Slideshows

EBA's top 8 articles of 2011

No. 8: Aon Hewitt: corporate health exchange ready to go No. 8: Aon Hewitt: corporate health exchange ready to go

A corporate health care exchange run by Aon Hewitt is “open and ready for business,” according to Ken Sperling, global health & benefits practice leader for the human resource consulting firm. Aon Hewitt announced at the end of April that it was launching the exchange for employer groups of 1,000 or more full-time employees beginning as early as January 2012.
“It’s a little bit of a ‘Catch 22’ in that the insurance companies won’t come to play unless there are employers ready to do this and the employers aren’t going to be willing to play unless the insurance companies come,” Sperling says.
See the full article here.

No. 7: Bill would allow consumers to keep FSA funds No. 7: Bill would allow consumers to keep FSA funds

A bill introduced in the Senate in late July could help consumers keep their employer-sponsored flexible spending account funds at the end of the year.
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) introduced the Medical Flexible Spending Account Improvement Act, S. 1404, that would allow consumers to pay taxes on and withdraw their remaining funds from their FSAs.
“It is time to modernize FSAs to eliminate this burdensome ‘use it or lose it’ rule. It is both fair and sound health policy to allow FSA [participants] to cash-out remaining funds at the end of the plan year rather than forfeiting the balance to their employer,” Sen. Cardin said when introducing the bill.
See full article here.

No. 6: Senate approves repeal of 1099 provision No. 6: Senate approves repeal of 1099 provision

The U.S. Senate passed a bill April 5 that would repeal PPACA’s 1099 tax reporting requirement.
Under the reporting requirement, businesses would have to file a 1099 form for any person or company to whom they paid more than $600 in a tax year. It was slated to raise nearly $21 billion over 10 years by making it easier for the IRS to identify and pursue those who failed to report the required information.
The bill passed by the Senate makes up for that lost tax revenue by requiring consumers who enroll in the state health care exchanges slated to debut in 2014 to return money that the federal government overpays them for their coverage.
See full article here.

No. 5: President signs 1099 repeal into law No. 5: President signs 1099 repeal into law

President Obama signed legislation April 14 repealing the expanded 1099 reporting requirements in the health care reform law and Small Business Jobs Act.
Congress succeeded in repealing the 1099 requirements earlier in April after numerous votes on competing versions of the legislation. The widely unpopular rules would have required businesses to report any purchases of goods or services of more than $600 a year from another vendor to the IRS on a Form 1099-MISC.
“This is a big win for small businesses,” wrote SBA Administrator Karen Mills in a blog post.
See full article here.

No. 4: Brokers face a coming threat from HR consulting firms, insurance auctions No. 4: Brokers face a coming threat from HR consulting firms, insurance auctions

As if the twin threats posed by the advent of health care reform and the incursion into the benefits business by payroll administration vendors are not enough, producers should prepare for a third threat: the large HR consulting firms.
After struggling with declining revenues for several years, large national consulting firms like Aon Hewitt, Mercer, and Buck are setting their sights on the employee benefits marketplace, says Jim Christenson, field vice president, northeast, at Allstate. Because of their deep resources, Christenson says, these firms “can offer nearly unlimited value” to their clients.
See full article here.

No. 3: MetLife subpoenaed over death benefits No. 3: MetLife subpoenaed over death benefits

California regulators subpoenaed MetLife in April and announced a hearing on the company's practices involving the payment of benefits after learning of an insured’s death.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and State Controller John Chiang on April 25 said they are responding to audit findings indicating that MetLife failed to pay life insurance policy benefits even after learning that an insured had died.
The subpoena comes after Chiang announced a settlement with insurer John Hancock Life Insurance Co. in early April involving similar issues.
MetLife spokesman John Calagna said the company would fully cooperate with regulators.
See full article here.

No. 2: McKinsey: Many US employers to drop health benefits No. 2: McKinsey: Many US employers to drop health benefits

According to a story in June at least 30% of employers were likely to stop offering health insurance once provisions of the U.S. health care reform law kick in in 2014, according to a study by the global management consulting firm.
However the study found more than 85% of employees would remain at their jobs even if their employer stopped offering insurance, although about 60% would expect increased compensation.
See full article here.

No. 1: State of shock No. 1: State of shock

Amid the nationwide noise of budget debates and court battles over the constitutionality of health care reform, Vermont has gone largely unnoticed as its legislature uses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's state exchange requirement to set the stage for an eventual switch to a single-payer health care system.
See full article here.

From Vermont’s push toward a single-payer system to the repeal of PPACA’s 1099 provision, here’s a look back at the top articles on eba.benefitnews.com.

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