eBRIEFS Masthead

May 2011


Featured Article

President Signs 1099 Repeal Into Law
President Obama recently signed legislation repealing the expanded 1099 reporting requirements in the health care reform law and Small Business Jobs Act.    Click here to continue.


In This Issue
The Evolving Health Care Reform Landscape
5th Annual Study of Employee Benefits
New 401(k) Rules Pose a Challenge
Bollinger's Risk Management Services Newsletter
Treehouses Can Be Insurance Headache
Who Purchases Long Term Care Insurance?
Quick Links

 Legislative/Regulatory Update

New Medicare Part D Deadline: October 15

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a lot of fine print. A review of its 907 pages reveals that a key Medicare Part D deadline will occur one month earlier.  Click
here to continue.

CMS Issues Medicare Part D Benefit Parameters for 2012

The new parameters will help group health plan sponsors determine whether their plans' prescription drug coverage is creditable for 2012.  Click here to continue.

Nine Important Tips For Filing a Form 5500


The only things certain in life are death and taxes," Ben Franklin famously said. If you file a Form 5500 on behalf of your company's pension or health and welfare plans, the filing deadline for calendar-year plans is July 31. There are a number of changes in store for plan years 2010 (and any years prior that have not yet been filed) that might cause you to allow more than the usual preparation time.  Click here to continue. 

DOL Considers Easing rules for Electronic Benefit Communications


Employee benefit plan sponsors, fiduciaries, insurers and service providers' use and interest in expanded use of electronic media to distribute summary plan descriptions and conduct other required employee benefit communications and disclosures has exploded over the past decade in response to the expanding comfort with use of electronic communications; rising mail, printing and distribution costs; administrative convenience; green initiatives and other factors.  Click here to continue.


 Health Care Reform

The Evolving Health Care Reform Landscape


Amid all the noise about health care reform, there is one constant truth:  things are always changing and always will. Recent events prove the truth of this reality. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now more than one year old but still keeps benefits experts on their toes.  Click here to continue.

Most Employers Plan to Alter Retiree Drug Plans


Employers that will lose a tax break for offering prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible retirees are considering a variety of design changes, according to a survey released Wednesday.  Click here to continue.

The Changes to Save a Big Idea

One of Senator Edward Kennedy's final acts as a legislator was to try to make it easier to buy insurance that could help pay for assistance in your home if an injury or illness made it hard to live life normally.   In fact, he spent about a decade working on it, finally succeeding when the Class Act, short for Community Living Assistance Services and Support, became law as part of last year's landmark health insurance package.  Click here to continue.
What About Dental & Vision Benefits Under PPACA?

The new amendment requirements under PPACA (age 26 rule, preventive care, annual limits restrictions, etc.) apply to a "group health plan," which is an employee welfare benefit plan that provides medical care.  PPACA uses the definitions that were already existing in the HIPAA portability rules, which define "medical care" very broadly.  However, the HIPAA portability rules do contain an exception for "limited scope" dental and vision coverage.  Click here to continue.

Under Health Law, Colonoscopies Are Free - But It Doesn't Always Work That Way


For years, doctors have urged patients over the age of 50 to get colonoscopies to check for colorectal cancer, which kills 50,000 Americans a year. Their efforts were boosted last year by the federal health care law, which requires that key preventive services, including colonoscopies, be provided to patients at no out-of-pocket cost.  But there's a wrinkle in the highly touted benefit. If doctors find and remove a polyp, which can be cancerous, some private insurers and Medicare hit the patient with a surprise: charges that could run several hundred dollars.  Click here to continue.


 Benefit Trends

5th Annual Study of Employee Benefits


The Prudential Study explores the attitudes and opinions of key industry constituencies to provide a perspective on past trends, current issues, and insights into trends that will shape the employee benefits landscape over the next five years.  Click here to continue.

Consumer Directed Health Care: The Employer Perspective

In 2008, the National Business Group on Health developed a Critical Issue Update on consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs). At the time, they were a relatively new kind of plan, developed to encourage employees to become more active in their health care decision-making. Over the past few years, these plans have grown in prominence in the large group market. This Critical Issue Update identifies changes in plan design since CDHPs were first introduced.  Click here to continue

Climbing Toward Compliance

Until recently, I directed a corporate benefits department and was responsible for complying with the legislation that affected my organization's benefits program. There were mountains of legislation, and while my staff and I were able to handle it effectively, we definitely struggled to keep abreast of everything we needed to do. Then came the law that broke the camel's back: health care reform.  Click here to continue.

Account Based Health Plans Save Money for Employers and Employees


You can now add a term to the employee benefits alphabet soup; Account based health plans (ABHPs) is a catch-all for plans that combine a high deductible with a personal account that can be used to pay for medical expenses not paid by the plan. The National Business Group on Health Employer Survey created this definition to include high deductible health plans that are offered with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs).  Click here to continue.


 Retirement Plans

A Sense of Disclosure

New 401(k) rules pose a challenge for small and midsize companies.  Click
here to continue.

Five Things You Must be Aware of as a Plan Fiduciary


A fiduciary is someone who is managing the financial assets of another person, and within a company, there can be more than one fiduciary. If you are offering your employees a 401k plan, then most likely you are a fiduciary, and if you are, you have certain responsibilities by law.  Click here to continue.

So Many Types of 401(k)s. Which is the Perfect Match for Your Business?


When small business owners decide to start a retirement plan, they're often surprised by how many different types there are to choose from and can have trouble discerning which one's right for their particular business.  For those ready to add a 401(k) plan to their business, knowing the general ins and outs of each type of 401(k) can alleviate uncertainty and make selecting the plan that's right for your business much, much simpler.  Click here to continue.


 Risk Management

Bollinger's Risk Management Services Newsletter


Click here to read the most recent issue.

Why Have Tornadoes Become So Frequent?


Well before the first tornado touched down, John DeBlock sensed that something horrific was brewing in the steamy Alabama air Wednesday.  "The air was palpable with the potential," said DeBlock, the warning-coordinator meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Birmingham.  By the time it all ended, the havoc and destruction awed even veteran storm observers -- 148 reported tornadoes, winds perhaps over 300 m.p.h., and 250 or more deaths from Alabama to Virginia. At least one twister even touched down in York County, Pa., but no injuries were reported.  Click here to continue.
An Ounce of Prevention May Be Tax-Deductible

Although it may not always be true that sound corporate risk-management practices coincide with tax deductions, there are times when they clearly do. In a letter ruling issued by the Internal Revenue Service on February 19, for example, a company's action to insure itself against liability risks in the wake of a fraud ended up being tax-deductible.  Click here to continue.

 Personal Lines

Treehouses Can Be An Insurance Headache


Jenny Kendall was enchanted with the corner-lot home on a ravine she found in Worthington last year. She envisioned placid evenings on her porch near a fire pit after hectic days in her home office. A bonus for Kendall was a treehouse, complete with a 12-foot spiral staircase, leading up a towering silver maple. Its location in the home's front yard almost killed the deal, however. Click here to continue. 

Make Certain Your Antiques are Properly Insured


Many Americans own valuable antiques, which are often inadequately insured under a standard homeowners policy. Homeowners policies may contain restrictive limits and coverage for these valuable items, and the valuation may only be provided on an actual cash value basis.  Click here to continue.


 Of Interest

Who Purchases Long Term Care Insurance?


Most Americans will eventually need long-term care, which is often expensive and not usually covered by public programs until care recipients have nearly exhausted their savings. Yet, relatively few Americans purchase private long-term care insurance, exposing many families to potentially high out-of-pocket costs.  Click here to continue.

eBRIEFS Closer