Spencer Benefits Report – January 17, 2014


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January 17, 2014

PCIP Program Extended To End Of March

On January 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) has been extended to run through March 31. Previously in December, the HHS had extended the program through the end of January…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Updates User Fee Schedule, Determination Letter Procedures

In several recent revenue procedures, the Internal Revenue Service has updated its user fee schedule, determination letter procedures, and other important procedures…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 16, 2014

PBGC Issues February 2014 Interest Rates For Valuing Terminating Pension Plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating January through March 2014, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 3.35 percent up from the 3.0 percent rate that applied in October through December 2013. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in February 2014 is 1.75 percent, the same rate that applied in January 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Commuter Benefits Pretax Limit Dropped As Of January 1

The maximum allowed pretax mass-transit benefit for employees fell from $245 per month in 2013 to $130 in 2014, effective January 1. In 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act temporarily raised the transit benefit statutory limit to $245 per month, but this new amount was not permanent and expired at the end of 2013…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA Will Most Likely Have Positive Impact On Employees’ Health Coverage

Most employees who have employer-sponsored health coverage now will probably continue to be covered by their employers, according to a recent report from the AARP that analyzes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) effect on health coverage for 50 to 64-year-olds. The report found that, of the 39 million insured adults age 50 to 64, 75 percent had employer-provided coverage. Seventy-four percent of those with employer-provided coverage were covered by their own employer, and 26 percent were dependents covered by a family member’s plan…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Lump-Sum Payment Dispute Time-Barred: Participant Knew About Potential Problem

A participant’s 2010 claim that his lump-sum distribution should have included the present value of a cost-of-living adjustment that was provided to participants who elected an annuitized pension was time-barred by the applicable New Jersey six-year limitations period, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in Dix v. Total Petrochemicals USA, Inc. Pension Plan. The plan had clearly repudiated any bid from the participant for a cost-of-living adjustment in 2003 when the participant received multiple written notices from the plan informing him that his lump sum payment would not include cost-of-living adjustment. Thus the claim accrued in 2003, not 2010…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 15, 2014

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) »

IRS, HHS, DOL Issue Guidance On Risk-Reducing Meds, Cost-Sharing, MHPAEA, And Reward Programs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Labor (DOL), and the Internal Revenue Service have issued a new set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the implementation of an assortment of provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the ACA’s effect on provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 14, 2014

PBGC Moves Flat-Rate Premium Due Date For Large Plans To Same Date That Variable-Rate Premium Is Due

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued a final regulation that makes the flat-rate premium due date for large plans the same date as the variable-rate premium due date for such plans, starting with the 2014 plan year. Thus, the 2014 flat-rate premiums for large calendar year plans will be due Oct. 15, 2014. The final rule was published in the January 3
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

About Half Of Employees Seeing More Taken Out Of Paychecks For Health Care In 2014

About half (47 percent) of Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance report that more money is being taken out of their paychecks each month for health insurance than a year ago, according to recent research from Bankrate.com. Forty-four percent are experiencing higher out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles and copayments, compared to one year ago. Upper-middle-income Americans with employer-based health insurance (annual household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999) are the most likely to report more money being taken from their paychecks and higher out-of-pocket expenses. Overall, respondents in this group are more likely to believe that the cost increases are due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Out of all income levels, they are the most likely to feel that the law has had a negative effect on their health insurance coverage (47 percent)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 13, 2014

Proposed Rule To Allow Extension Of Cancelled Health Insurance Policies Is Illegal, Eleven State Attorneys General Contend

The proposed rule that would allow insurance companies to continue offering cancelled health insurance plans that do not comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandates is illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law, according to comments submitted by eleven state attorneys general (AG) to Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The group also contends that the regulations ignore concerns about the security of consumers’ private information throughout the enrollment process on the health insurance exchange…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Corporate Pension Plan Funding Levels Increased Sharply In 2013: Towers Watson

The pension funded status of the nation’s largest corporate sponsors increased sharply in 2013 due primarily to rising interest rates (which lowered liabilities) and a strong stock market, according to a new analysis by Towers Watson. In reviewing estimated year-end pension plan results, Towers Watson found that 2013 pension plan funding levels increased by 16 percentage points to reach their highest levels since 2007…

(Read Intelliconnect) »