Spencer Benefits NetNews – January 24, 2014

 

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Survey: 2013 PBGC Interest Rates, 1/14 (619.5.-53)
       

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  • Analysis: Interest Rates For Funding Calculations, 1/14 (101.2.-7)
       

 

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  • Survey: IRS Monthly Segment Rates, 1/14 (101.2.-9)
       

 

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

 

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  • Analysis: Shared Responsibility Provisions Of Health Reform, 1/14 (550.-1)
       

 

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News

January 24, 2014

HHS Doing “Regulatory Gymnastics” To Create Exemption For Certain Self-Insured Plans, Group Says

The “regulatory gymnastics” that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is doing to exempt union multi-employer plans from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) reinsurance fee raises serious questions and increases the cost for other employers, according to HR Policy Association comments submitted to HHS…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HRA Accounts Decline In 2013 For The First Time In A Decade

In 2013, there were 4.7 million health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) accounts, down from 5.1 million in 2012, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). This is the first time HRAs have declined in number in a decade, EBRI noted. The number of individuals with health savings accounts (HSAs) increased from 6.6 million in 2012 to 7.2 million in 2013…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee Notice Of Need For FMLA Leave Sufficient Even Though He Did Not Follow Employer’s Normal Procedure

Although an employee did not follow the employer’s normal procedure for notifying his supervisor of his need to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to enter a substance abuse program, his employer failed to show that his notice was insufficient to put it on notice of the employee’s need for FMLA leave, the federal district court in D.C. has ruled in Holloway v. District of Columbia Government (09-512 (RWR)). The employee demonstrated a disputed issue of material fact could support his claim that his employer interfered with his FMLA rights, and thus the court denied summary judgment to the employer on this issue. However, the court granted judgment as a matter of law on the employee’s FMLA retaliation and due process claims…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 23, 2014

IRS Regs Allowing Premium Tax Credit For Federal Exchanges Purchases Did Not Violate ACA, District Court Rules

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) clearly supports an IRS regulation allowing the agency to issue premium tax credits to individuals enrolled through both federal and state health insurance exchanges, the District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled in
Halbig v. Sebelius (No.: 1:13-cv-00623-PLF). The four individuals who brought the lawsuit challenged tax credits for ACA coverage in the 36 states with federal-run health insurance exchanges, contending that the ACA only allows for state-run exchanges to access the tax credits and that Congress purposefully designed the law that way to incentivize states to run their own insurance Exchanges…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Baby Boomers, Gen Xers Are Not Prepared For Retirement

Financial differences, including differences in retirement readiness, between the generations that make up today’s workforce are becoming more pronounced, according to Financial Finesse’s second annual research report on employee generational finance issues, attitudes, management styles, and preferences…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 22, 2014

IRS Issues 2013 Form 8941 For Claiming Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2013 version of Form 8941, which is used by eligible small employers to calculate the small employer health care tax credit, as provided under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Wellness Programs Can Improve Talent Management And Drive Employee Engagement

Implementing or improving upon a company’s wellness programs could improve talent management and drive engagement, according to a webinar given January 15 by Ron Hildebrandt, senior vice president of market and products for Virgin Pulse, and Fran Melmed, owner of Virgin Pulse…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 21, 2014

FAQs Provide Guidance About ERRP Record Keeping And Disposal

New common questions about record keeping and record disposal have been added to the miscellaneous common questions section of www.errp.gov…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Use Of Target Date Funds In 401k Plans Increased In 2012: EBRI

Forty-one percent of 401k plan participants invested in target-date funds in 2012, up from 39 percent in 2011 and 19 percent in 2006, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI). The study,
401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2012, also found that 15 percent of 401k plan assets were invested in target-date funds at year-end 2012, up from 13 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 2006. Target-date funds are designed to offer participants a diversified portfolio that automatically rebalances to be more focused on income over time…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Medicare Part D Plans Have Successfully Encouraged The Use Of Lower Cost Generics

The Medicare Part D program has shifted utilization to generics and favored brands due to copayment and other benefits practices, according to recent research from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Office of Information Products and Data Analytics. The study examined changes in price and use from 2007 to 2009 of all drugs in 28 therapeutic classes. The 28 classes accounted for 80 percent of Medicare Part D spending in 2009 and included the six protected classes and six classes with practically no generic competition. The study also found that: (1) rapid generic penetration had significantly held down costs per prescription; and (2) price increases were generally greater in less competitive classes of drugs…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 20, 2014

Recent Marketplace Numbers Indicate Healthy Enrollment Increase

More than 6 million Americans have either signed up for a private health insurance plan through the health insurance marketplace or for Medicaid coverage according to recent state enrollment numbers. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised the new marketplace in her blog, noting that the new enrollment numbers show that plan enrollment in the federal marketplace in December was actually seven times greater than the cumulative October-November reported federal enrollment number…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Supreme Court Denies Review Of ERISA Administrator’s Benefit Denial

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined an insured’s petition to review an Eleventh Circuit’s ruling that affirmed a denial of benefits based in part on an ERISA plan administrator’s affidavit that proffered a post-hoc rationale for its decision. The case is
Fox v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc. (Dkt. No. 13-342, cert. denied Jan. 13, 2014)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Deductibles In More Than One-Third Of Small Group Health Plans Exceeded ACA Limits

Ninety-six percent of Bronze plans in the Small Business Health Options (SHOP) exchange had deductibles over the $2,000 cap set by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a recent study by HealthPocket…

(Read Intelliconnect) »