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CCIIO Updates List of Group Insurance Products for Benchmarking Essential Health Benefits

Pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, non-grandfathered health plans or insurance policies offered on one of the state exchanges are required to cover essential health benefits beginning in 2014. Guidance released by the Department of Health and Human Services in December 2011 provided that states would have flexibility in selecting an existing health plan to set the ?Ç£benchmark?Ç¥ for items and services that must be included as essential health benefits. The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight recently released guidance which, among other things, updated the three largest small group insurance products ranked by enrollment for each state and provided lists of the three largest nationally available Federal Employee Health Benefit Program plans, both of which could serve as a benchmark to determining essential health benefits. It is important to remember that self-insured group health plans that are not grandfathered under the Affordable Care Act in 2014 will be… Continue Reading

Pension Reforms in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Package

On July 6, the President signed into law a surface transportation reauthorization package which includes pension funding relief for defined benefit pension plans, increases in PBGC insurance premiums, changes in the PBGC organizational structure, an extension until December 31, 2021 for transfers of excess pension assets to retiree health accounts, and an expansion of those transfer rules to fund retiree group term life insurance accounts. The pension funding provisions set a floor and a maximum for the interest segment rates used for funding purposes, based on a historic 25-year average of those segment rates (effectively decreasing the current funding costs). The funding relief, however, does not apply for calculating lump sum distributions, limits on deductible contributions to single-employer plans, PBGC variable-rate premiums, financial reporting under Section 4010 of ERISA, and qualified transfers of excess pension assets to retiree medical accounts. A copy of the bill can be found here. A… Continue Reading

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