Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – November 22, 2013


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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Medicare Eligibility, Benefits, Premiums, And Copayments, 11/13 (324.4.-1)

(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Important Facts And Figures: 415, 401(k), 401(a)(17) Limits; Highly Compensated; PBGC, 11/13 (100.-1)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Health Insurance Exchanges Take Effect In 2014, 11/13 (540.-1)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Survey: IRS Monthly Segment Rates, 11/13 (101.2.-9)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Interest Rates For Funding Calculations, 11/13 (101.2.-7)


(Read Intelliconnect) »


November 22, 2013

A Brief Break At Spencer’s Benefits Reports

Spencer’s Benefits Reports is taking a brief break. Spencer’s news and reports will not be issued November 25 through November 29. Publication will resume on Dec. 2, 2013. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our subscribers.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Representatives Of Applicable Large Employers Meet IRS Resistance At Hearing On Information Reporting Regulations

On November 18, representatives at an Internal Revenue Service hearing on the proposed regulations under Code Sec. 6056 concerning information reporting requirements for applicable large employers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) applauded the one-year delay of the shared responsibility requirements until 2015 before quickly introducing suggestions. Several suggestions, which were intended to reduce the reporting burden on employers by limiting the number of forms to be filled out and the number of employees for whom reporting would be necessary, received support from all three speakers representing large employers that provided health benefits to their millions of employees…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Retirement Plan Participation Generally Stable

The number of workers participating in an employment-based retirement plan has increased slightly, although the level of participation is down slightly, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Using data from the Census Bureau, EBRI found that the number of workers participating in an employment-based retirement plan increased from 61.0 million in 2011 to 61.6 million in 2012. However, the percentage who participated dropped slightly to 39.4 percent in 2012 from 39.7 percent in 2011…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Repeal ACA’s Reinsurance Fee

House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi, (R-Ohio) and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) have introduced legislation that would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) reinsurance fee (HR 3489). The tax covers the ACA’s reinsurance program, which provides payments to insurance companies to help offset high-cost enrollees…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 21, 2013

ERIC Urges IRS To Simplify ACA Employer Information-Reporting Requirements

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has issued a letter urging the Internal Revenue Service to further revise and simplify the proposed regulations concerning reporting requirements applicable to health insurance coverage offered under employer-sponsored plans…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Premiums And Cost Sharing Across Health Insurance Marketplaces

A report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), titled Looking Beyond Technical Glitches: A Preliminary Analysis of Premiums and Cost Sharing in the New Health Insurance Marketplaces, examined premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance amounts for primary care physicians (PCPs) and specialist visits. RWJF announced that this is the first of a series of reports it intends to publish on the health insurance plans that are offered in all state marketplaces, including the District of Columbia…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS Soliciting Written Comments On Healthy People 2020 Modifications

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it has begun to accept written comments regarding new objectives to be added to Healthy People 2020. The HHS also is accepting suggestions for additional objectives addressing critical public health issues within existing Healthy People 2020 Topic Areas. The notice was published in the November 13 Federal Register…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 20, 2013

Text: IRS, Final Regulations, Reduction Or Suspension Of Safe Harbor Contributions

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Final Rules Allow For Reduction Or Suspension Of Safe Harbor 401(k) Nonelective And Matching Contributions

The Internal Revenue Service has issued final regulations that would allow employers sponsoring a safe harbor 401(k) plan, including a qualified automatic contribution arrangement under Sec. 413, to reduce or suspend required nonelective and matching contributions, in the event they are operating at an “economic loss” during the plan year. The rules alternatively allow an employer to suspend contributions if notice is provided to participants before the beginning of the year disclosing the possibility that contributions might be reduced or suspended during the year. The final regulations modify proposed rules issued in May 2009 by equalizing the conditions applicable to the suspension of safe harbor nonelective and matching contributions. However, the final rules make the conditions under which safe harbor matching contributions may be reduced or suspended more strict. The final regulations were published in the November 15 Federal Register…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS Proposes Health Plan Rating Methodology, Seeks Comments

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a notice that solicits comments on the list of proposed quality rating systems (QRS) measures that issuers of qualified health plans (QHPs) would be required to collect and report. It also discusses how CMS plans to use the reported data to arrive at accurate QRS ratings. The notice was published in the November 19 Federal Register…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Offering Benefits Still Gives Employers Competitive Advantage

The majority of workers indicate that the benefits package an employer offers, especially health insurance, is important to their decision to accept or reject a job, but a quarter are not satisfied with them, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald and Associates. The 2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS) found that more than three-quarters of employees state that the benefits package an employer offers prospective employees is extremely (33 percent) or very (45 percent) important in their decision to accept or reject a job…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 19, 2013

Federal Interest Rates Announced For Pensions

The following interest rates have been announced for use in the operation and administration of qualified pension plans…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Investment Manager Not Disqualified From Acting As QPAM Because Of Deferred Prosecution Agreement: EBSA

In Advisory Opinion 2013-05a, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has concluded that certain deferred prosecution agreements entered into by an investment manager’s affiliate did not constitute criminal convictions for purposes of Part I(g) of Prohibited Transaction (PT) Class Exemption 84-14, which would have disqualified the investment manager from acting as a qualified professional asset manager (QPAM) under PT Class Exemption 84-14…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Increased Slightly In 2012

In 2012, the share of non-elderly Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance did not decline for the first time in 12 years, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The report, Public Insurance Is Increasingly Crucial to American Families Even as Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage Ends Its Steady Decline, found that after falling every year since 2000, for a total decline of 10.9 percentage points to 2011, employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) coverage was essentially flat between 2011 and 2012, increasing slightly to 58.4 percent. However, in 2012, 13.7 million fewer non-elderly Americans had ESI than in 2000…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 18, 2013

PBGC Issues December 2013 Interest Rates For Valuing Terminating Pension Plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating October through December 2013, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 3.0 percent, up from the 2.60 percent that applied in July through September 2013…
(Read Intelliconnect) »

Individuals And Small Businesses With Cancelled Health Coverage Are Given Transitional Relief

President Barack Obama announced on November 14, that in order to address situations in which some individuals and small businesses have been notified by their health insurers that their plans are being terminated, (often because they no longer meet the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirements to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctors’ visits), the Administration is instituting a transitional policy whereby health insurance issuers may choose to continue coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled, and affected individuals and small businesses may choose to re-enroll in such coverage. Under this transitional policy, health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market that is renewed for a policy year starting between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 1, 2014, and associated group health plans of small businesses, will not be considered to be out of compliance with certain ACA market reforms, but only under specified conditions. The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has stated in a letter to insurance commissioners that it will “consider the impact of this transitional policy in assessing whether to extend it beyond the specified timeframe….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS Releases First Official Marketplace Enrollment Figures

During the first month of open enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), 106,185 individuals enrolled in a qualified health plan (QHP) through either the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) or one of the 15 state-based health insurance marketplaces (SBM), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced…

(Read Intelliconnect) »