eBRIEFS Masthead
01/11 - In This Issue
Employers Brace for Health Care Reform's Cost Spike
The Price is (Not) Right
Employer Match Triples Odds of Employee Participation
Bollinger's Risk Management Newsletter
Personal Lines Newsletter
Life Insurance & Estate Planning
Legislative/Regulatory Updates

Top Regulatory Changes for Small Business in 2011

The start of the New Year ushers in a series of new regulatory, compliance and legislative changes that could potentially affect every small business.  Click here to continue.


Proposed HHS Regs Target High Premium Hikes

The Department of Health and Human Services recently issued proposed regulations that could require health insurers to publicly disclose and explain substantial health insurance premium increases.  Click here to continue.


Obama Signs Measure Aiding Sept. 11 Rescuers, Cleanup Workers

President Barack Obama signed into law a measure that provides $4.3 billion in aid over five years to Sept. 11 first responders and survivors, with $1.5 billion for health care benefits and $2.7 billion for victim's compensation.  Click here
to continue.


IRS Issues Additional Guidance on Use of FSA/HRA Debit Cards to Purchase OTC Drugs 


The IRS has issued a notice that provides additional guidance on the use of health FSA and HRA debit cards to purchase over-the-counter medicines and drugs (OTC drugs). The notice modifies IRS Notice 2010-59 and allows the use of debit cards to purchase prescribed OTC drugs after January 15, 2011 if certain requirements are met.  Click here to continue.


IRS Issues Withholding Details for Payroll Tax Cut

The IRS recently released instructions to help employers implement the 2011 cut in payroll taxes that were included as part of the tax cut legislation passed by Congress, along with new income-tax withholding tables that employers will use during 2011.  Click here to continue.

IRS Issues Additional Guidance on Use of FSA/HRA Debit Cards to Purchase OTC Drugs


The IRS recently released instructions to help employers implement the 2011 cut in payroll taxes that were included as part of the tax cut legislation passed by Congress, along with new income-tax withholding tables that employers will use during 2011.  Click here to continue.



Health Care Reform


Employers Brace for Health Care Reform's Cost Spike

The results of a new survey reflect employers' belief that the new law will fuel health care inflation since several provisions- including the extension of coverage to employees' adult children up to age 26, eliminating lifetime dollar limits and fully covering preventive services-kicked in Jan. 1 for many companies.  Click here to continue.



Benefit Trends


The Price is (Not) Right


In an effort to maintain comprehensive employee health benefits while controlling rising health care costs, employers increasingly are relying on an array of wellness programs aimed at creating a healthier workforce.  Click here to continue.


Some Employers are Thinking Outside the Benefits Box


At some companies, benefits sweeteners can extend beyond health and dental in an effort to better retain employees even after the job market improves. Some of the less-routine perks include pet insurance, elder care, free personal trainers and a $500 allowance toward a commuter bike purchase.  Click here to continue.


Cultural Views, Traditions Can Affect Health Treatment Employees Seek


Companies spend millions of dollars each year providing high-quality health care to their employees. But what should the health plan benefit strategy be when employees reside in another region or country from where the health plan was designed?  Click here to continue.



Retirement Plans

Employer Match Triples Odds of Employee Participation

The existence of an employer matching contribution is the single most significant factor in determining whether employees contribute to a DC plan or not. In fact, controlling for other factors, the presence of an employer match nearly triples the odds of employees contributing to their DC plan, according to a new LIMRA study.  Click
here to continue.

IRS Retirement Newsletter for Employers

Articles include In-Plan Roth Rollovers; Guidance and Forms 1099-R and 8606 reporting instructions for retirement plan sponsors and participants; Rollovers as Business Start-Ups; Fixing Common Plan Mistakes; Voluntary Correction Program Submission Kit for the missed April 30, 2010 deadline for signing a pre-approved EGTRRA plan document; Form 5500 Notices Sent in Error Need a Response; and What is an Annuity?  Click
here to continue.


A Social Security Reality Check


Once upon a time, workers were told that Social Security was but one leg of a three-legged stool that would support them during retirement.  Private pensions and personal investments would serve as the other two legs.  As time passed, most employers eliminated their pension plans.  Instead of defined-benefit plans, workers were given access to defined-contribution plans.  The three legged stool then became the two-legged stool.  Click here to continue.


Solutions to the Target-Date-Fund Dilemma


Just as deciding if your plan-investment philosophy is to have funds go down less in a down market (more conservative) or go up more in an up market (more aggressive), plan sponsors should first decide if they want their target-date funds to get their employees 'to' or 'through' retirement. The formula for this is the fund's glide path.  Click here to continue.


Do Surviving Spouses Have a Right to a 401(k) or an IRA?

When choosing a beneficiary for a retirement plan, it is important to understand how your spouse will be treated under the plan. Surviving spouses are treated differently under 401(k) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). While a 401(k) provides protections for a surviving spouse, an IRA does not.  Click here to continue.



Risk Management Updates

Bollinger's Risk Management Services Newsletter

Click here
to read the most recent issue.


White Paper Details Cyber Risk Exposures


With identity theft causing tens of billions of dollars in extra business expenses annually, organizations face an array of direct and indirect costs from data breaches, according to a new white paper from Business Insurance.  Risk managers at all organizations should work to minimize their exposure to cyber risks by "expecting the unexpected" and adopting various strategies, both organizational and technological.  Click here to continue.


5 Practical Tips for Maximizing Your D&O Coverage in the Wake of the Great Recession

The economic turmoil and corporate dislocation of the last two years underscore the need for directors and officers to take appropriate steps to maximize their D&O liability insurance.  Click here to continue.


Gift Card Stocking Stuffers Can Become Lumps of Coal for Unwary Retailers

According to the National Retail Federation's 2010 holiday survey, total gift card spending for 2010 is estimated to reach $25 billion. Although it is generosity that motivates purchasers to give gift cards, the state unclaimed property or escheat issues associated with gift certificates or gift cards can create significant frustration for retailers.  Click here to continue.



Personal Lines Update

Personal Lines Newsletter: What's New This Month

Click here to read the winter issue of our Personal Lines newsletter, which features topics such as Don't Let Your Hard Work Get Washed Away, Is your Home's Chimney Ready for Winter? and Beware of Deer When Driving.


Don't Blog Yourself Into a Lawsuit 


The Internet is a fascinating place that is opening up new forms of social interaction, activities and organization of information.  These undertakings, however, have a dangerous element. Blogs and postings of a negative nature (even if they are true) can result in unpleasant and costly lawsuits against the author.  Click here to continue.



Of Interest

Life Insurance and Estate Planning

Life insurance has come a long way since the days when it was known as burial insurance and used mainly to pay for funeral expenses. Today, life insurance is a crucial part of many estate plans.  Click
here to continue.

Analysis Illustrates Big Gap Between Medicare Taxes and Benefits


You paid your Medicare taxes all those years and want your money's worth: full benefits after you retire.   Nearly three out of five people said in a recent Associated Press-GfK poll that people who paid into the system deserve their full benefits - no cuts.  But an updated financial analysis shows that the amount workers have paid does not come close to covering the full value of the medical care they can expect to receive as retirees.  Click here to continue.
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