Category: Benefits

From 401(k) plans to vacation policy, this topic gives HR and Compensation professionals specific strategies on how to handle benefit plans. Articles also provide guidance to brokers, advisers and consultants.

Premium Subsidy Extension Becomes Law

Trade legislation that also extends premium subsidies for health coverage under the Health Care Tax Credit (HCTC) program was signed into law by President Obama Oct. 21. The HCTC was enacted as part of the Trade Act of 2002. As originally enacted, it provided a 65-percent tax credit for qualifying health coverage (including COBRA continuation […]

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Social Security Taxable Wage Base Increases for First Time Since 2009

For the first time since 2009, the Social Security taxable wage base has increased: For 2012, it will be $110,100, up from $106,800. The Social Security Administration attributes this to the increase in average wages. In 2012, employers must withhold Social Security taxes on each employee’s first $110,100 of compensation. This means that the employer […]

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Twelve for ’12: A Dozen Ideas for Flexible Benefits

The year 2011 will soon be in the history books so it is not too early to work on the master “to do” list for 2012. Here are a dozen suggestions for benefits and insurance professionals who are involved with flexible benefits, by Rich Glass, JD, Chief Compliance Officer, Infinisource, Inc. Keep an eye on […]

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No Travel Reimbursement for Feds Who Stay at Lodging They Own

Federal employees who stay at lodgings they own while on job-related travel should not even try to obtain a reimbursement for their lodging expenses. So says the General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency that sets the rules for reimbursement of federal employees’ employment-related travel expenses. The GSA issued a final rule on Oct. 14 […]

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Gallup Data on Obese Workers: Time to Dust Off ‘Lighter’ Workplace Tips

Most U.S. workers are either obese or suffering from at least one chronic condition, which costs employers $153 billion in lost productivity, says a new Gallup-Healthways survey. That’s the bad news. The good news is employers can take steps to lighten their workforce, and I’ll provide a refresher on some of those steps later below. […]

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Surrogate Mother Fails to Impose State Definitions to Make Plan Pay for Delivery

A plan participant cannot pick definitions from various state or federal statutes and impose them on an employer-sponsored health plan where the plan left terms undefined, if the plan applies a common and ordinary meaning to those terms when asked to justify a claims denial. Applying this rule, a Michigan appeals court affirmed a lower […]

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CLASS Dismissed: Health Reform Law’s LTC Program Tabled

I’ve read how, due to the cost of administering long-term care (LTC) insurance, some private-sector vendors are either revisiting that benefit  or jacking up premiums — partly because not enough people are signing up to sufficiently spread the risk, and costs, around. Well, the federal health reform law included a lofty goal of establishing a […]

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Premium Subsidy Extension Passes Congress

A bill that would extend premium subsidies for health coverage under the Health Care Tax Credit (HCTC) program has been passed by both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, meaning it’s on the way to President Obama’s desk. The HCTC was enacted as part of the Trade Act of 2002. As originally enacted, it […]

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Pulled in 2 Directions: The Cost of Uniform Coverage Summaries

Health reform’s uniform summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) will cost insurers and third party administrators (TPAs) about $160 million over the next three years to develop, update, and provide the SBC and glossary to applicants and enrollees, its agency drafters estimate. That includes $25 million in 2011 , $73 million in 2012 and $58 million in […]

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What Do These Protesters Augur for Jobs and Benefits?

Last week I caught wind that some protesters were causing a street closure at the corner of 16th and I Streets, N.W., in Washington, D.C., a block from the White House and, as luck would have it, a block — in the other direction — from the editorial offices of Thompson Publishing Group. I grabbed […]

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