Pension & Benefits NetNews – October 22, 2019

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Featured This Week

Employee Benefits Management News

  • Little Sisters of the Poor urge Supreme Court to settle years-long dispute over contraceptive exemption regulations
  • Business leaders rank employee well-being as top priority, struggle how to measure impact
  • Injuries from phishing-related health plan breach not ‘certainly impending'; no standing
  • Mental health coverage on the rise, IFEBP survey finds

Pension Plan Guide News

  • PBGC proposed regs modify assumptions PBGC uses to determine de minimis lump-sum benefits
  • IRS issues recurring remedial amendment periods and pre-approved plan cycles for 403(b) plans
  • PBGC issues proposed regs that codify policies for benefit payments and valuation of plan assets
  • PBGC proposed regs would clarify rights to administrative review

Employee Benefits Management News

Little Sisters of the Poor urge Supreme Court to settle years-long dispute over contraceptive exemption regulations

The Little Sisters of the Poor have asked the Supreme Court to review the Third Circuit’s ruling in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump, issued in July 2019, in which the court held that Pennsylvania and New Jersey are likely to succeed in proving the agencies did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and that the contraceptive exemption regulations are not authorized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).For more information, see ¶2128J.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Business leaders rank employee well-being as top priority, struggle how to measure impact

LifeWorks has released its findings from a recent qualitative survey of 25 US-based CEOs, investigating the impact of mental health and well-being in the workplace. The majority of leaders agree that the importance of employee well-being is increasing, according to the findings. For more information, see ¶2128K.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Injuries from phishing-related health plan breach not ‘certainly impending'; no standing

Husband and wife participants in his employer’s health benefits plan lacked standing to bring a putative class action following a security breach of the employer’s health plan because they had not alleged a concrete injury, or that one was certainly impending, a federal district court in North Carolina determined. For more information, see ¶2128N.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Mental health coverage on the rise, IFEBP survey finds

Mental health benefit offerings are on the rise according to Workplace Wellness Trends, a recent survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Since 2014, there’s been a 26 percent increase in organizations offering mental health coverage, with nearly 90 percent of organizations offering this benefit in 2019. For more information see ¶2128P.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Pension Plan Guide News

PBGC proposed regs modify assumptions PBGC uses to determine de minimis lump-sum benefits

The PBGC has issued proposed regulations that would modify the assumptions it uses to determine de minimis lump-sum benefits in PBGC-trusteed terminated single-employer defined benefit plans. The PBGC states that the changes are intended to modernize the methodology used to determine de minimis lump-sums in terminated underfunded single-employer plans. Specifically, under the proposed regulations, the PBGC would adopt the interest and mortality assumptions from Code Sec. 417(e)(3) for this purpose and would discontinue monthly calculation and publication of the PBGC’s lump-sum interest rate assumption. Because some private-sector plans use the PBGC’s lump-sum interest rates, the proposed regulations would provide a final interest rate set for private-sector plans to use for valuation dates on or after the effective date of the final rule. For more information, see ¶20539s.

        (Read Cheetah) »

IRS issues recurring remedial amendment periods and pre-approved plan cycles for 403(b) plans

The IRS has established a system of recurring remedial amendment periods for correcting form defects in individually designed and pre-approved Code Sec. 403(b) plans. The first period begins after March 31, 2020, the ending date for the initial remedial amendment period. A limited extension of the initial remedial amendment period is provided for certain form defects. The IRS is also establishing a system of Code Sec. 403(b) pre-approved plan cycles under which a plan sponsor may submit a proposed pre-approved plan for review and approval by the IRS. In addition, the IRS provides deadlines for adoption of plan amendments for individually designed and pre-approved 403(b) plans. This guidance is effective September 30, 2019. The IRS has provided a system of recurring remedial amendment periods for 403(b) individually designed plans to allow an eligible employer to retroactively correct form defects in its written 403(b) plan first occurring after March 31, 2020. Under this system, a Code Sec. 403(b) individually designed plan that does not satisfy the Code Sec. 403(b) requirements on any day solely as a result of a form defect will be considered to have fulfilled the Code Sec. 403(b) requirements on that date if, on or before the last day of the remedial amendment period, all provisions of the plan that are necessary to satisfy all Code Sec. 403(b) requirements related to the form defect have been adopted and made effective in form and operation for the whole of that period. For more information, see ¶17299w15.

        (Read Cheetah) »

PBGC issues proposed regs that codify policies for benefit payments and valuation of plan assets

The PBGC has released a second set of regulations that make clarifications and codify policies for single-employer defined benefit plans involving the payment of lump sums, changes to benefit form, partial benefit distributions, and valuation of plan assets. The PBGC states that the amendments to the PBGC’s regulations on benefit payments, allocation of assets, and termination liability would increase transparency of PBGC benefits administration, clarify and simplify language, increase flexibility, codify practices, and harmonize regulatory provisions with statutory provisions. The PBGC has identified opportunities to improve benefits administration by making it more transparent—filling in gaps where guidance is needed, simplifying or removing language, codifying policies, and applying consistency in asset valuation. For more information, see ¶20539t.

        (Read Cheetah) »

PBGC proposed regs would clarify rights to administrative review

The PBGC proposes to amend its regulations on Rules for Administrative Review of Agency Decisions to clarify and make changes to the review process for certain agency determinations and to the procedures for requesting administrative review. The proposed regulations would clarify, simplify, and make other editorial changes to the language, and codify PBGC practices. The proposed amendments only apply to the PBGC’s single-employer defined benefit plan program. The proposed regulations would amend the PBGC’s rules for administrative review of agency decisions. Specifically, the proposed rulemaking would: (1) Subject all coverage determinations to appeal; (2) Subject all determinations concerning the allocation of a trusteed plan’s assets upon plan termination to appeal, except for determinations concerning the distribution of residual assets, which would remain subject to reconsideration; (3) Clarify that, consistent with the PBGC’s long-standing practice, when it makes an initial determination effective on the date of issuance, a person aggrieved by the initial determination has no right to request reconsideration or appeal of the determination; (4) Clarify where to send requests for extensions on appeals and extensions for reconsideration; and (5) Clarify that persons seeking administrative review may request information in the PBGC’s possession by using its procedures for requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. For more information, see ¶20539u.

        (Read Cheetah) »

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