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2015 legislative and regulatory agenda is a mixed bag

By: Mark A. Hofmann

Published January 18, 2015 - 6:00am CST

No issue dominates this year's legislative and regulatory agenda of the risk management and property/casualty insurance community as reauthorization of the federal terrorism insurance backstop did even several weeks ago.

PBGC proposes pension plan risk-transfer disclosure requirement

By: Jerry Geisel

Published January 18, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Employers that reduce the risk of their pension plans could face a new requirement: disclosing information about the transactions to the PBGC as part of paying their annual premium to the federal agency.

Republicans take aim at health care reform law with proposed revisions

By: Jerry Geisel

Published January 18, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Republican-backed proposals to amend the health care reform law will not share the same fate as those in prior congressional sessions, as the GOP regained control of the U.S. Senate after the November elections while adding to their majority in the House.

Employers strive to control health costs in anticipation of 2018 excise tax

By: Karen Pallarito

Published January 18, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Most large and midsize employers that offer health insurance to their employees are maintaining it this year, but they're still looking to limit their costs.

Guidance on 'Cadillac tax' and other health reform rules still needed

By: Jerry Geisel

Published January 18, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Employers still are waiting for regulatory guidance to help them comply with several key provisions of the health care reform law.

Supreme Court ruling on subsidies will impact health reform implementation

By: Matt Dunning

Published January 18, 2015 - 6:00am CST

For a third consecutive year, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 finds itself positioned to determine the fate of the federal health care reform law. On March 4, the high court will hear oral arguments in David King et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell et al.

Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage this term

By: Matt Dunning

Published January 16, 2015 - 4:54pm CST

The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh the question of whether state-level bans on same-sex marriage violate the U.S. Constitution before the end of its current term.

Health care executives say health care reform is not going anywhere

Published January 16, 2015 - 10:56am CST

(Reuters) — U.S. health care executives say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is likely here to stay, despite repeated calls from Republican lawmakers for its repeal.

Senate bill targets 2.3% ACA tax on medical device manufacturers

By: Jerry Geisel

Published January 14, 2015 - 12:17pm CST

Bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would repeal a health care reform law provision that imposes a 2.3% federal excise tax on manufacturers on medical devices.

U.S. top court rejects new challenge to health care law

Published January 12, 2015 - 11:23am CST

(Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up another broad challenge to President Barack Obama's signature Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

PBGC to require employers to report pension risk transfer moves

By: Jerry Geisel

Published January 12, 2015 - 10:12am CST

The PBGC disclosed that employers will be required to report offers they make to plan participants to convert their annuity to a cash lump-sum benefit or shift the obligation to provide the benefits through the employer's purchase of group annuities.

House votes to ease ACA employer requirements

Published January 08, 2015 - 4:15pm CST

(Reuters) — The Republican-led House of Representatives voted on Thursday to ease insurance requirements for employers by approving the first of an expected series of bills aimed at weakening the overall health care reform law.

House bill targets ACA's 30-hour definition for full-time employees

By: Jerry Geisel

Published January 07, 2015 - 10:07am CST

The House is expected to vote this week on legislation to ease the health reform law's definition of a full-time employee by changing it to those working an average of at least 40 hours per week.

PBGC urged to listen more to constituents, take less adversarial stance

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published January 05, 2015 - 8:52am CST

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. needs to listen more to plan executives and participants instead of taking an adversarial approach, the agency's participant and plan sponsor advocate said in a report issued Wednesday.

Proposed health reform rules require clarity on abortion and other coverages

By: Jerry Geisel

Published January 04, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Employers would have to state clearly whether or not their health plans pay for abortion services among other requirements under health care reform law rules issued last week.

Enrollment hits nearly 6.5 million in federal health exchange

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 30, 2014 - 12:42pm CST

Nearly 6.5 million individuals signed up for health insurance plans through the federal exchange during the first six weeks of the 2015 open enrollment, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday.

Supreme Court could give definitive ruling on states' rights to ban gay marriage

By: Matt Dunning

Published December 21, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A definitive ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on states' rights to ban gay marriage could come as early as June 2015, experts say, bringing welcome relief for employers and their benefits management staffs.

Health care reform developments dominate benefits management issues in 2014

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 21, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Topped by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review whether individuals can obtain premium subsidies to buy health insurance in federal exchanges, developments related to the health care reform law dominated 2014.

2015 benefits management outlook shaped by courts and congressional changes

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 21, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The U.S. Supreme Court and Congress will play key roles in the future of the health care reform law.

SIIA petitions Supreme Court to review Michigan health claims tax

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 19, 2014 - 11:37am CST

The Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. has formally petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn an appeals court decision upholding a Michigan law that imposes a 1% tax on paid health care claims.

Vermont governor dumps statewide universal health care law effort

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 18, 2014 - 10:08am CST

Vermont is abandoning efforts to move to a publicly financed health care system to ensure universal coverage, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday.

More than 700,000 enroll through state insurance exchanges in first month

By: Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare

Published December 18, 2014 - 8:54am CST

Nearly 740,000 people have selected or re-enrolled into a qualified health plan across 13 state based-exchanges, according to state-released estimates.

Nearly 2.5 million enrolled in federal health plan exchange for 2015 to date

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 16, 2014 - 3:05pm CST

Nearly 2.5 million individuals signed up for health insurance plans through the federal exchange during the first four weeks of the 2015 open enrollment, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported Tuesday.

Sen. Orrin Hatch calls for retirement savings legislation

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published December 16, 2014 - 9:53am CST

Tax incentives for retirement plan sponsors and participants are “under increasing pressure” on Capitol Hill to be reduced, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington on Monday.

Congress gives final OK to bill allowing multiemployer pension plan benefit cuts

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 15, 2014 - 9:20am CST

Trustees of financially distressed multiemployer pension plans would be allowed to cut participants' benefits to prevent the plans from becoming insolvent under legislation given final congressional approval Saturday.

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