eBRIEFS Masthead

September 2011


Featured Article

bandages come off
2014: A Health Care Odyssey

Just over two years from now, the major provisions of health care reform kick in.  Will you company be ready for the changes that are coming your way?  Click here to continue.


In This Issue
Fighting Health Care Forgetfulness
Retirement Tax Proposal Could Endanger 401(k)s
Understanding Your Cyber-Risk Policy
Hurrican Cost Seen as Ranking Among Top Ten
Global Benefits: Healthcare News
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 Legislative/Regulatory Update

DOL Warns that COBRA Premium Subsidy May be Available to Some Individuals After August 31, 2011


The DOL has posted an FAQ on its website with a reminder that some individuals (e.g., those with a delayed COBRA start date under a severance agreement) could still be eligible to receive the COBRA premium subsidy after August 31, 2011.  Click here to continue.

Regulators Encourage Review of Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

As the upcoming filing extension tax deadlines approach, the Internal Revenue Service, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, is encouraging small employers and the professional service providers they rely on to review the new Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to see if they are eligible. Click here to continue.

New Affordable Care Act Insurance Rate Review Rules Start September 1


Starting Sept. 1, health insurance rates for the individual and small group markets will face stricter scrutiny to determine whether they are reasonable under new rules required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will review rates in nine states that lack the authority to adequately do so. The remaining 41 states will conduct their own reviews.  Click here to continue.

New York Employers Must Report Dependent Health Insurance Coverage Availability


Effective July 15, 2011, New York State employers must report whether dependent health insurance benefits are available to their employees. The Low Income Support Obligation and Performance Improvement Act requires employers to report on the availability of dependent health insurance on both quarterly wage and new hire reports.  Click here to continue.

Medical Plan Summary of Benefits and Coverage: The Forthcoming Mini-SPD


On August 22, 2011, the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services (the "Departments") issued proposed regulations relating to the requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that participants in medical plans receive a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) beginning in March 2012.  Click here to continue.


 Benefit Trends

Fighting Healthcare Forgetfulness


Can a simple prompt to make a wellness-related plan of action help people overcomeforgetfulness that might be impeding their best intentions? For employees, the solution may be as simple as a design change to form-letter reminders.  Click here to continue.

New BLS Data Gives Employers New Info on Employee Health and Wealth


Benefits and Benchmarking go hand in hand, particularly for health and retirement plans. The National Compensation Survey on Health and Retirement Plan Provisions in Private Industry report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides benchmarking data for workplace health and retirement benefits.  Click here to continue.

Poor Economy Has Little Effect on Disability, Workers' Comp Benefits Programs

Employers appear to have been spared the ill effects of a weakened economy on their disability and workers' compensation benefits programs, a new survey has found. Click here to continue.


 Retirement Plans

Retirement Tax Proposal Could Endanger 401(k)s

Americans would lose their variable tax breaks on retirement contributions in exchange for a flat tax credit to be deposited automatically into the saver's account under a proposal by The Brookings Institution discussed before the Senate Special Committee on Aging Friday.  Click here to continue.

Starting a 401(k) Plan: 5 things You Need to Know

Should you start a 401(k)? After all, it's what generally successful companies tend to do: offer a financial vehicle for their employees to save for retirement. And while you're probably going to give the job of setting up the 401(k) to a CPA or an outsourcing firm, there are still things that you, as the owner of your company, should understand before you get the ball rolling. Click here to continue.

401(k) Savings Zoom When Employers Set Autopilot


Americans love their automatic products: ATMs, DVRs, coffee makers, garage-door openers, you name it. Now add to that growing roster the employer-sponsored automatic enrollment retirement plan, typically a 401(k), in which employees are now stashing money in record numbers.  Click here to continue.


 Risk Management

Understanding Your Cyber-Risk Policy


Increasing reports of cyber intrusions, data theft and computer-system malfunctions have led a rapidly growing number of companies to purchase insurance coverage to protect themselves from technology and cyber-privacy risks. As our technology-driven economy continues to evolve and businesses become more reliant on electronic communication and data storage, they are developing a heightened awareness that an unauthorized intrusion could endanger their tangible and intangible assets (including intellectual property) and, in many cases, their reputation and ability to conduct business.  Click here to continue.

At-Home Workers Create New Risks for employers


As more companies allow their workforces to more from cubicles to home offices, outdated risk management plans may not be keeping up with the exposures related to at-home workers.  Click here to continue.

OSHA QuickTakes Newsletter


Twice a month OSHA puts out a newsletter with relevant articles and regulation updates.  Stay in the loop with OSHA and click here to read the latest issue.


 Personal Lines

Hurricane Cost Seen as Ranking Among Top Ten


Hurricane Irene will most likely prove to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation's history, and analysts said that much of the damage might not be covered by insurance because it was caused not by winds but by flooding, which is excluded from many standard policies.  Click here to continue.


 Of Interest

Aetna Global Benefits: Healthcare News


Click here to read a report on healthcare issues around the world.