Spencer and Benefits NetNews – February 21, 2014


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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: PBGC Limitation On Guaranteed Benefits, 2/14 (618.2.-1)

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  • Analysis: Limited Excepted Benefits Exempt From ACA Market Reforms, 2.14 (516.-1)


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  • Analysis: Benefits Account For 30.9 Percent Of Total Compensation, 2/14 (422.-9)


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  • Analysis: Safe Harbor Rules Avoid 401(k) ADP/ACP Testing, 2/14 (226.-1)


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February 21, 2014

Commonwealth Fund Puts Impact Of Young Adult Marketplace Participation In Perspective

Will men and women ages 19 to 34—a group uninsured at disproportionately high rates but generally healthier than older adults—enroll in health insurance marketplace plans at a rate high enough to ensure the marketplaces’ success? While young adult participation is important for the stability of the marketplaces and 2015 premiums, it was, and will continue to be, only one of many factors that affect premiums, according to participants at a meeting coordinated by The Commonwealth Fund that included health insurance actuaries, health plan representatives, researchers, and federal officials. The Commonwealth Fund report,
Young Adult Participation In the Health Insurance Marketplaces Just How Important Is It?, concluded that there is no single “right” rate of young adult participation that will guarantee success. In fact, it was the health status of all age groups that health plan actuaries in attendance viewed as being more important in their pricing decisions…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

More Than 10 Million Individuals Own HSAs

At the end of 2013, 10.7 million individuals owned a health savings account (HSA), according to recent research from HSA investment advisor Devenir. The
Year-End 2013 Devenir HSA Market Survey also found that HSAs have assets totaling over $19.3 billion, a year over year increase of 25 percent for HSA assets and 30 percent for accounts for the period of Dec. 31, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2013….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Providers Ask High Court To Set ERISA Pleading Standard In Benefits Recovery Claims

Citing a split of authority among the circuits over the issue, a group of physician and facilities providers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to determine the standard of pleading required to state a claim under Sec. 502(a) of ERISA, in the wake of the court’s rulings in
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly (550 U.S. 544 (2007)) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal (556 U.S. 663 (2009)). The split in authority arose out of the underlying decision in this action by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and a 2009 decision by the Eighth Circuit in
Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores (588 F.3d 585). The case is Sanctuary Surgical Centre v. Aetna, Inc. (No. 13-932)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 20, 2014

Majority Of Employers Contributed To HRAs Or HSAs: EBRI

Seventy-one percent of workers with a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or health savings account (HSA) reported that their employers contributed to the account in 2013, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). This is the highest level of employers contributing to these accounts since the inception of EBRI’s survey in 2005…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Harkin Introduces “USA Retirement Funds” Bill

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has introduced legislation entitled “The Universal, Secure, and Adaptable (USA) Retirement Funds Bill” (S. 1979), which is designed to provide employees without a retirement plan access to “a quality employer-provided plan…”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CIGNA Launches Private Exchange

Health insurer Cigna has announced the establishment of a new private retail exchange, which it says will offer employers a new benefit marketplace and employees more options and convenience for health improvement. Cigna’s private exchange is currently available to smaller employers in Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, D.C. metro area, and San Francisco, and will be expanded to other markets and larger employer groups throughout 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 19, 2014

Where’s The Authority To Delay? House Committee Asks Treasury To Explain Decision

The Treasury Department should hand over the legal and factual information supporting its decisions to delay key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a letter that House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The letter requests documents regarding the administration’s most recent delay of the employer mandate. The delay gives medium-sized businesses (50-99 full-time employees) until 2016 to comply with the mandate…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Proposed Regulation Addresses Calculation Of UBTI For Certain Exempt Organizations

A new proposed regulation, with guidance on how certain organizations that provide employee benefits must calculate unrelated business taxable income (UBTI), has been released by the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury. The regulation withdraws a notice of proposed rulemaking relating to UBTI that was published on Feb. 4, 1986. The proposed regulation was published in the February 6
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 18, 2014

PBGC Issues March 2014 Interest Rates For Valuing Terminating Pension Plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating January through March 2014, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 3.35 percent up from the 3.0 percent rate that applied in October through December 2013…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits Groups, Law Firms, Employers Weigh In On Employer Mandate Delay

On February 12, the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer shared responsibility provisions (also known as the employer mandate). The final regulations give medium-sized employers (50-99 full-time employees) until 2016 to comply with the mandate and provide significant transition relief for both medium-sized and large employers (those with 100 or more full-time employees). Benefits and trade groups, law firms, and employers have all weighed in on the employer mandate delay, and reactions have been mixed…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee Provided “Care For” Terminally Ill Mother Within Meaning Of FMLA On Final Family Vacation: Seventh Circuit

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applied when an employee requested leave to care for a terminally ill parent while that parent was traveling away from home, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Ballard v. Chicago Park District (No. 13-1445). The Seventh Circuit concluded that such an employee was seeking leave “to care for” a family member within the meaning of the FMLA. Here, the court observed that the employer failed to explain why certain services provided to a family member at home should be considered “care,” but those same services provided away from home should not be…

(Read Intelliconnect) »