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October 25, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

401(k) Administrator
Nicholas Pension Consultants
in CA

Sr. Customer Relationship Manager, Retirement Plan Administration
Ohio National Financial Services
in OH

Relationship Manager - Advisor 401K Market
Fidelity Investments
in TX

Sr. Retirement Plan Administrator
PPS, Inc.
in CA

Retirement Plan Associate, Recordkeeping & Administration-Entry Level
Leading Retirement Solutions
in WA

Executive Assistant - Sales
Verisight, Inc.
in CA

Health and Welfare Consulting Actuary
Verisight, Inc.
in IL

Client Relationship Manager
The Newport Group
in CA, FL, TX, VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Account-Based Plans Under Health Care Reform: New Guidance on Individual Policies, Integrated HRAs, and More
October 24, 2013 WEBCAST
(Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

Defined Benefit Plans and Cross Testing Overview
October 30, 2013 WEBCAST
(NH Hicks)

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

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Boston
November 20, 2013 in MA
(SunGard Relius)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - New York
November 21, 2013 in NY
(SunGard Relius)

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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]

HHS Fact Sheet on the ACA Program Integrity Final Rule
"On October 24, 2013, HHS released a rule finalizing a number of policies related to the implementation of the [ACA], including provisions regarding Affordable Insurance Exchanges ... These policies largely are unchanged from previous proposed rules and guidance documents.... This final rule ... focuses on program integrity standards for advance payments of the premium tax credit, cost-sharing reductions, the premium stabilization programs, and State Marketplaces, oversight of issuers offering coverage in the [Federally-facilitated Marketplaces], and standards for HHS-approved enrollee satisfaction survey vendors." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 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.

[Official Guidance]

Text of HHS Final Regs on ACA Program Integrity: Exchange, SHOP, Premium Stabilization Programs and Market Standards
[236 pages.] "[T]his final rule outlines financial integrity and oversight standards with respect to Affordable Insurance Exchanges, qualified health plan (QHP) issuers in Federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFEs), and States with regard to the operation of risk adjustment and reinsurance programs. It also establishes additional standards for special enrollment periods, survey vendors that may conduct enrollee satisfaction surveys on behalf of QHP issuers, and issuer participation in an FFE, and makes certain amendments to definitions and standards related to the market reform rules. This final rule also amends and adopts as final interim provisions ... related to risk corridors and cost-sharing reduction reconciliation." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  

More Large Companies Offer Transgender Workers Health Benefits
"Beginning in 2011, companies could only maintain a coveted 100 percent rating on the [Human Rights Campaign's] Corporate Equality Index by offering at least one insurance plan covering up to $75,000 worth of counseling, hormone therapy and sexual reassignment surgery -- the medical term for a sex change operation. The number of Fortune 500 companies meeting the requirement jumped to 121 this year from 39 in 2011." (San Jose Mercury News)  

Health Insurance Applications Near 700,000
"Nearly 700,000 Americans have completed applications for health insurance using federal and state insurance marketplaces ... Julie Bataille, director of the CMS office of communications, said the 700,000 figure included the state exchanges, but she didn't offer a breakdown. A Wall Street Journal tally shows at least 325,000 people in those states have started health-insurance applications, and probably more. At least 264,000 have completed applications to have eligibility for subsidies determined in those 14 states and the District of Columbia." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

More Americans in 3 States Have Had Their Insurance Canceled Under Obamacare Than Have Filed an Exchange Account in All 50
"This week the reality of the ObamaCare roll-out appeared in a set of news stories that serve as an ironic juxtaposition. Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states. In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been 'filed' in an exchange. (Even though we are still learning the true definition of 'filed.')" (Forbes)  


IRS COBRA Audit Guidelines - November 7 Webinar

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

At this live webinar, we will explore the impact of the IRS' COBRA Audit Guidelines issued in 2012, and how they can be used as a roadmap for COBRA compliance. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.

Bipartisan Dismay Over Health Plan Woes at House Hearing
"Federal officials did not fully test the online health insurance marketplace until two weeks before it opened to the public on Oct. 1, contractors told Congress on [October 24]. While individual components of the system were tested earlier, they said, the government did not conduct 'end-to-end testing' of the whole system from start to finish until late September.... Lawmakers said they were dismayed because the contractors assured the committee on Sept. 10 that they, their computer systems and the online federal marketplace were ready[.]" (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

This Graphic Explains How HealthCare.gov Is Broken
"At this point, most of us know that HealthCare.gov is not working quite right. Defining what exactly has gone wrong, however, is a bit more of a difficult task.... [T]his graphic [shows] each part of the insurance marketplace -- and what exactly isn't working." (Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

A Startling Agreement on Who to Blame for Healthcare.gov
"Everyone at the Energy and Commerce hearing [October 24] came to an agreement on who caused the problems with HealthCare.Gov: Somebody else.... The result of the marathon hearing yielded a few notable tidbits. Contractors are more than happy to throw the federal government under the bus." (Ezra Klein in The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Just What Is an 834 Transaction? Why Is It Holding Up Obamacare? How Long Will This Take to Fix?
"The 834 transaction represents a computer 'benefit enrollment and maintenance document'....This current version developed out of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). So, it has been around for many years.... Receiving this data isn't as simple as getting an address card from someone via email. You don't get it, click it, and save it. There are lots of data elements and a lot of field variables. Because of this complexity, no one takes a file straight into a production system -- too risky." (Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review)  

My Employee Took a Whole Lot of Leave Last Year. Is He Even Eligible Now for FMLA Leave?
"Where an exempt employee's eligibility for FMLA leave is in question, keep in mind that employers must clearly demonstrate the employee did not work 1,250 hours.... [C]an you show, for instance, that the employee regularly works a typical 40-hour a week schedule in the office and then performs little or no work outside regular work hours? Can you show that he never sends or reviews work email outside work hours?... Remember that eligibility is tested every time the employee requests leave for a 'different FMLA-qualifying reason.'" (FMLA Insights)  

CBO Estimate of Budgetary Effects of Raising the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67
"The agency's new estimate of the net budgetary savings from that option is much lower than its earlier estimates for proposals to raise Medicare's eligibility age.... The option that CBO analyzed would raise the age of eligibility for Medicare by two months every year, beginning with people who were born in 1951 ... until the eligibility age reached 67 for people born in 1962 ... Thereafter, the eligibility age would remain at 67.... [S]avings would be substantially offset by increases in federal spending for Medicaid and for subsidies to purchase health insurance through the new insurance exchanges and by the decrease in revenues." (Congressional Budget Office)  

Biometric Health Screening for Employers (PDF)
"[C]hoosing the right screening approach, blood draw methods, screening tests, and delivery mechanisms is crucial to success. As screenings have become more popular, the number of vendors, options, and methodologies has increased as well. As a result, employers are faced with a multitude of options, choices, and opinions on the best way to conduct screenings." (Health Enhancement Research Organization, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Care Continuum Alliance)  

Issa: Let All Americans Into Federal Employees' Health Plan
"[O]ne Republican leader has proposed a supplement to the law referred to as Obamacare: Allow all Americans to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, [has] officially unveiled the Equal Healthcare Access Act ... The proposal would not repeal any elements of Obamacare, but would enable all Americans to enter into the same exchange markets as federal employees, allowing all citizens access to the 230 plans -- in 2014, that number will grow to 256 -- in which feds currently enroll." (Government Executive)  

Budget Sequestration's Impact on Obamacare Subsidies
"Many Americans could face a rude awakening when they discover that the subsidies they thought they were getting to offset their health care costs are less than what they were promised. Some claim that the Obamacare subsidies are exempt from the spending reductions established by the Budget Control Act (BCA), but that is only half right. The BCA exempts only the premium subsidies, not the cost-sharing subsidies, from upcoming cuts. Regrettably, the Obama Administration has not taken steps to inform the American people of this fact as they navigate coverage options in the government exchanges." (The Heritage Foundation)  

The Latest Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare Going Up on Appeal
"One of the problems ... left unaddressed in the NFIB v. Sebelius ruling ... is that the Constitution requires 'all bills for raising revenue' to 'originate' in the House of Representatives. If the PPACA imposes a tax, then it fails this requirement because it originated in the Senate. That's the argument being made in the case of Matt Sissel, a veteran and small business owner ... In a brief filed [on October 23] in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Sissel's lawyers argue that the Obamacare 'tax' originated in the Senate in violation of Constitutional standards." (Cato Institute)  


Obamacare Economics -- You Shouldn't Be Surprised
"If an insurer is required to provide you with chemotherapy, it is unlikely that they can be charging you enough to make up for the cost of your treatments. Therefore, they have to spread the costs among others who are not receiving chemotherapy. It's just math..... [Insurance companies] will spread the costs of not being able to impose lifetime maximums across all their customers. Again, it's just math. Anyone who thought that the government could provide more and better insurance coverage for less money was either [1] delusional, [2] dreaming, or [3] not very smart." (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Employer Liability for Mishandling FICA Tax Under Nonqualified Plan
"[T]he employer informed retirees ... that FICA tax should have been paid on the present value of participants' entire benefit at retirement (i.e., the date when the amount deferred was both vested and reasonably ascertainable).... Failing to apply these FICA timing rules to a nonqualified plan [that is not an account balance type of plan] at retirement ... means the employer must withhold FICA taxes on all benefits later paid under the plan.... Paying FICA taxes as actual payments are made after retirement hurts participants because the Social Security wage base limit is applied on an annual basis, and these individuals might not have other FICA wages after retirement. This exposes more benefit payouts to the higher 6.2% portion of the total FICA tax and not just to the smaller Medicare portion of the tax." [Davidson v. Henkel Corp., E.D. Mich., July 24, 2013] (Towers Watson)  

Healthcare Help from a Financial Adviser
"Most financial advisers spend years developing expertise in the likes of asset allocation and investment fund selection. Until recently, they barely addressed the second-largest budget item of their older clients: health-related costs. This is beginning to change, though, as demand for help with health-care planning drives more advisers to add another line to their resume: Medicare consultant." (MarketWatch)  

Institutional Shareholder Services Releases 2014 Draft Policies for Comment
"Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has released certain 2014 draft proxy voting policies for public comment, which include possible changes and clarifications to its current policies on the pay-for-performance quantitative screen and the board response to majority-supported shareholder proposals. The comment period for these draft policies ends on November 4, 2013." (Practical Law Company)  

Press Releases

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