Pension & Benefits NetNews – August 3, 2015

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Featured This Week

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

  • Health coverage information returns must be filed by self-insured employers
  • Unmodified since 1996, severance policy plausibly an ERISA plan
  • Performance recognition, flex-time and paid time-off policies most favored by employers, survey finds
  • ACA is affecting employers’ benefits spending and delivery strategies, Guardian survey shows

Pension Plan Guide News

 

  • IRS announces curtailment of determination letter program for individually designed plans
  • EBSA clarifies fiduciary duty in selecting, monitoring annuity providers for benefit distributions from DC plans
  • EBSA issues fact sheet on state-sponsored retirement savings programs and clarification of annuity selection safe harbor

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

Health coverage information returns must be filed by self-insured employers

All employers that provide self-insured health coverage to their employees must file an annual health coverage information return for coverage provided in 2015, regardless of the employer’s size, the IRS has recently advised. For more information, see ¶2088R.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Unmodified since 1996, severance policy plausibly an ERISA plan

Vacating the dismissal of a physician’s complaint for benefits owed under a severance plan, the Second Circuit found that the severance policy as alleged qualified as an ERISA “employee welfare benefits plan.” For details, see ¶2088T.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Performance recognition, flex-time and paid time-off policies most favored by employers, survey finds

Total rewards strategies that empower organizations to attract, motivate, retain and engage employees remain a popular business model in today’s workplace, according to a new survey, “Total Rewards Programs and Practices” by WorldatWork. For more information, see ¶2088U.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA is affecting employers’ benefits spending and delivery strategies, Guardian survey shows

According to the latest Guardian Workplace Benefits Study, expected cost increases stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) are spurring employers to consider new approaches to benefits funding and administration. For more information, see ¶2088W.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension Plan Guide News

 

IRS announces curtailment of determination letter program for individually designed plans

Based on the need of the IRS to more efficiently direct its limited resources, effective January 1, 2017, the agency is eliminating the staggered 5-year determination letter remedial amendment cycles for individually designed plans and will limit the scope of the determination letter program for individually designed plans to initial plan qualification and qualification upon plan termination. This IRS’s announcement also provides a transition rule with respect to the remedial amendment period for certain plans currently on the 5-year cycle. For more information, see ¶17,097U-8.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA clarifies fiduciary duty in selecting, monitoring annuity providers for benefit distributions from DC plans

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued guidance clarifying the duty of fiduciaries in selecting and monitoring annuity providers to distribute benefits from 401(k) and other defined contribution (DC) plans under the annuity selection safe harbor provided in ERISA Reg. §2550.404a-4. Specifically, the guidance addresses concerns about liability by clarifying that an employer’s fiduciary duty to monitor an annuity provider generally ends when the plan no longer offers annuities from the annuity provider as a distribution option, not when the annuity provider finishes making all promised payments. For more information, see ¶19,981Z-50.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA issues fact sheet on state-sponsored retirement savings programs and clarification of annuity selection safe harbor

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued a fact sheet in conjunction with the recent White House Conference on Aging hosted by President Obama that, besides briefly describing the clarification of the annuity selection safe harbor regulations, states that President Obama has directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to develop a regulation to support the growing number of states trying to promote broader access to retirement saving opportunities for America’s workers. The regulations, which will be proposed by the end of 2015, will clarify how states can move forward with state-sponsored retirement savings programs, including with respect to requirements to automatically enroll employees and for employers to offer coverage, in ways that are consistent with federal laws governing employee benefit plans. For more information, see ¶137B.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

 

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