Spencer’s & Benefits NetNews – March 8, 2013

 

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Featured This Week

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News

March 8, 2013

Health Care Costs Expected To Increase 5.1 Percent In 2013: Towers Watson

In 2013, average total health care costs per active employee are expected to reach $12,136, up 5.1 percent from $11,457 in 2012, according to research from consultant Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). The
2013 Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care noted that this is the lowest increase in 15 years, but only slightly lower than the 5.2 percent increase recorded in 2012…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS Issues Proposed Guidance On Federally-Facilitated And State Partnership Exchanges

In a draft letter released on March 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued proposed operational and technical guidance as to how the federal exchanges are going to work and what they will ask of qualified health plan (QHP) issuers. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires each state to set up and operate an exchange, which is an online marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance coverage. If the state does not take responsibility for running the exchange, the Department of Health and Human Services is required to set up and operate an exchange in the state. The exchanges are scheduled to begin enrollment on October 1…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Penalties Not Appropriate Where ESOP Trustee Failed To Provide Participant With Stock Sale Documents

An ESOP participant was not entitled to statutory penalties, despite an ESOP trustee’s failure under ERISA Sec. 104(b)(4) to provide the participant with bank statements associated with the sale of company stock, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Kronzer v. Hintz

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 7, 2013

Text: OPM, Final Rule, Establishment Of The Multi-State Plan Program For Exchanges

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA Issues Self-Compliance Checklists For ACA, HIPAA

The Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) has issued two self-compliance checklists for group health plans to use to test compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and HIPAA, and other health care-related provisions…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

OPM Finalizes Rules On Multi-State Plan Program For Health Insurance Exchanges

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued final regulations that implement the multi-state plan program (MSPP) located in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA directs the OPM to contract with private health insurance issuers to offer at least two multi-state plans (MSPs) in the health insurance exchange in each state and the District of Columbia. The final rule is scheduled to be published in the March 11
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 6, 2013

Text: IRS, Proposed Regulations, Health Insurance Providers Fee

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Issues Proposed Regs For Annual Fee On Health Insurance Providers

The Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations relating to the annual fee imposed on covered entities in the business of insuring United States health risks. The fee is imposed by Sec. 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), for calendar years beginning after 2013, and is based on net premiums written after Dec. 31, 2012. The aggregate fee imposed on all covered entities is $8 billion for 2014, $11.3 billion for 2015, $11.3 billion for 2016, $13.9 billion for 2017, and $14.3 billion for 2018. The proposed regulation was published in the March 4
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employment-Based Health Insurance Continues To Decline

The rate of employment-based health insurance coverage continues to decline, according to two recent studies from the Census Bureau and Gallup. According to the Census Bureau, the rate of employer-sponsored coverage declined from 64.4 percent in 1997 to 56.5 percent in 2010. And, Gallup recently reported that only 44.5 percent of individuals received health insurance coverage through their employer in 2012, indicating that the trend has continued to spiral down…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 5, 2013

Text: HHS, Final Rule, Notice Of Benefit And Payment Parameters For 2014

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: HHS, Interim Final Rule, Amendments To The HHS Notice Of Benefit And Payment Parameters For 2014

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: HHS, Proposed Rule, Establishment Of Exchanges And Qualified Health Plans; Small Business Health Options Program

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS Finalizes Rules On Premium Stabilization Programs, Exchange User Fees, SHOP Program, And MLR Under Health Reform

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that provides further detail and parameters related to: the risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridors programs (know as the premium stabilization programs); cost-sharing reductions; user fees for a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange; advance payments of the premium tax credit; a federally-facilitated Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP); and the medical loss ratio (MLR) program. All of these programs were created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The final rule is scheduled to be published in the March 11
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS Amends SHOP Standards In Proposed Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a proposed rule that would implement provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) regarding health insurance exchanges and the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP). Specifically, this proposed rule would amend existing regulations regarding triggering events and special enrollment periods for qualified employees and their dependents and would implement a transitional policy regarding employees’ choice of qualified health plans (QHPs) in the SHOP Exchange. The proposed rule is scheduled to be published in the March 11
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 4, 2013

Text: DOL, Final Rule, MEWA, Ex Parte Cease And Desist And Summary Seizure Orders

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: DOL, Final Rule, Filings Required Of MEWAs And Certain Other Related Entities

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: DOL, Notice Of Form M-1 Revisions And Availability

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: DOL, Notice Of Adoption Of Revisions To Annual Return/Report Forms

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA Issues ACA Regs On MEWAs

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) has published final rules, in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on reporting requirements for multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) and entities claiming exception (ECEs), along with details on its enforcement authority to crack down on fraudulent health plans. Specifically, the law gives the DOL additional authority to issue ex parte cease and desist orders and to seize assets when it is apparent that fraud is taking place within a MEWA. The final rule and notices were published in the March 1
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

FMLA Use Can Be Used To Predict Future Disability Claims

Employers can use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as an “early warning system” to predict and prevent disability absence, according to the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI). Analyzing data from 161 companies and 520,000 employees, the report shows how employers can benefit from paying attention to how family and medical leave predicts future disability claims, and also shines light on some of employers’ perception about the misuse of the FMLA…

(Read Intelliconnect) »