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December 10, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Client Service Representative
Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

Defined Contribution Client Manager
in OR

Retirement Plan Specialist
New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in MA

Plan Administration Compliance Specialist
Tax Deferred Solutions
in CA

401(k) Plan Administrator
in CT

WTRIS Transition Manager
Wilmington Trust, an affiliate of M&T Bank
in AZ

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Webcasts and Conferences

Employee Benefits: Tomorrow, Today, Yesterday
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(Healthcare Reform Center & Policy Institute)

Two New Half-day Specialty Topic Seminars Boston and 16 Other Cities - January
January 9, 2014 in MA
(SunGard Relius)

Two New Half-day Specialty Topic Seminars Charlotte and 16 Other Cities - January
January 10, 2014 in NC
(SunGard Relius)

6th Annual Leadership Summit on Consumer Engagement through Health Plan Innovation
March 25, 2014 in FL
(World Congress)

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]

HHS Proposes Installments for Transitional Reinsurance Fee
"The first installment would occur at the beginning of the calendar year following the applicable benefit year, and the second would occur at the end. This is intended to alleviate some of the upfront financial burden of the reinsurance contribution, a cost that insurers and TPAs are expected to pass along to plan participants in the form of higher premiums... HHS also said it is considering a variation of this proposal under which health plans would be provided the option of paying the entire reinsurance contribution amount with the first installment, at the beginning of the calendar year following the applicable benefit year." (Society for Human Resource Management)  


Save 25% on All Employee Benefits E-Learning Courses

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

This holiday season the International Foundation is pleased to offer 25% off all e-learning courses. Courses cover the latest health care, retirement and general benefits topics and provide a convenient and cost-effective training option. Learn More.

[Guidance Overview]

ML Strategies Health Care Reform Update, December 9, 2013 (PDF)
"[On December 6, the CBO] released an updated score for replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The score reduces the cost of doing away with the SGR by over $20 billion, revising it from $139.1 billion to $116.5 billion. This latest decrease adds to the growing possibility of passing a permanent SGR replacement bill as early as Q1 2014.... On November 27th, CMS published the Medicare Physician Payment Rule. The rule significantly scales back cuts outlined in the proposed version to independent labs that would have decreased reimbursement by 26 percent." (ML Strategies, LLC)  

TPA Cannot Be Sued for MHPAEA Violations
"The court acknowledged that the conduct alleged by the plaintiffs would violate MHPAEA, but dismissed their claim 'because, in its capacity as a claims administrator of self-insured ERISA plans, United is not a party to which the Parity Act applies.' By its terms, MHPAEA applies to a 'group health plan (or health insurance coverage offered in connection with such a plan),' the court noted. 'An entity that is processing claims and making coverage determinations that will be paid with someone else's money is not an entity that is "offering" coverage "in connection with" that Plan.'" [N.Y. State Psychiatric Ass'n v. UnitedHealth Group, No. 13 Civ. 1599 CM (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 31, 2013)] (Thompson SmartHR Manager)  

IRS Updates Same-Sex Guidance on Tax Issues: Accounting for Excess Withholding
"FAQ 22 provides the circumstances under which an employer seeking an adjustment for overpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes in 2013 must obtain written confirmation that an affected employee is not filing an individual refund claim. An employer that uses option one does not need to obtain any sort of written statement from the employee. But an employer that uses option two is required to obtain a written statement from each affected employee confirming that the employee did not and will not file a claim for refund of the overpaid taxes." (Fox Rothschild LLP)  

A Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats: Study Links Broader Health Insurance in Massachusetts with Better Health and Care
"In 2006, Massachusetts was on the same brink that the entire nation is on today: the brink of expanding health insurance to cover far more people than before, through government-driven, market-based reform. Now, a new study shows the health of residents in that one trailblazing state improved measurably, especially among the poor and near-poor, in just the first five years -- compared with the health of residents in neighboring states." (University of Michigan Health System)  


23rd Annual National Health Benefits Conference & Expo - Jan. 28-29, FL

Sponsored by HBCE- Health Benefits Conference & Expo

Hear Here: Sprint, L.L. Bean, We Energies, City of Houston, Eastman Chemical, Univ. of IA, AL & S.FL, Palm Beach Co Schools, Crowley Maritime Corp, Anoka Co, S. Shore Hospital, more. Jan 28-29, 2014 - Hi quality, moderate cost. Register now for best rates!

Survey Finds Baby Boomers Want Information on Dental Insurance
"Americans over age 45 understand that good oral care can positively affect their overall heath. However, while 83 percent of Americans surveyed say they have medical coverage (from either an employer or the government), only half as many are covered by dental insurance. And, as baby boomers plan for retirement, those with dental coverage say they need more information about future costs and changes to their dental plan upon retirement." (Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association)  

High Deductibles Fuel New Worries of ACA Sticker Shock
"The average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange -- the lowest-priced coverage -- is $5,081 a year ... That is 42% higher than the average deductible of $3,589 for an individually purchased plan in 2013 before much of the federal law took effect ... '[C]ost-sharing' subsidies to help pay deductibles are available to people who earn up to 2.5 times the poverty level, or about $28,725 for an individual, in the exchange's silver policies.... [T]he cost-sharing subsidies for deductibles don't apply to the bronze policies." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

New Massachusetts Law Requires Insurers, Providers to Give Consumers Cost Estimates for Their Medical Care
"[Massachusetts] health insurers have been required since October to provide their members with cost estimates -- within two working days -- for specific tests, procedures, and office visits. That means, for example, insurers must tell members how much an MRI of the knee costs at an individual hospital, imaging center, or doctor's office, so that patients can comparison shop. The quote will include how much of the total price members would pay based on their deductibles and co-payments. And by next October, insurers will have to provide this information instantaneously. By January, hospitals and doctors will be required to provide their own cost estimates to patients." (The Boston Globe)  

Proposed Workaround for Subsidy Payments Places Additional Burden on Insurers
"[As] long as error-prone 834 transmissions persist, insurers will have a difficult time estimating subsidy payments. While the 834 problem is being fixed ... missing or misplaced enrollment data significantly impedes the ability of insurers to appropriately invoice the federal government. This is because the template that insurers or state-based exchanges (on behalf of its QHP issuers) must use to request payment from CMS asks for 834-provided information -- i.e., aggregate premium tax credit and cost-sharing reduction payment amounts, as well as total enrollee counts." (HighRoads)  

Health Benefit Costs: Calm Before the Storm?
Infographic. Excerpt: "Health benefit cost growth takes a dip.... Total health benefit cost per employee nears $11,000.... Higher enrollment could boost benefit spending.... Use of CDHPs continues to climb." (Mercer)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

2014 Rates & Limits Guide
"This quick reference guide contains: Summary of payroll tax limits; Filing deadlines; IRS standard mileage rates; Summary of other limitations, including elective deferrals and benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans." (Lindquist LLP)  

Employer Obligations for Additional Medicare Tax
"[E]mployers must withhold the 0.9 percent Additional Medicare Tax from wages [paid] to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year, without regard to the employee's filing status, wages paid by another employer or income from self-employment.... [An] employer is not required to withhold the Additional Medicare Tax so long as the employee's wages do not exceed $200,000, even if the employer has reason to believe the employee will be liable for the Additional Medicare Tax (e.g., if an employee and his or her spouse each earn $150,000)." (McDermott Will & Emery)  

25 Employee Benefit Trends for 2014, Part 1
"Analyze your employee health data.... Be prepared for the 2014 ACA requirements.... Cost-management.... Dispel the myths.... Increase awareness of state benefits requirements.... Know and Learn what the new benefits strategy lingo means." (Ed Bray for Employee Benefit News)  

IRS Issues Final Regs on the Medicare Surtax for Investment Income and on the Additional Medicare Tax
"[T]he income from a stock option exercise or the vesting of restricted stock units could be subject to the Additional Medicare Tax while also causing your investment income in the same year to be subject to the Medicare surtax. The income thresholds triggering the Medicare surtax and the Additional Medicare Tax are unusual because they are not indexed for inflation. The amounts set for 2013 will remain for future years unless Congress changes them." (myStockOptions.com)  

NASDAQ Proposes to Amend Compensation Committee Independence Standards (PDF)
"NASDAQ indicated that it received feedback from listed companies and others that the prohibition on compensatory fees creates a burden on companies, especially on those in some industries, such as the energy and banking industries, where it is common to have directors who engage in a de minimis amount of business with the company. The elimination of the bright-line prohibition on compensatory fees should provide NASDAQ-listed companies flexibility to recruit and appoint qualified directors to their compensation committees that have de minimis compensatory arrangements with the listed companies for which they serve on the board of directors, as such fees would not decisively impair their independence." (Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC)  

Press Releases

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