Spencer & Benefits NetNews – November 7, 2014


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New Reports



November 7, 2014

Uptick Is Observed In Retirement Plan Participation For 2013

For the first time since 2010, the percentage of workers who participate in an employment-based retirement plan increased in 2013. This was the case both among all workers and private-sector workers, according recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Financial Services Provider Was Not A Fiduciary Subject To Liability For Allegedly Excess Fees

A financial services provider that selected investment options included in group annuity contracts sold to 401(k) plans for which it allegedly charged excess fees was not subject to ERISA liability as a fiduciary, according to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in
Santomenno v. John Hancock Life Insurance Co. The service provider did not act as an ERISA fiduciary with respect to the alleged breach of fiduciary duty because plan trustees actually exercised final authority over the investment options made available under the plan. Thus, the provider did not control its own compensation…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 6, 2014

Text: IRS, Notice 2014-69, Group Health Plans That Fail To Cover Inpatient Hospitalization Services

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employer Plans That Do Not Provide Inpatient Hospital Coverage Do Not Provide Minimum Value: IRS

Employer plans that do not provide coverage for inpatient hospitalization services or physician services (or for both) do not provide minimum value under the rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the IRS in Notice 2014-69. The IRS notes that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will shortly propose regulations on this issue and finalize them in 2015, making them applicable upon finalization. For any employers that have already entered into a binding written commitment to adopt, or have begun enrolling employees in, a plan that does not provide inpatient hospital coverage or physician services, prior to November 4, 2014, the IRS and HHS anticipate that final regulations, when issued, will not be applicable under the ACA rules with respect to the plan before the end of the plan year, if the plan year begins no later than March 1, 2015 …

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA Will Have Modest Impact On Employer-Sponsored Coverage

Much speculation and research since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has focused on the question of whether employers that offered health insurance before the ACA would stop offering coverage once the law’s major provisions took effect. However, a recent study from the Urban Institute found that most microsimulation models find that the ACA will have only a modest impact on employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: estimates range from a loss of 6 million to a gain of 13.6 million covered lives…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 5, 2014

CMS Announces Delay Of HPID Rules

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a delay, until further notice, in enforcement of the regulations pertaining to health plan enumeration and use of the Health Plan Identifier (HPID) in HIPAA transactions adopted in the HPID final rule. This enforcement delay, which was effective Oct. 31, 2014, applies to all HIPAA-covered entities, including health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Projected Savings Needed For Health Care In Retirement Continue To Fall

Projected savings the American elderly need to cover their health care costs in retirement continue to decline, due in part to enhanced prescription drug coverage provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 4, 2014

IRS Allows 401(k) Plans To Offer Target Date Funds That Include Deferred Income Annuities In Investments

In Notice 2014-66, the IRS has issued guidance enabling 401(k) retirement plans to offer target date funds that include deferred income annuities, even if the funds containing the annuities are limited to employees over a specified age. Plans may use such target date funds either as a default or as a regular investment alternative…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Experts Warn Of Chilling Effect From EEOC Wellness Suit Against Honeywell

On October 27, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota against Honeywell International. The EEOC is suing Honeywell over a wellness program that provides financial incentives to employees and their spouses who undergo biometric screenings and participate in smoking cessation programs. Two industry groups, the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), both contend that the case will have profound implications for any employer that offers employees wellness programs with incentives for biometric screenings…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 3, 2014

IRS Issues 2015 Adjusted Limits For Transportation, Long Term Care, Adoption Assistance, MSAs

In Rev. Proc. 2014-61, the IRS provides a variety of inflation-adjusted figures for 2015, including figures for transportation fringe benefits, long term care, medical savings accounts (MSAs), and adoption assistance and tax credit limits…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Sky-Is-Falling Fears About Employer Mandate’s Impact On Workforce Unfounded

As debate continues about the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate on the U.S. workforce, an Issue Brief by the Commonwealth Fund concludes that the mandate will have little impact on the workforce. Fewer than 10 percent of full-time workers might see reductions in employment or hours in the short run, according to the brief…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »