Spencer Benefit’s Report – August 9, 2013

 

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Featured This Week

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  • Analysis: Bona Fide Wellness Programs, 7/23 (326.-3)
       

 

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News

August 9, 2013

Importance Of Employer-Sponsored Voluntary Benefits And Services Expected To Surge: Towers Watson

As employers consider their health care and total rewards strategies in light of health care reform, nearly half expect voluntary benefits and services (VBS) to become more important over the next five years, according to recent research from Towers Watson. The
2013 Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey found that supplements to core benefits are designed to fill gaps in employees’ security, health, wealth accumulation, and address unique personal needs. The survey also found that the importance of VBS in companies’ total rewards strategy will grow by 27 percent in the next five years…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

General Awareness Of Health Reform Law Has Increased To 74 Percent

General awareness of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased to 74 percent, up from 57 percent in 2011, according to recent research from CVS Caremark. While general awareness has increased, many individuals who will be eligible to enroll in health insurance exchanges on October 1 still have questions, the study noted…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

State Law Tortious Interference Claim Was Not Completely Preempted By ERISA

A state law claim for tortious interference with a contract that happened to be a pension plan subject to ERISA was not “completely preempted” by ERISA Sec. 502(a)(1)(B), according to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in
Gardner v. Heartland Industrial Partners. Hence, the district court lacked jurisdiction over the case and the case was remanded to the state court…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 8, 2013

CCIIO Issues 2013 County Data For ACA Notices For Non-English Speakers

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has released an updated list of all counties in the United States that meet or exceed the 10-percent threshold of people who are literate only in the same non-English language. Group health plans and health insurance issuers offering non-grandfathered health coverage can use the list to determine the counties in which they are required to provide relevant notices under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Semiannual Regulatory Agenda Includes Guidance On Funding Rules, Hybrid Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has released its semiannual regulatory agenda, which includes pension and benefit regulations that are currently under development or review…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 7, 2013

IRS Extends Deadline To Submit Opinion And Advisory Letter Applications For DB Mass Submitter Plans

In Announcement 2013-57, the Internal Revenue Service has extended to Jan. 31, 2014, the deadline to submit on-cycle applications for opinion and advisory letters for sponsors and practitioners maintaining defined benefit mass submitter lead plans for the plans’ second six-year remedial amendment cycle. The submission period for these applications was scheduled to expire Oct. 31, 2013…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Camp Questions Readiness Of IRS, HHS To Implement ACA

On August 1, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp(R-Mich.) questioned the readiness of the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the mandated Oct. 1, 2013, deadline, citing numerous reports questioning the agencies’ ability to have the health care law’s provisions up and running on schedule…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Ex-Spouse Entitled To Share Of Participant’s Post-RIF Separation Benefit Under QDRO

Under the terms of a qualified domestic relations order, a participant’s ex-spouse is entitled to a share of a participant’s increase pension benefit received under a separation policy after a reduction in force (RIF) forced his early retirement, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Gruber v. PPL Retirement Plan, et al

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 6, 2013

Benefits Costs Increased 0.4 Percent In Second Quarter 2013

Benefits costs for civilian workers increased 0.4 percent for the three-month period ending June 2013, according to the most recent
Employment Cost Index from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the second quarter 2013, benefits costs rose at the same rate as salaries, which also increased 0.4 percent…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Nonprofit Insurer Breached Fiduciary Duty By Charging Plan For Michigan “Pass-Through” Fees

By setting and billing a multi-employer plan customer for a Michigan cost transfer subsidy fee, an insurer breached its fiduciary duty to the plan, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has recently ruled in
Pipefitters Local 636 Insurance Fund v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan (No. 12-2265)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 5, 2013

IRS Clarifies Exception To Deduction Limitations On Payments Under Expense Allowance Arrangements

The Internal Revenue Service has issued final regulations with respect to the exception to the deduction limitations on certain expenditures paid or incurred under a reimbursement or other expense allowance arrangement. The final regulations affect taxpayers who pay or receive advances, allowances, or reimbursements under such arrangements. The final regulations were published in the August 1
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Plan Participant’s Same-Sex Spouse Was Proper Recipient Of ERISA Benefits Where State Recognized Canadian Marriage, Federal District Court Rules

The same-sex spouse of a plan participant is the proper recipient of a qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity under an ERISA-qualified plan, a federal district court in Pennsylvania has ruled in
Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits (E.D. Pa.; No. 11-0045)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »