eBRIEFS Masthead

December 2011


Featured Article

Businessman wearing a life jacket
Special COBRA Coverage Terms for the Departing Executive: Pitfalls to Avoid
It is not uncommon for employers to provide special terms to departing executives regarding their group health coverage that they do not generally offer to rank and file employees.  Special continuation coverage arrangements do, however, post several potential problems under ERISA.  Click here to continue.
In This Issue
Retirement News for Employers
A Perfect Storm for Estate Planning
Bollinger's Risk Management Newsletter
US Senate Votes to Extent Flood Insurance Program
Global Benefits: Healthcare News

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 Legislative/Regulatory Update

Wrap It Up: How Some Employers Miss a Key ERISA Mandate


Question: What does a soft taco have to do with ERISA health benefits?   Answer: It illustrates the concept of the "wrap document," a tool to maintain compliance with ERISA rules related to plan documents and summary plan descriptions (SPDs).  Click here to continue.

DOL Issues FAQs on Health Care Reform and The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act


The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on health care reform and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The FAQs clarify the permissible nonquantitative limitations that health plans may apply to mental health and substance abuse benefits.  Click here to continue.

Worker Transit Benefits Scheduled to Shrink


If you offer pretax transit benefits, you'll probably see the benefit amount shrink starting in January.  Click here to continue.


 Benefit Trends

Year in Review 2011: The Year in Benefit Management

2011 was the year in which employers began to amend their plans to comply with the health care reform law. The initial changes were modest and relatively simple to put into place. For example, few employers had difficulty amending their plans to extend coverage - as the law requires, to employees' adult children up to age 26.  Click here to continue.

What Does The Health System's Future Hold?


In a pair of articles, The Wall Street Journal examines the future of the American health care system and finds that many experts think there is little new in strategies to squeeze costs and improve quality. Click here to continue.

Workers Risk Severe Financial Hardship Without Basic Life and Disability Insurance


Many workers feel more strongly about insuring their homes and cars than insuring their ability to provide for their families after a death or disabling injury. The result is a workforce underinsured for both life and disability protection - and vulnerable to severe financial hardship. The good news is employers can play a key role in providing access to this important protection and helping their employees understand their need for coverage.  Click here to continue.


 Retirement Plans

Retirement News for Employers


In this edition of Retirement News for Employers, the IRS reviews various retirement issues in their Fall 2011 issue.  Click here to continue.

401(k) Fee Disclosure to Change DC Game


Since the financial crisis and Great Recession, 401(k) plans have undergone dramatic shifts. To foster diversification and greater participation, 51% of participants in Fidelity Investments' 401(k) plans are in automatically enrolled plans, up from 16% five years ago, and 73% of the plans use target-date funds as the default, up from 11% in 2006.  Click here to continue. 

Many 401(k) Participants Would Be Hit Hard By Proposed Tax Changes


Many 401(k) participants would likely see lower account balances if federal lawmakers implement a pair of proposals aimed at changing the tax treatment of 401(k) retirement plans, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.  Click here to continue.


 Financial Services

A Perfect Storm for Estate Planning


Politics, the weak economy and low interest rates have combined to create one of the best environments for estate planning in a generation.  Click here to continue.

The Most Asked Questions about Long Term Care Planning


When it comes to long-term care planning, asking questions is essential. This guide from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance answers some of the more frequently asked questions. The information will help you make better decisions when considering your options.  Click here to continue.


 Risk Management

Bollinger's Risk Management Services Newsletter


Click here to read the most recent issue.

D&O Liability Insurance: Time to Reassess Risks and Coverage


As the year comes to an end, many companies, along with their officers and board members, are considering renewals for directors and officers (D&O) insurance coverage.  Click here to continue. 

A Business Ponders Whether Its Location is Perfect, or a Disaster


The United States Department of Labor has estimated that 40 percent of businesses never reopen after experiencing a disaster. Of those that do, at least 25 percent close again within two years.  Click here to continue.

Ways Managers Can Help Promote a Safe Workplace


Encouraging open communication and providing employees with support and clear guidelines on behavior that promotes a positive, respectful, and safe workplace is part of every manager's job. Managers play a decisive role in pro-moting a safe workplace and have a responsibility to actively address behaviors that undermine a safe work environment.  Click here to continue. 


 Personal Lines

US Senate Votes to Extend Flood Insurance Program Through May


The short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, approved by voice vote, gives lawmakers more time to complete a bill that would enact reforms to the program and keep it going for five more years.  Click here to continue.


 Of Interest

Aetna Global Benefits: Healthcare News


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

Medicare's Drug Coverage Gap Shrinks


Medicare's prescription coverage gap is getting noticeably smaller and easier to manage this year for millions of older and disabled people with high drug costs.  Click here to continue.