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.

Individual mandate declared unconstitutional in Circuit Court ruling

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals about 30 minutes ago issued a ruling that forcing Americans to purchase health insurance, a key element of the 2010 health reform law, is unconstitutional. The court however allowed the rest of the law stand (including preventive care, dependent care and preexisting condition mandates), overturning the lower court on […]

Rose-colored Glasses: Self-funding Is Looking Better for Smaller Firms

If you run a smaller firm and pay an insurance company to cover your workers’ health, one of your top concerns is probably how to control spiraling health insurance expenses. Just two or three major health expenditures can cause your insurer to radically increase your premiums. And if you’re located in a part of the […]

Arrivederci to the ARRA Premium Subsidy Law, for the Most Part

This month technically marks the end of the last 18-month period of coverage for individuals who could take advantage of continuation coverage premium subsidies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). But that doesn’t mean employers can just breathe a sigh of relief and wave off this law. Here’s a summary of […]

Express Yourself! Employers Must Give Women Breaks to Breastfeed

One of the odder add-ons to the health care reform law requires employers to provide nursing mothers with unpaid “reasonable break time” each work day to express breast milk for up to one year after a child’s birth. Section 4207 of the law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require employers to provide […]

Health Coverage Premium Subsidies: One Step Closer to Extension?

At least in the Senate, a consensus is being reached on trade adjustment assistance that could lead to an extension of premium subsidies under the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program. Here are two snippets from a joint statement issued Wednesday: [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)]: “My staff and Senator McConnell’s staff have been […]

EEOC: Clarity on Wellness Incentives under GINA; Tongue-tied on ADA

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) once again refused to a take a position on whether employers may use financial incentives to encourage employee participation in wellness programs — without violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). In an informal opinion letter from the EEOC’s Office of Legal Counsel, the commission assured employers that […]

Women Get More Free Preventive Care — Should Men Be Jealous?

Health reform has got women covered. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in rules implementing the reform law’s mandate, has enumerated a host of preventive services for women that (non-grandfathered) insurers and plans must cover the services consistent with the rules, without cost sharing, in the first plan year that begins on […]

Declining Retirement Plans: Will There Be More Fiduciaries in the Future?

Plan sponsors who watched their retirement investments get buffeted by recent recessionary storms have had few ERISA remedies against broker dealers who led them to poor-performing funds. The sole recourse under ERISA for plan members was to sue the plan sponsor who relied on the advice, rather than against the professional financial expert who gave […]

Converting to a cash balance plan is risky business

Companies that move from pensions to a cash balance plan can benefit by avoiding the risk of market volatility, but they should explain all aspects of the switch to employees and be careful not to violate the prohibition against age discrimination. When cash balance accounts replace retirement pensions, employees can be highly sensitive to the […]

IRS Doesn’t Want to Play High-low Anymore

The IRS announced July 19 that it intends to eliminate a set of alternative per diem rates called the “high-low” rates, which the federal government — and at their discretion, private employers — use to reimburse employees for meals and incidental expenses they incur while on business travel. In Announcement 2011-42, the IRS said it had […]