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October 3, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Specialist
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in NY

Retention Specialist
MassMutual Financial Group
in CT

Retirement Plan Administrator
Matthews Benefit Group, Inc.
in FL

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Webcasts and Conferences

What Plan Sponsors Need to Know About Retirement Income - Recorded
October 11, 2013 WEBCAST
(Vanguard)

New Information Reporting Under Health Care Reform: Proposed Rules for Code Sections 6055 and 6056 Returns and Statements - Recorded
October 16, 2013 WEBCAST
(Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinar
October 24, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA))

Retirement Plan Insights Seminar
November 12, 2013 in NV
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Retirement Plan Insights Seminar
November 25, 2013 in MD
(McKay Hochman Co., 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.
[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Issuer FAQ #6 on Federally-Facilitated Marketplace for SHOP (PDF)
"If a qualified employer has multiple worksites in a state, which address will be used to adjust premiums for the qualified employer's qualified employees and their dependents using the geographic rating area premium rating factor? ... Can composite (or average) premiums be used in the FF-SHOPs? ... Will composite premium contributions be available for both medical and stand-alone dental QHPs in the FF-SHOPs? ... How will employers contribute to employee and dependent premiums in the FF-SHOPs? ... How are premiums calculated for an employer's reference or benchmark plan in the FF-SHOPs? ... Can employers in the FF-SHOPs contribute a different amount based on different employee classes, e.g., owners or salaried and hourly workers? ... How will employees be allowed to contribute towards their premiums in the FF-SHOPs?" (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  


[Advert.]

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 IRS Chief Counsel Memo: Bike Share Expenses Do Not Qualify for Tax Exclusion as Transportation Fringe Benefits (PDF)
"Section 132(f)(4), the provision which permits employees to reduce their taxable compensation in order to receive reimbursements for transit expenses on a pre-tax basis, does not apply to qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement. Specifically, section 132(f)(4) provides that 'no amount shall be included in the gross income of an employee solely because the employee may choose between any qualified transportation fringe (other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement) and compensation that would otherwise be includible in the gross income of such employee' ... Thus, allowing bike share programs to qualify as a pre-tax benefit under section 132 would require legislative action by Congress." (Internal Revenue Service)  

[Guidance Overview]

Employers Need to Understand Premium Tax Credits
"If the coverage the business owner provides meets the affordability test, which it likely will if the employer is covering 70 to 80 percent of the premiums for self-only coverage, and provides minimum value, the business owner's employees, their spouses, and their children will not be eligible for a premium tax credit. However, if no coverage is offered by the business owner, the employees meeting the requirements discussed above for a premium tax credit will be able to shop for coverage on the individual Exchange with a premium tax credit.... Thus, the business owner should weigh the overall cost for an employee to cover his/her whole family under the business owner's health coverage verses the employee's cost to cover his/her whole family on the State Exchange with the assistance of a premium tax credit." (Moulder Law)  

[Guidance Overview]

Bike Share Expenses Do Not Qualify for Favorable Fringe Benefit Tax Treatment
"The IRS reasoned that expenses for bike share programs cannot be considered transit passes because the programs are not mass transit facilities (as required under the transit pass definition). The IRS also concluded that bike share program expenses are not qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements[.]" (Practical Law Company)  

Health Benefit Plan Cost Trend Rates Show the Slowest Growth in 14 Years of Trend Forecasts
"All medical plan types are projected to experience trend rate declines in 2014. Health maintenance organization (HMO) trend rate projections for 2014 are a full percentage point lower than HMO projections from 2010. Prescription drug benefit trends for retail and mail order combined are forecasted at 6.3 percent for active participants and early retirees. These projections are relatively consistent with last year's trend rate projections of 6.4 percent." (Segal)  


[Advert.]

23rd Annual National Health Benefits Conference & Expo

Sponsored by HBCE- Health Benefits Conference & Expo

Jan.28-29 in Florida. Sessions: IBM, L.L. Bean, Southern Co, City of Houston, Quad/Graphics (Onsite Clinic since 1990), Univ of Iowa and Ala, Sarasota and Anoka Co, Eastman Chemical, Chesapeake Energy, Palm Beach Co Schools, Crowley Corp, etc.Best value.



Salary Increases to Remain at 3 Percent; Few Changes Due to ACA (PDF)
"Few employers are making changes in anticipation of the Affordable Care Act. Only 8 percent of respondents have capped work hours of part-time employees, with an additional 12 percent considering taking this action. Eight percent are incenting employees to obtain benefits via another source, and an additional 9 percent are considering this approach." (Buck Consultants)  

What Factors Influence Health Care Benefits? (PDF)
"[W]orkers employed in the public sector and in manufacturing were more likely than other workers to have employment-based health benefits in their own name in 2012. Additionally, only about 20 percent of self-employed workers and 23.5 percent of private-sector workers in firms with fewer than 10 employees had employment-based health benefits in their own name in 2012, compared with 62.1 percent of private-sector workers in firms with 1,000 or more employees." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])  

Top Seven Benefits Enrollment Mistakes by Employees
"Topping the list was employees assuming they don't need the benefits being offered without first talking with a benefits counselor. This misstep was cited by 81 percent of survey respondents.... Mistakes number two through five were closely knotted in the rankings and also related to lack of information: Not reading the benefits information before the enrollment -- 69 percent. Not knowing what benefits they currently have and what they cost -- 69 percent. Forgetting to talk with their spouse about their family's needs before the enrollment -- 67 percent. Assuming the cost of a new benefit is unaffordable without seeing any prices -- 66 percent." (Colonial Life)  

Small Business Owner Sues Obama Administration Over Employer Mandate Delay
"The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of Florida orthodontist Larry Kawa, argues that the delay harmed Kawa's business. The plaintiffs claim that the government's action 'exceeded the Obama administration's statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the law, and is otherwise unlawful'[.]" (The Daily Caller)  

Experimenting with ACOs: Core Model of Obamacare
"For some hospital systems, the model is working. Detroit Medical Center, for example, said it reduced costs for treating its Medicare patients by 4.5 percent. All told, 243 healthcare organizations are Medicare ACOs, according to the latest figures from the agency. About 250 others have formed their own private versions. Insurers are also keen on the idea. UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest health insurer in the United States, has said it expects its accountable care contracts with hospitals, medical groups and doctors to double to $50 billion by 2017." (Reuters)  

Consumer Understanding of the ACA Is Essential to Its Success
"[W]hile many more Americans will be able to obtain health insurance under the law, the new policies present a complex new choice environment for consumers, one that contains new penalties, new subsidies, and a potentially vast number of plans to choose from. Successfully navigating these choices requires consumers to be financially literate. As recognized in research on related areas of financial decision-making -- such as retirement planning, investing, and debt -- consumers often lack the understanding, ability and confidence to make financial choices that are in their best interest." (RAND Corporation)  

The Changing Landscape of Small-Business Health Insurance
"[T]he fact that people were not really in the purchasing process was part of the runaway inflation in health insurance and health care.... Clearly the health care reform has brought this into the consciousness of people in a way that we could never have ... The No. 1 objection we've gotten over the years has been, 'I don't think my employees can do it. I think they'll be confused.' As we come into 2014, that statement is just going to seem more absurd." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

New Law Expands California's Paid Family Leave Benefits
"Under the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which is funded by mandatory payroll deductions, employees taking time off work to care for seriously ill family members or to bond with foster or adopted children are eligible for up to six weeks of partial wage replacement benefits. Currently, the PFL definition of 'family' includes children, spouses or domestic partners, and parents. Senate Bill 770 expands the definition of 'family' to cover employees caring for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law with serious illnesses, effective July 1, 2014." (Paul Hastings LLP)  

Jersey City Paid Sick Leave Law Applies to Employees Who Work at Least 80 Hours Per Calendar Year in City
"The Jersey City Council voted 7-1 to pass a bill that will provide paid sick leave for workers in New Jersey's second largest city. Any business with 10 or more employees must offer as many as five paid sick days per year. Businesses with fewer employees will be required to provide unpaid sick days. The ordinance carries civil penalties, creates a private right of action for aggrieved employees, and empowers the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services to audit employers and investigate and adjudicate complaints." (Ford & Harrison LLP)  

Problems Persist on Second Day of Insurance Markets
"The new online health insurance exchanges continued to experience heavy traffic and technical problems in their second day of operation ... Many state-run systems seemed to be functioning--- albeit, in some cases, slowly and with scattered problems -- but the federal system operating the exchanges for 34 states remained trouble-plagued. Consumers trying to log on to that system encountered long waits, malfunctioning Web pages and messages telling them to try again later." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

Meet Chad Henderson, the Obamacare Enrollee Tons of Reporters Are Calling
"He logged onto the Web site around midnight on Oct. 1, ready to purchase coverage. Part of his decision was ideological: He wants the health-care law to succeed.... The sign-up process took about three hours.... Henderson purchased a health insurance plan with a $175 monthly premium. While that price does fit in his budget, he was also hoping for a better deal." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

[Opinion]

Launch of Public Exchanges Brings Conflicts Into Sharp Relief
"Some of the conflicts center around the search for evidence that public exchange rates present either a great bargain for individuals, or no savings at all.... Other envisioned conflicts stem from lack of employer compliance with employee notification requirements.... [If] an employee without coverage receives medical treatment from a provider [and] that provider discovers the employee was not properly notified about the exchanges and his coverage options, there could be the makings of a lawsuit." (Employee Benefit News)  

[Opinion]

How Obamacare Wrecks the Work Ethic
"A new wave of redistribution will arrive in America on Jan. 1, primarily thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The president's health-insurance plan forces those who hire, work and produce to pay full price for health care, while creating generous discounts for practically everyone else.... [A]dvocates for the recent program expansions have failed to acknowledge that redistribution necessarily increases marginal tax rates and contracts the labor market." (Casey Mulligan in The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

[Opinion]

Reports Suggest Exchange Numbers Are Very Low
"HHS officials declined to reveal how many people signed up for new insurance plans overall, leading some theorists to speculate that not very many people were able to make it through the process successfully. In point of fact, there were suspiciously few reports of users successfully completing the registration process at all, probably not a very good sign and possibly an indication of a disaster. The New York Times interviewed a Wisconsin navigator who said their group was not able to successfully sign up any of the users they worked with. The Washington Post talked with a West Virginia navigator who confirmed 2 sign ups." (The Health Care Blog)  

[Opinion]

Descent Into Madness: An Account of One Man's Visit to Healthcare.gov on October 1st
"As the owners of small businesses, my family has been curious to learn how much insurance would cost us once the Affordable Care Act kicks in -- and what our choices of networks, providers and whatnot would be. With the arrival of the October 1 open enrollment period, my first computer stop was healthcare.gov to begin comparison shopping among the four ACA plans vs. the COBRA plan that we have through the end of 2014. Here's how it went[.]" (The Health Care Blog)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

FASB Ratifies Consensus-For-Exposure on Issue 13-D: 'Accounting for Share-Based Payments When the Terms of an Award Provide That a Performance Target Could Be Achieved After the Requisite Service Period'
"A performance target that could be achieved after the requisite service period should be treated as a performance condition that affects the vesting of the awards.... [C]ompensation cost would be recognized if it is probable that the performance condition will be achieved.... The amendments in the proposed Update would be applied prospectively to share-based payment awards granted or modified on or after the effective date. Early adoption would be permitted." (Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB])  

[Guidance Overview]

State Exemptions for Religious Organizations After the DOMA Decision and Revenue Ruling 2013-17
"Most states that recognize same-sex marriage exempt religious organizations from the application of statutes that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.... [T]hese state exemptions appear to give religious organizations the right to refuse equal employment benefits to employees in same-sex marriages despite the Service's guidance. Questions remain, however, regarding the scope of these exemptions and whether they would survive constitutional scrutiny.... [M]any of the state exemptions do not define with specificity what constitutes a 'religious' organization." (Verrill Dana LLP)  

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Proposes Pay Ratio Disclosure Rules
"The SEC believes that this flexible approach will reduce the cost of compliance. It acknowledges this approach will limit the comparability of disclosure across reporting companies, noting that precise conformity of ratios across companies is not necessary because it believes the pay ratio is aimed at providing investors with a company-specific metric to evaluate the PEO's compensation within the context of his or her own company." (Michael Best & Friedrich LLP)  

Supreme Court Will Decide Whether FICA Tax Applies to Severance Pay
"Employers who have made severance payments pursuant to a plan because of a reduction in force should strongly consider filing refund claims ... The statute of limitations for post-2009 quarterly tax periods is open. The limitations period for 2010 quarterly tax periods terminates on April 15, 2014. Because Quality Stores most likely will be decided after that date, the refund claims should be filed on a protective basis." (Faegre Baker Daniels LLP)  

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