Spencer and Benefits NetNews – August 5, 2013


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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Health Reform Law Prohibits Limits, Rescissions, Discrimination, 7/13 (513.-1)

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  • Analysis: HSA Comparability Rules, 7/13 (356.-41)


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  • Analysis: Group Term Life Insurance, 7/13 (341.3.-1)


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  • Analysis: Health Benefit Exchanges, 7/13 (540.-1)


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August 2, 2013

Employers Need To Start Communicating Now About Health Exchanges: Benz Communications

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) created health insurance exchanges. Exchanges will be starting enrollment for the 2014 plan year in October. The ACA requires that employers send out notices to employees about the health insurance exchanges, and EBSA Technical Release 2013-02 specified that this notice must be sent to employees by Oct. 1, 2013. “Communicating with employees about health care reform—and insurance exchanges in particular—is no longer an option for employers,” said Jennifer Benz, founder and chief executive officer of Benz Communications…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority Of Employees Concerned About Covering Out-Of-Pocket Medical Costs

Concerns about health care costs are impacting both employees and employers: 61 percent of employees are worried about having enough money to meet out-of-pocket medical costs that are not covered by health insurance and employers are facing tighter benefits budgets, with 50 percent of surveyed employers stating that cost-sharing with employees is an important benefits strategy, according to recent research from MetLife. The
11th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends noted that these concerns are creating a delicate balancing act for employers—how to meet employees’ protection needs while keeping benefits costs down and maintaining loyalty…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 1, 2013

DOL Allows 401(k) Plans To Re-Set Deadline For Providing Comparative Chart Of Investment Information To Participants

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2013-02 announcing a temporary enforcement policy that will afford 401(k) plans a one-time option to re-set the time by which they must distribute to plan participants the comparative chart of investment information (i.e., fee and expense information) required for 2013 or 2014 under the participant level fee disclosure rules. The re-set is intended to enable plan administrators to align the furnishing of the comparative chart with the provision of other required disclosures to participants in a cost-effective manner…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC Semiannual Regulatory Agenda Addresses Multiemployer Plans, Cash Balance Plans, Missing Participants, Premiums

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has released its semiannual regulatory agenda, which outlines regulations that have been selected for amendment during the next year…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 31, 2013

Voluntary Benefits Help Simplify Employees’ Lives

Workers juggling both career and family may feel like their “to do” list is out of control. Work that extra hour, hit the gym, pick up kids and see to dinner, chores and homework all before bedtime. In this whirl of activity, it’s no wonder that working Americans expect their employers to help them simplify their lives by offering voluntary benefits as part of an overall employee benefits program…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA Semiannual Regulatory Agenda Addresses Rules On Lifetime Income, Fiduciaries, Fee Disclosure, Target Date Plans, Abandoned Plans

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released its semiannual regulatory agenda, which outlines regulations that have been selected for review or development during the next year…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits Committee’s Rejection Of Participant’s Attempt To Disavow Election Of Calculation Method Upheld

A pension benefits committee did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it rejected a participant’s attempt to disavow a prior election of a certain method for calculating his pension benefit, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Durbin v. Columbia Energy Group Pension Plan

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 30, 2013

PBGC Proposes New Regs To Make Premium Payment Rules Less Burdensome

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued proposed regulations designed to make its premium payment rules more effective and less burdensome. The proposed regulations would, among other things, simplify due dates, coordinate the due date for terminating plans with the termination process, make conforming and clarifying changes to the variable-rate premium rules, and provide for relief from various penalties. The proposed regulations would be effective starting in 2014. Comments on the proposed rules are due by Sept. 23, 2013. The proposed rule was published in the July 23
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Five Major Employers Have Signed On To Offer Benefits Through Mercer’s Private Exchange

Employers continue to move toward compliance with the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014 and 2015. In addition to helping employers manage costs, simplify administration, and enhance member experience and coverage, consultant Mercer contends that its private exchange, called Mercer Marketplace, facilitates employers’ compliance with the health reform law’s many requirements…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 29, 2013

Health Insurance Premiums Continue To Rise, But Are Moderating

The average monthly health plan premium rose 13.9 percent between 2010 and 2013, according to recent research from solutions provider ADP. The study,
2013 ADP Annual Health Benefits Report, noted that since a spike of 7.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, the rate of increase has moderated, and premiums rose just 3.1 percent in the last year…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Enrollment Continues To Decrease In Health Reform’s Temporary High-Risk Pool

According to the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, 108,589 individuals are enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) as of May 31, 2013, the temporary high risk health insurance pool established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…

(Read Intelliconnect) »