Spencer & Benefits NetNews – August 15, 2014

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Survey: IRS Monthly Segment Rates, 7/14 (101.2.-9)

(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Interest Rates For Funding Calculations, 7/14 (101.2.-7)

 

(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Survey: Monthly Retirement Plan Interest Rates, 7/14 (101.2.-1)

 

(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Private Health Insurance Exchanges, 7/13 (543.-1)

 

(Read Intelliconnect) »


News

August 15, 2014

Text: IRS, Notice 2014-47, Health Insurance Providers Fee

(Read Intelliconnect) »

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) »

IRS Issues Guidance On Health Insurance Providers Fee For 2014 Fee Year Only

In Notice 2014-47, for the 2014 fee year only, the IRS will not treat any entity as a “covered entity” for purposes of the fee on health insurance providers if it is excluded, during either of two periods, from the definition of a covered entity. Specifically, an entity is not a covered entity if it qualifies for one of the exclusions under section 9010(c)(2) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) either: (1) for the entire 2013
data year, or (2) for the entire 2014 fee year. An entity thereby excluded from the definition of a covered entity should not report its net premiums written for the 2013 data year. The data year is the calendar year immediately before the fee year in which the fee must be paid. The 2014 fee year began on Jan. 1, 2014. The fee is imposed by ACA Sec. 9010, as amended…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority Of Workers Feel Responsible For Saving For Their Retirement

Seventy-eight percent of workers recognize their personal responsibility to save for their retirement, according to results from a new LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute Research survey. Among defined contribution (DC) plan participants, 84 percent feel it is their responsibility to save for their retirement. And, six in ten Americans agree that those who save in a DC retirement plan are likely to achieve a secure retirement…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 14, 2014

Use Open Enrollment To Ensure ACA Compliance

Open enrollment presents the perfect opportunity for employers to update their processes and to take action to ensure they are compliant with an assortment of legal requirements, including those of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). So said speakers during Mercer’s recent webinar entitled
Preparing for 2015 Open Enrollment

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Midyear HSA Assets Reach $23 Billion

Health savings account (HSA) assets have grown to $22.8 billion as of June 30, 2014, according to recent research from Devenir. The
2014 Midyear HSA Survey also found that HSA accounts rose to almost 11.8 million. This is a year-over-year increase of 26 percent for HSA assets and 29 percent for HSA accounts, the study noted…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Failure To Meet Expectations As Assistant Manager Dooms FMLA, Title VII Claims

Affirming the dismissal of a Wal-Mart employee’s claims that the retail giant retaliated against her for exercising her FMLA rights, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel explained that her performance problems predated her medical leave and any conclusion that her termination was causally related to her FMLA leave five months earlier involved unbridled speculation. Her sex discrimination claim, which was based on the failure to timely promote her, also failed because she did not point to similarly situated male comparators who were promoted more quickly. The case is
Langenbach v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 13, 2014

Government Seeks Rehearing In Halbig To Avoid “Perverse Consequences”

As expected, the Obama Administration has filed a motion for rehearing before the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging an unfavorable decision issued by a three-member panel (the Panel) on July 22, 2014 that could severely hamper the mission of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide “near-universal coverage.” The Panel held in
Halbig v. Burwell that the language of Code Sec. 36B prohibits the IRS from granting premium assistance tax credits to consumers who purchase insurance on federally-run Exchanges and only allows the agency to grant credits to consumers who purchase insurance on state-run Exchanges. The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals created a circuit split when it issued its contrary decision in King v. Burwell upholding the IRS interpretation of the Code on the same day…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Brokers’ Private Exchange Sales Remain Low While Voluntary Benefit Sales Rise

Sixty percent of brokers (including employee benefit brokers, traditional voluntary brokers, and enrollment companies) who took part in a recent survey are selling more voluntary benefits today, up from 53 percent last year, and they attribute much of that to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to data released by Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc., a marketing advisory firm for insurance and financial services organization And, 18 percent of brokers said that now they are selling “significantly more” voluntary benefits, (including accident coverage, pet coverage, ID theft coverage, and critical illness coverage) and many say it is the implementation of the ACA that is forcing them to focus their business on voluntary products…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 12, 2014

Illinois Takes Steps To Bar Discrimination In Health Care Against Transgender Individuals

The Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) has issued guidance clarifying that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Illinois state law, health insurers may not discriminate based on gender identity and related medical conditions. The guidance reminds insurers that exclusions and denials of coverage on the basis of gender identity are against the law…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

New York Anti-Subrogation Law Saved From ERISA Preemption

An ERISA plan participant was entitled to challenge an insurer’s practice of subrogating or seeking reimbursement from participants’ personal injury awards or settlements under a New York law that prohibited such actions because that state law regulated insurance and was therefore saved from preemption, the Second Circuit ruled in
Wurtz v. Rawlings Co., LLC (No. 13-1695-cv)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 11, 2014

Many Doubt Open Enrollment Will Be Smooth After Last Year’s Rocky Rollout

After the debacle with enrollment in the Health Insurance Exchanges, most Americans (56 percent) are not confident that the Exchanges will operate smoothly during this fall’s open enrollment period. That’s according to a recent Bankrate.com report. Thirty-two percent are “not at all confident” (the most common response) and another 24 percent are “not too confident…”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Service Provider Empowered To Determine Amount Of Revenue Sharing Payments Subject To Liability As Functional Fiduciary

A service provider that exercised discretion over the amount of sharing payments it received from mutual funds in which plan assets were invested was subject to ERISA liability as a functional fiduciary, according to a federal trial court in Massachusetts in
Golden Star, Inc., v. Mass Mutual Life Ins. Co. However, the provider’s authority to change plan investment options did not render it a fiduciary as that power was never actually exercised…

(Read Intelliconnect) »