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October 15, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Defined Contribution Client Manager
in CA

401(k) Administrator
Pollard & Associates, Inc.
in MD

Qualified Plan Sales - Multiple Positions
National Plan Provider

Retirement Plans Regional Sales Manager- Eastern Pennsylvania/Northern NJ Territory
Mutual of Omaha
in NJ, PA

Client Relationship Manager
Lincoln Financial Group

Regional Pension Wholesaler
Nationwide Insurance
in TX

Retirement Planning Consultant
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in WI

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Webcasts and Conferences

Ethics Case Studies One
October 22, 2013 WEBCAST
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Benefits Education: The Time Is Right
October 23, 2013 WEBCAST
(Kushner & Company)

"Fee Benchmarking" and "Top 10 Mistakes 401(k) Plan Sponsors Make"
November 14, 2013 in CA
(San Diego County Chapter of NIPA)

2014 Retirement Industry Conference
April 9, 2014 in IL

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 Announcement About Start of Medicare Open Enrollment
"[CMS] announced the start of the Medicare Open Enrollment, which begins today, October 15th and ends December 7th. CMS encourages people with Medicare to review their current health and prescription drug coverage options for 2014. Medicare's Open Enrollment is not part of the Affordable Care Act's new Health Insurance Marketplace, and people with Medicare do not need to do anything with Marketplace plans." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  


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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance on HRAs, FSAs and EAPs: Plan Amendments May be Required
"This guidance essentially puts an end to stand-alone HRAs and to health FSAs offered outside of a cafeteria plan. Although an HRA with fewer than two participants who are current employees on the first day of the plan year (i.e., retiree-only HRA) is an excepted benefit and exempt from the ACA market reforms, retiree-participants are not left unscathed. The Notice confirms that a stand-alone HRA reimbursing retirees for the purchase of individual health insurance coverage would still be considered minimum essential coverage." (Benefits Bryan Cave)  

[Guidance Overview]

Will Your HRA or FSA Survive the ACA? Answering Your Questions About Technical Release 2013-03
"[A] stand-alone HRA cannot satisfy PPACA's market reform requirements, and therefore is generally not a viable option for providing employer-sponsored health coverage to active employees. However, an HRA that is integrated with a plan which meets PPACA's market reform requirements is PPACA-complaint.... Other types of tax-favored financing vehicles, such as employer payment plans under Rev. Rul. 61-146, are considered health plans and therefore cannot be PPACA-compliant on a stand-alone basis because they would violate the market reforms." (Crowell Moring)  

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Starts Today
"Of the 449 respondents who completed the survey, 56.7% said they plan to reevaluate one or more of their existing plans and consider replacing one or more of them. Of those who will reevaluate, 23.8% cite their premiums increasing as their reason for reevaluating. However, 62.3% who said they will reevaluate their plans say they will do so simply because they want to confirm they have the best coverage available." (ExtendHealth)  

California Sets Self-Funding Minimums Effective in 2014
"Starting in January, stop-loss policies will have to carry attachment points for individual claims of at least $35,000, a threshold that increases to $40,000 in 2016. For aggregate claims ... attachment points must be set at whichever is greater: $5,000 multiplied by the number of covered employees, 120 percent of expected claims, or $35,000 ($40,000 after 2016)." (Healthcare Payer News)  


HR360's PPACA by Company Size Chart -- Free and Easy to Download

This attorney-reviewed chart provides a simple way to review key PPACA requirements that will impact companies from 1 to 250+ employees. Features include: PPACA requirements based on number of employees and the year each provision takes effect.

Delaying Obamacare's Reinsurance Fee Would Be a Win for Insurers
"The Senate proposal wouldn't ... delay the reinsurance program altogether. Health insurers would absolutely hate that because they would lose an important financial protection. Instead, it would delay collection of the fee for one year. So, you would then have a reinsurance plan that runs from 2014 through 2016 -- but fees will be collected from 2015 through 2017. For 2014, the reinsurance payments would come out of general revenues. That's great news for health plans: They get all the benefits of the reinsurance program (protection against sick enrollees) and get to hold off on paying for it until 2015." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Tennessee Rule Scrutinizing Navigators Blocked by Judge
"A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance from enforcing part of emergency rules designed to block health law navigators who had not been vetted by the state. As a result, churches, unions and social service organizations can set up computer stations to help the uninsured sign up for coverage under the health care reform law." (Thompson SmartHR Manager)  

Beyond Health Insurance: Creating a Competitive Benefits Program in the Health Care Reform World
"Although the ACA is poised to radically change the employer-based benefits landscape, several truths are certain: ... [1] Voluntary offerings that are mostly untouched by the hand of health reform are more attractive tools than ever to enhance employment recruitment and retention. [2] Voluntary benefits continue to offer valuable and affordable financial protection for working Americans. [3] Benefits communication that is meaningful and personalized provides an effective means to combat the confusion of health reform and create an environment of choice, value and security." (Colonial Life)  

Obamacare Enrollees Become Urban Legend
"Nearly two weeks after the federal government launched the online Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov, individuals who have successfully used the choked-up website to enroll for a subsidized health insurance plan have reached a status akin to urban legend: Everyone has heard of them, but very few people have actually met one." (Miami Herald)  

Three Healthy Habits for Health Savings Accounts (PDF)
"Educate employees on how they can take advantage of available employer contributions in their HSAs.... Encourage employees to contribute enough into their HSA so that they have cash on hand to cover anticipated or unanticipated out-of-pocket qualified medical expenses for the year.... Suggest that employees consider contributing the maximum that they can afford to their HSA. For the portion of the HSA that employees are saving for the future, they might want to consider contributing to an investment option in line with their longer-term savings goals." (Fidelity Investments)  

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, October 14, 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)  

Administrative Medicaid Renewal, Accuracy of Redetermination Outcomes, and Administrative Costs
"When a Medicaid beneficiary approaches the end of a 12-month enrollment period, coverage should be 'administratively renewed,' according to [an] ACA regulation, if 'reliable information' shows the beneficiary remains eligible.... [U]sing administrative renewal should lower the number of mistaken outcomes if it is used with beneficiaries known to have an 80 percent or greater likelihood of eligibility. However, administrative renewal will change most mistakes from incorrect terminations to incorrect renewals." (Urban Institute)  

Haves and Have-Nots as Health Care Markets Open
"Having health insurance used to hinge on where you worked and what your medical history said. Soon that won't matter ... 'We are going to have a new environment where consumers may be victims of geography,' said Sam Karp of the California HealthCare Foundation ... 'If I'm a low-wage earner in California, I may qualify for Medicaid. With the exact same income in Texas, I may not qualify.'" (StatesmanJournal.com)  

The Cost of Obamacare Varies Wildly by State
"The feds will spend just about $10,000 subsidizing health insurance costs for a poor, middle-aged man who lives in Georgia -- and just $3,000 buying the same guy in nearby Tennessee a near-identical plan.... It's not totally clear why certain pockets of the country ... ended up with significantly higher premium costs than the rest of the country." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Effects of Repealing the Medical Device Tax
"[R]epealing the tax would create about a $30 billion revenue hole over the next decade.... Medical device makers say the tax will cost 43,000 jobs over the next decade and will increase healthcare costs.... [D]evice manufacturers said if the tax were not repealed, 'it will continue to force affected companies to cut manufacturing operations, research and development, and employment levels to recoup the lost earnings due to the tax.'" (MedPage Today)  


Deloitte Health Care Current, October 15, 2013
"The [healthcare] industry is faced with making decisions contingent upon or influenced by the impact of health care legislation and tax reform, organizational structure optimization, globalization, expansion/contraction, patent cliffs, convergence, consolidation, a slowly rebounding economy, price controls and a host of other matters, many of which we have no control over. As these pieces fall into place in the health care industry puzzle, the global tax landscape and potential tax reform are expected to have a larger impact than before." (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions)  


One Man's Adventures at Healthcare.Gov
"My first task was to select a username and password.... I tried one of 34 characters created randomly by banging on the keyboard of my laptop with my eyes closed until I was satisfied. This one, too, was already taken.... A few minutes passed and my e-mail inbox greeted me. The Health Insurance Marketplace informed me that my username and password had been accepted. The key question was which one." (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  


Obamacare Subsidies: Runaway Truck
"The employer mandate was designed to slow the break-up of employer-based insurance plans and the flow of individual subsidies from the U.S. Treasury. Without the employer mandate, the law is an uncontrollable vehicle with no runaway truck ramp in sight." (Altarum Institute)  


Obamacare's Secret Is Out
"While people are receiving notices that their premiums are going up or perhaps their health plans are being discontinued, there's a secret in Obamacare's exchanges, too. One of the reasons the Obamacare website has been so slow and glitchy? It requires people to enter personal information before they're able to see insurance plan options." (The Heritage Foundation)  


Intelligent Redesign of Health Care
"The health care industry has survived economically by cross-subsidizing margin shortfalls in one activity with the revenues generated from others. But the very existence of these cross-subsidies is symptomatic of deep flaws in the health care reimbursement system. As we move forward we need to be mindful of two principles that must be at the heart of any fundamental health care reform: 'no margin, no mission' and 'if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.'" (Harvard Business Review blog; free registration required)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Most Employers Unclear on How to React to DOMA Ruling
"A recent survey of 285 plan sponsors seeks to determine how employers are responding to the landmark decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and gauge any actions they may take regarding their employee benefit plans." (Towers Watson)  

U.S. Supreme Court Argument Preview: When Can an ERISA Limitations Period Start to Run?
"On Tuesday, October 15, the Justices will hear argument in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., in which they will consider whether the statute of limitations for a federal lawsuit alleging the wrongful denial of benefits under [ERISA] can begin to run before the beneficiary has completed an administrative procedure that is a mandatory prerequisite to filing the lawsuit, when the ERISA plan documents themselves specify this earlier accrual date.... There is nothing even approaching controlling law on this question[.]" (SCOTUSblog)  

Pay for Hospital CEOs Linked More to Technology, Patient Satisfaction Than Quality
"A new study of CEO pay at nonprofit hospitals finds that executives at institutions that have a lot of fancy medical technology and high patient satisfaction are paid more than their peers. But running a hospital that scores well on keeping more patients alive or providing extensive charity care does not translate into a compensation bump." (Kaiser Health News)  

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