eBRIEFS Masthead
02/11 - In This Issue
HHS Provides Info on Annual Limit Waivers
Health Care Reform Noise Amps Up
Under-35 Crowd Becomes More Benefits Savvy
Form 5500 Disclosure Guide
Pharmacies Besieged by Addicted thieves
Insurance Will Cover This, Right?
Guardian Announces Withdrawal of Medical Insurance Products
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Legislative/Regulatory Updates 
Senate Axe Falls on Expanded 1099 Reporting

The US Senate succeeded in repealing Section 9066 of PPACA which, starting in 2012, would have expanded Form 1099 reporting to include payments of $600 or more to corporations providing services or goods.  Click here to continue.
HHS Provides New Information on Approved Annual Limit Waivers

HHS has updated its website to provide additional information about the annual limit waivers it has granted so far.  As background, health care reform added annual limit restrictions, but until 2014 waivers are available for certain group health plans or insurance coverage if the applicant can show that a waiver is necessary to prevent either a significant increase in premiums or a significant decrease in access to coverage. Employers and insurers have been particularly interested in obtaining waivers for limited benefit (mini-med) plans and HRAs, since they typically would not satisfy the new annual limit requirements.  Click here to continue.

IRS Provides Relief on Prohibition on Discrimination under Employer-Sponsored Insured Group Health Plan

The IRS has issued Notice 2011-1, which provides relief from the requirement that non-grandfathered employer-sponsored insured group health plans not discriminate in favor of highly compensated individuals. This is appreciated relief given the potential excise tax of $100 per participant per day that applies to plans that violate this provision.  Click
here to continue. 

DC Plans Step Up Disclosure of Fees to Participants

New Labor Dept. regulations require defined contribution plan sponsors to supply information on revenue sharing and more detailed data on fees and expenses to participants.  Click here to continue.
HSA Contribution Limit Stays Same for 2011

The maximum contributions that can be made to health savings accounts in 2011 will be the same as this year due to the cost of living remaining flat.  Click here to continue.
Employers Cope with FMLA's Expanded Reach

Amid tight economic times, the scope of the federal law has been expanded to a few additional groups, including military families and same-sex parents. Human resource and legal experts provide advice on how to fairly apply the law's family leave protections and minimize the possibility of legal action.  Click here to continue.
Health Care Reform
Health Care Reform Noise Amps Up

President Obama's State of the Union address made one thing clear: health care will be center stage for a third straight year.  The spotlight will focus on six areas in 2011. 

Retiree Health Care Reimbursement Program Still Growing

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, established as part of last year's health reform law, is certain to grow. In all, 6,500 early retiree health care plan sponsors have filed applications to participate in the program, said Richard Popper, director of insurance programs at the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a unit of HHS.  Click here to continue.

Time to Fill the Doughnuts: Health Care Reform and Medicare Part D


The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010 promised to put an end to the "doughnut hole," the gap in prescription-drug coverage that is the most controversial component of the Medicare Part D benefit.  Click here to continue.

Benefit Trends
Under-35 Crowd Becomes More Benefits Savvy

The economy and health reform may have prompted the youngest workers at U.S. companies to take a deeper interest in workplace benefits, according to online research conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Unum.  Click here to continue.
Employers Increased Communications During Latest Open Enrollment

U.S. employers increased their use of technology-based communication with workers during the recent open enrollment benefit season, according to a new survey.  Click here to continue.
Women More Vulnerable to Economic Impact of Disability

The rate of disability among working women in the United States has grown almost twice as fast as the rate among working males during the past decade (over 60 percent and 32 percent, respectively), according to Social Security Administration data. Yet half of women (51 percent) are unprepared to cover their living expenses for three months or more should an accident or injury leave them unable to work, according to the 2008 Worker Disability Planning and Preparedness Study, conducted by the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA)   Click here to continue.
Best of 2010: Employee Benefits

Companies and employees continued to worry about their pension plans and 401(k)s in 2010, given funding shortfalls and the uncertain economic outlook. But it was health-care reform that dominated the benefits landscape, and CFO's coverage, this past year.  Click here to continue.
Retirement Plans
Form 5500 Schedule C Disclosure Guide

This guide is designed to assist plan sponsors in completing Form 5500 Schedule C.  Click here to continue.
6 Ways to Measure the Success of a 401(k) Plan

When companies set out to measure how successful their 401(k) plan is, they generally don't do it based on how comfortable their former employees are supporting themselves in retirement.  Instead, employers evaluate how many employees use the plan and whether the benefits offered are competitive with other companies in the same industry.  Here is how you could potentially measure the success of a 401(k) plan.
More Employers Adopt Auto-Plan Designs

New data by Aon Hewitt show 57% of 401(k) plan sponsors offered automatic enrollment in 2010, compared to 24$ in 2006.  36% of plan sponsors who don't offer the feature said they are likely to add it in 2011.  Click here to continue.

IRS Employee Plan News


This issue covers the following topics; new submission period for individually designed plans and pre-approved Defined Contribution plans and new user fees effective February 1, 2011.  Click here to continue.

Why We're Not Wired for Successful Retirements

People don't know much about financial decisions, but even if they did, research shows, their preference for immediate gratification at the expense of longer-term rewards would lead them away from sound retirement planning and investments.  Click here to continue.
Risk Management

Pharmacies Besieged by Addicted Thieves

The orange signs posted throughout Chet Hibbard's pharmacy relay a blunt warning: We Do Not Stock Oxycontin.  Click here to continue.
Don't Ask or Tell

If they haven't done it yet, HR leaders should review the final regulations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which require employers to look at their medical-examination forms and the questions they routinely ask employees or applicants.  While the regs include an exception to an employer's ability to collect genetic information for wellness programs, the process can be tricky.  Click here to continue.

Not Too Little to Fail


It's the little guys that are the worry as we carry on in the world of financial institutions directors' and officers' liability insurance.  Click here to continue.

Reports Offer New Clues on Impact of Obesity in Comp Claims

It's long been believed that obesity adversely affects the workers' comp process. A pair of reports shed new insight on the effects of obesity on workplace injuries and may offer ideas for better managing these claims.  Click here to continue.

Pharmacies Besieged by Addicted Thieves

The orange signs posted throughout Chet Hibbard's pharmacy relay a blunt warning: We Do Not Stock Oxycontin.  Click here to continue.

Employers Expected to Hire More Privacy Experts


Employers are expected to invest more money to protect personal information in response to increased government regulation and enforcement and to stem the rising tide of risk, according to a new report released by Ernst & Young.  Click here to continue. 

Partners in Risk

A leading risk manager tells how he works with his boss, the CFO.  Click
here to continue.

Personal Lines
Insurance Will Cover This, Right?

When it comes to auto and home benefits, there's a lot employees don't know.  In recent years, employers increasingly have embraced the opportunity to enhance their employee benefit packages by offering access to voluntary benefits such as dental, long-term care and property and casualty insurance.  This is a smart, cost-effective move as voluntary benefits give employees the opportunity to strengthen their personal safety nets.  Click here to continue.
Auto Insurers Test New Devices to Gauge Driving Habits

After more than a decade of experimentation, auto insurer Progressive Corp is on the verge of a nationwide unveiling of a new type of insurance that charges customers based in part on real-time information about how well they drive.  Click here to continue.
Reduce Homeowners Insurance Premiums

Homeowners insurance premiums often take a substantial bite out of a family's budget.  You may, however, be paying too much for this coverage.  The following are some approaches you can use to reduce your homeowners insurance costs.
Of Interest
Guardian Announces Plan to Withdraw Medical Insurance Products from All States

Guardian recently announced plans to withdraw our medical insurance product line from all states, pending regulatory approval. This means we will no longer quote any new medical insurance business and we will work to wind down our existing medical business over the next two years. This strategic decision allows us to have even greater focus on our non-medical employee benefits offerings (dental, vision, disability, life, critical illness and voluntary/worksite), where we are better suited to provide you and your clients with valuable coverage solutions.  Click here to continue.

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