November 2011  |  Volume 2, Number 11

Contracts, Compliance and Research Updates
HHS Secretary Recommends to Halt the CLASS Act

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recommended halting implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.

  • The CLASS Act was established through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as an optional, government-backed, long-term care insurance program that requires a five-year vesting period before subscribers can collect benefits.
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that in its first 10 years, $70 billion in deficit reductions would occur as a result.
  • Increased calls for its repeal include a report from a bicameral Republican Repeal CLASS Working Group and an e-mail from HHS official Bob Yee.  
  • According to HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee, the steps necessary to make the program solvent are beyond statutory authority of the department and risk violating the law.

To read the HHS article, click here.


2012 Inflation-Adjusted Limits  

The monthly limit on the value of qualified transportation benefits exclusion for qualified parking provided by an employer to its employees for 2012 rises to $240, up $10 from the limit in 2011. However, the temporary increase in the monthly limit on the value of the qualified transportation benefits exclusion for transportation in a commuter highway vehicle and transit pass provided by an employer to its employees expires and reverts to $125 for 2012. (Source: U.S. Internal Revenue Service)


To view the full text of IRS Rev. Proc. 2011-52, click here

For additional information on the 2012 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Transportation Benefits, see the IRS News Release.

In This Issue
Contracts, Compliance and Research Updates


More information regarding Health Care Reform and other benefit resources is available on the HR360 website, available to BSG clients under the "Resources" menu of their HR Express website. HR360 includes new features including step-by-step interactive guides which make the processes of hiring, termination, COBRA and FMLA so much easier in addition to the new online tools such as job description builder and salary benchmarking tool.

BSG subscribes to this service for your benefit. If you would like more information regarding this resource please contact your account management team at BSG. 

Unhealthy U.S. Workers' Absenteeism Costs $153 Billion

About 86% of full-time workers are overweight or have at least one chronic condition. According to a recent Gallup Poll, full-time workers in the U.S. who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health conditions miss an estimated 450 million additional days of work each year compared to healthy workers. This results in an estimated cost of more than $153 billion in lost productivity annually.

  • Full-time workers who are a healthy weight and do not suffer from chronic health conditions make up 13.9% of the U.S. workforce and average .34 unhealthy days per month - or about 4 days per year.
  • Full-time workers who are overweight or obese and have one or two additional chronic health conditions make up 30.2% of the U.S. workforce and average 1.08 unhealthy days per month.
  • Employees and employers have the opportunity to potentially increase productivity if they address the health issues that are currently plaguing the workplace.

Click here to view the full Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index article.



U.S. Panel Says No to Prostate Screening for Healthy Men

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a key government health panel, recommends that healthy men should no longer receive a P.S.A. (prostate-specific antigen) blood test to screen for prostate cancer because the test does not save lives overall and often leads to more tests and treatment that needlessly cause pain, impotence and incontinence in many.

  • The USPSTF draft is based on the results of five well-controlled clinical trials, the two largest trials conducted in Europe and the United States. The task force states, both "demonstrate that if any benefit does exist, it is very small after 10 years."
  • The European trial, when measured across all of the men in the study, found that P.S.A. testing did not cut death rates in nine years of follow-up, but there was a very slight improvement in mortality in men ages 55-69.
  • The American trial found that P.S.A. testing did not cut death rates after 10 years.
  • The task force's recommendations are followed by most medical groups. However, advocates for those with prostate cancer, and those who believe a P.S.A. test saved their lives have promised to fight the recommendation.

To read the article, click here.

For more information, see the USPSTF's Review of the Evidence and Draft Recommendation Statement.


The public comment period on the task force's draft recommendation continues through Nov. 8, 2011. 
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