Pension & Benefits NetNews – August 29, 2017

 

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Featured This Week

 

Employee Benefits Management News

  • Large employers project health care benefit costs to surpass $14,000 per employee in 2018, survey finds
  • Wellness programs boost employee wellness, productivity
  • SIFL rates issued for the second half of 2017
  • More employers are requiring same-sex couples to marry to receive health benefits

Pension Plan Guide News

  • DOL issues new transition period FAQs concerning fiduciary status disclosures
  • PBGC reports multiemployer program likely to be insolvent by 2025
  • Treasury Department ending myRA program

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

Large employers project health care benefit costs to surpass $14,000 per employee in 2018, survey finds

Faced with another five percent increase in health care benefit costs, a growing number of large U.S. employers plan to focus more on how health care is delivered and paid for while still pursuing traditional methods of controlling costs such as cost sharing and plan design changes, according to an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health. For more information, see ¶2108R.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Wellness programs boost employee wellness, productivity

Nearly 90 percent of companies in the United States use some form of employee wellness program—from gym memberships to health screenings to flu shots—all designed to improve health. But how do these wellness programs affect everyday employee productivity? Is it possible to do a job better as a result of feeling better on the job? For more information, see ¶2108T.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

SIFL rates issued for the second half of 2017

The Department of Transportation has released the applicable terminal charge and standard industry fare level (SIFL) mileage rates for July 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017. These rates will be used by the IRS to determine the value of noncommercial flights on employer-provided aircraft. For more information, see ¶2108X.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

More employers are requiring same-sex couples to marry to receive health benefits

Employers are increasingly requiring same-sex couples to legally marry to receive health care benefits, data from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reveals. The trend follows the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. Immediately after the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, three in ten employers reported they were likely to discontinue providing benefits to same-sex domestic partners. For more information see ¶2108Z.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension Plan Guide News

 

DOL issues new transition period FAQs concerning fiduciary status disclosures

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a set of FAQs that provides guidance on issues related to the phased-in fiduciary conflict of interest requirements that must be met during a transition period from June 9, 2017 to January 1, 2018. This guidance, like the fiduciary rule and related exemptions, is generally limited to advice concerning investments in IRAs, ERISA-covered plans, and other plans covered by Code Sec. 4975. Specifically, the DOL has supplied information on (1) “fiduciary status disclosure” issues under the ERISA Sec. 408(b)(2) service provider disclosure regulation that applies to ERISA pension plans, (2) whether recommendations to plan participants and individual retirement account (IRA) owners to contribute or increase contributions to a plan or IRA constitute fiduciary investment advice under the fiduciary rule, and (3) whether recommendations to employers and other plan fiduciaries on plan design changes intended to increase plan participation and contribution rates is fiduciary investment advice under the fiduciary rule. For more information, see ¶19981z63.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC reports multiemployer program likely to be insolvent by 2025

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Projections Report on the financial prospects of its pension insurance programs. The Agency’s single-employer pension program is likely to improve in the next ten years and to eliminate its deficit within the next three to seven years. Consistent with findings in last year’s Report, the multiemployer program is likely to become insolvent by 2025 without changes in the law or additional resources. The Projections Report, which is the PBGC’s actuarial evaluation of its future operations and financial status, is issued annually, as required by ERISA. For more information, see ¶152f.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Treasury Department ending myRA program

The Treasury Department has announced that it will begin to wind down the myRA® program after a review revealed that the program was not cost effective. The program was established by the Obama Administration to help American workers save for retirement. The Treasury Department said demand for the program was extremely low, and it cost the taxpayers nearly $70 million to manage the program since 2014. “The myRA program was created to help low- to middle-income earners start saving for retirement. Unfortunately, there has been very little demand for the program, and the cost to taxpayers cannot be justified by the assets in the program. Fortunately, ample private sector solutions exist, which resulted in less appeal for myRA. We will be phasing out the myRA program over the coming months. We will be communicating frequently with participants to help facilitate a smooth transition to other investment opportunities,” said Jovita Carranza, U.S. Treasurer. For more information, see ¶152a.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

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