Spencer & Benefits Reports NetNews – April 12, 2013

 

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Featured This Week

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  • Analysis: Vermont’s Catamount Health Plan. 3/13 (509.-13)
       

 

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News

April 12, 2013

PBGC’s Insurance Programs Remain On GAO’s “High Risk” List, But Improvements Noted

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s single-employer and multiemployer benefit insurance programs continue to make the list of “high-risk” federal programs, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO put the PBGC’s single-employer program on its high-risk list in July 2003 and added the multiemployer program in January 2009. However, the report,
High-Risk Series: An Update (GAO-13-283), noted that Congress has taken action to strengthen the PBGC’s overall management and governance structure, addressing many of the problems that the GAO has raised over the years…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

401(k) Plan Participants Positive Retirement Outlook Increases When They Use In-Plan Advice

Employees who said that they use advisory services offered via their 401(k) plan have a distinctly more positive outlook about their future retirement than those who do not, according to Mercer’s
2012 Workplace Savings survey. Eighteen percent of survey respondents reported engaging with an online or in-person advisory service through their 401(k) plan, and these participants were much more likely to feel that they would have sufficient funds for retirement, would not have to delay retirement, and, when retired, could live as well or better than when they were working….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CAHI Tracks 2,271 State Health Insurance Mandates

The number of state mandated benefits increased by over 100 mandates from 2010 to 2012, from 2,156 in 2010 to 2,271 in 2012, according to nonprofit association of insurance carriers the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI). A health insurance mandate requires insurers to cover specific health care providers, benefits, or patient populations. The study,
Health Insurance Mandates in the States, 2012, noted that mandated benefits can increase the cost of basic health coverage from slightly less than 10 percent to more than 50 percent, depending on the state, the specific legislative language, and type of health insurance policy….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 11, 2013

Less Than 20 Percent Of Health Plans Will Retain “Grandfathered” Status In 2013

Fifty-eight percent of employers that offered health care coverage in 2012 had at least one plan that was “grandfathered,” but an examination of 2013 plans reveals that, on average, less than 20 percent of plans retain that status, according to the
2013 Medical Plan Trends Report from HighRoads and CEB. This may be due in large part to a greater need for employers to appear to have more competitive health benefit plan choices, the report noted…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Health And Wellbeing Programs Miss Productivity Connection

The link between health and employee productivity is becoming increasingly clear; however, only a minority of employers make this connection within their health and wellbeing programs, according to recent research from Towers Watson. The
Health, Wellbeing and Productivity Survey found that 66 percent of employers see linking health to employee performance as a relatively limited part of their health and wellbeing program. Looking at the next two years, 69 percent of companies are planning to develop their health and wellbeing strategies, but only 11 percent see productivity as a priority for this development…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Moench Presumption Bars Duty Of Prudence Claim Against ESOP Fiduciaries After Stock Price Drop

ESOP participants failed to state a claim that plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence under ERISA by failing to divest the plan of employer stock that had declined in value, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in a summary order affirming the district court’s ruling. The case is
In re: Slaymon v. SLM Corp….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 10, 2013

Text: HHS, Proposed Rule, Exchange Functions: Standards for Navigators and Non-Navigator Assistance Personnel

(Read Intelliconnect) »

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) »

CMS Releases Proposed Certification Standards For Health Insurance Exchange Navigators

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule adding to previously adopted standards for navigators, which are organizations authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide unbiased information to consumers about coverage options in the health insurance exchanges. Non-navigator assistance programs and personnel also would be affected by the proposed rule. Included in the rule are standards for training and certification, conflict of interest, and culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Funding for navigators that operate in states with federally facilitated exchanges and state partnership exchanges will be handled by the federal government. The proposed rule was published in the April 5
Federal Register….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 9 2013

Employers Express Ongoing Commitment To 401(k) Plans

Employers continue to show a strong commitment to 401(k) plans, according to a survey by WorldatWork, a global HR association, in partnership with the American Benefits Institute, the research and education affiliate of the American Benefits Council. The
2013 Trends in 401(k) Plans and Retirement Rewards noted that despite anecdotal reports of companies suspending or eliminating their 401(k) match to cut costs during the recession, 88 percent of survey respondents said that their company maintained matching contributions during the previous five years….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employees Who Are Satisfied With Benefits More Likely To Recommend Employer As A “Great Place To Work”

While only two out of five U.S. workers would strongly recommend their employer as a “great place to work,” those who do are three times more likely to be satisfied with their benefits, according to MetLife’s
11th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 8, 2013

Text: PBGC, Proposed Rule, Reportable Events And Certain Other Notification Requirements

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC Proposed Regs Would Create New Structure For Reportable Event Waivers

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued proposed regulations which would amend the reportable events rules. The proposed regulations would create a new reportable event waiver structure that is more closely focused on risk than the current waiver structure. The proposed regulations also would reflect changes made to the funding and premium rules by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA; P.L. 109-280) and would revise and simplify the descriptions of several reportable events and make some event narrower in order to make compliance less burdensome. Comments on the proposed rules are due by June 3, 2013. A public hearing is schedule for June 18, 2013. The proposed regulations were published in the April 3
Federal Register….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Number Of Self-Insured Plans Decreased From 2009 To 2010: EBSA

Of the approximately 49,000 health plans that filed a Form 5500 for 2010 (a decrease of more than three percent from 2009), about 19,800 were self-insured (down from 20,400 in 2009) and around 4,000 were mixed-insured (down from 4,100), according the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). The EBSA cautions, however, that since many self-insured health plans do not file the Form 5500 because they do not meet the filing requirements, the figures in the latest DOL report, the creation of which was established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), probably underestimate the total number of self-insured plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »