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September 16, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
United Retirement Plan Consultants
in MD, PA

Director, Client Executive
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in AR, MO, TN, TX

Defined Benefits Senior Pension Administrator
in OR

Defined Contribution Administrator
Pension Administration Firm
in AZ

Enrolled Actuary
Alliance Pension Consultants, LLC
in IL

Actuarial Analyst
Alliance Pension Consultants, LLC
in IL

General Counsel
I.A.M. National Pension Fund
in DC

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Webcasts and Conferences

Same Gender Marriage: Take 2 - Encore
October 1, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

403(b) Plans for 401(k) Practitioners - 3 parts
October 8, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

PPA Document Restatements What You Need to Know
October 23, 2013 WEBCAST

Receive a Lifelong Paycheck: Guaranteed Income in Retirement
September 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(Northwestern Mutual)

Corporate Finance Implications For Pension Risk Transfer
September 26, 2013 WEBCAST
(Institutional Investor Journals)

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 Technical Guidance on Tobacco Rating in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces for SHOP (PDF)
"If an employee or an employee's dependent obtaining coverage through the FF-SHOPs uses tobacco ... how can the employee or dependent avoid the tobacco premium rating surcharge? ... If an employee or enrollee's dependent already enrolled in coverage through the FF-SHOPs decides to participate in a wellness program in the middle of a plan year after initially declining the offer of such enrollment, will his or her premium be reduced immediately or retroactively to the time of open enrollment?" [FF- SHOP Issuer Frequently Asked Questions, FAQs #5, Release Date: September 13, 2013.] (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  


P&I West Coast Defined Contribution Conference Oct. 27-29 | San Fran

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Empower your employees to save and invest for retirement. Hear directly from DC experts discuss on the most pressing investment, legislative, plan design and education issues today.

[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Letter to Congress on Ineligibility of Multiemployer Plan Participants for ACA Premium Tax Credits (PDF)
"[An] individual who is covered by an eligible employer-sponsored plan would not be eligible to receive a premium tax credit. The conclusion that an individual cannot benefit from both the exclusion from taxable income for employer-provided health coverage under such a plan and the premium tax credit provided by the ACA applies whether the individual is covered by a single-employer plan or a multiemployer plan." (U.S. Department of the Treasury)  

[Guidance Overview]

Although DOL Says No Penalty for Failure to Provide Exchange Notice, Compliance May Be Prudent
"While employers may breathe a sigh of relief that there is no fine or penalty associated with the Exchange Notice obligation, compliance is nonetheless recommended. Information conveyed in the notice could be critical for employees in making enrollment decisions ... Employers and employees will both ultimately benefit from accurate Exchange eligibility determinations, since employees can avoid having to repay advance premium tax credits that they were not eligible to receive, and employers can avoid erroneous assessments of shared responsibility penalties (which will start to apply in 2015)." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  

[Guidance Overview]

Tax-Favored Health Savings Arrangements, Medicaid DSH Payments, and Multiemployer Plans
"[E]mployers are going to find it difficult or impossible to use before-tax dollars to purchase individual medical coverage in the individual market except for retirees. On the other hand, employers can use a number of approaches to offer excepted benefits to employees. Excepted benefits do not count toward minimum essential coverage, but they may be a way of getting pretax income to individuals that does not affect their eligibility for premium tax credits. Employers can always use account-based benefits to supplement comprehensive coverage, and can direct it in such a way so as to increase its minimum value or affordability." (Timothy Jost in Health Affairs Blog)  

[Guidance Overview]

CMS Presentation on Participating in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces Registration Process for Agents and Brokers (PDF)
61 presentation slides. Objectives: "Present the registration process for agents and brokers, including web-brokers, wishing to assist consumers in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces; Describe the pathways for assisting consumers with eligibility determinations and enrollment in Qualified Health Plans; [and] Provide resources for technical assistance and support for agents and brokers in the FFMs." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  


Creating a Culture of Wellness & Health - October 9-10 - Chicago

Sponsored by World Congress

Shifting organizational norms and behaviors to embody a Culture of Health creates an exponential rise in employee health, engagement and performance. Focus on restructuring resources and charting next steps in transforming your workforce in an uncertain era.

[Guidance Overview]

Proposed Regs Address New IRS Information Reporting for Enforcement of Individual Mandate, Premium Tax Credit, and Employer Shared Responsibility Requirements
"Although the first returns and statements may seem a long way off, the implementation horizon for many affected organizations (budgeting for and upgrading systems to track necessary data elements and to produce timely outputs) will be long as well. Employers, insurers, and service providers (especially payroll service providers) will need to study the proposals carefully in order to develop an implementation strategy for 2015." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  

[Guidance Overview]

Proposed IRS Regs on Health Reform Reporting Requirements: Implications for Self-Insured Employers, Record-Keepers and Insurers
"Self-insured employers and others responsible to file under the proposed regulation should do the following: [1] Review and understand the proposed IRS information-reporting regulations. [2] Estimate the operational impact and IT resources needed, either directly or from record keepers and other vendors, to satisfy the proposed reporting requirements. [3] Consider filing comments with the IRS by the November 8, 2013 deadline regarding the impact of the reporting requirements and any ideas for reducing this burden.... [4] Begin working with their IT and payroll departments, and with third-party administrators and record keepers, to ensure the employer will meet the reporting requirements of Sections 6055 and 6056 for data covering the 2015 calendar year." (Towers Watson)  

[Guidance Overview]

Implementing Health Reform: Data Hub Security and Other Issues
"The hub will verify data provided by applicants against information in existing and secure federal and state databases, such as those of the [IRS], [SSA], the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, and others. It will provide one highly secure connection to these databases rather than requiring each exchange to set up its own connections. The hub has several levels of protection to mitigate security risks. It employs a continuous monitoring model to rapidly identify and take action against irregular behavior and unauthorized system changes that could indicate a potential incident." (Timothy Jost in Health Affairs Blog)  

Obama Administration Denies Labor's Request for Obamacare Tax Credits While Covered by Multiemployer Health Plan
"A senior administration official tells [the author] that the administration 'does not see a legal way for individuals in multiemployer group health plans to receive individual market tax credits as well as the favorable tax treatment associated with employer-provided health insurance at the same time.' A Treasury Department letter is being released that lays out the administration's reasoning in more detail." (Ezra Klein in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

[Guidance Overview]

Deadline for Medicare Part D Creditable/Non-Creditable Coverage Notices Approaches (PDF)
"Plan sponsors that offer prescription drug coverage must provide notices of creditable or non-creditable coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals before each year's Medicare Part D annual enrollment period. Many plan sponsors fulfill this obligation by including the notices in their annual enrollment materials or in separate mailings in the fall. Whether plan sponsors use the model notices provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) or other notices that meet prescribed standards, they must provide the required disclosures no later than October 14, 2013." (Buck Consultants)  

The Coming Revolution in Consumer-Driven Health Care
"[Consumer Driven Health Care] firms are taking over private insurance. They added 4.9 million accounts in a 12-month period and grew from 11% to 15% market share in one year. The number of accounts increased by 25.7% from January 2012 to January 2013, and is projected to reach 42 million accounts by 2016.... The number of HSAs grew 34.3% in one year, HRAs by 30%, and FSAs by 18.3%. FSA, remain the most common type of account at 42% of the total, but the others are rapidly catching up." (John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)  

Four Things to Look for in Tomorrow's Census Bureau Report on Health Coverage
"The Census Bureau's estimates of the number of Americans with and without health insurance in 2012 don't come out until [Tuesday, September 17], but other data and historical trends provide clues to what they will show ... [1] The number of uninsured fell but remains above pre-recession levels.... [2] An important health reform provision expanded coverage for young adults.... [3] Private coverage continues to erode for other non-elderly adults.... [4] Public programs continue to serve more people during the recession, particularly children." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)  

Social Networks May Have Role in Containing Healthcare Costs
"The [Crohnology.com] online community ... is one of the most closely watched experiments in digital health. It lets patients ... track symptoms, trade information on different diets and remedies, and generally care for themselves. The site is at the vanguard of the growing 'e-patient' movement that is letting patients take control over their health decisions -- and behavior -- in ways that could fundamentally change the economics of health care. Investors are particularly interested in the role 'peer-to-peer' social networks could play in the $3 trillion U.S. health-care market." (MIT Technology Review)  

Wellness Culture Linked to Stock Value
"Researchers say companies that have won an award for their employee health and safety cultures also outperform the Standard & Poor's 500, but they cannot yet say that causality has been identified.... [C]ompanies that have won the Corporate Health Achievement Award for their employee health and safety cultures also outperform the Standard & Poor's 500 by 3.03%-5.27%." (HealthLeaders Media)  

Obamacare Security Breach Leaks Data of 2,400 Customers
"An employee of Minnesota's Obamacare exchange, MNsure, sent an unencrypted file to the wrong person and left 2,400 people's private information at the mercy of a nearby insurance agent. One exchange staffer's simple mistake gave [an insurance broker] access to an Excel document of Social Security numbers, names, addresses and other personal data for whole a list of insurance agents. Luckily for the 2,400, [the broker] was cooperative -- and unnerved." (The Daily Caller)  

Group Life and Disability Insurers Are Now Welcome to Participate in Health Insurance Exchanges, But Will They?
"Conceived as a means to create a medical insurance market for individuals not covered by employer-provided plans, exchanges have the ability to offer other types of insurance as well, either directly or indirectly. Unlike their public counterparts, private exchanges are at liberty to market and sell ancillary insurance products directly to consumers and on the same platform as major medical and dental insurance products. private exchanges may also offer payroll administration and enrollment services that could appeal to employers and insurers alike." (Best's Review, via Milliman)  

What Trader Joe's Teaches Us About Obamacare
"The grocery chain ... told part-time employees that it would end their health insurance benefits for employees who work less than 30 hours a week, sending them instead to the new public insurance marketplaces with an extra $500 to help purchase coverage.... While health benefits are expensive, companies typically offer them to stay competitive. A robust health plan can go a long way in wooing potential employees -- especially when most of the market doesn't offer part-time workers the opportunity to buy coverage." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

ACA Implementation Advice: Encourage Timely Reports of Income Changes
"Reducing subsidy repayments to a manageable level would require accurately calculating the subsidy at the time of enrollment and making necessary adjustments throughout the year as enrollees' incomes change. [This] article details a variety of ways these calculations could be updated. Regardless of adjustment method, timely reporting of income changes and the subsequent recalculation of exchange subsidies notably reduces the size of repayments." (Health Affairs Blog)  

Projecting Premiums in Obamacare's Health Care Exchanges
"In recent weeks, several organizations have released studies projecting premiums in Obamacare's new exchanges next year. However, many of these studies suffer from the same flaw: They ignore or minimize the fact that, due to Obamacare, individuals will be forced to buy levels of health insurance that they may not need or want. As a result, average insurance premiums on the individual health insurance market will rise significantly in most states." (The Heritage Foundation)  


Two New Polls Tell Us Americans Are Very, Very Confused About Obamacare
"Among the uninsured, 76% of respondents said they didn't understand the law and how it would affect them. Only 32% of the uninsured thought they were 'fairly' or 'very' likely to use the exchanges. That proportion was even lower among people who are currently getting insurance on the individual market. Of those, 23% believed they would use the exchanges. They also tend to be view the health law more negatively than those who have insurance coverage." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  


The Hobby Lobby Problem and the HSA/HRA Solution
"The controversy about the contraception mandate is unnecessary. The tax law contains devices for reconciling the religious concerns of employers like Hobby Lobby with the policy of expanding medical coverage: health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). The current regulatory exemption should be amended in two respects, to include for-profit employers and to exempt from the federal mandate employers (both nonprofit and profit-making) that maintain HSAs or HRAs for their employees." (Prof. Edward A. Zelinsky, via SSRN)  


Why Every Small Employer Should Sign Up For Obamacare's SHOP Exchange
"Currently, when employers purchase health insurance through insurance companies, most are required to pay part of the premium for the employee and the employee pays the rest.... According to the Navigator manual, with the SHOP exchange, the employer does not have to contribute ANYTHING to the cost of the premium -- they can pay anywhere between zero and 100% of the premium, and the employee pays the rest." (Forbes)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Post-DOMA Guidance: What Employers Should Do Now
"What Benefit Plan Changes Must Be Implemented Now? ... How Should We Communicate with Employees About This Change? ... What Do Employees Need to Know? ... Do Retirement Plan Election Forms Need to Be Updated Right Away? ... What Actions Should Employers Consider Taking Now for Retirement Plans? ... Should State Income Tax Withholding on Same-Sex Spousal Health Plan Coverage be Handled Differently in Non-Recognition States? ... What Is the Process for Claiming Payroll Tax Refunds for Prior Years? ... What Documentation Should Employers Require to Verify Marital Status for Same-Sex Couples? ... What Benefit Design Changes Should Employers Be Considering in Light of the Ruling?" (Ivins, Phillips & Barker)  

[Guidance Overview]

Enrolled Actuaries Program Booklet, Revised September 5, 2013 (PDF)
This recently revised booklet provides materials for the November 2013 Pension EA-2 (Segment F) Examination, May 2014 Basic (EA-1) Examination, and May 2014 Pension EA-2 (Segment L) Examination. (Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries [JBEA], American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA], and Society of Actuaries)  

Cypen & Cypen Newsletter, September 12, 2013
Article titles include: The Public Safety Tipping Point (When Saving Money Loses Lives); Crime, Not Debt, Is Detroit's Biggest Problem; Lawyers Not Cutting Employees' Hours Because of ACA; Hedge Funds Cut Fees; and Local Governments Do Not Completely Control Pensions. (Cypen & Cypen)  

How Should ERISA Plans Handle Powers of Attorney and Court-Appointed Guardians and the Absence of Such Agents for Participants Lacking Capacity?
"This article discusses (1) when a third party may act on behalf of an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary who may, but need not, be unable to act on his or her behalf, and (2) the responsibilities of an ERISA plan to a participant or beneficiary unable to act on his or her behalf if no third party is authorized to act on his or behalf." (Albert Feuer)  

Peabody Says It No Longer Owes Benefits to Patriot Retirees
"[Patriot Coal] and [Peabody Energy Corp.] are fighting over the responsibility to fund benefits for a group of about 3,100 retirees that Peabody agreed to continue covering after the October 2007 spinoff.... An appeals court last month [said] the abrogation of labor deals should have exempted the group in question, and that the group's benefits remained the responsibility of Peabody. But that ruling was 'not concerned with, and expressed no opinion on, what effect a new labor agreement would have on Peabody's' obligations' ... Under the new deal, Peabody's funding obligations, which are tied to the amount of benefits Patriot provides to its workers, disappear, because the deal transfers all benefits to an outside trust, Peabody argued." (Reuters)  

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