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News

  • House Passes COBRA Extension, Subsidy February 3, 2009 by admin

    House passes COBRA extension, subsidy

    Business Insurance
    Jerry Geisel

    The COBRA provisions, embedded in a massive economic stimulus package that the House approved on a party-line 244-188 vote, would be a huge expansion of the COBRA law and would saddle employers with health care costs few could have imagined when Congress enacted the health care continuation law in 1986.

    Under the measure, employees who stop working as young as age 55 could retain COBRA coverage until becoming eligible for Medicare when they turn 65, regardless of how long they worked for the employer.

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  • Department of Labor’s Final Rule on Family and Medical Leave December 2, 2008 by admin

    Department of Labor’s Final Rule on Family and Medical Leave

    Phelps Dunbar LLP

    Highlights of the New FMLA Regulatory Changes

    Military Family Leave: On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) of 2008. Section 585(a) of the NDAA amended the FMLA to provide two new leave entitlements relating to military duty, service and leave necessitated by such duty/service:

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  • Massachusetts Issues Final Guidance on Minimum Creditable Coverage December 1, 2008 by admin

    Massachusetts Issues Final Guidance on Minimum Creditable Coverage

    Patrick C. Haynes, Jr., Esq., LL.M.

    On Friday, October 17, 2008, the Massachusetts Connector released final regulations regarding minimum creditable coverage (MCC) requirements under the Massachusetts health care reform law. These requirements are effective January 1, 2009.

    Should an employer’s health/Rx plan not satisfy the MCC requirements for Mass. Residents enrolled in the plan, those participants (employees and retirees) may be subject to tax penalties ranging from $295 to as much as $902. (more…)

  • EBRI Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey November 30, 2008 by admin

    Findings From the 2008 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey
    EBRI Issue Brief #323, Employee Benefit Research Institute© 2008

    Enrollment low but growing: In 2008, 3 percent of the population was enrolled in a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP), up from 2 percent in 2007 and 1 percent in 2006. Enrollment in HDHPs remained at 11 percent. Overall, 9.8 million adults ages 21–64 with private insurance (representing 6.6 percent of that market) were in either a CDHP or an HDHP that was eligible for an HSA, but had not opened the account. (more…)

  • America's Best Health Insurance Plans November 29, 2008 by admin

    America’s Best Health Insurance Plans
    By Michelle Andrews U.S. News & World Report

    For years, workers have watched their healthcare outlays rise and benefits shrink, and for some, whether they will have benefits at all suddenly is in doubt. As Wall Street’s turmoil sloshes over Main Street, it seems that every day another trusted company files for bankruptcy, succumbs to a takeover, or shuts its doors. Nearly 34,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy in the 12 months ending in June, 42 percent more than the year before—and the word from on high is that this may be just the beginning. If your company stumbles, your healthcare, along with your job and your 401(k), could suffer as well. Many employees may worry they’re only a couple of bad balance sheets away from joining the ranks of the nearly 46 million Americans without health insurance. Unfortunately, they may be right. (more…)

  • Onsite Health Facilities: Watch Out for Regulatory Pitfalls November 3, 2008 by admin

    Onsite Health Facilities: Watch Out for Regulatory Pitfalls
    Watson Wyatt

    Today’s onsite health care facilities usually go beyond dispensing bandages and aspirin. Many provide comprehensive medical services to employees and sometimes to spouses and other family members. Yet the employers implementing and paying for these facilities — commonly through a third-party vendor — are often unaware that some of these benefits are considered employer-provided health care and thus are subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Internal Revenue Code. (more…)

  • Sununu, Gregg Announce Signing of "Michelle's Law" November 2, 2008 by admin

    Sununu, Gregg Announce Signing of “Michelle’s Law”

    The law is named for the late Michelle Morse, a 20-year-old college student at Plymouth State University (New Hampshire) who died in 2005. Michelle had remained a full-time student while being treated for advanced colon cancer because, due to existing law at the time, her parents’ insurance would not otherwise cover her care. Her case prompted the State of New Hampshire to adopt a similar law in 2006. (more…)

  • Adoption Act Amends Tax Code Definition of Qualifying Child November 1, 2008 by admin

    Adoption Act Amends Tax Code Definition of Qualifying Child
    Watson Wyatt

    The definition is used to determine eligibility for certain tax benefits, such as the dependency exemption, the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit and the dependent care tax credit. In addition, it is referenced by many employer-sponsored health care and dependent care plans.

    Under current law, a qualifying child of a taxpayer generally must: (more…)

  • Benefits Communication Gap Between Employers and Employees September 30, 2008 by admin

    Survey Finds Benefits Communication Gap Between Employers and Employees
    Colonial Life

    COLUMBIA, S.C., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ — Nine out of 10 employers think that it is important for their employees to understand and appreciate their benefits, but most employees don’t, according to a survey conducted by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company.

    Colonial Life surveyed more than 650 human resource managers and benefits administrators at the recent national conference of the Society for Human Resource Management. Employers were asked about the benefits they provide and how much their employees understand those benefits. (more…)

  • More Employers Committing to Wellness Initiatives August 30, 2008 by admin

    More Employers Committing to Wellness Initiatives

    Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

    From health risk appraisals to weight management programs to providing health coaches, employer wellness programs and strategies continue to rise, according to a National Business Group on Health (NBGH) report released July 14, 2008.

    “We have seen a sea change” among employers in the past five years as they “began to connect the dots” between employee lifestyle and employer payout on health coverage, NBGH president Helen Darling said at a Washington, D.C. news conference. (more…)