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.

Reformed Benefit Summary Will Make Comparison Shopping Easier, Regulators Claim

The summary of benefits and coverage (SBC), while still a work in process, will improve plan participants’ ability to comparison-shop for coverage. That fills a currently unmet need, federal regulators told a recent conference. They were responding to concerns that the SBC — mandated by the health reform law — is redundant, confusing or even […]

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Health Insurance—What Are Best Employers Doing to Control Costs

For years, BLR has surveyed HR and benefits professionals to find trends in benefits. We appreciate your participation in our monthly series of brief, targeted benefits surveys. Today’s survey topic: Health Insurance. (We’ll publish the results in a future issue.) Please participate in this brief survey and we’ll determine what employers are doing with this […]

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SEC Acts to Clarify Conflict with DOL’s Fee Disclosure Rules over … Chart Format!

Concerns about the implementation of participant fee disclosure rules did not just rest within the retirement plan community – the Department of Labor (DOL) itself raised red flags about how the rules would interact with a formatting requirement under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. But we recently got word from DOL that the SEC […]

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All Quiet on the Transparency Front: Fees Still a Mystery and Hospital Quality Data Spotty

Have you asked your doctor or dentist to see his fee schedule? When I did so once, a dentist refused, saying in effect: “my prices are higher, but that’s what you need to get my quality advantage.” What’s a consumer to do? A similar relation exists between large employers and institutional providers (hospitals.) The lack […]

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‘Competition’ from ‘Exchange’ Plans Won’t Incite Employers to ‘Desert’ Health Benefits, Optimists Say

As the government fulfills its promise to create an essential benefit package, employers can be forgiven for thinking the government’s putting a competitor plan out there to lure plan members away from employer-sponsored plans. And it is tempting for them to just say: “Fine! You asked for it; no more funding health benefits!” But paradoxically […]

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More Investment Advice from Fiduciaries Deemed Trustworthy by DOL

Retirement plan investors will save between $5 billion and $13 billion annually, thanks to new exceptions to DOL’s prohibited transaction rules, DOL estimates. The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) opened the door to allowing fiduciaries to offer investment advice in a final rule published to become effective Dec. 27, 2011. DOL estimates this new rule […]

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Dependent Coverage Won’t Explode Military Health Expenses

Health reform’s expansion of dependent health coverage may not have a profound effect on expenses in the Dept. of Defense (DoD)’s TRICARE program, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study. Background Employees’ dependents can be covered by their parents’ employer-provided insurance up to age 26 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). […]

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Candidate’s COBRA Premium Kerfuffle Points Out Differing Employer Practices

Employers have different ways of administering COBRA continuation coverage, as evident in a recent news article about a local candidate’s problem when he was found to owe a city government money after it paid some of his COBRA premiums. The Post-Standard reported Oct. 27 how Timothy Lattimore (R), former mayor of Auburn, N.Y. , elected […]

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The Top 6 Dangers Facing Self-insured Health Plans (and What to Do About Them)

Self-insuring health benefits is a riskier undertaking than just writing a check to a United or Aetna. But despite the risk, employers do it because it gives them more control over plan design and the growth of health costs. For self-insured plans to succeed in controlling costs – and they can – they must analyze […]

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Bill Proposes FMLA Leave for Domestic Abuse Victims; Also Extends FMLA Leave to Domestic Partners

Employers would be required to approve leave for domestic violence victims and their families under a bill proposed earlier this month by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. H.R. 3151, the Domestic Violence Leave Act, would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to guarantee unpaid leave to workers needing medical attention or legal assistance following domestic […]

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