Spencer & Benefits NetNews – November 14, 2014

 

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November 14, 2014

Cadillac Tax Will Wallop Retiree Plans By 2020

Twenty percent of benefit plans will trigger the “Cadillac” tax provision under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the year 2020, according to a study from Truven Health Analytics…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Marketplace Enrollees Are Using Their Benefits: Express Scripts

Pharmacy benefits have already been used by nearly half of Americans enrolled in the Marketplace, according to data recently published by Express Scripts. This is the case even for those who enrolled relatively late (April 2014). The Express Scripts analysis is based on a national sample of more than 80 million de-identified pharmacy claims administered by Express Scripts between January 1, 2014 and July 31, 2014…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 13, 2014

EBSA Issues Revisions To Form 5500 To Reflect Reporting Changes For Multiple-Employer Plans

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued interim final rules describing revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan and Form 5500-SF Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan to implement annual reporting changes for multiple-employer plans required by The Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility (CESC) Act (P.L. 113-97), enacted on April 7, 2014. The interim final rules were published in the November 10
Federal Register

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Drop ADA Charges Against Honeywell, Employer Representatives Urge EEOC

The HR Policy Association, representing Chief Human Resource Officers of more than 360 of the nation’s largest employers, has urged the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to drop its suit against Honeywell International Inc. for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Honeywell, alleges the EEOC, violated the ADA through its wellness program when it provided financial incentives to employees and their spouses for participating in biometric screening for such risk factors as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Honeywell also violated the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by penalizing employees whose spouses did not complete the screening, says the EEOC in its suit…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Despite Freebies, Many Americans Unaware Of No-Cost Preventive Care Coverage

Although tens of millions of Americans have received no-cost preventive care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), public awareness of preventive service requirements are low according to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Despite the lack of awareness, the benefit will continue to reduce the number of individuals who have financial barriers to clinical preventive care. The study was unable to determine if the new benefits under the ACA will increase the use of preventive services and what the impact will be on public health and health care costs generally…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 12, 2014

Justices Agree To Hear Challenge To Health Insurance Subsidies

In an unusual approach, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order, after finishing a closed-door private conference, granting review of whether tax credits used to offset the cost of insurance policies purchased on Exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) applies only in the consumer marketplaces set up by 16 states, and not at federally-run sites in 34 states…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Spending Per Privately Insured Rose 3.9 Percent In 2013, But Falling Utilization Offset Rising Prices

Privately insured Americans spent more on medical services in 2013 even though they used fewer of them, according a recent report from the Health Care Cost Institute. The
2013 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report found that spending per enrollee in employer health plans grew by 3.9 percent, continuing the moderate growth trend that began in 2010. But falling utilization helped offset the continued growth in health care prices…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 11, 2014

Cash Is Not King For Employers’ Reimbursement Of Individual Policy Purchases

Whether certain premium reimbursement arrangements comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the topic of the most recent frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding ACA implementation. The FAQs, which the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (collectively, the Departments) issued jointly, prohibit employers from offering cash to employees to reimburse the purchase of an individual market policy. Employers also cannot offer employees with high claims risk a choice between enrollment in their standard group health plans or cash…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

State Laws That Prohibit Low Attachment Stop-Loss Contracts Would Not Be Preempted By ERISA: EBSA

In Technical Release No. 2014-01, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) notes that a state law that prohibits insurers from issuing stop-loss contracts with attachment points below specified levels would not be preempted by ERISA…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 10, 2014

Accountants Group Highlights Unintended Tax Consequences Of ACA

The coming year’s 2015 tax refunds might be reduced or delayed for some individuals because of new filing requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP) cautioned on October 27. According to the group, taxpayers who received advance payments of the Internal Revenue Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit to offset the cost of Marketplace coverage might have difficulty completing their tax returns if they had a major life event. “These include: a raise, a new job, getting married or divorced. Essentially, these life changes could cause a taxpayer to lose the subsidy, resulting in an increase in the taxpayer’s taxes, a loss of refund or a balance due,” said Stephen Mankowski, the chair of the Tax Policy Committee for NCCPAP…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits Costs Increased 0.6 Percent In Third Quarter 2014

Benefits costs for civilian workers increased 0.6 percent for the three-month period ending September 2014, according to the most recent
Employment Cost Index from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the third quarter 2014, benefits costs rose at a slightly lower rate than salaries, which increased 0.8 percent…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »