About this Newsletter
The Spencer’s Benefits Reports is a summary of the week’s news items posted
in the WHAT’S NEW pages of Spencer’s Benefits Reports
For questions regarding this email service, contact Customer Service at (800)449-9525.
Want to receive these Newsletters via E-mail?
About Links in this Newsletter
To access the IntelliConnect™ full text documents you must be a subscriber
to the Spencer’s Benefits Reports IntelliConnect product
(depending on the link*).
Links within news stories display full text documents including legislation, regulations,
court decisions, rulings and government reports.
The first time you click on a link you will be taken to the IntelliConnect login page, where you will need to enter your ID and password. Subsequent links will take you directly to the desired document.
If you aren’t a subscriber call 800-449-9525, or let us contact you about,
Contact us by sending an e-mail to
- Court Cases: Employees’ Entitlement To Short Term Disability Benefits, 4/15 (323.1.-13)
- Analysis: History Of The CPI Medical Care Component, 4/15 (301.1.-7)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
- Analysis: Employer Mandate Under Health Reform, 4/15 (550.-1)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
- Court Cases: COBRA, 4/15 (329.4.-1)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Underlying Cost Trend For Large Employers Remains Modest Despite ACA Concerns
Despite concerns over mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), large U.S. employers have been fairly effective in managing overall health care costs, according to the
2015 ADP Annual Health Benefits Report from the ADP Research Institute….
Revised FMLA Definition Of “Spouse” Not Being Enforced In Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska
Consistent with a preliminary injunction imposed by federal court in Texas on March 26, the Department of Labor has confirmed that it will not be enforcing in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska its final rule revising the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA to include employees in same-sex marriages…
Workplace Wellness Programs Are Prevalent, But May Not Save Employers Money In The Long Run
About four-fifths of the largest employers (those with more than 1,000 employees) offer worksite wellness programs, but while these programs did reduce cardiovascular events, the savings that resulted did not come close to offsetting the cumulative costs of participation. This is according to a recently released report from the RAND Corporation…
Uninsured Rate Dips, Especially For Those With Lower Incomes
According to a recent Gallup report, the rate of U.S. adults without health insurance dropped to 11.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015. This is the lowest uninsured rate since Gallup began tracking in 2008. Since the end of 2013, the uninsured rate among households making less than $36,000 per year has dropped 8.7 percent. Hispanics had the highest uninsured population of subgroups prior to the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), but significant headway has been made as the rate of uninsured Hispanics has dropped 8.3 percent. Despite these gains, these groups still have higher uninsured rates than other categories…
RDS Amounts And Medicare Part D Benefit Parameters For 2016 Are Issued By CMS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the Cost Threshold and Cost Limit amounts for Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) plan years ending in 2016, for plan sponsors participating in the RDS program. The Cost Threshold amount is $360 and the Cost Limit amount is $7,400…
ACA Forcing Employers To Change Business Practices And Health Care Benefits, SHRM Tells U.S. House Subcommittee
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is challenging employers by increasing the costs of providing health care coverage and restricting the ability to offer benefits that best meet the needs of employees, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently told a U.S. House subcommittee…
LTD Plan Complied With ERISA’s ‘Hold In Trust’ Requirement
Neither the manager nor the administrator of a long-term disability plan breached its duty under ERISA to hold plan assets in trust, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Barboza v. California Association of Professional Firefighters (No. 11-15472). Applying the common law of trusts, the court concluded that, under the “hold in trust” requirement, a person (legal or natural) must hold legal title to the assets of an employee benefit plan with the intent to deal with those assets solely for the benefit of the members of that plan. That person is the “trustee,” and the resulting relationship between the trustee and the plan participants with respect to a plan’s assets is a “trust” for purposes of ERISA. In this case, the plan complied with the requirement that “all assets of an employee benefit plan shall be held in trust by one or more trustees…”
EEOC Proposed Rule Allows Financial Incentives For Workplace Wellness Plans
Emphasizing confidentiality and allowing employer incentives, the EEOC has published a proposed rule describing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employer wellness programs that are part of group health plans. However, the proposed rule does not address the extent to which Title II of GINA affects an employer’s ability to condition incentives on a family member’s participation in a wellness program, which the agency said it will address later. The proposed rule was published in the April 20
Recession More Likely Cause Of Spending Growth Reduction, Not ACA
Even with the savings from reductions in Medicare and Medicaid payments, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its coverage expansions were originally predicted to add $577 billion to national health expenditures (NHE) between 2014 and 2019. However, since those predictions were made, health spending in the U.S. has grown at historically low rates, according to a recent report from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a result, the current NHE prediction for 2014 to 2019 is $21 trillion—$2.5 trillion less than the original forecast…
DOL, HHS, And Treasury Answer Questions On Wellness Program Design
The Department of (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (the Departments) have jointly issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) addressing issues triggered by the publication of wellness regulations issued in accordance with the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) in June 2013. The FAQs address the concept of “reasonable design” of health-contingent wellness programs…
IRS Adds Easier Correction Methods For Automatic Contribution Elective Deferral Plans
In Rev. Proc. 2015-28, the IRS has modified its Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) procedures to include new safe harbor correction methods relating to automatic contribution features (including automatic enrollment and automatic escalation of elective deferrals) in 401(k) and 403(b) plans, and special safe harbor correction methods for plans (including those with automatic contribution features) that have short-term elective deferral failures…
Expansion And State Exchanges Boost Coverage Rates In California, New York
In 2014, there were higher percentages of uninsured adults in Florida and Texas, which are using the federal Health Insurance Marketplace and declined to expand Medicaid, compared with California and New York, which are operating their own Marketplaces and did expand Medicaid, according to a recent report from the Commonwealth Fund analyzing the results of its
Biennial Health Insurance Survey. The report also showed that adults in Florida and Texas were more likely to report not getting necessary care because of cost and to report having problems paying bills…