Friday, January 25, 2013

EBIA: When do employers have to comply with the new notice requirements in section 18B of the FLSA?

     According to the EBIA, Section 18B of the FLSA provides that employer compliance with the notice requirements of that section must be carried out "[i]n accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary [of Labor]." Accordingly, it is the view of the Department of Labor that, until such regulations are issued and become applicable, employers are not required to comply with FLSA section 18B.
     The Department of Labor has concluded that the notice requirement under FLSA section 18B will not take effect on March 1, 2013 for several reasons. First, this notice should be coordinated with HHS's educational efforts and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance on minimum value. Second, we are committed to a smooth implementation process including providing employers with sufficient time to comply and selecting an applicability date that ensures that employees receive the information at a meaningful time. The Department of Labor expects that the timing for distribution of notices will be the late summer or fall of 2013, which will coordinate with the open enrollment period for Exchanges.
     The Department of Labor is considering providing model, generic language that could be used to satisfy the notice requirement. As a compliance alternative, the Department of Labor is also considering allowing employers to satisfy the notice requirement by providing employees with information using the employer coverage template as discussed in the preamble to the Proposed Rule on Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid and Exchange Eligibility Appeals and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Exchanges, Medicaid and CHIP, and Medicaid Premiums and Cost Sharing (78 FR 4594, at 4641), which will be available for download at the Exchange web site as part of the streamlined application that will be used by the Exchange, Medicaid, and CHIP. Future guidance on complying with the notice requirement under FLSA section 18B is expected to provide flexibility and adequate time to comply.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Senn Dunn Webinar: ACA Regulatory Update #1

You are invited to join us for a webinar on Feb. 19 or Feb. 21:

Noon - 1:30 p.m. Eastern
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Central
9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Pacific

Reserve your seat EARLY!

Choose a date and click the corresponding link below to register:

Tuesday, Feb. 19
or
Thursday, Feb. 21

Please be sure to list the name of the firm that invited you when completing your webinar registration.

It is expected that the regulatory agencies will be releasing a large volume of ACA-related regulations and guidance early in 2013. We will hold a webinar during each quarter of 2013 specifically designed to address the most recently released guidance.

Presented by:
Bob Radecki, president, Benefit Comply, LLC

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  Be sure to sign into the webinar early.

UHC: Collaboration with Mayo Clinic Focuses on Better Patient Care

United Health Care (UHC) has announced the launch of Optum Labs, an innovative facility resulting from the partnership between Optum and Mayo Clinic. Optum Labs is an open, collaborative research and development facility with the primary goal of improving patient care by combining data and insight from across the health care industry.

To learn more about Optum Labs, view the press release here.

For Your Health: Test Your Home for Radon

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is estimated to be responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.


You can't see, smell, or taste radon--it's a radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be present outdoors and in any type of building, but you're likely to get the most exposure to radon in your own home.

To help protect your health, you can test your home for radon and take measures to lower radon levels if needed.


Race The Bar Series 2013

Raise the Bar on Wellness. Run. Walk…or Just Join the Crowd!

In February 2012, Account Manager Amanda Tillotson and Senior Marketing Associate Liz Szychowicz both of Employee Benefits, answered the call to “raise the bar” on their own personal wellness.



The advertising for the Senn Dunn-sponsored Race the Bar Challenge 2012 had begun in earnest over the airwaves of locally-owned Rock 92 and 107.5 KZL and was heard by these two ladies.

Check out our website for more details!



Monday, January 21, 2013

HHS announces $1.5B for state exchanges

The federal health department announced $1.5 billion in new grants Thursday for states to continue building their insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont received funding — either one-or multi-year awards based on their progress in creating the marketplaces.

Read More...

Read about what North Carolina was awarded...

BCBSNC: Announces Launch of Pilot Program to Maximize Drug Efficacy and Safety

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) and Prime Therapeutics have launched an innovative pharmacogenomic pilot program that will run through June 28, 2013. The goal of this program is to maximize drug efficacy and safety, which can help lead to greater well-being and lower overall costs for our members.

This visionary pilot is targeting physicians with patients who have newly initiated treatment for cardiovascular disease with Effient®/Brilinta®.

How does the program work?
• Prime will identify members with new starts of therapy on a daily basis.
• Daily phone calls will be made to providers for consent to test patients on Effient®/Brilinta®.
• Members will be called after physicians have agreed to be in the pilot program.
• Members who have newly initiated treatment with Effient®/Brilinta® to treat cardiovascular will get a genetic testing kit in the mail. Members have the option of either completing or mailing the test to the testing vendor or not participating. (This is a voluntary pilot program and members do not have to participate even if they receive a kit in the mail.)
• The genetic testing vendor facilitates sample collection and completes test.
• Test results are provided to the physician and a therapy (altering the treatment or maintaining current treatment) is recommended based on the results of the genetic test.
• Participation in the program is voluntary for the member and there is no cost associated with it.

BCBSNC: Challenges NC Employees to Get Fit

BCBSNC is issuing a Get Fit challenge to employers in North Carolina. The 60-day program will encourage the employees of 85 companies to get fit, lose weight, create healthy habits and work together to lower company health care costs.

The program is powered by Rival Health’s Rival Fusion software which will provide a 60-day customized health and fitness program for participating employees. Three winning companies will receive up to $5,000 to help encourage healthy workplace habits when the challenge is over.

For more information view the full press release here.

BCBSNC: Reducing ER Utilization

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) announced the release of a pilot program aimed at reducing emergency room utilization through effective employee education.

For more information on the pilot program please review the full case today here.

Senn Dunn Webinar: The ACA “Notice of Exchange”

You are invited to join us for a Webinar on January 29, 2013 

3-4:30 p.m. Eastern

2-3:30 p.m. Central

Noon-1:30 p.m. Pacific

Reserve your seat EARLY – click this link now:

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/406123584

Please be sure to note the name of the firm that invited you when completing your webinar registration. We are expecting a ‘full house’ and seats are limited!

Be sure to sign into the webinar early on Jan. 29.

Understand the employer’s obligation to send a “Notice of Exchange” to employees by March 1, and how to address employee questions related to the content of the notice. Presented by Bob Radecki.

Please note: times for Assurex Global webinars vary and are listed for various time zones – find your local time above.

Presented by:

Bob Radecki, President, Benefit Comply, LLC

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Don’t Respond to Alarming Security System Pitch!

A call reporting that burglaries are on the rise in your neighborhood would be enough to get anyone’s attention. But if the call includes a pitch for a new home security system, don’t fall for it. More than 600 North Carolina consumers contacted us last year to report telemarketing calls pitching alarm systems.

The calls often start with an alarming recorded message that says the FBI or SBI has noticed a spike in burglaries and “reports a break in every five minutes” in your area. The message then says that the company has installed home security systems in your neighborhood, and that you can get an alarm system for free if you’ll agree to let the company place a sign in your yard.

It’s against state law for a business to call you using a recorded message, and if you’ve signed up for the Do Not Call Registry, you shouldn’t be getting telemarketing sales calls at all. But some companies continue to make these calls illegally.

We’re investigating the calls and believe they’re coming from firms hired by alarm system companies to generate leads for new business. We’ve traced some of the calls and ordered companies to stop making them, and we’re working on other ways to enforce the law.

If you get one of these calls:

• Don’t respond. Even if the recorded message gives you the option to press a number to stop future calls, don’t do it. Pressing a number confirms that the telemarketers have reached a valid phone number, and you’re likely to get more calls instead of fewer.

• Report the calls to our office. You can file a complaint online at ncdoj.gov, or call us toll-free at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

• To get accurate information about crime rates in your area, check with local law enforcement or view statewide crime statistics online at ncdoj.gov.
This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Monday, January 14, 2013

BCBSNC: Affordable Care Act Update

In July, BCBSNC released an update to the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee, previously known as the Comparative Effective Research Fee, imposed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued final rules on the ACA’s new fee that affects any policy year or plan year ending on or after October 1, 2012, and before October 1, 2019.


Important Information: The final rule shows that the IRS made few changes from the proposed rule. The following information includes key points from the final rules:

  • The fee applies multiple times if health benefits are provided to one individual through more than one policy or self-insured arrangement
    • For an employee covered by both a group insurance policy and a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), the group insurance policy falls within the definition of a specified health insurance policy and the fee applies to the insurer, while the HRA falls within the definition of an applicable self-insured health plan, so that the fee applies to the plan sponsor.
  • The final rule also applies PCORI fees to policies and plans that provide accident and health coverage to retirees, including retiree-only policies and plans. And it states explicitly that COBRA and other types of continuation coverage must be taken into account in determining PCORI fees, unless the arrangement is otherwise excluded.
  • There are four permissible methods of counting average lives subject to the fee.
  • The fee does not apply to any insurance policy to the extent that the policy provides for an EAP, disease management program, or wellness program, if the program does not provide significant benefits of medical care or treatment
  • HRAs and health FSAs that do not satisfy the requirements to be treated as an excepted benefit are included in the definition of applicable self-insured health plan.
  • The final rule does not permit reporting and payment of the fee by a third party or affiliated insurer. The IRS believes that the administrative complexity of these reporting and payment systems is not justified because the fee is temporary.
For further information click here.

BCBSNC: Enhances Dental Utilization Management Services

Effective January 1, 2013, BCBSNC will begin using P&R Dental Strategies, Inc. (P&R), a dental utilization management company, to enhance our dental claims review process. An industry leader, P&R will help reduce costs associated with unnecessary services, upcoding, and the inappropriate unbundling of services – providing savings to BCBSNC, our employer groups and our members.


This change applies to all fully-insured BCBSNC dental products – including Dental Blue and Dental Blue Select. For more information please view the full announcement released by BCBSNC here.

BCBSNC: Employees lose 11,301 pounds in 9 months

From 2006 to 2011, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) employees continued to gain weight and their health metrics declined. In January 2012, BCBSNC decided to take a new approach to getting healthy. The company launched the “5 Ton Challenge” to encourage its 4,000 employees to lose a combined total of 10,000 pounds, or five tons. BCBSNC employees took the challenge, and after nine months, they exceeded their goal by losing 11,301 pounds.

For more information you can view the full press release here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

7 More States get Conditional Approval for Health Exchanges

7 More States get Conditional Approval for Health Exchanges -

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it has given tentative approval to applications filed by California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Vermont to launch health insurance exchanges in 2014.


HHS has conditionally approved applications of 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, to run health insurance exchanges.

HHS also said Thursday that it has conditionally approved Arkansas' application to enter a partnership agreement with HHS in which Arkansas will assume responsibility for certain exchange functions.

Previously, HHS conditionally approved Delaware's application to enter a partnership agreement.

Read the full article here.



Congress Kills Voluntary Long-Term-Care Program

Congress Kills Voluntary Long-Term-Care Program -

President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed legislation that ends a healthcare reform law provision that would have established a voluntary long-term-care program.

Under the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program, participants would have paid a monthly premium for five years, after which they would have become eligible for a cash benefit of at least $50 a day that could be used to offset the cost of long-term care services.

The law directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary to establish automatic enrollment procedures that employers could have used, forcing employees to opt out if they didn't want to participate.

Read the full article here

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Senn Dunn Webinar: The ACA "Notice of Exchange"

You are invited to join us for a webinar on January 24th:
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Eastern
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Central
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Pacific

Reserve your seat EARLY – click this link now:

Please be sure to note the name of the firm that invited you when completing your webinar registration. We are expecting a ‘full house’ and seats are limited! Note the times for Assurex Global webinars vary and are listed for various time zones – find your local time above.

Be sure to sign into the webinar early on Jan. 24.

Understand the employer’s obligation to send a “Notice of Exchange” to employees by March 1, and how to address employee questions related to the content of the notice.

Presented by: Bob Radecki, President, Benefit Comply, LLC
Bob Radecki has more than 30 years’ experience in the HR and employee benefits industry helping employers deal with difficult benefit and compliance matters. Previously, Bob founded and served as president of A.E. Roberts Company, a nationally-recognized compliance consulting and training firm. He has served as the principal HIPAA consultant to a number of health insurance companies, and is recognized as an expert on a variety of benefit compliance issues including COBRA, FMLA, Health Reform and more. Bob has been a featured speaker at numerous industry events and conferences, and has published a number of articles concerning various compliance issues.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.