Spencer and Benefits NetNews – August 8, 2014

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Featured This Week

New Reports

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August 8, 2014

Who’s Still Uninsured? Location Makes A Difference

Adults age 18-64 who are still uninsured months after the end of open enrollment in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Marketplace are increasingly concentrated in states that opted not to expand Medicaid, according to a new Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS) from the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center. In September 2013, 49.7 percent of uninsured U.S. adults lived in states that had not expanded Medicaid, and, by June 2014, those same states had 60.6 percent of adults who were still uninsured…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits Costs Increased 1.0 Percent In Second Quarter 2014

Benefits costs for civilian workers increased 1.0 percent for the three-month period ending June 2014, according to the most recent
Employment Cost Index from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the first quarter 2014, benefits costs rose at a slightly higher rate than salaries, which increased 0.6 percent…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 7, 2014

Highway Bill With Pension Provisions Passes Senate, Cleared For President

The Senate on July 31, 2014 approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Bill of 2014 (H.R. 5021), which contains the “pension smoothing” provisions that were previously approved by the House. The bill is expected to be signed by the President…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority Of Uninsured Young Adults Believe Marketplace Coverage Is Unaffordable

The majority (66 percent) of currently uninsured young adults (those ages 19 to 34) did not purchase coverage on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Marketplace because they said it was unaffordable, according to recent research from Deloitte. In addition, 46 percent of uninsured young adults did not get coverage because they do not see the value of health insurance, whether due to costs outweighing benefits, inadequate plan choices, or feeling healthy and not needing coverage…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 6, 2014

ACA’s Impact On Hiring, Benefits Affects Ability To Compete

Twenty-five percent of employers are hiring more part-time workers with another 14.5 percent considering similar action due to the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the
2014 Affordable Care Act Impact Survey. The survey, conducted by Cherry Bekaert Benefits Consulting, also found that 25 percent of respondents are considering eliminating the health coverage they provide…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Revisions Could Improve Usefulness Of Form 5500 Information: GAO

A recent report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that the Labor and Treasury Departments and the PBGC consider making certain modifications to the Form 5500 to improve the quality and usefulness of the data…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 5, 2014

Subsidies Will Not Change Despite Split In Circuits, IRS Commissioner Says

The IRS has no plans to delay premium subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) following split decisions by two circuit courts of appeal regarding the legality of tax subsidies, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said on July 23. On July 22, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled for the government, while a split three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against the government on the issue of whether individuals who obtain coverage on the federal exchange can receive health insurance premium tax credits under IRS Code sec. 36B…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HSA Contributions Can Create Surprisingly Large Nest Eggs For Retiree Health Expenses

A person contributing the maximum allowable amounts for 40 years to a health savings account (HSA) without making withdrawals could accumulate up to $360,000 for health care expenses if the rate of return was 2.5 percent, $600,000 if the rate of return was 5 percent, and nearly $1.1 million if the rate of return was 7.5 percent, according to recent research from Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). With an ever-increasing number of Americans gaining access to HSAs via their employment-based health plan, how much could they accumulate for health care expenses in these accounts depends on how much is contributed to the HSA, as well as how much is withdrawn, and what the investment return and fees on the HSA are…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 4, 2014

86 Percent Of Full-Time Workers Had Access To Health Benefits: BLS

Employer-provided medical care was available to 86 percent of full-time private industry workers in the United States in March 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). By contrast, only 23 percent of part-time workers had medical care benefits available. Access, or availability, also varied by establishment size, noted the BLS: 57 percent for workers in small establishments (those with fewer than 100 employees), compared with 84 percent in medium and large establishments (those with 100 employees or more). These are among the findings of the report,
Employee Benefits in the United States—March 2014

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Election To Make Required Plan Contributions In Company Stock Did Not Subject Bank To Fiduciary Liability

An employer did not breach fiduciary duties under ERISA by electing to make required contributions to a 401(k) plan and ESOP in employer stock, rather than cash, according to the Second Circuit U.S Court of Appeals in
Coulter, et al. v. Morgan Stanley & Company Inc., et al. The decision to fund plan contributions in company stock is not a fiduciary act, the court explained, even if the decision has a detrimental impact on the plan…

(Read Intelliconnect) »