eBRIEFS Masthead

March 2013


Featured Article

Cancer Poses a Growing Challenge to Employers

There are more cancer survivors in the workplace than ever before, and that's great news, but it also presents a challenge to employers struggling to control health care costs while improving the quality of care for their employees.  Click here to continue.  


In This Issue
Feds to Run Insurance Marketplaces in Half the States
As Battle Rages Over Recess Appointments, NLRB Confronts Choices
Legislative & Regulatory Landscape 2013
Understanding Life Insurance
NJ to Adopt Flood Map Standards

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 Legislative/Regulatory Update

HHS Fact Sheet on Final Essential Health Benefits Standards


On February 20, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule that helps consumers shop for and compare health insurance options in the individual and small group markets by promoting consistency across plans, protecting consumers by ensuring that plans cover a core package of items that are equal in scope to benefits offered by a typical employer plan, and limiting their out of pocket expenses.  Click here to continue

"Notice of Exchange" Deadline Postponed Until Further Guidance Issues  


Employers will have additional time in which to provide written notice to employees of the availability of health exchanges, per a "Frequently Asked Questions" issued on January 25, 2013 by the tri-agencies administering the Affordable Care Act (HHS, DOL and IRS). Click here to continue.  

Final HIPAA Regulations Require Changes for Employers


The HIPAA privacy rules restrict the use or disclosure of protected health information by covered entities - including employer group health plans - without express authorization, except when necessary for treatment, payment or health care operations, or certain other permitted purposes. The privacy rules include standards for individuals' privacy rights to understand and control how their health information is used. Click here to continue.   

Proposed Regulations Broaden Exemptions From and Accommodations For Offering Group Health Contraceptive Coverage


The Affordable Care Act ("ACA") requires employers sponsoring most group health plans to provide health insurance coverage without cost sharing for certain preventive health services, including contraception. However, to account for religious objections to contraception, the ACA exempts certain religious employers from this requirement, and provides an accommodation for other eligible organizations. Click here to continue.

DOL Issues New FMLA Regulations


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) marked the twentieth anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave

Act (FMLA) by issuing new FMLA regulations on February 6, 2013. The regulations, which take effect on

March 8, 2013, implement several recent statutory expansions of the FMLA pertaining to protections for

military family members and airline flight crews. Click here to continue.

 Health Care Reform 

Federal Government to Run Insurance Marketplaces in Half the States

It's official. The Obama administration will be running new health insurance marketplaces (Exchanges) in at least 26 states, including the major population centers of Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Click here to continue.

Why Not Drop Health Insurance and Pay the Penalty?


By now, most companies are aware of the so-called play-or-pay rules under health-care reform that will be in full effect on January 1, 2014. The options for companies are well known: they can "play," or provide an acceptable level of health insurance at an affordable cost to all employees who work an average of at least 30 hours per week, or they can "pay"; that is, should they not offer such a plan, they must pay the government $2,000 per year per full-time employee (after subtracting 30 employees from the full-time population). Click here to continue.  


 Benefit Trends

Self-Insured Health Plans: Good for Small Companies?

As recently as 2009, only 13% of companies with fewer than 100 employees offered health insurance through self-insured plans, the Department of Health and Human Services says. The longstanding perception was that the smaller the company, the smaller the risk pool across which to dilute any catastrophic or unforeseen claims. For CFOs at smaller firms, shifting risk from insurers to their own company was legitimately too scary.  Only three years later, however, attitudes about health coverage are in flux at smaller employers. More of them are considering a shift to self-insuring, and some are even taking the previously rare step. Click here to continue.  

Retail Health Clinics Continue to Grow in Popularity

Reducing health care costs and addressing the issue of primary care physician shortage are two issues at the forefront of the health policy discussion. Some have suggested that retail health clinics, or walk-in medical clinics located in pharmacies, superstores, and workplaces, could potentially address both of these issues. Click here to continue.

The New Age of EAPs


With recent events like Newtown and superstorm Sandy coupled with health reform and new approaches to crisis management, it's time to take a closer look at employee assistance programs. Click here to continue. Click here to continue.


 HR and Payroll Issues

As Battle Rages Over Recess Appointments, NLRB Confronts Choices 


A Jan. 25 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that two of the three current members of the National Labor Relations Board were given unconstitutional recess appointments has drawn praise from some NLRB critics and criticism from some of the board's supporters, but the decision leaves the board and the Obama administration with looming deadlines and decisions to make.  Click here to continue.

Don't Let Corporate Policies Override Sensible Employment Decisions

Well-crafted employment policies are a good thing: They inform employees of expected and appropriate behavior and help employers deal with workplace situations consistently and fairly. However, sometimes employers can find themselves in murky waters or create problems by adhering to a policy too strictly, especially in situations where employees run afoul of a workplace rule by following their conscience or trying to act ethically. Click here to continue.  

Higher Visa Fees, Penalties Foreseen with Immigration Reform


In the dysfunctional world that has become the nation's capital, something as rare as a unicorn racing across the National Mall has appeared-lawmakers on both sides of the aisle calling for agreement on comprehensive immigration reform. Click here to continue.


 Retirement Plans

Legislative and Regulatory Landscape: 2013   

2013 is likely to be a year in which federal regulators, particularly at the Department of Labor (DOL), will continue to be busy addressing plan investment, disclosure, and fiduciary responsibility issues. Click here to continue.  

Survey Reveals Digital Divide in How Participants Interact with Plans


Younger retirement plan participants are more likely to use online retirement calculators, interactive charts and mobile apps in preparing for retirement than older counterparts. The American United Life Insurance Company today announced new results from its retirement participant survey that reveal a digital divide when it comes to the use of technology in preparing for retirement. Click here to continue.

How to Increase Employee 401(k) Participation


It is the age old issue of how to increase employee participation in your 401k plan. We know how crucial it is to the overall success of the plan - particularly to the highly compensated employee group. High participation also helps in creating a positive attitude towards the company and helps greatly in employee retention. Click here to continue.  


 Financial Services 

Understanding Life Insurance: Your Earning Power


Did you know that an annuity can be used to systematically accumulate money for retirement

purposes, as well as to guarantee a retirement income that you cannot outlive? Click here to continue.


 Risk Management

Bollinger's Risk Management Services Newsletter


Click here to read the February issue of our Risk Management newsletter.  

Why Cyber-Attack Order Matters for CFOs

During his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama took several moments to acknowledge "the real and growing threat" of cyber attacks on American infrastructure and announced that he had signed an executive order to strengthen cyber defenses and promote the sharing of information related to security threats. Click
here to continue.   

The Increasing Importance of Workplace Investigations


Harassment is one of the most frequent complaints brought by employees. Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission identified its priorities for 2013 in a new Strategic Enforcement Plan. Preventing harassment in the workplace was included in this list of priorities.  Click here to continue.


 Personal Lines

NJ to Adopt Flood Map Standards, Could Lower Insurance Costs


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced his state will adopt FEMA's Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps, requiring residents in flood zones to raise their homes between 1 foot and 5 feet. Click here to continue.  

Verify Proper Coverage is in Place for Your Company Car


Many employers provide employees company cars. Oftentimes, the employee is told that he or she need not worry about the insurance issues for this car; the employer will handle all of that. But this advice may be shortsighted since coverage gaps can crop up that may impact the insured employee in unforeseen ways. Click here to continue.