Spencer and Benefits NetNews – January 31, 2014


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January 31, 2014

Supreme Court Asked To Review ERISA Plan Administrator’s Right To Seek Compensatory Money Damages

An ERISA plan beneficiary has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether a plan administrator has the right to seek compensatory money damages from the beneficiary for benefits already paid. The beneficiary also requests review of two additional questions involving conflict-of-interest review and choice of law. The case is
Truitt v. Unum (Dkt. No. 13-861)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Future Of Private Exchanges Bright, According To Aon Hewitt

In contrast to the public health care exchanges run by states or by the federal government, private exchanges are marketplaces operated by insurance companies and brokers through which employees can choose from among various types of health care plans. In a recent article,
Can Private Health Care Exchanges Improve the U.S. Health Care System?, Tina Provancal, vice president of product development for exchanges at Aon Hewitt, describes a bright future ahead for private exchanges…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act Introduced In Senate

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has introduced federal legislation that would create paid family and medical leave. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would be funded by employee and employer contributions of 0.2 percent of wages each…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 30, 2014

Deadline Is January 31 For Reporting Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage On Form W-2

Every employer engaged in a trade or business who pays remuneration for services performed by an employee must furnish a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to each employee by January 31. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers are required to disclose the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored coverage provided to employees annually on the Form W-2…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Extends Deadline For Submission Of On-Cycle Applications For Opinion And Advisory Letters For Pre-Approved DB Plans

In Announcement 2014-14, the Internal Revenue Service has announced that the deadline to submit on-cycle applications for opinion and advisory letters for pre-approved defined benefit plans for their second six-year remedial amendment cycle has been extended to Feb. 2, 2015. This extension applies to defined benefit mass submitter lead and specimen plans, word-for-word identical plans, master and prototype minor modifier placeholder applications, and non-mass submitter defined benefit plans. The submission period for these applications was scheduled to expire on Jan. 31, 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

GOP Senators Unveil Replacement For ACA

On January 27, three Republican lawmakers unveiled the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (CARE) Act—a legislative plan that repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replaces it with what they call “patient-centered reforms that reduce health care costs and increase access to affordable, high-quality care.” The measure would repeal the employer mandate and cap the exclusion of an employee’s employer-provided health coverage at 65 percent of an average plan’s costs…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 29, 2014

IRS Proposed Regs Govern Penalties For Failure To Maintain Minimum Level Of Health Insurance

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a proposed rule and notice of public meeting regarding the shared responsibility payment that individual taxpayers may have to pay if they fail to maintain minimum essential coverage as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed regulations were published in the January 27
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor Puts Contraceptive Coverage Requirement On Hold

The Supreme Court provided an order of nuns some reprieve against the enforcement of a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). At the referral of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged in Denver, Colorado and the Little Sisters of the Poor in Baltimore, Maryland will no longer have to file a government form in order to be exempt from the ACA’s “contraception mandate….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 28, 2014

GAO Finds Clarity Of Required Pension Reports And Disclosures Could Be Improved

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the clarity of reports that pension plan sponsors are required to submit to various federal agencies and disclosures that are required to be made to participants could be improved (GAO-14-92)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

DB Plan Terms Required Former “Temporary Employee” To Return Benefits Paid By Mistake

A defined benefit plan administrator did not act arbitrarily or capriciously when it required a former “temporary employee” to return over $45,000 in pension benefits paid to her by mistake, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Adams v. General Motors Company. She was not entitled to the benefits because her name had never been added to a seniority list, which was a threshold requirement for benefit eligibility under the terms of the plan and a collective bargaining agreement…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 27, 2014

More Employers Producing SBCs In-House

In 2013, twice as many employers produced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)-required Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) in-house, rather than having a third party create it for them, according to recent research from benefits plan management firm HighRoads. The survey found that 40 percent of employers created the necessary SBCs in-house in 2013 (up from 18 percent in 2012). In 2012, 53 percent had a third party administrator create the necessary SBCs; in 2013, this dropped to 36 percent…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Participant’s Bid For Higher Interest Rate On Delayed Pension Payment Fails

A pension plan participant was not entitled to a higher interest rate on a pension payment that was delayed due to the plan’s earlier noncompliance with the rule of parity, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Carlson v. HSBC-North America (US) Retirement Income Plan. The rate used by the plan was reasonable under the terms of the plan and did not violate ERISA’s anti-cutback rules…

(Read Intelliconnect) »