This week in benefits

A round-up of the week’s employee benefits news, reports and controversy from around the web

This week in benefits launched its official Twitter feed (@BenefitsWeek) this week, where I’ll be tweeting news highlights from the world of employee benefits throughout the week. DM me on Twitter or send me an email if you come across a story I should cover.

Following are the week’s top stories as you start to think about your 4th of July plans (though, if you’re like the U.S. Senate or three-quarters of American workers, you might be taking a “workation” this weekend).

Top health care reform story

Individual mandate 1 – PPACA-haters 0: President Obama’s health care law landed a significant victory on Wednesday when the  6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled by a 2-1 vote that the controversial individual mandate provision was legal under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. "Call this mandate what you will – an affront to individual autonomy or an imperative of national health care – it meets the requirement of regulating activities that substantially affect interstate commerce," wrote Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a 2003 W-appointee. The ruling is the first of three opinions expected from appellate cases heard in May and June. Legal experts contend that the constitutionality of PPACA will likely be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Top retirement story

Target date funds miss target: At the launch of its retirement investment think tank, Putnam Institute this week, Putnam executives warned that many target date funds are overly invested in equities creating inappropriate levels of exposure for retirees. “The government is becoming concerned about this issue. Plan sponsors don’t know what’s going on in these target date retirement funds,” the institute’s research director W. Van Harlow warned. Van Harlow admitted to designing funds with high equity levels in the 1990s. “We were doing the best we could at the time,” he said. “We were guessing.” Awkward…

Top HR story

HR frenzy in Vegas: Some might argue that HR and Vegas make for odd bedfellows, but the Society for Human Resource Management held its national conference in Las Vegas this week. BenefitsPro’s editor Denis Storey was in attendance and reports that the lagging economy weighed more heavily on attendees’ Vegas-addled minds than health care reform. This perception was reinforced by SHRM’s employee benefits research report (PDF), which was released this week.

Quick hits

Four reasons why your wellness program isn’t working (BenefitsPro)

Re-thinking target date funds, PDF (Buck Consultants)

Humana snuffs out smokers (BenefitsPro)

10 key ingredients you should demand from your retirement plan and advisor (ProducersWeb)

DOL’s Borzi fights critics of proposed fiduciary rule (BenefitsPro)

FINRA prepares new social media guidance for BDs (AdvisorOne)

Health exchanges: A new gold mine (Politico)

Flex schedule helps keep new moms in the workplace (U.S. News & World Report)

New online directory helps patients compare care quality across U.S. (iHealthBeat)

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Most popular story on BenefitsPro this week:

Wisconsin union law finally kicks in

This week’s BenefitsPro blog roll:

Tough love for union toddlers by Denis Storey                  

The gap we can’t avoid by Jenny Ivy

Why 401(k) sponsors should say ‘buh-bye’ to former employees by Chris Carosa

Brokers work hard for what money? By Dan Cole

Answers to clients’ questions about Medicare by Rich White

About the Author
James E. Green

James E. Green

James E. Green is the Group Editorial Director of Summit Business Media's Life & Health Group, which includes National Underwriter Life & Health, Life Insurance Selling, Agent's Sales Journal, Senior Market Advisor, Producers Web, Benefits Selling and BenefitsPro.com.

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