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October 23, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
Trinity Pension Consultants, Inc.
in OH

Human Resources Benefits Manager
The University of Scranton
in PA

Senior Associate / Manager
Dixon Hughes Goodman, L.L.P.
in VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Implications of Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Ruling
October 23, 2013 WEBCAST
(Jackson Lewis LLP)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Seattle
November 15, 2013 in WA
(SunGard Relius)

2013 Fall Forum - Las Vegas
November 18, 2013 in NV

Most Common Mistakes Made by Qualified Plan Sponsors and How to Fix Them
November 21, 2013 WEBCAST
(Lorman Education Services)

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  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.
[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Report of an Altered CMS System of Records Notice (PDF)
"CMS proposes several alterations to the existing system of records titled, 'Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) Program' ... CMS proposes to include, in the Purpose and Categories of Records sections, a description of the information resulting from registering, training and/or certifying individuals who will assist consumers, applicants and enrollees in states where an FFE and/or an FF-SHOP will operate.... CMS proposes to include a description of the identity proofing process within the Purpose of the System section." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  


Why and How to Wrap ERISA Welfare Plans – Free Webinar

Sponsored by ftwilliam.com

Interested in learning more about Wrap Plans? Join us 12/5 for the basics of Wrap plans and SPDs. Our expert will cover using a wrap to coordinate the numerous health care plan disclosures and discuss whether wraps are newly relevant with HCR changes.

[Guidance Overview]

New Guidance Clarifies Health Reimbursement Arrangements Under ACA
"Employers sponsoring HRAs, employer payment plans or similar arrangements, Health FSAs or EAPs should review the structure of these benefits to ensure compliance with the ACA, applying the Guidance. Sponsors of HRAs also should determine whether the HRA can be integrated with another group health plan for purposes of compliance with the annual dollar limit prohibition and preventive services requirements. Excise taxes and self-reporting requirements under Section 4980D of the Code are applicable for failure to comply with the ACA market reforms, including the annual dollar limit prohibition and preventive services requirements." (McDermott Will & Emery)  

[Guidance Overview]

ACA Update: Final Regulations Create New Requirements for Employer Wellness Programs (PDF)
"Although there are some welcome changes in the Final Wellness Rules, other changes, particularly those that apply to health-contingent wellness programs ... will make certain types of wellness programs more difficult to administer.... [F]or wellness plans that condition a reward on the satisfaction of a health-contingent standard ... the Final Wellness Rules change the way such health-contingent wellness incentive programs must be administered by adding new, stricter requirements." (Alston & Bird, LLP)  

[Guidance Overview]

Proposed IRS Regs Address Employer Reporting of Health Insurance Coverage Under the ACA
"The Code sections 6055 and 6056 reporting requirements are effective for years beginning after December 31, 2013. But in Notice 2013-45, the Treasury Department and IRS delayed these rules for a year, along with the employer shared responsibility rules that apply to applicable large employers.... As a result, the 6055 and 6056 reporting rules will take effect for years beginning after December 31, 2014." (Mintz Levin)  

Judge Allows Suit Challenging ACA Subsidies for Insurance Purchased Through Federally-Run Exchanges
"Opponents of the federal health-care law can move forward with a lawsuit challenging some subsidies for people who buy health insurance, but the financial assistance will remain in place while the case proceeds ... Challengers had sought a preliminary injunction to block subsidies immediately for those who buy health insurance through federally run online exchanges.... U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said the case would proceed on an expedited basis. He said he could reach a decision before consumers face a February 2014 deadline for buying insurance in order to avoid penalties. In August, a federal judge in Oklahoma allowed a similar challenge by that state to proceed." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  


Register for IHC FORUM WEST Dec 5-6th in Las Vegas – Super Saver Rates!

Sponsored by The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism

IHC FORUM West 2013 -- HealthCare Consumerism: The First Real Time Look-in at this Critical Open Enrollment Period.
Learn. Connect. Share. With ALL Industry Stakeholders.
Register today!

Affordability -- for Employers and Employees
"The math behind the Play or Pay Mandate makes it advantageous for employers to offer affordable, bronze coverage which will in most circumstances take away an employee's eligibility for a premium tax credit. This could leave millions of Americans choosing between expensive bad coverage or continuing to be uninsured." (Moulder Law)  

Healthcare.gov Pricing Feature Can Be Off the Mark [Video and Text]
"The administration announced it would provide a new 'shop and browse' feature Sunday, but it's not giving consumers the real picture. In some cases, people could end up paying double of what they see on the website ... [T]he website lumps people only into two broad categories: '49 or under' and '50 or older'.... Prices for everyone in the 49-or-under group are based on what a 27-year-old would pay. In the 50-or-older group, prices are based on what a 50-year-old would pay." (CBS MoneyWatch)  

ACA Impacting Decisions by Business Owners
"Of the economic factors having the greatest impact on business decisions, owners say health care costs (22 percent) top the list. Other top factors include ... health care reform (14 percent).... Many business owners say they will take the following actions (or non-action) as a result of health care reform: Seventeen percent plan to take no action, while one in five don't know what action they will take. Nearly a quarter (22 percent), plan to keep their workforce under 50 employees. Less than one in 10 (8 percent) say they will start offering health care benefits." (The Principal Financial Group)  

Healthcare.gov Website Developments and Contingencies; ACA Litigation and Guidance
"The healthcare.gov website will get fixed. This is not cold fusion. It is a website, and the technology to build websites is known. But the task of matching millions of individuals to the health plan of their choice while providing financial assistance to pay for coverage is terribly complex.... But what if there is no quick fix? What if problems continue for weeks; even months?" (Health Affairs Blog)  

A Closer Look: Why Medicaid Enrollment Is Surging in Exchanges
"The ratio of Medicaid enrollees to private-plan sign-ups 'was staggering, way higher than I was expecting,' [said] Matt Salo ... the executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors..... Payer mix is already an ACA-related concern for providers ... And private insurers also are watching enrollment numbers carefully; they agreed to support the ACA ... in exchange for the promise of millions of new customers." (The Advisory Board Company)  

Health CO-OPs, Created to Foster Competition and Lower Insurance Costs, Are Facing Danger
"When the new health-care law was being cobbled together, Congress decided to establish a network of nonprofit insurance companies aimed at bringing competition to the marketplace, long dominated by major insurers.... Their failure would leave taxpayers potentially on the hook for nearly $1 billion in defaulted loans and rob the marketplace of the kind of competition they were supposed to create. And if they become insolvent, policyholders in at least half the states where the co-ops operate could be stuck with medical bills." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Majority of U.S. Workers Believe ACA Will Increase Health Insurance Premiums
"[M]ore than half (54%) of respondents believe their health insurance premiums will rise over the next 12 months because of the ACA, and slightly more than half (56%) expect costs to jump over the next three to five years. Additionally, about one in three employees (32%) believe that the quality of their health care benefits will decline over the next three to five years. Relatively few (15%) think they won't be able to afford coverage through their employer or union over the next three to five years, and even fewer (10%) believe their employer or union won't offer coverage in the future." (National Business Group on Health)  

Online Insurance Brokers Stymied Selling Obamacare Policies
"Consumers aren't the only ones frustrated by problems with the online health insurance exchanges being run by the feds.... Websites like eHealthInsurance.com that were planning to start selling new, subsidized Obamacare policies on Oct. 1 still can't offer them to customers." (Kaiser Health News)  

House Ways and Means Committee to Hold Hearing on the Status of the ACA Implementation
"[The] House Committee on Ways and Means ... will hold a hearing on the problems Americans are experiencing with the Obama Administration's launch of the [ACA]. The Committee will hear testimony from Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator of [CMS].... The hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 ... [O]ral testimony at this hearing will be from the invited witness only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing." (Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives)  

The Effects of Partial Retirement on Health
"We find that working part-time or full-time deteriorates overall health and memory skills. On the other hand, part-time and full-time working reduces body weight, and part-time white-collar work substantially improves the word recall score. Part-time and full-time workers are also less prone to depression. In general, health status of the elderly responds to working part-time much more than it responds to working full-time, suggesting that the effect of number of hours worked on health outcomes is nonlinear." (Tunga Kantarci via SSRN)  


The Good News for Obamacare: The White House Knows the Bad News
"It would be one thing if problems with the government's new health-care Web site had been unknowable. But they weren't. Staff at HHS and CMS saw this coming for months. Insurance companies began predicting a mess long ago. But the bad news was shaded and spun as it made its way up the chain of command. The alarming failures seen in the (inadequate) load tests were written off as bugs that would soon be fixed.... The new health-care law has a chance because those management failures are over." (Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

An ERISA Claim Walks Into a Bar... Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on ERISA Statute of Limitations
"The Justices did not seem to be impressed by the argument that the limitations clock could run out during the administrative appeal process.... The Assistant to the Solicitor General, as amicus curiae, countered that some administrative decisions can take four to five years given the time frame flexibility in [DOL] regulations ... The Justices, however, did not seem to be very convinced that it could take this long and scant evidence was presented where this actually happened (9 cases in all)." [Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 12-729 (Oct. 15, 2013)] (Bloomberg BNA)  

Twitter's IPO Registration Statement Reveals Extensive Use of Restricted Stock Units
"The IPO of Twitter -- about as high-profile as you can get -- is expected to occur by mid-November. Twitter's Form S-1 ... discloses its extensive use of restricted stock units [RSUs] over stock options ... Apart from awarding stock options to its senior executives ... and using options in relation to acquisitions ... Twitter seems to exclusively grant RSUs." (myStockOptions.com)  

Compensation for Board of Directors Increased in 2012
"Mercer's latest analysis of directors' compensation shows median total direct compensation increased 3% -- the lowest year-over-year change in years -- for directors at S&P 500 companies.... For the S&P 500, the median cash retainer increased from $65,000 in 2010 to $75,000 in 2012. The largest increases were at the 400 smaller companies ($60,000 to $75,000), while the median at the S&P 100 increased from $85,000 to $90,000." (Mercer)  

ISS Issues Draft Policy Changes for 2014
"ISS is proposing to change the Relative Degree of Alignment (RDA) metric to evenly weight the impacts of each of the past three years' performance and compensation. In the past, the RDA metric emphasized the most recent year of performance and compensation data. ISS is still working to identify where to set the thresholds for medium and high levels of quantitative concern." (Winston & Strawn LLP)  

Press Releases

IRI Launches New IRIonline.org Website
Insured Retirement Institute (IRI)

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