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Archive for June, 2011

Health Reform & Medical Malpractice – here we go again?

Much has been said about the impact of health care reform on the medical provider community. Some are predicting the wholesale change of American medicine, for good or for bad. Others take a much more conservative approach to guessing the effects of the ground breaking law. There is, however, some early consensus of how the reforms may drive more physicians to seek employment within hospitals systems. If this trend does in fact take place, there is a belief that it will drive more and more physician malpractice coverage into hospital-owned captives.

The logic behind this concept seems sound. A recent article in Business Insurance magazine noted the drive for hospitals to capture additional revenue from the new outcome-based reimbursement policies contained in the reform law. This drive will force hospitals to add medical staff Read more…

Connecticut Sick Pay Law presents more questions than answers

June 24, 2011 2 comments

Beginning New Years Day 2012, many Connecticut employers will provide paid sick leave benefits to employees. At first glance, the new requirement seems to be rather simple: employers must provide employees as much as forty (40) hours of paid time away from work for illnesses, accidents, family issues, preventive care, etc. in each calendar year.  As is often the case, this Act presents as many questions as answers. Here’s what I wonder:

  • Does the law apply to occupational and non-occupational events alike? Is there a loss of time benefit conflict? We asked this question. Hopefully soon we will know.
  • Did the legislature intend to expand the loss of time benefits in Workers’ Compensation?
  • Does carrying over up to 40 hours of time year to year for employees present tax complications to employers? Read more…

Wal-Mart, what happens now? Smaller class actions could follow

The Supreme Court issued its opinion last Monday in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes. As expected, it was a resounding victory for employers.  The issue presented to the Court was whether to affirm the Ninth Circuit’s decision to affirm the class certification of over 1.5 million women employed in approximately 3400 Wal-Mart stores across the country.  Within each store, the class worked in over 150 job classifications and over 50 different departments.  Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, said that the women who brought the case alleging bias in pay and promotions, failed to point to company wide policies that had a common effect on all women covered by the class action.  The commonality was not based on clearly discriminatory rules or policies, but rather based on the companies policies on compensation and promotions which were allegedly similar in all stores Read more…

Going abroad may be the best option for capital, but make sure your D&O is global

Three years after the financial crisis began, the U.S. capital markets continue to struggle to support many small companies and has forced some to turn to investors overseas in order to go public. A New York Times article earlier this month featured the story of Reva Medical, a medical device company who was denied a chance to list their stock here in the U.S., but found ready buyers of their shares in foreign markets. And they are not the only ones, there is a growing number of companies who are choosing foreign exchanges – 10 in 2010.

The Alternative Investment Market (AIM), part of the London Stock Exchange meant for small company listings, is popular destination for some American companies to go public, along with the Australian Securities Exchange. Read more…

Healthcare reform should reward quality of care, not quantity

FierceHealthcare reported that “a new study by Merritt Hawkins reveals that physicians are compensated for patient volume and not quality, a trend that has some dismayed at current recruitment and compensation approaches.”  While the article was geared towards compensation practices for attraction and retention of hospital-employed physicians, it also reflects how an enormous driver of U.S. healthcare costs is going unaddressed.

Over the past two years, much debate and litigation has been directed towards the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). In short, PPACA is a healthcare financing mechanism which provides for universal healthcare in America based on the mandatory purchase of coverage through health insurance exchanges. The act also provides patients with additional rights, especially with regard to pre-existing conditions Read more…

Tax implications of allocating insurance premiums to foreign subsidiaries

Dammit, Jim, I’m an insurance broker not a tax consultant. In the same way that Bones McCoy was forced by Captain James T. Kirk to provide advice or services that fell outside the scope of his chosen field of expertise, I recently found myself discussing the hairy issue of foreign tax liabilities with the finance team of a multinational company.

Their longtime practice of allocating the premiums paid for global coverages (e.g. Umbrella Liability, Excess Products Liability, Difference In Conditions/Difference In Limits, etc.) was being called into question by none other than their friendly neighborhood broker turned international tax guru. Leaning on knowledge that I gleaned from meetings with my broker partners around the world, I forged ahead with the bold opinion that it may not make sense Read more…

This week in health reform – increasing pressure on validity of the individual mandate

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court in Atlanta heard arguments in the lawsuit that was brought by Florida and 25 other states. The three-judge panel expressed concern that some of the features of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would have difficulty standing up to constitutional scrutiny. In addition to Atlanta there are two other federal panels that are set to hear challenges to the health reform law.

At the forefront of this court’s review is the “individual mandate” which requires everyone to carry health insurance or be subject to financial penalties. The acting U.S. Solicitor General who represented Health and Human Services, indicated that the individual mandate was a tax and therefore constitutional. This position is curious as it contradicts the message from the Obama administration in which individual taxes would not be increased as a result of the health reform law. See the CNN article for more details.

Connect with Anita Verheul on LinkedIn.      Photo via CNN.