Spencer Benefit Reports NetNews – December 12, 2014

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December 12, 2014

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) »

Employees Paying More, Getting Less From Employer-Based Plans

Premiums for family coverage in private employer-based health insurance plans increased 73 percent between 2003 and 2013, rising faster than the median family income, according to recent research from the Commonwealth Fund. Employees’ contributions to their premiums also rose, jumping 93 percent over the past decade. The report notes that workers are paying more for coverage but getting fewer benefits. However, premium growth slowed between 2010 and 2013 after the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

How Responsive Are Your Millennial Employees To Your Wellness Efforts?

Millennials put a lower priority on medical care than other generations, according to recent research from Aon Hewitt. However, they are the most likely to want employers to play an active role in supporting their overall health and wellbeing. The analysis is based on data from the
2014 Consumer Health Mindset report, a joint survey of more than 2,700 U.S. employees and their dependents conducted by Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health, and The Futures Company. Aon Hewitt analyzed the perspectives, behaviors and attitudes of employees from different generations towards health and wellness, as well as employer-sponsored wellness programs…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 11, 2014

Nearly Half Of HR Chiefs Say Wellness Programs Are Ineffective

Chief HR officers have questioned the efficacy of corporate wellness programs in a recent survey by Consero Group. Forty-eight percent of surveyed executives said they do not believe their corporate wellness programs are effective, according to the
2014 Chief HR Officer Data Survey. In addition, more than half (56 percent) of surveyed chief HR officers indicate that their wellness programs have not reduced costs significantly at their companies…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Your Employees’ Children Could Be Undermining Their Retirement Plans

Six in 10 American parents provide financial support to their adult children, which could undermine their retirement readiness, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, based on results from a July 2014 survey of 1,009 Americans…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

History Of Threats To Coworkers, Other Misconduct Defeat ADA Claims

Affirming summary judgment on the ADA discrimination and retaliation claims of a hearing-impaired city employee, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals explained that, even though a doctor found that he was fit for duty and no threat to himself or others, his history of threatening coworkers with violence, conducting personal business at work, making excessive phone calls, and disparaging his employer established four independent and sufficient bases for his termination. Neither the doctor’s conclusion that he was not a “future” threat nor the temporal proximity to his protected activity was enough to raise an issue of fact on pretext. The case is
Curley v. City of North Las Vegas (No. 12-16228)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 10, 2014

Growth In Health Care Spending Continued To Slow In 2013

In 2013, health care expenditures in the United States grew to $2.9 billion, up 3.6 percent from 2012. The share of gross domestic product (GDP) attributable to health care spending has remained stable since 2009, at 17.4 percent. Economists and statisticians at the CMS Office of the Actuary (OACT) reported that health care spending grew more slowly in 2013 than in 2012, continuing a pattern in which increases have not exceeded 4.1 percent since 2009…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Largest Health Insurers Hold Onto Enrollment In Majority Of States

The three largest insurers in at least 30 states held at least 80 percent of the total enrollment in those states for the individual, small group, and large group health insurance markets in each year from 2010 through 2013, according to a recent report from the General Accounting Office (GAO). In accordance with requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the GAO studied competition and market concentration in the health insurance market, and it discovered that, in addition to holding at least half of the enrollment in most states from 2010 through 2013, the largest insurers in each state generally remained the top insurers…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Many Early Retirement Hopes Dashed By The Great Recession

Retirement expectations of many Americans were among the victims of the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). To what extent have those hopes been destroyed? EBRI finds a nearly 23-percentage-point drop in workers retiring early or close to their expected retirement after the markets crashed…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 9, 2014

Final Regs Clarify Treatment Of Benefits Rolled Over From DC Plan If DB Plan Is Terminated And Trusteed By PBGC

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued final regulations that clarify the treatment of benefits rolled over from a defined contribution (DC) plan to a single-employer defined benefit (DB) plan if the DB plan is terminated and trusteed by PBGC. Under the final regulations, a benefit resulting from rollover amounts generally will be in the second highest priority category of the asset allocation among various classes of benefits and will not be subject to the PBGC’s maximum guarantee or phase-in limitations. Except for making clarifications suggested by commenters, the final regulations are the same as the proposed regulations issued in April 2014. The final rule was published in the November 25
Federal Register

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Wellness Programs Versus The EEOC: Who Will Win?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) recent challenges to wellness programs, including the widely reported lawsuit against Honeywell International, was given an in-depth analysis by Alden J. Bianchi of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsy and Popeo, P.C., in the
National Law Review. Bianchi concludes that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must be reconciled to reduce confusion and potential missteps…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Trends In Employer-Sponsored Insurance Seen Through A Graphic Perspective

Recent trends in employer-sponsored insurance, specifically workers’ premiums, employer and worker premium contributions, health promotion programs, deductibles, and workers covered by employers’ health benefits are portrayed graphically in the Visualizing Health Policy infographic, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) announced on November 11, 2014. KFF produces the Visualizing Health Policy, a monthly infographic series, in partnership with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 8, 2014

IRS Amends Safe Harbor Explanations That Are Provided To Recipients Of Eligible Rollover Distributions

In Notice 2014-74, the IRS has released amendments to the two safe harbor explanations in IRS Notice 2009-68 that may be provided to recipients of eligible rollover distributions from an employer plan in order to satisfy Code Sec. 402(f). The amendments reflect changes in the law occurring after Sept. 28, 2009 and make other clarifying changes. Plan administrators and payors may use these new safe harbor explanations to satisfy Code Sec. 402(f)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Orthodontists Who Braced For Mandate Can’t Challenge Delays

An employer that expended time and money in 2013 to determine how to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate does not have standing to challenge the Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) decision to delay the mandate, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled. The case is Kawa Orthodontics, LLP v. Treasury (No. 14-10296)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »