From the May 2012 issue of CeridianVoice.

May 2012 News Briefs

A summary of HR and benefits news, trends and industry information from trusted sources.

HHS proposes rule to simplify health care administration

The new rule would establish standardized health plan and health care entity identifiers under HIPAA to simplify administrative processes such as billing. HHS estimates that these changes would save health care providers and health plans up to $4.6 billion over the next 10 years. "It's encouraging to see proposed regulations with a direct focus on cutting costs for employers and consumers," said Ernie Harris, Ceridian's senior product manager for consumer-directed health care solutions.

California Supreme Court issues ruling on meals and breaks

The long-awaited wage-and-hour decision on a case involving employees of Brinker International Inc., the parent company of popular restaurants such as Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy, clarifies that California employers must provide hourly workers uninterrupted meal breaks after five hours, but need not ensure that work is not performed during the break time. Read more on the Wall Street Journal's law blog.

Essential Benefits bulletin sheds light on upcoming definitions

The bulletin provides a preview of how HHS intends to define "essential health benefits" under PPACA. "Although only non-grandfathered plans in the individual and small group markets must cover essential health benefits beginning in 2014, the definition of essential benefits in important," said Jim O'Connell, Ceridian's executive consultant on health care reform in Washington, D.C. "It could set a standard for what coverage employers choose to offer in the future." Learn more from Health Affairs.

Final SBC rule released

The final Summary of Benefits Coverage (SBC) and Uniform Glossary requirements announced by the departments of Labor, the Treasury and Health and Human Services (HHS) will take effect for both insured and self-insured group health plans beginning on the first day of the first open enrollment period on or after Sept. 23, 2012. "By simplifying and streamlining the way benefits information is presented to consumers, employers should see an improvement in their open enrollment through better plan choices and smoother elections," said Lydia Ophaug, Ceridian's senior product manager for benefits administration and enrollment solutions. Review the Department of Labor FAQs for more information.

PwC analyzes effect of final health care exchange rules

PwC's analysis of the final health care exchange rules released in March notes the implications this new system will have for employers.