eBRIEFS Masthead

October 2011


Featured Article

Companies Are Turning to Technology to Help Keep Workers Well
Employers are learning that wellness programs require much more to succeed than a pedometer and an occasional newsletter on healthier living. To achieve enduring changes in employee behavior, more companies are following a Wellness 2.0 strategy. Click here to continue.   
In This Issue
Top 5 Health Reform Issues Employers Should Focus on Today
Health Care Cost Hikes Increasing
Redefining Defined Contributions
Bollinger's Risk Management Services Newsletter
A Message From Your Agent
Global Benefits: Healthcare News
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 Legislative/Regulatory Update

IOM Benefits Recommendations Include Premium Target


The Department of Health and Human Services should establish an essential health-benefits package that is guided by a national average health plan premium target, the Institute of Medicine recommended in a highly anticipated report.  Click here to continue.

Proposed Regulations for Summary of Benefits and Coverage Document


The U.S. Departments of Labor ("DOL"), Health and Human Services ("HHS") and the Treasury Dept recently issued proposed regulations implementing provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA") that require the development -- and distribution by group health plans (and health insurers) -- of a summary of benefits and coverage document ("SBC") and a uniform glossary of various commonly-used health coverage-related terms ("Uniform Glossary"). The proposed regulations would require group health plans and health insurers to prepare and provide to certain individuals and entities an SBC for each "benefit package" offered under the plan or coverage, and to make available the Uniform Glossary.  Click here to continue.

HHS Not Sure If CLASS Program Will Be Implemented


U.S. health officials said they will trim staff from a long-term care insurance program that was part of the 2010 health-care law, adding that the initiative may never proceed.  Known as the "Class Act," the program was designed to keep those with disabilities or impairments in performing daily tasks out of nursing homes.  Click here to continue.

Health Care Reform Law Penalties For Employers Not Yet Set


Employers will not face health care reform law penalties if they do not offer affordable coverage to employees' dependents and they may not even have to extend coverage to dependents, depending on the outcome of regulatory guidance.  Click here to continue.


 Health Care Reform

Top 5 Health Reform Issues Employers Should Focus on Today


It has now been almost a year since health care reform was first enacted. The first year involved many compliance challenges, not the least of which was keeping up with the many pieces of guidance issued by DOL, IRS and HHS.  Click here to continue.


 Benefit Trends

Health Care Cost Hikes Increasing, Expected to Continue.


The key difference between the Kaiser Family Foundation and Aon Hewitt surveys is that the KFF survey included more fully insured plans, 40 percent, and more small and midsize firms, 85 percent, with fewer than 5,000 workers. More than 75 percent of the data from the Aon Hewitt survey was collected from large, self-funded employers with employee populations of more than 10,000. Click here to continue.

Employer Health Benefits 2011 Annual Survey


Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage rose to $15,073 this year, according to the benchmark Kaiser/HRET 2011 Employer Health Benefits Survey. Premiums increased 9 percent, substantially faster than workers' wages (2.1 percent) and general inflation (3.2 percent).  The 13th annual Kaiser Family Foundation/HRET survey of small and large employers provides a detailed picture of trends in private health insurance costs and coverage, and this year's survey also looks at employers' experiences with several already implemented provisions of the 2010 health reform law.  Click here to continue.

What's The Rush? Employees Want Time to Mull Benefits Choices


New research offers some clear evidence that enough time and the right tools are the key ingredients to an effective benefits education plan.  Click here to continue. 

Research Offers Insight on Conducting Successful Open Enrollment Season


October marks the start of open enrollment season for many American workers - their annual opportunity to reconsider and re-elect the benefits made available by their employers. "The Growing Importance of the Workplace," the first in a series of research briefs stemming from Prudential's Sixth Annual Study of Employee Benefits, found that 80% of workers believe the workplace is an important source for personal insurance and savings products.  Click here to continue.

High-Deductible Health Care Plan Enrollment Jumps

The percentage of employees enrolled in high-deductible health care plans has jumped during the past four years, according to a new government study.  Click here to continue.


 Retirement Plans

Redefining Defined Contributions


Proposed tax changes to retirement savings could put a cap on employer and employee contributions to qualified defined-contribution plans and, experts say, HR professionals would be wise to quickly revisit their retirement-plan designs.  Click
 to continue.

401(k) Plan Goals - How Do You Measure Success


As an employer, you may feel that having a 401k plan in place is sufficient. But have you ever considered your 401k plan goals? Generally speaking, if 401k plans are meant to be used to augment retirement income they may be considered a success. However, if 401k's are expected to serve as the primary source of retirement income (along with Social Security), success is proving to be elusive for most participants.  Click here to continue.

Retirement Plans Gain Traction Among Small Employers


Retirement plans are fast becoming an important tool for small businesses to attract and retain talent. Surprising even some experts, it has joined the ranks of health care as a major employee demand, according to a new survey. More than ever, small business owners need financial advisors to help them find their way through the thicket of plans and regulations.  Click here to continue.



 Risk Management

Bollinger's Risk Management Services Newsletter


Click here to read the most recent issue.

Breaking Down Risk


Before you can mitigate any risk, you need to know what's behind it.  Click here to continue. 

Tips for Avoiding Legal Malpractice Claims


Being hit with a legal malpractice suit can be any lawyer's worst nightmare. But staying out of trouble with your clients may be easier than you think.  Click here to continue.


 Personal Lines

Bollinger Newsletter: A Message from Your Agent


Click here to read Bollinger's client advisory on topics such as Hurricane Irene, Earthquake Insurance and Finding the Best Home Contractor for the job.

Driver Survey Shows Heavy Cellphone Use


You know them when you see them behind the wheel of that car on the highway that can't seem to stay between the white lines. You used to think: Can that driver really be drunk at 10 a.m.? Now you think something else, and you're probably right. Click here to continue.

SUVs, Pickups Become Safer in Collisions with Small Cars


SUVs and pickups post far less risk to people in cars and minivans than previous generations of the same vehicles, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. Click here to continue.


 Of Interest

Aetna Global Benefits: Healthcare News


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