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October 22, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Part Time On Call Retirement Planning Consultant
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in AR, CA, GA, HI, MO, NJ, NY, UT

Quality Compliance & Projects Analyst
DC Retirement Board
in DC

Senior Associate
Craford Benefit Consultants
in OR

Program Mgr, Global Employee Benefits
Princess Cruises
in CA

Administrative Assistant
Swerdlin & Company
in GA

Client Manager Health & Welfare Administration
Buck Consultants a Xerox Company
in NJ

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Webcasts and Conferences

Fiduciary and Legal Review
October 24, 2013 WEBCAST
(NH Hicks)

2013 Fourth Quarter Update
November 6, 2013 WEBCAST
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Compensation and Employee Benefits in Mergers and Acquisitions: Practical Considerations and Pitfalls
November 14, 2013 in NY
(WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network) New York Chapter)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Minneapolis
November 15, 2013 in MN
(SunGard Relius)

Qualified Plan Essentials Plus Series
November 15, 2013 WEBCAST
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Attorney Services With Respect To Plan Investment Advisor and Recordkeeping Agreements: Contract Review and Beyond the Traditional Attorney Role
November 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits)

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]

Roundup of DOMA Guidance for Benefit Plans
"[M]any employers that provide benefits to employees' domestic partners and/or same sex spouses have followed a practice of grossing up the employees' taxable compensation to account for the additional federal taxes they must pay on imputed income. The IRS guidance on recouping over-withheld taxes apply only to imputed income amounts, not to the gross-up amounts. Note, however, that California recently adopted a law that will exclude gross-up amounts from employees' taxable compensation for state personal income tax purposes." (E is for ERISA)  


Achieve a New Level of Professional Growth With CEBS!

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!

HHS Brings in Verizon to Help HealthCare.gov [Video]
"An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon's Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act.... HHS office said Sunday the department would reach outside its government contractors to civilian companies that might be able to solve HealthCare.gov's problems more quickly." (USA TODAY)  

Administration Completes Its Filings on ACA Cases Before the Supreme Court
"Aside from renewing its plea for the Court to focus on the Hobby Lobby case ... the [Administration's] new filings urged the Court to hold onto the Conestoga Wood case until Hobby Lobby is decided, and urged a denial because of later legal developments in the Autocam case. It urged the Court to deny review of Liberty University's new challenge to the individual and employer mandates in the [ACA], arguing that there is no conflict on any of the issues raised in that petition. These filings complete the government's responses to the ACA cases now at the Court, and may allow the Court to speed up its consideration of these petitions." (SCOTUSblog)  

'Cadillac' Plans Aren't Affordable Care
"Changing plans enough to avoid the tax may be a rigorous exercise that transfers significant additional cost burden to employees. But what will constitute 'preparing' to come in under the threshold, given that most employers are already making changes to their plans each year to keep up with rising costs?" (CFO)  

New Health Policies Will Expose Many Missourians to Higher Premiums, More Risk
"Thanks to government subsidies, many St. Louis-area residents will be able to afford health insurance for the first time, beginning in 2014. But the insurance they'll be able to buy will offer a limited range of options.... In 2014, experts say, health care consumers are likely to face higher monthly premiums and more financial risk as deductibles and out-of-pocket limits rise." (Kaiser Health News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch)  


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!

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, October 21, 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)  

Sen. Alexander to Introduce Bill Requiring Weekly Reports on Obamacare Exchanges
"The bill would require the Obama administration to provide weekly reports to Congress, states, and the public about the 36 federally run exchanges, including easily tracked data such as the number of individuals who have visited the site and the number who have successfully enrolled, their zip code, and the level of coverage they've obtained. The reports would also be required to contain information on the department's efforts to resolve the site's widespread technical problems." (Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, U.S. Senate)  

Bolstering Employer Wellness Programs Through the Power of 'With' (PDF)
"[W]ellness as a personal self-improvement strategy facilitated by organizational cultures and environments continues to be distorted by the federal government ... and two self-interested industries (benefits consultants and wellness vendors).... [E]mployers would do well to pursue broad-based culture change and have sufficient wisdom to do what wellness vendors don't do: be patient enough to judge the results over a period of several years before imposing unwanted, heavy-handed requirements on employees." (Vik Khanna and Al Lewis via Bloomberg BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter)  

Text of Brief by Respondents Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. on Petition for a Writ of Certiorari (PDF)
"The government's petition contends that 1) the issues presented here are important, 2) the lower federal courts are divided, and 3) the decision below is incorrect.... Respondents respectfully suggest that the considered decision of the en banc Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is correct. Nonetheless, Respondents agree with the government that, in light of the importance of the issues and the division in the circuits, plenary review by this Court is warranted." (Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., via The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty)  

On the State Exchanges: Developments in September 2013
"Here is an overview of some of the notable events and announcements made by the states around the launch of their health insurance exchanges in the month of September: Outreach efforts continued as states running their own exchanges and states with exchanges run by the federal government alike ramped up their efforts to inform uninsured and underinsured residents about their options for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act." (ExtendHealth)  

Five Tactics to Fight Pill Mills, Opiates Abuse
"Illegitimate use of prescription drugs, especially of opiates, is a complex and deadly problem in healthcare, and expensive for insurers that pay the claims through their health plans and Part D Medicare prescription drug plans.... For every $1 the payer spent on an opiate, it spent $40 for the facility fee, typically the emergency room visit for the member to get the script." (Healthcare Payer News)  

Federal Reserve Governors: Obamacare Is Killing Job Creation
"[T]he Federal Reserve's release last week of the October Beige Book reminded everyone that the problems of ObamaCare go far beyond malfunctioning websites and premium increases. More important than computer glitches, the report shows the law is hurting job creation: 'Employers in several Districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.'" (Congressman Dave Camp, Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives)  


Oversight Leaders Investigating HealthCare.gov Development, Decision to Hide Premium Prices
"Information obtained by the Committee indicates that, just one month before the website's launch, the Administration directed contractors to change the site's design to hide price comparisons from unregistered shoppers.... [A] letter to Steve VanRoekel, the Chief Information Officer, and Todd Park, the Chief Technology Officer, at the White House Office of Management and Budget [states] 'We believe that the political decision to mask the "sticker shock" of ObamaCare to the American people prevented contractors from using universally accepted and OMB-advocated IT "best practices" in the development and roll out of this massive federal government IT project. When prudent design and programming decisions are subordinated to politics, the result is the chaotic mess we have today.'" (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives)  


The Affordable Care Act in Post-Shutdown Washington: An Interview with Judith Feder
"[T]he ACA does not change what fundamentally drives employer-sponsored health insurance: that workers expect to get coverage through their jobs. This is supported by a tax benefit, the benefit being that the premium our employer pays is not treated as taxable income to us. Workers with incomes above 250 percent of poverty, most workers, get greater benefit out of that subsidy than they would be eligible for under the ACA. As long as that subsidy is in effect, we will continue to want coverage through our jobs, and our employers likely will continue to offer it." (Georgetown Public Policy Review)  


Obamacare's Drop-Dead Date: Thanksgiving, Experts Say
"If the Web site isn't fixed by time Thanksgiving hits, there are three potential problems that experts can foresee. First, fewer people would sign up for the program, shrinking the reach of the health law's insurance expansion. Second, the people who do sign up might be a bit sicker and older than the general population -- and that would drive up the cost of health insurance in [the ACA's] second year.... Third, if HealthCare.gov doesn't work by mid-November, and it is difficult to sign up for coverage before Jan. 1, then you're looking at some left-out shoppers who are in violation of the mandate to carry insurance coverage." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  


Obamacare vs. Health Care in Canada: Five Key Differences
"What, exactly, does 'Obamacare' look like compared to Canada? Not single-payer ... Not universal coverage: ... Not 'national' health insurance: ... Not equal access ... Not cost containment ... [It] will entrench the private nature of the system, and likely render national health insurance, or anything remotely like 'Canadian-style' health care, impossible to attain." (The Globe and Mail)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Q&As on the SEC's Proposed CEO Pay Ratio Rules
6 pages. "While it's unlikely (although possible) that companies will be required to disclose the CEO pay ratio before the 2016 proxy season, companies should begin to think about how they will comply, and should consider expressing their views and concerns about the proposed rules to the SEC during the formal comment period, which closes December 2." [Article includes answers to 15 questions about the proposed pay ratio requirements.] (Towers Watson)  

Pay Ratio Rules and Other Executive Compensation Matters (PDF)
23 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] Pay Ratio Rules; [2] Shareholder Derivative Litigation; [3] 162(m) Issues; [4] Sun Capital Partners case; [5] Sutardja 409A case; and [6] 409A Corrections Issues." (American Benefits Council)  


Four Reasons the SEC's New Ratio Test Will Not Decrease CEO Pay
"[1] This rule ... doesn't actually require companies to change anything about the compensation structure of their CEO and other executives.... All it requires is disclosure.... [2] The rule does not provide a specific methodology for companies to use in calculating a 'pay ratio' ... [3]  [The disclosures] will provide CEOs with lower 'pay ratios' an additional piece of evidence to use to argue that they are underpaid relative to their peers.... [4] Executing these calculations, running these ratios, and putting together these disclosure reports ... will cost money and it will be a cost that will most likely be passed along to shareholders." (The Huffington Post)  

Press Releases

ERISA Advisory Council to hold open meeting Nov. 4-5
Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor

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