Retirement, Pension & Benefits

Confirm states’ authority to regulate MEWAs, NAIC says to DOL

In comments to the Department of Labor’s proposed rule on association health plans (AHP), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recommends the DOL confirm the authority of states to regulate MEWAs. The NAIC, noting the “colorful and troubling history” of MEWAs, said it is important the final rule “not threaten the states’ ability to […]

Massachusetts lacked standing to sue HHS over religious exemption

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts lacked standing to sue HHS over two interim final rules (IFRs) which expanded the religious exemption to the contraceptive mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal district court in Massachusetts has ruled. Because the Commonwealth failed to set forth specific facts establishing that it would likely […]

Pension & Benefits NetNews – March 20, 2018

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Poor performance, not pregnancy or maternity leave, led to termination

An employee who claimed her stronger-performing accounts were replaced with underachievers upon her return from maternity leave, which led to claims of performance deficiency and ultimately her termination, will not move forward with Title VII and FMLA claims, nor their state counterparts, a federal district court in California ruled, granting summary judgment. Her discrimination claims […]

Organizational leadership support makes a big difference for wellness plan success

While every organization is unique, certain initiatives are more popular in successful wellness programs when compared to initiatives offered by programs finding less success, according to recent research from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). The study, A Closer Look: 2018 Workplace Wellness Trends, found that organizations that have involvement and support from […]

Short-term plans could be a short-sighted solution

The combined effects of eliminating the individual mandate and expanding the use of short-term, limited-duration insurance policies would increase premiums and the number of individuals without minimum essential coverage, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. Referring to the study, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) said, “this is some of the clearest evidence we […]

Best-performing companies achieve significant health care cost savings

A group of best-performing companies has achieved a $2,251 per employee per year (PEPY) health care cost advantage over the national average in 2017 ($9,950 compared with $12,201), according to global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson’s 22nd annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey. Willis Towers Watson defines best performers based […]

Financial health of large corporate pension plans improved modestly in 2017

The funded status of the nation’s largest corporate pension plans improved modestly at the end of 2017 compared with the end of 2016, according to recent research from Willis Towers Watson. This improvement was due to strong market returns and larger-than-expected employer contributions. According to the Willis Towers Watson analysis, the aggregate pension funded status […]

Bill to improve HSAs would permit pre-deductible coverage of preventive care

The Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act will make HSAs more useful and effective for employers, according to the American Benefits Council. The bill was introduced recently by Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI). “Workplace-based health insurance covers more than 178 million people nationwide, compelling employers to be innovative […]

Yard-Man inferences can’t create ambiguity in CBA to find lifetime vesting for retiree health benefits

In a per curiam decision concerning vested rights to lifetime health care benefits for retirees, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded a Sixth Circuit decision that had held that the same Yard-Man inferences it once used to presume lifetime vesting could be used “to render a collective bargaining agreement ambiguous as a matter of law, […]