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Alaska law defines rates for out-of-state workers comp medical services

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published June 25, 2014 - 1:52pm CST

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has signed a bill into law that defines rates for workers compensation treatments or services performed out of state so they're not billed at Alaska's higher rates, along with establishing a 180-day billing timeline.

Colorado suspends oil and gas wastewater disposal into well after quake

Published June 25, 2014 - 10:51am CST

(Reuters) — Disposal of wastewater from oil and gas drilling into a Colorado well was ordered halted this week after seismic activity was detected in the area, state regulators said on Tuesday.

San Francisco bumps up employer health care spending mandate for 2015

By: Jerry Geisel

Published June 24, 2014 - 2:09pm CST

Employers with workers in San Francisco will have to pay more next year to comply with the city's health care spending law.

Final health care reform rule permits one-month orientation period

By: Jerry Geisel

Published June 24, 2014 - 1:20pm CST

Employers are allowed to impose “orientation” periods of up to one month before a maximum 90-day waiting period on the start of health care coverage for new employees, under final health care law reform rules.

Health care reform COBRA rules bridge public exchange coverage gap

By: Jerry Geisel

Published June 22, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Recent federal guidance allows employees who lose their group health coverage when they leave or lose their job to get health insurance through public exchanges sooner and with no gaps in coverage by temporarily enrolling in COBRA.

Employers should be wary and confirm that wellness programs comply with laws

By: Matt Dunning

Published June 22, 2014 - 6:00am CST

As the wellness industry focuses more on reducing employees' health risks by improving their behavior, employers must ensure their programs remain within the bounds of the law and their own corporate culture.

Same-sex marriage rules may affect coverage for domestic partnerships

By: Matt Dunning

Published June 22, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Though none of the recent regulatory updates regarding health care benefits for legally married same-sex couples apply directly to couples in domestic partnerships, the rule changes could substantially affect employers’ decisions to cover such arrangements under their health benefits plans in the long term.

Ruling undercuts states’ defense

By: Matt Dunning

Published June 22, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor, while not invalidating any state laws banning same-sex marriage, appears to have substantially undermined states’ efforts to defend those laws in court.

Employers adjust health benefits for gay marriage

By: Matt Dunning

Published June 22, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The unprecedented expansion of marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in the past year has exerted added pressure on employers to review the health care benefits they extend to employees' same-sex spouses and domestic partners.

Labor Department to extend FMLA benefits to all same-sex married couples

By: Matt Dunning

Published June 20, 2014 - 2:09pm CST

Married same-sex couples nationwide will soon have access to emergency leave benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Catholic TV network will fight court ruling on contraceptives

By: Steven Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare

Published June 19, 2014 - 3:12pm CST

An Alabama-based Catholic television network says it plans to appeal a federal court's ruling that rejected the company's challenge to the government mandate requiring employers to include contraceptive coverage in their health plans.

Federal subsidies held health insurance premiums to $82 per month: HHS

By: Jerry Geisel

Published June 18, 2014 - 8:27am CST

Individuals eligible for premium subsidies under the health care reform law paid an average of $82 a month for coverage purchased through federal health insurance exchanges, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

BROKER BEAT: Cowan Benefit Services

Published June 17, 2014 - 2:58pm CST

Business Insurance Senior Editor Rodd Zolkos speaks with Matt Cowan, president of Cowan Benefit Services, about current employee benefits issues affecting the specialty brokerage firm.

Conservative health care policy analyst fired over sexual misconduct charges

By: Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare

Published June 16, 2014 - 9:04am CST

Prominent conservative health care policy analyst John Goodman has been fired over “sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty,” according to the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis.

Massachusetts repeals play-or-pay health care rules

By: Jerry Geisel

Published June 12, 2014 - 2:17pm CST

A Massachusetts health reform law board Thursday formally repealed regulations to a landmark state statute that required employers to either offer health care coverage to their employees or pay a fine.

Health reform may push medical claims to property/casualty insurers

By: Matthew Lerner

Published June 11, 2014 - 8:18am CST

LONG BEACH, California — The law of unintended consequences is playing out in the wake of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as ramifications “trickle down” through the property/casualty space.

U.K.'s Pension Insurance Corp. insures $2.69B in pension risk with Hannover Re

By: Sarah Veysey

Published June 10, 2014 - 10:30am CST

Pension Insurance Corp. and Hannover Re S.E. have assumed a block transfer of 1.6 billion ($2.69 billion) of pension liabilities from the defined benefit pension plan of Total U.K. Ltd., the London-based arm of Paris-based oil company Total S.A.

Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban struck down in court

By: Matt Dunning

Published June 09, 2014 - 2:13pm CST

A federal judge in Wisconsin last week struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage on the grounds that it unconstitutionally denies gay and lesbian couples' access to rights and benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples.

Total disability payments available 'for life': New Mexico high court

By: Sheena Harrison

Published June 09, 2014 - 12:43pm CST

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that workers compensation temporary total disability benefits are payable “for the remainder of a worker's life” and aren't subject to time limits that the state places on permanent disability benefits.

Execs eagerly awaiting guidance from PBGC on liability issue

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published June 09, 2014 - 9:44am CST

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. guidance on how agency officials enforce pension liability rules cannot come soon enough for some pension plan sponsors and their advocates.

Impact of doctor-dispensed drugs on comp costs drives new legislative efforts

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published June 08, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A renewed focus on how physician-dispensed prescription drugs affect workers compensation claims outcomes is driving legislation that would restrict the costly practice.

States consider expanding workers comp presumption law for public employees

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published June 08, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Recent tragedies and medical research have prompted several states to consider expanding their workers compensation presumption laws for public employees.

Firefighters want presumption law to include benefits for infectious diseases

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published June 08, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A push for benefits related to infectious diseases could be the next trend in workers compensation presumption legislation.

States follow private-sector trend toward hybrid pension plans

By: Jerry Geisel

Published June 08, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Just as private-sector employers have moved away from traditional pension plans in favor of hybrid plans, some states have done the same.

States work to revive dwindling public pension plan funding levels

By: Jerry Geisel

Published June 08, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Alarmed by escalating costs and deteriorating funding levels, lawmakers in dozens of states have passed measures to shore up public pension programs in the past several years.

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