplaces across the country will face come Oct. 1." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  


[Advert.]

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.



U.S. Allows Indiana to Offer Health Program Outside of Obamacare
"The exception granted Indiana, known officially as a 'waiver,' is the first major ruling by the federal government on applications from that state, Iowa and Arkansas, seeking permission to make changes to health programs that involve Federal law. At a press conference, [Indiana Governor Mike] Pence, a conservative Republican, voiced rare praise for the Obama administration's 'good faith approach' in negotiating the deal." (Reuters)  

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Memo, September 3, 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)  

[Opinion]

Health Savings Accounts as Antidote to Obamacare
"For years, conservative health-policy analysts have highlighted the power of consumer-directed arrangements such as health savings accounts to restrain costs, help consumers gain more control over their medical decisions and improve the quality of care. Yet Obamacare, as well as some state policies, are undermining the effectiveness of HSAs.... HSAs give consumers greater control over how they direct their health-care spending.... And because HSAs are coupled with high-deductible health plans, consumers have incentives to consider costs before making health-care decisions." (Bloomberg)  

[Opinion]

Testing a Premise on the Health Care Law and Part-Time Work
"[If] the incidence of involuntary part-time work was uncorrelated with state unemployment rates, then the [ACA] would be a more plausible candidate to explain the variation.... [As] you see in the chart ... the data showed a positive relationship between unemployment rates and the involuntary part-timers' share of employment.... [T]he incentive to reduce workers' hours may someday be found in the data ... But the fact is that for now, there's nothing to see here[.]" (Jared Bernstein in The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

[Opinion]

Deloitte Health Care Reform Memo, September 3, 2013
"Health Reform 1.0 addressed health insurance changes and sought to reorganize the ways the delivery system is structured spanning 2010-2018. But the ACA was premised on full economic recovery by 2014 and stability in world affairs.... Never in [the author's] 35-year career have the stakes for the future of the industry been so high and never has there been such tension in the system that negates honest pursuit of solutions. It's not about bad people: it's a flawed system and it's the system that will be the focus in Health Reform 2.0." (Paul Keckley, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)  

[Opinion]

Longshoremen to Leave AFL-CIO Over Obamacare Cadillac Tax
"The ILWU President made it clear they are for a single-payer, nationalized healthcare policy and are upset with the AFL-CIO for going along with Obama on the confiscatory tax on their 'Cadillac' healthcare plan." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)  

[Opinion]

Comments to Actuarial Standards Board on Revised ASOP No. 6, Measuring Retiree Group Benefit Obligations (PDF)
"[This Committee] commented at considerable length a year ago on the first exposure draft (ED) and are pleased that the second ED effectively addresses many of the concerns expressed.... There are fundamental differences between pension and retiree health, and our comments focus on the need for ASOPs to recognize those differences. We continue to have concerns that ASOP No. 4 language regarding pensions is used more than is needed within ASOP No. 6 and that the problem of implicit subsidies (and age specific costs for groups in pooled health plans) is not sufficiently addressed." (Joint Committee on Retiree Health of the American Academy of Actuaries)  

[Opinion]

Household Income and Health Care Costs
"The [ACA] did include a few measures to facilitate a transfer from the wealthy, including income-indexed subsidies for mediocre, low-actuarial-value exchange plans, an expansion of the tax-payer financed, underfunded Medicaid program, and some modest tax increases on higher incomes. But there isn't really much new help for most middle-income Americans who pay for employer-sponsored plans through forgone wage increases (and at that using inequitable regressive tax expenditures). The [ACA] falls far short of the transfer that will be needed if everyone is to have the health care that they should have." (Physicians for a National Health Program [PNHP])  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

IRS 'Place of Celebration' Rule for Same-Sex Marriages Expands Rights and Simplifies Plan Administration (PDF)
"By the September 16, 2013 effective date, employers and plan administrators should ... [1] treat all same-sex spouses as 'spouses' for [retirement] plan purposes. This is particularly important for beneficiary designations (obtaining proper spousal consent) and paying plan benefits particularly in the event of death ... [2] If health, welfare and fringe benefits are currently provided to same-sex spouses ... stop imputing income no later than September 16, and clarify plan documents and summary plan description ... [3] If health, welfare and fringe benefits are not currently provided to same-sex spouses ... consider whether to add such benefits[.]" (Groom Law Group)  

[Guidance Overview]

The Demise of DOMA's Core: Employer Response Avenues in the Wake of Windsor (PDF)
"As a practical matter, until additional guidance is issued, definitive answers to the multifarious open issues, beyond those addressed in Revenue Ruling 2013-17, remain elusive. In addition to tax and financial implications, employers must also consider the impact of their decisions on employee relations, such as: (i) whether to extend all or some benefits to lawfully married same-sex spouses who reside in jurisdictions that do not recognize their marriage; and (ii) whether to require proof of same-sex marriages if the employer does not require proof of opposite-sex marriages." (Haynes and Boone, LLP)  

[Guidance Overview]

Did Taxes Slay Your Last Stock Options Profits?
"While a cashless exercise is the most popular way to go, senior executives have to consider the sizable tax savings considerations to exercising non-qualified stock options early.... Now that the Medicare tax increases the maximum Federal income tax rate to 41.95% vs. 23.8% for capital gains tax, the timing on your NQSO exercise can make a big impact on your after-tax rewards." (SFG Wealth Planning Services, Inc.)  

Postal Service Inspector General Puts Retirement and Leave Benefits Under the Microscope
"The U.S. Postal Service's internal auditor is seeking private sector input on the best way to administer paid time off and retirement benefits ... The reports will 'reveal the ways in which the Postal Service could benefit from adopting the identified best practices' for its retirement and leave benefits programs, the inspector general said ... USPS spends $5 billion annually to provide paid time off for its employees ... The forthcoming audit, with the help of the IG's private sector partner, will 'inform the Postal Service whether there is an opportunity to reduce leave costs.'" (Government Executive)  

Benefits for Same-Sex Couples: Impact of the DOMA Decision
"When describing their progress in adjusting to meet new DOMA ruling requirements, 34.4% of organizations said they are currently in a wait-and-see mode, 25.4% have had initial planning discussions and 12.9% have already begun to adjust benefits. One-quarter of organizations (25.1%) have already noticed an increase in HR contacts from employees regarding the DOMA decision ... About one in eight organizations (12.1%) has already communicated effects of the DOMA decision with employees and an additional 46.3% intend to do so." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])  

Unfunded and Unsecured: Nonqualified Deferred Comp Lessons from Kodak's Chapter 11
"Thirty years after the start of the Kodak [Executive Deferred Compensation Plan (EDCP)], Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January 2012 ... Kodak's Plan of Reorganization ... stipulates that EDCP participants with balances totaling $15 million will receive 4-5% of their earned salaries and incentive awards. Delivery will not be in cash but in common shares of the new Kodak to be issued upon the company's emergence from Chapter 11.... What warning signs were ignored by those who got stuck with amounts remaining in the plan? Probably no one event stands out more than others, but when three decades' worth of red flags are added up, the outcome seems almost unavoidable." (myStockOptions.com)  

Proposed Legislation Threatens Executive Compensation Tax Deductions
"In early August, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Richard Blumenthal introduced the 'Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act' (S. 1476) in the U.S. Senate.... Specifically, the bill proposes: [1] To eliminate the existing Section 162(m) exceptions for commission payments and qualified performance-based compensation; [2] To include all current and former employees (whether or not they are or were ever executive officers) within the scope of Section 162(m); and [3] To impose the limitations of Section 162(m) to public companies subject to periodic reporting under Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act (not just public corporations with securities registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act, as is currently the case)." (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center)  

With the CEO Pay Ratio Rules in Sight, Will the SEC Focus Next on Pay-for-Performance Disclosure?
"[A]bout one-quarter of large U.S. companies already provide detailed disclosures of pay-for-performance alignment in their proxies and about double that number routinely assess pay-for-performance outcomes, even though many don't disclose their analyses because they're not yet required to do so.... [C]ompanies are increasingly focused on alternative pay definitions in their evaluation and disclosure of pay-for-performance alignment. Earned (realized) pay has taken the lead over other forms of pay[.]" (Towers Watson)  

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