We Know Next Weekly Recap: July 9th-13th

News Updates

In case you missed it, here’s what happened on We Know Next this week. 

In its landmark decision issued on June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the health care reform law’s individual coverage mandate, rejected a provision intended to force states to expand Medicaid coverage, and left virtually all other parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) intact. The court’s validation of the individual mandate removes one of the major uncertainties plaguing the legislation, which still faces a contentious political outlook. Employers should continue to monitor actions by Congress and the administration, especially in light of the November elections. However, they also must stay on track in their efforts to comply with the law as enacted or face penalties.

Companies involved in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) that are successful in retaining key talent begin the retention process early, according to a new global survey from Towers Watson. Roughly two-thirds to three-fourths of both buyers and sellers surveyed use retention agreements, chiefly for senior leaders below the boardroom level, key contributors and technical experts, according to the findings.

New Medicare taxes on high earners, imposed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), mean big changes in wage withholding, executive compensation and personal financial planning for these employees.

The two-year omnibus highway transportation bill (H.R. 4348), passed by Congress on June 29, 2012, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 6, includes long-sought funding relief for employer-provided defined benefit pension plans. The measure, known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), also raises the premiums that plans pay to the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC).

Online social media games can engage employees and motivate them to improve their health much more effectively than traditional health and wellness programs, according to Adam Bosworth, founder of Keas, a company that develops online social games. Bosworth spoke in the concurrent session "Make It Fun: Why Social Games Are So Effective at Improving Employee Wellness and Engagement," at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2012 Annual Conference held here June 24-27.

Seventy-five percent of health care spending is attributable to illnesses that are behavior-related and preventable, which explains why employers increasingly are focused on starting health improvement programs. Unfortunately, an all-too-typical employee response when asked about their employer’s program is, “I think we have something, but not many people use it.” So said Brad Cooper, CEO of US Corporate Wellness, a provider of employee wellness programs, during his presentation at the 2012 SHRM Annual Conference, held here June 24-27.

We Know Next is the leading resource for business executives, policymakers and human resource leaders to explore and discuss the latest workforce and workplace trends—providing the in-depth research and insights needed to adapt and take advantage of what’s next.