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Alliance takes on ‘Cadillac’ tax

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 02, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Employers, insurers, trade associations and unions that have formed an alliance to convince lawmakers to repeal the health care reform law’s 40% excise tax on costly health plans face an uncertain future in Congress.

Census Bureau to release uninsured report Sept. 16

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 31, 2015 - 9:13am CST

The U.S. Census Bureau in mid-September will release its annual report on the number of people in the United States without health insurance, with attention expected to be focused on whether the health care reform law has kept coverage steady or even boosted it.

Michigan Supreme Court upholds 2011 pension reforms

By: Christine Williamson, Pensions & Investments

Published July 30, 2015 - 2:31pm CST

In a 4-3 ruling in Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday, state Supreme Court justices said pension reforms made by the 2011 amendment to the State Employees Retirement Act were constitutional, overturning the decision of a state court of appeals.

Equality Act seeks to codify LGBT rights, protections nationwide

By: Shelby Livingston

Published July 27, 2015 - 3:17pm CST

A new federal civil rights bill banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals could have big implications for employers.

Senate rebuffs GOP's latest health reform repeal effort

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 27, 2015 - 11:30am CST

The latest Republican-led effort to repeal the health care reform law ended in defeat Sunday when the Senate turned back a repeal amendment by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

PBGC looks to reduce reporting waivers for large plans

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 24, 2015 - 3:52pm CST

Fewer large defined benefit plan sponsors will be able to skip Section 4010 reporting under a rule change the PBGC will propose shortly.

Judge rules Chicago pension fix unconstitutional

By: Rob Kozlowski, Pensions & Investments

Published July 24, 2015 - 2:48pm CST

A Cook County, Illinois, circuit court judge ruled unconstitutional a pension reform law that took effect on Jan. 1 aimed at improving the funding of Chicago's pension funds for laborers and municipal workers.

Senate panel approves hike in mass transit pretax contribution limit

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 23, 2015 - 12:57pm CST

Employees would be able to make up to $250 a month in pretax contributions to pay for mass transit expenses through the end of 2016 under legislation approved by the Senate Finance Committee.

Drug monitoring programs offer step toward limiting opioid abuse

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published July 23, 2015 - 10:40am CST

At least 10 states require health care providers to access a prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing opioids, but workers compensation payers in all states should request providers do so to curb overprescribing.

Fiduciary proposal comment period ends with flurry of opposing viewpoints

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 22, 2015 - 12:18pm CST

Comment letters on the U.S. Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule poured in Tuesday, the last day of the comment period, with many groups representing retirement plan investment and service providers warning that while they support a standard that protects clients' best interests, new rules to ensure that in specific situations would be unworkable.

Senate to consider surplus pension asset transfer bill

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 22, 2015 - 9:38am CST

Following the lead of the House of Representatives, the Senate this week is expected to consider highway funding legislation that includes a provision that would extend by four years a federal law that allows employers to remove surplus assets from overfunded pension plans to pay for retiree health care benefits.

Business groups urge amendments to health reform law

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 21, 2015 - 2:48pm CST

Two dozen business groups are urging federal lawmakers to work together to pass legislation to ease the cost and compliance burdens of the health care reform law.

DOL leads firms to evaluate independent contractors

By: Judy Greenwald

Published July 21, 2015 - 10:51am CST

Employers are being advised to re-examine how they classify workers as either employees or independent contractors, in light of guidance on the issue released by the U.S. Department of Labor last week.

Senate to hold confirmation hearing for PBGC nominee

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 21, 2015 - 10:05am CST

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Thursday on W. Thomas Reeder Jr., health care counsel at the Internal Revenue Service, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in May to be director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Repeal of health reform law through reconciliation looms for GOP

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published July 20, 2015 - 8:46am CST

Congressional Republicans face a loose deadline next Friday to enact a procedure that would set up repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but the process is more likely to play out as political theater than as a threat to the health care law.

Federal health exchange enrollees have fewer provider options

By: Steven Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare

Published July 17, 2015 - 1:40pm CST

People who purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act's marketplace had one-third fewer choices in health care providers than those covered by employer plans, according to a new analysis.

New lobbying group to grease wheels for Cadillac tax repeal

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published July 16, 2015 - 11:21am CST

Big businesses and unions, traditionally foes at the bargaining table, have both voiced disdain for the health care reform law's “Cadillac” tax on generous health plans. Now, they plan on turning up the heat to repeal it.

Wal-Mart sued over denying health insurance to gay worker's wife

Published July 14, 2015 - 10:42am CST

(Reuters) — A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employee sued the retailer on Tuesday, saying its prior policy of denying health insurance benefits to the spouses of gay employees violated gender discrimination laws.

Clarity on state-run private-sector retirement savings coming by year-end

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 14, 2015 - 9:38am CST

States interested in creating their own programs for private-sector retirement savings will have further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor by the end of the year, President Barack Obama said Monday at a White House conference on aging.

Former Lehman chief defeats employee lawsuit over retirement losses

Published July 10, 2015 - 4:44pm CST

(Reuters) — A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. employees seeking to hold onetime CEO Richard Fuld liable for their retirement plan losses as the Wall Street bank plunged into its 2008 bankruptcy.

Prescription contraceptive coverage rules finalized

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 10, 2015 - 1:05pm CST

The Obama administration Friday finalized proposed rules to enable employees of nonprofit religiously affiliated organizations and closely held private corporations to obtain coverage for prescription contraceptives, even if their employers object.

Medical device tax makes Democrats choose between party, constituents

By: Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare

Published July 10, 2015 - 8:53am CST

Democratic lawmakers are questioning whether they should heed constituent concerns or remain loyal to their party as they decide the fate of the medical device tax outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

Pennsylvania governor vetoes pension reform bill

By: James Comtois, Pensions & Investments

Published July 09, 2015 - 3:40pm CST

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a pension reform bill Thursday that aimed to improve the funding, sustainability and fiscal responsibility of the state's two largest pension funds.

IRS restricting pension cash lump-sum conversions

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 09, 2015 - 3:28pm CST

Employers “derisking” their pension plans no longer would be allowed to give plan participants currently receiving monthly annuity benefits the option to convert their benefits to a cash lump-sum, the Internal Revenue Service disclosed Thursday.

Majority of multiemployer plans well funded; 9% 'critical and declining'

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 09, 2015 - 8:55am CST

A majority of multiemployer pension funds continued to be in the well-funded “green zone” in calendar year 2015, according to Segal Consulting’s latest Survey of Plans’ Zone Status released Wednesday.

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