EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 13, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
         Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Pensions Field Services Representative
Nationwide Financial
in CA

Benefits Policy Analyst
Saudi Aramco

Post Your Job

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

NAGDCA Best Practices - Plan Administration
November 13, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators)

Huge Underwriting Changes Kick In Jan. 1: Bottom-Line Impact on Health Plans
November 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

Ever-changing World of Health Care Reform: Planning Ahead for 2014
November 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(Thompson Interactive)

Understanding the Alphabet Soup of FSAs, HRAs, HSAs, and EPPs Under the PPACA
November 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO))

Designing and Managing Narrow Networks: Winning Strategies for Insurers
December 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

Affordable Care Act 101
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA))

Beyond Buy and Bill: Managing Specialty Therapeutics Under the Medical Benefit
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

COBRA: A Little of Everything
December 16, 2013 WEBCAST
(Lorman Education Services)

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]

Limited Carryover for Certain Health FSAs
"The IRS guidance did not address the interaction between a carryover and the general rules regarding HSA eligibility. Possible approaches that would allow participants who are entitled to a carryover to preserve their HSA eligibility include giving them an opportunity to waive the carryover or transferring the carryover to a limited scope health FSA. The IRS has not formally authorized either of these approaches.... [Other issues include] application of COBRA, preserving excepted status for purposes of Health Care Reform, and nondiscrimination testing ... Unfortunately, the time frame for making the decision to implement the carryover feature is rather short, at least for employers who want to add it for 2013." (Hitesman & Wold, P.A.)  


Practical Law – Exclusive Offer for BenefitsLink Subscribers

Sponsored by Practical Law Company (PLC)

Whether you're a new attorney or a seasoned practitioner, Practical Law provides the resources needed to help you work smarter and faster. Practical Law Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation covers topics including retirement plans, health & welfare plans and executive compensation arrangements. Learn more.

[Guidance Overview]

Unanswered Questions with the $500 FSA Carryover
"How does the addition of the carryover impact the limited FSA COBRA obligation? ... Does the availability of the carryover feature make participants ineligible to make Health Savings Account contributions during the year of the carryover? ... Can an employer allow employees to make health FSA contributions by causing the carryover to be 'limited purpose' (e.g., vision and dental expenses only), similar to the rules that currently apply to the grace period? If so, does the carryover have to be limited purpose for all participants, as the grace period does now?" (Benefits Bryan Cave)  

[Guidance Overview]

Modifications Likely for Transitional Reinsurance Program Contributions (PDF)
"There are many unanswered questions relating to this exemption. For example, what is meant by 'certain' plans? Will there be additional conditions on the exemption beyond the requirement that the plan be self-insured and self-administered? What is meant by the term 'self-administered' and how much administration can be outsourced to a third party before a plan is no longer considered self-administered? How does the exception comport with the policy rationale for a broad contribution base ...? If some plans are exempted from the contribution, will higher contributions be required from other plans to fund the reinsurance program?" (Buck Consultants)  

Text of Fourth Circuit Opinion Requiring De Novo Review When Plan Document Merely Requires 'Proof Satisfactory to Plan Administrator' (PDF)
"[We] consider as a matter of first impression whether the phrase 'proof satisfactory to [the plan administrator]' unambiguously confers discretionary decision-making authority on a plan administrator.... [We] now join the circuits that decline to impose an abuse-of-discretion standard of review based solely on a plan's requirement that claimants submit 'proof ... satisfactory to [the plan administrator].' This conclusion complements our holding in Gallagher, by requiring clear plan language expressly conferring decision-making discretion on a plan administrator before permitting judicial review of that administrator's decision under an abuse-of-discretion standard." [Beth Cosey v. The Prudential Insurance Co., No. 12-2360 (4th Cir. Nov. 12, 2013)] (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit)  

House Oversight Committee Hearing on Obamacare Implementation: The Rollout of Healthcare.gov
Page includes video of hearing, and links to statements by witnesses: [1] Frank Baitman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Technology, HHS; [2] Henry Chao, Deputy Chief Information Officer and Deputy Director of the Office of Information Services, CMS; [3] Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Office of Science and Technology Policy, The White House; [4] Steve VanRoekel, U.S. Chief Information Officer and Administrator, Office of Electronic Government, OMB; [5] David Powner, Director, Information Technology Management Issues, GAO; [6] Richard A. Spires, Former Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and [7] Karen Evans, Partner, KE&T Partners, LLC. (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives)  

Troubled Healthcare.gov Unlikely to Work Fully by End of November, as White House Vowed
"The insurance exchange is balking when more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use it at the same time -- about half its intended capacity, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal information. And CGI Federal, the main contractor that built the site, has succeeded in repairing only about six of every 10 of the defects it has addressed so far. Government workers and technical contractors racing to repair the Web site have concluded, the official said, that the only way for large numbers of Americans to enroll in the health-care plans soon is by using other means so that the online system isn't overburdened." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

How Your Company Is Watching Your Waistline
"Employers are getting much more aggressive about punishing workers who are overweight or have high cholesterol. A [new] study ... by the Obesity Action Coalition, an advocacy group, covered workers at more than 5,000 companies who must participate in their employer wellness programs to receive full health benefits. Sixty-seven percent also had to meet a weight-related health goal such as a certain body mass index." (Reuters)  

The Slow Death of the Employer Mandate
"Gov. Michael Dukakis's 1988 law sought to achieve universal coverage in Massachusetts with a legislative package that included a $1,680 penalty (per employee, per year) on employers who did not provide health coverage to their employees.... The Dukakis package passed narrowly, and to gain legislative approval the final law delayed the employer mandate's implementation by four years. Does that sound familiar? ... It would be delayed two more times and then, in exchange for business community support for a coverage expansion for children, ultimately repealed." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

Seventh Circuit Decision May Allow Out-Of-Network Provider to Get In-Network ERISA Plan Reimbursement
"The representative never told Mr. Killian whether the services were in-network or out-of-network or whether there would be any limits to coverage. Mr. Killian took this as authorization for the procedure, and his wife underwent the surgery.... The Seventh Circuit has spoken that ERISA fiduciaries must take affirmative steps to disclose negative coverage information, even if such information is not specifically requested or inquired by the beneficiary -- otherwise, the fiduciaries may be liable for consequential damages." [Killian v. Concert Health Plan, No. 11-1112 (7th Cir. Nov. 7, 2013)] (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)  

Don't Forget: ACA-Mandated Health Plan Sponsorship Also Carries ERISA Compliance Duties
"Many employers fail to see that by offering health insurance to employees is actually the sponsoring of a welfare benefit plan governed by ERISA. Then, they fail to recognize that the coverage they are putting in place to satisfy the rules of PPACA also have to satisfy the rules ERISA already has in place.... So PPACA compliance is not just about offering health insurance coverage to employees. It's about accepting status as a sponsor of an ERISA benefit plan and undertaking to satisfy the role of a 'fiduciary.'" (Fox Rothschild LLP)  

The Anatomy of Health Care in the United States
"In 2011, US health care employed 15.7% of the workforce, with expenditures of $2.7 trillion, doubling since 1980 as a percentage of US gross domestic product (GDP) to 17.9%. Yearly growth has decreased since 1970, especially since 2002, but, at 3% per year, exceeds any other industry and GDP overall. Government funding increased from 31.1% in 1980 to 42.3% in 2011. Despite the increases in resources devoted to health care, multiple health metrics, including life expectancy at birth and survival with many diseases, shows the United States trailing peer nations." (JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association)  


House Bill to Expand 'Grandfathering' of Individual-Market Plans Would Raise Premiums in Insurance Marketplaces and Undermine Market Reforms
"By encouraging healthier people to remain in individual-market plans outside the new insurance marketplaces ..., the bill would make the pool of people enrolled in plans offered through the marketplaces sicker, on average, than under current law. That would raise marketplace premiums for coverage in 2015 and beyond ... [In] many cases, insurers that decided to discontinue certain plans for 2014 were not required to do so under the [ACA] but made a business decision to take such action. In some cases, insurers chose not to renew grandfathered plans that they could have continued." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Communicating Total Compensation to Employees in a Meaningful Way
"[T]he total compensation message often goes unnoticed or underappreciated by employees who may not understand what they are reading....To ease the general overwhelm and confusion over total compensation ... [1] Include all benefits, incentives, and performance pay in the statement.... [2] Use a total compensation statement builder to make it personal.... [3] Focus on employee retention first, recruitment second.... [4] Communicate total compensation often, using multiple mediums." (PayScale)  

Preparing for the 2014 Proxy Season
"This is a good time to start gathering the information you need to prepare your 2014 proxy statement. You should also review your equity and short- and long-term incentive plans to determine ... whether shareholders need to approve: [1] An increase in the share limit; [2] An extension of the term; or [3] Performance goals so that awards qualify as 'performance-based compensation' under Section 162(m).... When drafting your CD&A and other disclosures, you should focus on the quality of the disclosure, rather than the quantity." (McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)  


A Small Loophole Inserted 20 Years Ago Helps Companies Avoid Paying the U.S. Treasury Big Money (PDF)
"The top 20 highest-paid CEOs in the most recent version of the AFL-CIO's annual list of highest-paid CEOs were paid base salaries totaling $28 million, but had performance-based, tax-deductible compensation totaling more than $738 million. Assuming that these CEOs' companies paid a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, tax-deductible performance-based compensation for these CEOs cost American taxpayers as much as $235 million in lost tax revenue." (Public Citizen)  


Text of Comments by FuelCell Energy, Inc. to SEC on Proposed Pay Ratio Rules (PDF)
"My company is one of the more than 3,800 U.S. issuers that would be required to prepare this new pay ratio disclosure. While we appreciate the Commission's intent to draft a rule that would provide more flexibility to issuers, we believe that the SEC can do more to reduce the rule's enormous compliance burdens while ensuring that investors receive accurate and useful information. We expect that our costs of complying with the proposed rule will far exceed the benefits that our investors would receive." (FuelCell Energy, Inc.)  

Press Releases

Steven H. Sandell Grant Program and Dissertation Fellowship Program
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

CMS Announces New Data Sharing Tool
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Connect   LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook
BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Copyright © 2013 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. -- but feel free to forward this newsletter without further permission from us, if you do not modify the newsletter in any way (including this lower portion).

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

Useful links: