Spencer & Benefits NetNews – May 17, 2013


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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Survey: CPI Annual Increases, 5/13 (301.1.-13)

(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Survey: 2013 PBGC Interest Rates, 4/13 (619.5.-51)


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  • Survey: Benefits Account For 30.8 Percent Of Total Compensation, 4/13 (422.-9)


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  • Survey: IRS Monthly Segment Rates, 4/13 (101.2.-9)


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May 17, 2013

Text: CMS, FAQs, Health Insurance Marketplaces

(Read Intelliconnect) »

FAQs From CMS Address Health Insurance Marketplace Issues

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the health insurance marketplaces under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). These FAQs address a variety of issues relating to marketplaces (also known as exchanges in ACA), including the oversight of premium stabilization programs, advance payments of the premium tax credit, and cost-sharing reductions; state-based marketplace reporting requirements; and eligibility and enrollment…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority Of Employers Use Outcomes-Based Incentives In Wellness Programs: MBGH

The majority of employers (82 percent) offer some form of incentives and/or disincentives in their wellness programs, according to recent research from the Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH). The study also found that there also is a growing interest in outcomes-based incentive strategies (i.e. reaching targeted biometric goals)…

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EEOC Settles First GINA Lawsuit

Fabricut, Inc., a distributor of decorative fabrics, will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability and genetic information discrimination lawsuit, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency noted that this is the first lawsuit ever filed by the EEOC alleging genetic discrimination…

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May 16, 2013

PBGC Issues June 2013 Interest Rates For Valuing Terminating Pension Plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating April through June 2013, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.50 percent, down from the 2.67 percent rate that applied in January through March 2013…

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Part-Time Employees Confused About Health Reform Implementation

Many part-time employees are confused about how the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact them, and they are not getting much help from their employers, according to a recent survey from workforce management solutions provider Kronos Incorporated. The study, 2013 Kronos Affordable Care Act Impact Survey, noted that 71 percent of part-time employees said that they had heard of the ACA, but 21 percent said they had not heard anything at all about it. In addition, 7 percent of part-time employees indicated that they had heard the name ACA, but they were not at all familiar with the changes associated with it…

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Despite Higher 401(k) Balances, Only 12 Percent Of Plan Sponsors Feel Employees Will Be Ready For Retirement

Employee retirement readiness continues to be a top priority among 78 percent of 401(k) plan sponsors, according to a recent Deloitte survey. Additionally, while 401(k) balances are at an all-time high with surveyed plan sponsors reporting average account balances of just above $85,000, only 12 percent of plan sponsors reported that “most employees are or will be financially prepared for retirement…”

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May 15, 2013

Text: IRS, Proposed Rules, Computation Of, And Rules Relating To, Medical Loss Ratio

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Issues Rules Relating To Computation Of Medical Loss Ratio

The Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations that provide guidance to Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations, and certain other health care organizations, on computing and applying the medical loss ratio (MLR) added to the tax code by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The regulations are proposed to apply to tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2013. The proposed regulations were published in the May 13 Federal Register…

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MA Health Connector Guidance On Minimum Creditable Coverage Provides Safe Harbor For Out-Of-Pocket Limits

The Massachusetts Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector (Health Connector) has issued guidance regarding Massachusetts’ minimum creditable coverage (MCC) requirements for plan or policy years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014. The state passed the Health Care Reform Act, which created the Health Connector, in 2006 to ensure every Massachusetts resident has health coverage…

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May 14, 2013

Text: CMS, FAQs, Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)-Only Marketplace

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In 2014, States With Federally-Facilitated Exchanges Can Not Run State-Based SHOP Exchanges

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) on the small business health options program (SHOP) exchanges. The FAQs confirm that the CMS plans to propose regulations that would allow only states that have received conditional approval to operate a state-based individual exchange to also operate a state-based SHOP exchange in 2014…

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Employer Wellness Programs Need Guidance to Avoid Discrimination: EEOC

Wellness programs are an increasingly common feature of employee benefits programs, and guidance is needed to avoid violations of federal equal employment opportunity laws, a panel of experts representing business, advocacy groups, and providers told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a recent meeting…

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May 13, 2013

Text: DOL, Technical Release No. 2013-02, Guidance On The Notice To Employees Of Coverage Options And Updated Model Notice Under COBRA

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EBSA Issues Guidance On Notices For Health Care Coverage Options And COBRA Elections

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued Technical Release 2013-02, pending future issuance of regulations or other guidance, on a requirement under Sec. 1512 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that notice be given to employees regarding coverage options available through the new state health care exchanges, also known as the health insurance marketplaces. The guidance also includes information on model COBRA election notices…

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Government Plans Can Not Rely On Determination Letters For Issues Involving Pickup Plans, Excess Benefit Arrangements

Governmental plan sponsors who apply for determination letter cannot rely on a favorable letter for whether: (1) contributions made to the plan are the employer’s “pick-up contributions;” or (2) the plan has a qualified governmental excess benefit arrangement, according to the Internal Revenue Service. However, sponsors may apply for a private letter ruling from the IRS for these matters…

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