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December 5, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
United Retirement Plan Consultants
in RI

401K Administrator
Farmer & Betts
in CO

Retirement Planning Consultant
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in NC

Client Success Consultant
The Online 401(k)
in CA

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Webcasts and Conferences

SHOP Overview for Agents and Brokers
December 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))

The Impact of Department of Labor Guidance on Target Date Funds
December 11, 2013 WEBCAST
(Multnomah Group)

Ethics: Principles and Case Studies - Encore Presentation
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

Fiduciary and Legal Review
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(NH Hicks)

Keeping Current: 2013 in Review
December 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

FREE Health Care Reform Town Hall Webinar: Q&A with Legal Experts Paul Hamburger and James Napoli
December 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(Thompson Interactive)

End of the Year Tax Planning for Tax Advisors using 412(e)(3) Plans
December 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Pension Partners)

Medicare Advantage/Part D: Results & Trends From the Annual Election Period
January 16, 2014 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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

Text of Treasury Inspector General Report: Improvements Are Needed to Strengthen Systems Development Controls for the Premium Tax Credit Project (PDF)
"[I]mprovements are needed to ensure the long-term success of the [Premium Tax Credit] Project by adherence to systems development controls for: [1] configuration and change management; [2] interagency test management process; [3] security; and (4) fraud detection and mitigation, in accordance with applicable Technology Officer. guidance.... [T]he IRS agreed with six of the recommendations and plans to implement corrective actions. However, the IRS disagreed with one of our recommendations to ensure that the Cybersecurity organization resolves or develops an action plan for the failed security tests. TIGTA maintains that this recommendation should be addressed to verify that corrective measures for failed controls have been implemented." [Report is dated September 27, 2013, but released online on December 3, 2013.] (U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [TIGTA])  


Get your 2014 Health & Benefits Leadership Conference Brochure

Sponsored by HRE's Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

25 Breakouts and 7 General Sessions including: Moving From Cost-Control to Value Creation; The Budget, Implementing ACA & Future Implications for Employee Benefits; Making Retirement Work and more! Register now for best rate!

IRS Ready on ACA Tax Credits But Not for Fraud
"The Treasury inspector general for tax administration said ... that IRS software has a system to verify tax credit calculations before it issues them to health insurers, but it said the agency may not yet have a system in place to stop tax cheats seeking to underestimate their incomes and fraudulently cash in on health subsidies.... The IRS said it was addressing the issues identified in the TIGTA audit, which was completed in July." (Politico)  

96% of Californians Picked Just Four Health Plans Through Covered California -- Are Small Plans Getting Squeezed Out?
Anthem Blue Cross had 1,591 people use Covered California to get subsidies and sign up for its health plans in October. Valley Health Plan had five.... And while it's hardly fair to directly compare the two issuers -- Anthem has a presence in all 19 of Covered California's regions, whereas Valley is only offering plans in Santa Clara County -- the contrast is eye-catching. It's also telling. The biggest players, so far, are getting enormous market share from Covered California's customers. The smaller plans are seeing a trickle." (California Healthline)  

UnitedHealth Details Expected 2014 Earnings Hits from Healthcare Overhaul
"The nation's largest health insurer said ... that it expects to pay as much as $1.9 billion in taxes and fees imposed by the law next year and absorb a funding cut for a key product, Medicare Advantage plans ... All told, it expects the overhaul to take a $1.1 billion bite out of its after-tax operating earnings in 2014." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Reference Pricing May Generate Health Care Savings: Lessons from a California Pioneer
"Along with steering patients to lower-price hospitals, the [CalPERS] reference pricing initiative affected market dynamics by motivating some hospitals to reduce prices for joint replacements.... [C]hallenges to adopting reference pricing [include] lack of price transparency, which makes it difficult for purchasers to determine an appropriate reference price and for enrollees to determine their estimated total out-of-pocket costs; lack of enthusiasm from health plans that are leery of disrupting relationships with providers; and some difficulty communicating clearly with enrollees." (Center for Studying Health System Change)  


COBRA: A Little of Everything - December 16 webinar

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

COBRA -- impact of the subsidy and of ACA dependent coverage, and what to do about Health FSAs and payroll deduction. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.

The ACA 3Rs Explained: Risk Adjustment, Risk Corridors, and Reinsurance (PDF)
"[T]he ACA includes some protections for insurers ... especially in the early years of the new program. These risk-sharing provisions were included in the law with the intent of ensuring plans will be available to consumers and reducing incentives for insurers to avoid high-cost enrollees. The risk-sharing mechanisms interact not only with each other, but also with other elements of the ACA. Any changes to these provisions should be made with careful consideration of these interrelationships and the impact of how revisions could affect insurer risks, insurance availability, and insurance premiums." (American Academy of Actuaries)  

Congress Punishes Public Transit Commuters in 2014
"The amount workers can stash away pre-tax for transit costs is being cut nearly in half to $130 a month starting in January from a current monthly limit of $245. Car commuters, meanwhile, are getting an even bigger tax break. The monthly parking benefit has been raised slightly to $250 from $245. For a commuter in the 25% tax bracket, the maximum tax break is shrinking to $390 a year from $735. Meanwhile, for people who drive to work, the maximum tax break is increasing slightly to $750 a year." (MarketWatch)  


Technical Comments to CCIIO on the Current Versions of the Unified Rate Review Template and the Actuarial Memorandum Instructions (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "If there are technical issues that can not be addressed for whatever reason, we would encourage CCIIO to provide specific instructions on how to work around those technical issues.... [If] CCIIO plans to make URRT data or actuarial memoranda transparent to the public, it might help to consider adding to the instructions the specific location at which this information will be posted.... We recommend CCIIO create instructions and allow $0 experience values for brand new carriers with no previous experience.... The proposed accounting treatment of the reinsurance premium (assessment) for small groups is as an administrative expense. However, proposed accounting treatment of reinsurance premium (assessment) for the individual market is as a negative premium." (American Academy of Actuaries)  


The Challenges of Obamacare: Testimony of Galen Institute President to House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health
"While I believe that the unlimited tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance does need to be capped, the ACA does it in a way that exacerbates the distortions by taxing the insurance company providing the coverage. If employers had more flexibility in structuring their health benefits to accommodate a tax cap, they would be able to engage their employees as partners rather than adversaries in finding more affordable health insurance arrangements." (Galen Institute)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Fixing the Gap Problem: Fiduciary Insurance Coverage of Defense Costs During DOL Investigations of ERISA Fiduciaries
"[I]nsurers may contend that a mere notice of investigation, request for production of documents, or request for an interview of a fiduciary does not rise to the level necessary to trigger the policy's duty to defend because no written allegation of wrongdoing has yet been made. Fiduciaries may be surprised and upset when told that the plan's fiduciary insurer refuses to provide them with coverage of their legal expenses at the time they need legal representation most. This dynamic creates a 'gap' in defense cost cover- age between the time that a fiduciary believes that she is entitled to representation during a DOL investigation and the time that some fiduciary insurers believe the policy requires the insurance company to pay for such representation." (Groom Law Group via Bloomberg BNA Pension & Benefits Daily)  

Year-End Planning Ideas for Stock Compensation and Company Stock Holdings
"Watch income thresholds that trigger higher taxes.... Roth IRA conversions in January optimize your ability to recharacterize the conversion later if necessary.... January is the time to exercise incentive stock options.... Holding company stock for a while longer? Consider harvesting gains.... Consider whether your current financial holdings are too concentrated in one stock.... Prepare for the impact of upcoming job changes or life events." (myStockOptions.com)  


What Public Insurance Exchanges Will Look Like Five Years From Now
"Public exchanges could benefit from lessons already mastered by private exchanges -- starting with open enrollment but extending to even more complex technology-based transactions. There are 10 scenarios that vendors must be able to handle. [1] Life Events.... [2] Overlapping Enrollments.... [3] Additional Special Enrollments.... [4] Passive Annual Open Enrollment.... [5] Age Changes and Overage Dependent Cancellations (especially mid-year).... [6] Rate and Plan Updates.... [7] Retroactive Billing.... [8] Electronic Data Interchanges.... [9] Security and Permissions.... [10] Reports, Alerts and Dashboards." (The Health Care Blog)  

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