Pension & Benefits NetNews – June 21, 2017

 

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Featured This Week

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

  • NY Governor moves to guarantee ACA protections
  • HHS seeks comments on reducing ACA regulatory requirements for individual and small group markets
  • More than 50 groups urge Senate to preserve employer-sponsored health benefits
  • SHRM survey respondents believe taxing insurance contributions will raise health care costs for employees

Pension Plan Guide News

 

  • Pension plans maintained by ‘principal-purpose organizations’ qualify as church plans that are exempt from ERISA regulation, regardless of who established plans
  • EBSA has announced temporary enforcement policy for final fiduciary regs’ and related exemptions’ phased implementation period
  • PBGC releases state-by-state pension payout information for 2016

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

NY Governor moves to guarantee ACA protections

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the Cost Threshold and Cost Limit amounts for Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) plan years ending in 2018, for plan sponsors participating in the RDS program. The Cost Threshold amount is $405 and the Cost Limit amount is $8,350. For more information, see ¶2106W.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS seeks comments on reducing ACA regulatory requirements for individual and small group markets

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking recommendations and input from the public on how to create a more flexible, streamlined approach to the regulatory structure of the individual and small group markets. For more information, see ¶2106Y.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

More than 50 groups urge Senate to preserve employer-sponsored health benefits

More than 50 business organizations sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging them to protect the employer-sponsored health insurance system by repealing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)-created taxes and preserving improvements to consumer-driven health options proposed in the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). For more information, see ¶2107A.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

SHRM survey respondents believe taxing insurance contributions will raise health care costs for employees

A majority of respondents to a new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey anticipate that employees will pay more for health insurance if Congress decides to tax insurance contributions. For more information see ¶2107B.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension Plan Guide News

 

Pension plans maintained by ‘principal-purpose organizations’ qualify as church plans that are exempt from ERISA regulation, regardless of who established plans

A pension plan maintained by a church-affiliated hospital qualifies as a church plan even if not established by a church, and, therefore, is exempt from ERISA regulation, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, reversing decisions by the Courts of Appeals for the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits. The decision was unanimous with Justice Gorsuch not taking part and Justice Sotomayor filing a concurring opinion. The petitioners were three church-affiliated nonprofits that run hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They offer defined benefit pension plans to their employees. Those plans were established by the hospitals themselves-not by a church-and are managed by internal employee benefits committees. The three consolidated cases before the Court (Advocate Health Care v. Stapleton, St. Peter’s Healthcare v. Kaplan, and Dignity Health v. Rollins) were part of a recent wave of litigation challenging the view of the federal agencies responsible for administering ERISA. The agencies read the ERISA provisions at issue as exempting such plans from the statute’s mandates. The district courts handling the cases agreed with the employees’ position that a church plan must be established by a church for the plan to be exempt from ERISA. Three courts of appeals affirmed those decisions. For more information, see ¶24021d.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA has announced temporary enforcement policy for final fiduciary regs’ and related exemptions’ phased implementation period

This document announces a temporary enforcement policy related to the Department of Labor’s final rule defining who is a “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Code), and the related prohibited transaction exemptions, including the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BIC Exemption), the Class Exemption for Principal Transactions In Certain Assets Between Investment Advice Fiduciaries and Employee Benefit Plans and IRAs (Principal Transactions Exemption), and certain amended prohibited transaction exemptions (collectively PTEs). The final rule, entitled “Definition of the Term ‘Fiduciary'; Conflict of Interest Rule-Retirement Investment Advice,” was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016, became effective on June 7, 2016, and had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017. The PTEs also had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017, with a phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018, for the BIC Exemption and the Principal Transactions Exemption. For more information, see ¶19981z61.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC releases state-by-state pension payout information for 2016

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has released information about the amounts it paid out to retirees for 2016. The information is presented state-by-state (including U.S. territories) and, within each state, by congressional district. For example, in 2016 the PBGC paid more than $557 million to nearly 79,000 Ohio retirees in failed plans, making Ohio the state with the most benefits paid. In total, the PBGC paid more than $5.6 billion to almost 861,000 retirees participating in terminated, single-employer plans in 2016. For more information, see ¶150o.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

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