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Employee Benefits Management News
- SIFL rates issued for the second half of 2016
- Maximum wellness incentive allowed based on the total cost of the lowest cost self-only coverage available, EEOC confirms
- New 2018 proposed Marketplace rules for insurers and consumers arrive early
- HHS releases final rule to increase civil monetary penalties
Pension Plan Guide News
- ERISA safe harbor carved out for state payroll deduction IRA programs in EBSA final regs
- PBGC issues disaster relief for Louisiana
- PBGC discusses its pension benefit estimate process
SIFL rates issued for the second half of 2016
The Department of Transportation has released the applicable terminal charge and standard industry fare level (SIFL) mileage rates for July 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. For the rates, see ¶2099J.
Maximum wellness incentive allowed based on the total cost of the lowest cost self-only coverage available, EEOC confirms
Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) rules provide that where an employer offers more than one group health plan but enrollment in a particular plan is not required to participate in a wellness program, the maximum incentive is based on the total cost of the lowest cost self-only coverage under a major medical group health plan that the employer offers, according to a recently-released informal letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Office of Legal Counsel. For more information, see ¶2099L.
New 2018 proposed Marketplace rules for insurers and consumers arrive early
Normally issued in November, HHS has decided to issue its proposed annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2018 early, publishing them in the Federal Register on September 6, 2016. The proposed rule comes as high-profile insurers like Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group have opted to cut back on participation in the exchanges in 2017. For more information, see ¶2099N.
HHS releases final rule to increase civil monetary penalties
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that adjusts the agency’s maximum civil monetary penalty amounts for inflation. For more information, see ¶2099P.
ERISA safe harbor carved out for state payroll deduction IRA programs in EBSA final regs
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released final regulations to assist states that create individual retirement arrangement (IRA) programs for workers who do not have access to workplace savings arrangements by providing a safe harbor from ERISA coverage for the programs. Also, in response to public comments, a proposed rule has been issued that could facilitate the creation of these programs by a limited number of cities and other local governments, by expanding the safe harbor. The final rule will go into effect 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register (August 30, 2016), while the proposed rule will be open for 30 days of public comment following publication. “For workers without access to savings arrangements through their employers, this rule means a new way to secure their financial futures,” Secretary of Labor Tom Perez said. “More access to retirement investments equals more saving and a bigger piece of the American dream for workers and families in the decades ahead.” For more information, see ¶144y.
PBGC issues disaster relief for Louisiana
The PBGC is waiving certain penalties and extending certain deadlines in response to the Severe Storms and Flooding that began on August 11, 2016, in Louisiana. This Disaster Relief Announcement provides relief relating to PBGC deadlines as described below to Designated Persons. A “Designated Person” is any person responsible for meeting a PBGC deadline (e.g., a plan administrator or contributing sponsor) that is located in the disaster area for which the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has provided relief in LA-2016-20, August 15, 2016, in connection with filing extensions for Form 5500 series returns, or cannot reasonably obtain information or other assistance needed to meet the deadline from a service provider, bank, or other person whose operations are directly affected by the Severe Storms and Flooding that began on August 11, 2016, in Louisiana. Earlier, the IRS provided relief in connection with filing extensions for Form 5500 series returns as a result of the disaster for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. The relief generally extends from August 11, 2016 through January 17, 2017. The disaster area consists of East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa Parishes. For more information, see ¶144Q.
PBGC discusses its pension benefit estimate process
On the PBGC Blog, the agency recently addressed how its pension benefit estimate process works. The agency says that it would love to provide an instant benefit estimate via MyPBA, but it takes their trained pension experts time to carefully evaluate each person’s personal benefit situation in order to give them an accurate estimate. Calculating pension benefit estimates is complicated because each plan has its own rules, provisions and benefit formulas. No two plans are the same. After the agency determines the plan’s benefits, it applies legal limits to the person’s individual benefit. For those ready to begin receiving their PBGC benefits, requesting an estimate is easy, according to the PBGC. The agency’s goal is to calculate benefit estimates within 45 days, but it can take longer when they have a large number of requests. When this happens, the PBGC prioritizes requests from people nearing retirement. The agency indicates that it will notify the requestor if their estimate will take more than 45 days. For more information, see ¶144v.
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