Spencer & Benefits NetNews – March 15, 2013

 

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Interest Rates For Funding Calculations, 3/13 (101.2.-7)
       

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  • Survey: Monthly Retirement Plan Interest Rates, 3/13 (101.2.-1)
       

 

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  • Analysis: Guidance On Employer Shared Responsibility Provision Under Health Reform, 21/3 (550.1.-1)
       

 

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  • Analysis: Privacy Standards Outlined In HIPAA Administrative Simplification Provisions, 2/13 (502.-1)
       

 

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News

March 15, 2013

Benefits Were 30.8 Percent Of Total Compensation In December 2012, BLS Finds

Employer-provided benefits costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local governments in December 2012 averaged $9.49 per hour worked, accounting for 30.8 percent of total compensation costs, which averaged $30.84 per hour worked. The cost of benefits as a percentage of compensation has risen in the past three years from 27.4 percent of total compensation, although that percentage has been relatively stable over the last two years. These are among the findings of the December 2012
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation report, produced quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Profit-Sharing Plan And IRAs Were Not Exempt From Debtors’ Bankruptcy Estate

A bankruptcy court properly held that a debtor’s profit-sharing plan and two individual retirement accounts (IRAs) were not exempt from his bankruptcy estate, according to the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in Daniels v. Agin. The debtor failed to obtain a favorable IRS determination letter or operate the profit-sharing plan in substantial compliance with applicable tax law, and the IRAs contained funds transferred from the profit-sharing plan and were not disclosed to the bankruptcy trustee as required…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 14, 2013

Text: EBSA, Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2013-01, Funding Notice Requirements Following The Moving Ahead For Progress In The 21st Century

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA Issues Guidance On Annual Funding Notice Requirements Under MAP-21

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2013-1 that provides guidance on the annual funding notice requirements mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141). The guidance is provided in a question-and-answer format, and an appendix to the FAB contains a supplement to the model annual funding notice that plan administrators may use to comply with the MAP-21 requirements…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PPOs Still Dominate Health Insurance Market; CDHP Prevalence Growing

Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) remain the dominant plan type, with 61.7 percent of U.S. employee enrollment, according to recent research from United Benefit Advisors (UBA). However, the
2012 UBA Health Plan Survey found that nearly 60 percent of employers plan to offer a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) in the next five years. In addition, most employers are finding that to achieve long-term savings, they must raise the deductible on traditional PPOs to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 13, 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) »

Transitional Relief Provided For Expatriate Health Plans Under ACA

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (the Departments) have issued a frequently asked question (FAQ) regarding the extent to which expatriate group health insurance coverage is subject to the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The FAQ indicates that for expatriate health plans with plan years ending on or before Dec. 31, 2015, the Departments will consider the requirements of subtitles A and C of Title I of the ACA satisfied if the plan and issuer comply with the pre-ACA version of Title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

House Panel Considers Tax Impact Of Health Reform Law

A House tax panel heard testimony from expert witnesses on March 5 about the impact of tax increases included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The hearing allowed House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-La), to restate his arguments that the ACA is stunting economic growth, harming job creation, and failing to rein in health care costs. He said the $1 trillion in tax increases included in the ACA “could hardly come at a worse time, as our economy continues to struggle through the slowest recovery on record…”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 12, 2013

Employee Income Determining Factor In Health Benefits Participation

If 2012 health benefit participation rate patterns persist into next year, then a portion of newly eligible employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may opt to remain uninsured because they perceive the cost of insurance is too significant a percentage of their annual income, according to research from benefits administrator ADP. The study,
Planning for Health Care Reform: How Income Impacts Employee Health Benefits Participation, examined how employee income and health benefit plan participation will impact employers who will need to comply with the ACA’s new mandates in 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Tightly Managed Specialty Pharmacy Benefits Can Cut Specialty Drug Costs In Half

A study presented on March 7 at the National Business Group on Health’s (NBGH) Business Health Agenda 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., showed that, on average, employers that use multiple cost management programs had a 50 percent lower specialty drug trend than employers that did not use any specialty management programs. The study, conducted by pharmaceutical provider Express Scripts, examines the impact of multiple utilization management programs on the cost of specialty medications—a cost that is expected to account for $1 out of every $4 spent on prescription medications by 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 11, 2013

Majority Of Employers Plan To Offer Health Benefits Over Next Three To Five Years

The majority of employers (94 percent) plan to continue to offer health benefits to their employees over the next three to five years, according to recent research from consultant Aon Hewitt. However, the survey found that almost two-thirds plan to move away from a traditional “managed trend” approach, to one that requires participants to take a more active role in their health care planning…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Employee Plans Releases Operating Priorities For FY 2013

The Internal Revenue Service Employee Plans (EP) division has released its fiscal year 2013 Work Plan. The Work Plan includes four operating priorities: 401(k) plans, governmental plans, 403(b) plans, and international plans…

(Read Intelliconnect) »