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September 18, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Consultant
The Pension Studio, LLC
in ANY STATE

Retirement Plan Wholesaler
Ohio National Financial Services
in CA

Defined Contribution Client Manager
Milliman
in OR

Retirement Plan Wholesaler
Ohio National Financial Services
in AZ

Retirement Plan Wholesaler
Ohio National Financial Services
in ANY STATE, TN

Retirement Plan Wholesaler
Ohio National Financial Services
in IL

401(k) Conversion Manager
Linium Strategic Operations Solutions
in NJ, NY, PA

Senior Account Manager - Employee Benefits
Lockton Companies, LLC
in IL

Health & Benefits Consultant
Cowden Associates, Inc.
in PA

VP Internal Sales
Verisight, Inc.
in CA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Wellness Programs: Impact of the New HIPAA Nondiscrimination Regulations and Other Federal Laws and Guidance
October 21, 2013 WEBCAST
(Lorman Education Services)

2014 Business Management Conference
January 11, 2014 in AZ
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics 2013 - Chicago
October 17, 2013 in IL
(SunGard Relius)

2013 Webinar: IRA Excess Contributions
September 24, 2013 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

2013 Tour: Advanced IRA – Baxter, MN
September 25, 2013 in MN
(Ascensus)

2013 Tour: IRA Essentials – Baxter, MN
September 24, 2013 in MN
(Ascensus)

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics 2013 - Dallas
October 17, 2013 in TX
(SunGard Relius)

2013 Webinar: IRA Investments & Investment Issues
September 26, 2013 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

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]

HDHPs Can Cover ACA-Mandated Preventive Care and Be HSA-Compatible (PDF)
"Notice 2013-57 ... confirms that services that had been considered preventive for HDHP/HSA purposes under prior guidance continue to be treated as preventive. Because the notice at one point describes the preventive services as those 'required' by the ACA, it is not clear whether the same treatment would apply to a grandfathered HDHP that voluntarily provided first dollar coverage of ACA preventive service." (Buck Consultants)  


[Advert.]

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Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP)

As the most respected designation in the industry, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) courses give you the knowledge and confidence to succeed in today's business environment. Learn More!



[Guidance Overview]

Proposed Regs Issued by IRS on Minimum Essential Coverage and Large Employer Information Reporting Requirements
"The information returns to the IRS under both provisions must be filed with the IRS no later than February 28th (or, if filed electronically, March 31st) of the calendar year following the year on which the taxpayer is reporting. In other words, following the reporting delay previously announced by the IRS... the first returns which need to be filed (i.e., for the 2015 calendar year) are not due until February 28, 2016 (or, if filed electronically, March 31, 2016). That said, the IRS reiterated that taxpayers could voluntarily file the IRC 6055 information reports for the 2014 calendar year if they so desired." (Benefits Bryan Cave)  

As Health Care Law Proceeds, Opposition and Uncertainty Persist
"Survey Highlights: ... [1] Just 25% say they have a very good understanding of how [the] law will impact them. [2] Uninsured Americans are divided over the law -- 49% approve, 46% disapprove. [3] GOP draws even with Democrats on handling health care. [4] 63% say [the] law hasn't affected them yet, but more expect that the impact will be negative than positive." (Pew Research Center)  

Under Obamacare, More Mental Health Coverage for Workers
"Although many large and small group insurance plans include services for some mental-health and substance-use illnesses, there are gaps in coverage. About one-third of those who are now covered in the individual market have no coverage for substance-use disorders and nearly 20 percent have no coverage for mental-health cases, including outpatient therapy visits and inpatient crisis intervention and stabilization, according to [HHS]. But starting next year, this will change for many workers." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Duke Energy Becomes Latest Employer to Stop Insuring Retirees
"About 14,500 retirees of Duke Energy, Progress Energy and others, including 6,600 retirees in North Carolina, began receiving notices last week alerting them that the utility company will no longer provide retiree insurance to supplement Medicare coverage. Instead, the Charlotte-based power company will pay retirees an annual stipend, and the former employees will be responsible for picking their own insurance." (The News and Observer)  


[Advert.]

23rd Annual National Health Benefits Conference & Expo

Sponsored by HBCE- Health Benefits Conference & Expo

The Biggest Challenge Remains: Addressing the Most Intractable Cost Problem Facing Employers, Employees & Governments at All Levels - January 28-29, 2014 - Clearwater Beach, FL. High quality, moderate cost - Register now for best rates!



House Conservatives Unveiling Alternative to 'Obamacare' with Bigger Tax Break for Consumers
"A large group of House conservatives intends to unveil legislation providing an expanded tax break for consumers who purchase their own health coverage and increasing the government funding for high-risk pools ... Individuals with pre-existing conditions who already have coverage would generally be permitted to shift existing insurance without fear of losing it. The legislation also includes expanded access to health savings accounts, which are tax-preferred accounts used to pay medical expenses by consumers enrolled in high-deductible coverage plans.... In addition, awards for pain and suffering, emotional distress and similar noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases would be capped at $250,000, unless a state had a higher cap." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

House Committee Hearing on Federal Implementation of Obamacare: Concerns of State Governments
Page includes links to testimony by witnesses, including Jeff Colyer, Lieutenant Governor of Kansas; Alan Wilson, South Carolina Attorney General; Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; and Matthew Hudson, Florida state Representative. Testimony presented by other witnesses was not on the target web page at press time, but probably will be added at some point (Brad Hutton, South Carolina state Senator; Katrina Jackson, Louisiana state Representative; and Eleanor Sobel, Florida state Senator). (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives)  

Health Law Navigators Blasted in Republican Report
"More safeguards are needed to ensure thieves don't impersonate government-funded 'navigators' and nab financial details from people trying to sign up for health insurance, according to a report from Republican House investigators. The report raised concerns that official navigators, who get federal funding under the 2010 health law, won't have government IDs or other documentation to prove they are authorized to help enroll people for health insurance. The federal government won't maintain a list of authorized navigators or helpers, making it difficult for consumers to be confident when handing over sensitive personal information such as Social Security numbers[.]" (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

Walgreens to Give Workers Payments to Buy Healthcare Plans
"Walgreen Co. is set to become one of the largest employers yet to make sweeping changes to company-backed health programs. [T]he drugstore giant is expected to disclose a plan to provide payments to eligible employees for the subsidized purchase of insurance starting in 2014. The plan will affect roughly 160,000 employees, and will require them to shop for coverage on a private health-insurance marketplace. Aside from rising health-care costs, the company cited compliance-related expenses associated with the new law as a reason for the switch." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  


[Advert.]

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

Sponsored by American Conference 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.



A Guide to Lawsuits Challenging Obamacare's Contraception Coverage Requirements
"With high emotions and vast implications, the cases challenging the contraception coverage mandate raise fundamental questions: Is a company a 'person' with religious liberties protected by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)? Are some types of contraception a form of de-facto abortion and therefore especially objectionable to some religious groups? Should a company owner's religious values govern its workers' personal choices? To help guide you through the maze of decisions, appeals and possible future directions of the lawsuits, [here are] some notable cases that could ultimately bring the contraception coverage requirement to the Supreme Court." (Kaiser Health News)  

Will They Come? Consumers and Health Insurance Exchanges: Awareness, Preferences, and Concerns (PDF)
"Nearly eight in 10 consumers are aware that the federal government will require most individuals to maintain health insurance starting in 2014 ... Awareness is higher among those who are already insured (80 percent) and lower among those who are likely to be affected most by the change -- two in three of the uninsured report awareness of the insurance requirement.... Seven in 10 are aware of the establishment of insurance exchanges ... Only half are aware of the availability of tax credits to help individuals and families purchase health insurance coverage." (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)  

Nearly 90% of Workers Satisfied with Their Own Health Plan, But 55% Give Low Ratings to Healthcare System (PDF)
"[T]he percentage of workers rating the health care system as poor doubled between 1998 and 2006 (rising from 14 percent to 32 percent); however, that percentage has fallen slightly more recently. In contrast to the ratings for the health care system overall, workers' ratings of their own health plans continue to be generally favorable. One-half (51 percent) of those with health insurance coverage are extremely or very satisfied." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])  

How Is Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Changing?
"Employers are raising deductibles, giving workers health savings accounts that look like 401(k) plans, mimicking the health law's online insurance marketplaces and nudging patients to compare prices and shop around for treatments. Together the moves could eventually affect far more consumers than the law's Medicaid expansion or health exchanges aimed at the uninsured and scheduled to open Oct. 1." (Kaiser Health News)  

Health Care Changes Ahead: Employers' Actions Today and Plans for the Future
"Only 12% of employers are confident that the public health insurance exchanges will be a viable alternative to employer-sponsored coverage in their first year, but their number more than doubles for 2015, to 29%. Three times more employers (37%) give the thumbs up to private exchanges as a potential approach for 2014, improving by more than half, to 57%, for 2015.... More than 60% say their health benefit plan will trigger the excise tax if they don't make any changes." (Towers Watson)  

Maryland Reveals Exchange Prices for Small-Business Plans
"[T]he monthly premiums for a silver plan (which covers roughly 70 percent of the cost of care) for a 40-year-old non-smoker in Maryland will range from $208 to $435, depending on the insurance company ... In New York, the same type of individual would pay between $291 and $568 for a similar plan, and in the District, the premiums range from $248 to $408." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Obamacare Customers May Show Up in Fits and Starts
"Will Obamacare's launch look more like Black Friday, when U.S. shoppers flood retail stores for bargains the day after Thanksgiving, or April 15, when procrastinators wait until nearly midnight to file their taxes? Officials involved in implementing President Barack Obama's healthcare law, academics who study health insurance and benefits experts ... expect a little of both, with a graph of enrollment timing to be shaped like a lopsided W. They anticipate a fairly busy start as some of the uninsured buy coverage soon after the state-based exchanges open on October 1, followed by a drop-off for several weeks." (Reuters)  

Health Insurance Coverage Rises in 2012, Driven by Increase in Medicare Enrollment
"The percentage of Americans without health insurance declined 0.3 percentage points in 2012, falling from 15.7% to 15.4%.... This is the second successive year of improvement in insurance coverage. In 2011 noncoverage fell 0.6 percentage points, declining from 16.3% to 15.7%.... Since 2000 employer sponsored health insurance plans have provided coverage for a steadily declining percentage of the population. In 2000, 65.1% of Americans obtained coverage under an employer-sponsored plan; in 2012 only 54.9% of Americans were covered by employer plans." (The Brookings Institution)  

[Opinion]

The Uninsured Crisis Under Obamacare
"Proponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hoped it would achieve near-universal coverage. Yet, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the ACA will cover less than half of the uninsured. A decade from now (2023), long after the ACA is fully implemented, the CBO estimates it will only cover about 25 million people who would otherwise be uninsured, leaving 31 million people uninsured. Even this estimate may be too optimistic." (National Center for Policy Analysis)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Pay Ratio Calculation Is Here: SEC Approves Proposed Rule
"By an overwhelming 3-2 vote, strictly along party lines ... the [SEC] approved a proposed rule under Dodd-Frank Section 953(b). The two dissenters, Commissioners Gallagher and Piwowar, both issued scathing condemnations of both the statute and the proposed rule while the other commissioners praised it for the assistance that it will provide to investors and potential investors." (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  

SEC to Unveil CEO Pay Ratio Rule, Adopt Municipal Adviser Rule
"U.S. corporations will need to disclose how their chief executive's paycheck compares to that of their average worker under a proposal set to be unveiled [today, September 18] by the [SEC].... [T]he SEC is [also] expected to adopt a reform that will allow it to oversee financial advisers to cities, counties and other municipal entities that sell public debt or manage public money. The rule will require advisers to register with the SEC and be held to a 'fiduciary' standard, or ensure they act in the best interest of customers." (Reuters)  

Compensation Costs in Private Industry and Healthcare Industry
"Overall, private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.00 per hour worked, supplemental pay averaged 80 cents, insurance benefits averaged $2.39, retirement and savings averaged $1.07, and legally required benefits averaged $2.39 per hour worked. In private hospitals, employer costs for benefits were all higher than the average for all private employers. Paid leave averaged $3.38 per hour worked, supplemental pay averaged $1.20, insurance benefits averaged $3.93, retirement and savings averaged $1.52, and legally required benefits averaged $2.83 per hour worked." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)  

Press Releases

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