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Federal guidance on wellness incentives receives qualified welcome

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 26, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Health benefits experts say there are some holes that need to be filled and clarifications that need to be made in long-awaited federal rules that would govern the use of financial incentives in workplace wellness programs.

Clock's ticking for employers who overpaid ACA reinsurance fee

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 23, 2015 - 1:49pm CST

Employers that realize they overpaid a health reform law-mandated “reinsurance” fee generally have until April 30 to seek a refund from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, regulators have disclosed.

Workers comp drug formulary bill moves in California

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 23, 2015 - 1:29pm CST

A California bill that would establish a closed formulary for medications prescribed in the workers compensation system has unanimously passed the Assembly Insurance Committee.

Captive benefit funding requests back on the fast track

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 21, 2015 - 4:06pm CST

The U.S. Labor Department's final authorization of a health care service firm's application to fund benefit risks through its captive insurance company affirms that the door again is open to employers to seek fast regulatory review of their captive benefit funding proposals.

Health reform law's approval rising slowly

By: Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare

Published April 21, 2015 - 9:32am CST

For the first time in nearly three years, more Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act than disapprove of it, according to the latest tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Alito steps into health reform contraception case

By: Lisa Schencker, Modern Healthcare

Published April 17, 2015 - 2:16pm CST

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has signed an order temporarily granting relief to a handful of Pennsylvania religious organizations from a lower court's decision that they must notify insurers of their intention not to provide birth control to employees, or face fines under the Affordable Care Act.

BNP Paribas granted money management exemption

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published April 16, 2015 - 8:44am CST

BNP Paribas can continue providing money management services to U.S. retirement plans, despite the parent company's June 2014 guilty plea to violating U.S. sanctions in several countries, said a notice published Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor in the Federal Register.

Congress approves bill to increase cover from malpractice lawsuits

By: Judy Greenwald

Published April 15, 2015 - 3:16pm CST

Health care providers would be protected from Medicare's refusal in certain circumstances to pay charges to be used as a cause of action in medical malpractice lawsuits, under legislation that is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama.

Labor Department's proposal for new fiduciary standard moves to comment period

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published April 14, 2015 - 2:58pm CST

The U.S. Department of Labor is moving full steam ahead with a proposed fiduciary standard for anyone giving retirement investment advice after years of retrenching, officials announced Tuesday.

Communication of health plan coverage changes in transition

By: Karen Pallarito

Published April 12, 2015 - 6:00am CST

While employers have gotten an extension on providing revised statements to health plan participants summarizing their benefits and coverage, they have yet to get more clarity on the subject.

Comp reporting plan would increase employer burden

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 09, 2015 - 8:07am CST

The Social Security Administration's proposal that workers compensation benefits be reported annually to the agency would increase insurers' and employers' paperwork and costs.

Aetna hit with $1 million fine for bad information on pharmacy networks

By: Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare

Published April 07, 2015 - 10:49am CST

Aetna Inc. must pay the federal government $1 million because its websites and customer service agents allegedly relayed inaccurate information about which pharmacies were in-network for various Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans.

N.J. high court sets date for oral arguments on pension contribution cut

By: Robert Steyer, Pensions & Investments

Published April 07, 2015 - 10:24am CST

The New Jersey Supreme Court set oral arguments for May 6 to hear a challenge by more than a dozen public employee unions against Gov. Chris Christie’s withholding $1.57 billion in contributions from the state’s $77.1 billion pension system for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Illinois deferred compensation plan sets auto re-enrollment

By: Barry B. Burr, Pensions & Investments

Published April 07, 2015 - 10:03am CST

The Illinois State Board of Investment is automatically re-enrolling all 52,000 participants in the $4.1 billion Illinois State Employees' 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, based in Springfield, driving members out of the most popular investment option in the process.

New rules simplify 401(k) auto-enrollment management

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 02, 2015 - 2:50pm CST

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service on Thursday issued new guidance designed to make it easier for employers to manage automatic enrollment and contribution increases in 401(k) and other types of retirement savings plans.

Bulgaria plans gradual rise in retirement age, pension payments

Published March 31, 2015 - 9:13am CST

(Reuters) — Bulgaria will gradually raise its retirement age and social payment contributions, the government said on Tuesday, as the European Union's poorest country struggles to fund pensions for a shrinking and aging population.

Supreme Court rejects health reform law's 'death panel' challenge

Published March 30, 2015 - 10:26am CST

(Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama's health care law that took aim at a bureaucratic board labeled by some Republicans as a "death panel" because it was designed to cut Medicare costs.

Multiemployer pensions rescue buys the PBGC some time

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 29, 2015 - 6:00am CST

While experts may disagree on the strength of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s insurance program for single-employer pension plans, there is a broad consensus that lawmakers had to act last year to prevent the collapse of big, underfunded multiemployer pension plans, and with that the PBGC’s multiemployer insurance program.

PBGC may need a financial safety net of its own

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 29, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Forty years after it was created, the future of the federal agency that guarantees employees' and retirees' pension benefits is in doubt.

Republicans eye budget maneuver to pass GOP subsidies fix

By: Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare

Published March 24, 2015 - 9:54am CST

House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says Republicans need to have a plan in place by June 20 to respond if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down subsidies in up to 37 states.

EEOC revising rules on financial incentives for wellness programs

By: Matt Dunning

Published March 20, 2015 - 2:10pm CST

The EEOC on Friday signaled that it has completed a set of rule revisions to address practical conflicts in the regulations governing the use of financial incentives in workplace wellness programs.

Obama administration parades health coverage figures

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 18, 2015 - 10:35am CST

As the fifth anniversary of the signing of the president's landmark health insurance reform law nears, the Obama administration is boasting about what it says is the law's major success: reducing the number of uninsured.

Health care plan enrollments steady despite reform law

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 17, 2015 - 2:48pm CST

The health care reform law has so far had little effect on the percentage of employees enrolled in employer-sponsored health care plans, according to a survey.

Supreme Court ruling supports Notre Dame's objections to contraception mandate

By: Matt Dunning

Published March 15, 2015 - 6:00am CST

The U.S. Supreme Court has sent its strongest signal yet that it's unlikely to allow the federal government to force religious nonprofit organizations to offer prescription contraceptive coverage to their employees.

Health care reform may drive workers comp costs higher

By: Sheena Harrison

Published March 15, 2015 - 6:00am CST

BOSTON — Federal health care reform is expected to encourage the development of flat-fee, or capitated, health plans, which could shift medical costs for workplace injuries from group health plans to workers compensation, according to preliminary research from the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

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