Pension & Benefits NetNews – December 13, 2016

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Featured This Week

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

  • Hiring holiday help is subject of latest IRS health care tax tip
  • EBSA does not have the ability to protect 79 million participants in self-insured health plans from claims denials
  • Robust benefits package essential in war for talent, SHRM survey
  • IRS provides relief for Wisconsin small businesses unable to obtain SHOP coverage for 2016

Pension Plan Guide News

 

  • EBSA issues FAQS addressing exemptions accompanying fiduciary conflict of interest regs
  • PBGC maximum monthly benefit guarantee increases for 2017
  • PBGC updates premium rates for 2017

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

Hiring holiday help is subject of latest IRS health care tax tip

Employers who hire seasonal or holiday workers should know how those employees are counted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new IRS health care tax tip. For more information, see ¶2101U.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA does not have the ability to protect 79 million participants in self-insured health plans from claims denials

The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a performance audit to determine if the EBSA has the ability protect the estimated 79 million participants in self-insured health plans from improper claims denials. The audit concluded that the EBSA does not have this ability because the EBSA lacked any primary knowledge of denials of health benefit claims in any of the plans under its oversight. For more information, see ¶2101V.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Robust benefits package essential in war for talent, SHRM survey finds

In today’s competitive war for talent, employers are turning to and bolstering their benefits packages to give them an edge over competitors, a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey report showed. For more information, see ¶2101Y.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS provides relief for Wisconsin small businesses unable to obtain SHOP coverage for 2016

The IRS has issued transition relief allowing small businesses in Wisconsin to claim the employer health insurance credit under Code Sec. 45R even though they are unable to offer a qualified health plan (QHP) in 2016 through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchange because there are no QHPs available in the county in which they have their primary business address. For more information see ¶2102A.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension Plan Guide News

 

EBSA issues FAQS addressing exemptions accompanying fiduciary conflict of interest regs

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that clarify application of the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE) to the recently issued regulations governing fiduciary conflicts of interest. The guidance also addresses application of the Principal Transaction Exemption, but is primarily focused on BICE, providing substantial clarification with respect to the rollover of plan assets to IRAs, the payment of volume-based commissions and “back-end” recruitment bonuses, and the rules applicable to level fee fiduciaries. For more information, see ¶19981z54.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC maximum monthly benefit guarantee increases for 2017

Corporation (PBGC) has announced that the maximum monthly insurance benefit for participants in underfunded pension plans terminating in 2017 is $5,369.32 per month or $64,432 per year for those who retire at age 65. On its website, the PBGC has provided a chart that shows the 2017 monthly maximum benefit guarantees for retirees from age 75 to 45. The maximum benefit is adjusted for retirees taking earlier retirement or electing survivors’ benefits. A participant may receive benefits in excess of the maximum guarantee if certain conditions apply. ERISA requires that the maximum guaranteed amount be adjusted annually based on changes in the Social Security contribution and benefit base. For more information, see ¶19981z56.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC updates premium rates for 2017

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has updated the premium rates for 2017. Specifically, the per-participant flat-rate premium rate for single-employer plans increases to $69 (up from $64 in 2016). For multiemployer plans, the rate is $28 (up from $27 in 2016). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-74) provided the increase in the single-employer rate, according to the PBGC. The multiemployer rate increase is the result of indexing. For plan years beginning in 2017, the variable rate premium for single-employer plans is $34 per $1,000 of unfunded vested benefits, which is an increase from the 2016 rate of $30. The PBGC explains that the $4 increase reflects a $3 increase provided in The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 plus a $1 increase due to indexing. The variable-rate premium is capped for 2017 at $517 times the number of participants (up from the 2016 cap of $500). Note that small employer plans (generally fewer than 25 employees) may be subject to a lower cap. For more information, see ¶146e.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

 

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