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September 10, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Administrator II
Verisight, Inc.
in MD

Quality Assurance Specialist
A $5B pension fund
in NY

Client Service Call Center Associate
ASPire Financial Services LLC
in FL

Defined Contribution Administrator
North Suburban Chicago Retirement Plan Administration Firm
in IL

Large Group Benefit Consultant
Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA

Customer Service Representative
MassMutual Financial Services
in AZ

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Webcasts and Conferences

ESOP Overview - An Introduction to ESOPs
November 26, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Advanced Cross-Tested Plans: Adding More Tools - Denver
October 4, 2013 in CO
(SunGard Relius)

2013 Fall Forum - Boston
September 23, 2013 in MA
(Ascensus)

2013 Fall Forum - San Antonio
October 28, 2013 in TX
(Ascensus)

IRA Basics
September 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

IRA Reporting
September 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

59th Annual Employee Benefits Conference
October 20, 2013 in NV
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Affordable Care Act Compliance Assistance - Part I
September 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

PPA DC Restatements - What to Expect
September 24, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

Affordable Care Act Compliance Assistance - Part II
September 18, 2013 WEBCAST
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

Correcting Plan Errors
September 17, 2013 in OR
(Multnomah Group)

The Impact of “Obamacare” on the LGBT Community
September 13, 2013 WEBCAST
(White House)

35th Anniversary Reception
December 11, 2013 in DC
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

Employee Benefits: Tomorrow, Today, Yesterday Policy Forum
December 12, 2013 in DC
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

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]

IRS Issues Proposed Rules on ACA Employer Reporting Requirements
"Notably, the proposal does not require the reporting of the length of any waiting period, the employer's share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan ... the monthly premium for the lowest-cost option in each of the enrollment categories (such as self only coverage or family coverage) under the plan, or the months, if any, during which any of the employee's dependents were covered under the plan." (Littler)  


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[Guidance Overview]

Exchange Notices, Due October 1, Can Be Distributed by TPAs and Insurers
"[A] multiemployer plan operating under a collective bargaining agreement may include an eligibility provision that allows employees to become eligible for coverage by working hours of covered employment across multiple contributing employers, which: Often aggregate hours by calendar quarter. Permit coverage to extend for the next full calendar quarter, regardless of whether an employee terminates employment. The Departments would consider this provision designed to accommodate a unique operating structure, rather than designed to avoid compliance with the 90-day waiting period limit." (Practical Law Company)  

Millions of Workers Might Dump Employer Plans Under Obamacare
"As many as 37 million Americans who receive health coverage through employers may be better off with the government-subsidized insurance plans that will be offered under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law for next year ... That scenario, which would cost the federal treasury billions of dollars above what it has already projected, reflects the complicated financial carrots and sticks at the heart of [the ACA]." (Reuters)  

Using Obamacare as Bait, Scam Artists Target Consumers and Business Owners
"Most of the schemes target uninsured individuals and employers, many of whom will soon be required to purchase a minimum level of health coverage or pay a tax penalty. In some cases, scammers have set up bogus Web sites intended to look like the law's new health insurance exchanges, where individuals and small business owners will be allowed to shop for coverage starting on Oct. 1." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Consumers with Serious Medical Problems Need to Carefully Assess Total Plan Costs
"For people who expect to hit their spending cap, buying a pricier platinum plan may actually result in lower total spending ... Insurers anticipate that people with high medical costs will gravitate toward platinum and, to a lesser extent, gold plans, and they're pricing those plans accordingly ... If only one member of a family has high medical expenses, families may want to consider splitting coverage between different plans." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  


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23rd Annual National Health Benefits Conference & Expo

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Obamacare Marketplace Navigators Trigger State Laws and Rules
"At least 16 states have passed or are considering laws to regulate navigators' work. Many have imposed their own certification and licensing requirements, a process that critics say could hinder the availability of navigators. Georgia's insurance commissioner, for example, has said he will require navigators to pass the same test as insurance brokers, even though federal law makes a clear distinction between navigators and brokers." (Pew Center on the States)  

Poll Shows Healthy Young Adults May Keep Obamacare Afloat
"While four in 10 of the uninsured of all ages support the 2010 law, according to the poll, the result indicated half of those 18 through 34 do so. Among the younger respondents, a little more than one-third have attempted to buy health insurance in the past, suggesting pent-up demand for the insurance plans to be sold through online exchanges in each state beginning October 1. One-third of young adults in the poll said they are 'very' or 'somewhat' likely to buy insurance through their state's exchange." (Reuters)  

Impact of Medical Loss Regulation on the Financial Performance of Health Insurers
"Changes in financial performance were most apparent in the individual market, where the median medical loss ratio increased by 5.5 percentage points from 2010 to 2011. The median administrative cost ratio declined by 2.6 percentage points, and the median operating margin declined by 1.3 percentage points.... In the individual market, operating margins declined from 1.2 percent in 2010 to near the break-even point in 2011. But in the small- and large-group markets, median operating margins in 2011 were 3.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively -- similar to those in 2010." (The Commonwealth Fund)  

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Memo, September 9, 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)  

Two Groups Quit Obamacare Outreach Program
"Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has turned back a $124,419 grant to enroll uninsured people at their main hospital and two satellite locations.... [T]he hospital decided to decline the funding after Ohio enacted new restrictions in late July that significantly limited who could participate in the program.... West Virginia Parent Training and Information also sent back an award, theirs for $365,758." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Yes, We Know Premium Prices Under Obamacare; No, We Don't Know If People Will Think They're Affordable
"What this report does tell us is the exact amount that some Americans will pay for health insurance, depending on where they live and how much they earn. What it does not tell us, as some headlines have suggested, is that health insurance will be affordable. While it's often pointed out that these premiums are lower than the Congressional Budget Office expected, that doesn't say anything about how Americans will react to them. It's hard to imagine a marketplace shopper who thinks: 'Man, these premiums are way cheaper than CBO said they would be. What a great deal!'" (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

CBO Cost Estimate for H.R. 2775, a Bill to Condition the Provision of Premium and Cost-Sharing Subsidies Under the ACA Upon a Certification That a Program to Verify Household Income and Other Qualifications for Such Subsidies Is Operation
"CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 2775 would not affect direct spending or revenues. A program is currently being put in place to verify income and coverage qualifications for the tax credits and subsidies, and that program appears to CBO and JCT to be in accordance with section 1411. Accordingly, we expect that the Secretary would certify before the beginning of 2014, when premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies would first be paid, that the requirements in H.R 2775 are satisfied." (Congressional Budget Office)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by U.S. Chamber of Commerce to OPM on Federal Employees Health Benefits Program's Coverage of Members of Congress and Congressional Staff (PDF)
"Given the position advanced in the Proposed Rule, we continue to urge the Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services and Labor to issue regulations permitting all employers equitable treatment on this issue. Just as the Federal Government is now able to do for Members and Staff, all employers should also be permitted to offer their employees an employer contribution to purchase coverage in the individual market." (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)  

[Opinion]

Make the Federal Government Be Liable for Mistakes of the Exchange Navigators
"Millions of uninformed 'navigators' steering the even more uniformed public into critical decisions about their health care: What could go wrong? Frankly, if the Obama administration won't suspend the individual mandate (as it did the employer mandate), the feds should be responsible for all the (mis)representations and (bad) advice its agents are passing around. Why should individuals, for example, suffer some real-world consequences (e.g. failing to sign up for employer-provided insurance) because the navigators give them incorrect or incomplete advice?" (Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

[Opinion]

Eliminate the Tax Loophole for Employer Health Insurance
"Americans would be much better served ... if the government taxed their health insurance (by treating it as income) and simultaneously lowered tax rates to offset the increase in their taxable income. The economy as a whole would be better served as well, with improvements in the health insurance and labor markets, as well as increased job creation and economic growth." (Jeremy Horpedahl in U.S.News & World Report)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Treasury/IRS Clarify Federal Tax Treatment of Same-Sex Marriages; Many Health & Welfare Plans Affected
"The changes wrought by Revenue Ruling 2013-17 will ripple through cafeteria plans, Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and many fringe benefit plans and programs, including qualified tuition reduction programs, arrangements providing or reimbursing meals and lodging for the convenience of the employer, and dependent care assistance programs (relating to the care of a disabled spouse). Thus, for example, pre-tax premium contributions will be permitted for spousal coverage under an employer's cafeteria plan, and HRAs will be permitted to reimburse qualifying medical expenses of an employee's same-sex spouse." (Mintz Levin)  

IRS Probing Non-Qualified 457(b) Plans (PDF)
"Some plan sponsors have already received their letters; others will receive them between now and September 30, 2014.... [T]he compliance questionnaire is not an audit, which would be far more comprehensive than a 10-item list. That said, the questionnaire should not be taken lightly; a failure to respond will most likely result in an audit, as will an inadequate response, or a response which indicates that plan failures may be present." (Cammack LaRhette Consulting)  

A Different Twist On Cash Management: Life Insurance
"Beyond deferred compensation, a company owned by an [ESOP] usually has an obligation to provide cash in return for stock when an employee dies, is permanently disabled, retires or otherwise leaves. Similarly, a company may simply have a contractual obligation to buyout an employee/stockholder when that individual leaves the company. These calls on cash are hard to predict and potentially expensive. In contrast, if a company purchases permanent, cash value life insurance on a group of key employees, they can begin to prefund these future obligations. Each year's payment of premiums represents a smoothed out funding of the corporate liability." (Forbes)  

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