Tuesday, November 12, 2019

In Brief: Agencies Issue Rules on Reinsurance Fees

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released final rules on the Transitional Reinsurance Program fee under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the final regulations, HHS estimates that a fee of $63 per plan participant will be needed to pay for the first year of the program, which is designed to reimburse insurance carriers for issuing policies for individuals with high health costs, starting in 2014. Employers with fully insured plans likely will see the fee passed down through their health plan carrier, while self-funded employers will be responsible for covering the fee directly.

In February, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations with amendments to military family leave, flight crew eligibility and other issues under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). With those changes, the DOL is requiring covered employers to update their FMLA posters and forms by March 8. You can find more information about the changes on the DOL website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

Employers look to spend an average of $521 per employee in wellness-based incentives this year, a 13 percent increase from $460 in 2011, according to the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). The organization estimates spending on corporate wellness-based incentives has doubled since 2009.  NBGH also reports that 77 percent of polled midmarket employers plan to offer wellness-based incentives in 2013 -- more than double the number in 2010.

Four in 10 employers in the manufacturing and service industries expect to add jobs in March, according to the latest LINE survey by the Society of Human Resource Management. Broken down, nearly half (49 percent) of manufacturers and 42 percent of service-sector companies responded that they will make hires.

Nearly 7 million Americans could be hit by severe physician shortages after the health care reform law takes full effect in 2014, according to a study in Health Affairs. The research projects that the increased access to coverage will spark a bump in the demand for primary care physicians, and that those 7 million live in areas where the demand likely will be 10 percent greater than the current supply of doctors.

For the fourth straight year, Hawaii is the top state for overall well-being, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Other states that have consistently been ranked near the top since 2008 include Colorado, Utah, Minnesota and Montana. The 2012 index scores are based on physical health, job satisfaction, outlook on life and other factors that contribute to overall well-being.

The recent rule that mandates a release of retirement plan fee information to participants is doing little to stir interest or concern, according to a LIMRA Retirement Research report. Before receiving the new disclosure notices, 50 percent of respondents said they were unaware of how much they were paying in fees for their retirement plans.  That number remained unchanged even after the disclosures were released, LIMRA reported.

While 32 percent of Americans agree that discussing stress management with their doctor is important, only 17 percent are actually doing it regularly, according to a study from the American Psychological Association. The group found that 31 percent of respondents who consider their stress level to be high never talk to their provider about it.

The number of small companies offering benefits dropped to the lowest level in 20 years in 2012, according to new LIMRA research. Forty percent of small family-owned businesses offered benefits last year, compared with 47 percent in 2005.  The survey found male-owned businesses (50 percent) were more likely to offer benefits than female-owned companies (37 percent), partly because female companies tend to be smaller.


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