Spencer Benefits Reports NetNews – August 28, 2015

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August 28, 2015


IRS explains ACA’s effect on aggregated companies

The IRS has issued a tax tip explaining the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) approach to common ownership applicable to tax and employee benefit purposes. It has been a longstanding rule that aggregated companies, which are companies with a common owner or similar relationship, are treated by the ACA as a single employer. These companies are combined by the ACA to determine if they employ at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees. If they do, then each separate company is an applicable large employer (ALE)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employees need more of a voice in 401(k) education

The vast majority of employees participating in a survey by PlanVision would choose one-on-one training over classroom-style learning for guidance in setting up their 401k accounts. “The data quickly revealed that employees are looking for personalized, one-on-one guidance,” said PlanVision founder Mark Zoril. “An overwhelming majority wanted help choosing investments during the enrollment process….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 27, 2015


HSAs with investment options draw larger contributions and have higher balances

Investment options in health savings accounts (HSAs) are a fairly new and not widely used, but they tend to draw larger contributions and have higher balances where they do exist, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). In 2014, just 6.4 percent of HSA owners had used the investment option portion of the account, EBRI noted….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

DOL panelists mull “advice” and who should drive fiduciary revamp

The Department of Labor (DOL) has heard from a diverse lineup of speakers advocating for and against its proposed regulations concerning the definition of “fiduciary,” which would change how retirement advice is delivered under the ERISA. By the end of the DOL’s August 2015 public hearing, DOL officials will have heard from 25 panels consisting of nearly 75 persons appearing on behalf of industry and consumer groups regarding the Agency’s April proposal. The proposed regulations would treat persons who provide investment advice or recommendations to a plan, a plan fiduciary, a plan participant or beneficiary, IRA, or IRA owner as fiduciaries in a wider array of advice relationships than existing ERISA and Code regulations….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Infertility treatment age limit repealed in Connecticut to comply with ACA

The existing age limit for mandated coverage of infertility treatment for women, those aged 40 or older, was repealed by Bulletin HC-104 in order to comply with the anti-discrimination mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the governor and insurance department commissioner of Connecticut announced….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 26, 2015


SIFL rates issued for the second half of 2015

The Department of Transportation has released the applicable terminal charge and standard industry fare level (SIFL) mileage rates for July 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. These rates will be used by the IRS to determine the value of noncommercial flights on employer-provided aircraft….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


PCORI’s updated framework answers questions, provides complete picture

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has drafted a new framework to answer questions about the agency’s approach to, and impact on, comparative effectiveness research (CER). The new document outlines metrics that PCORI will use to answer the questions, the methods by which it will do so, and the sources it will use to gather the necessary information. The agency emphasizes that the framework is a “living document” and seeks feedback from stakeholders for possible updates….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 25, 2015


IRS posts draft instructions for filing some ACA information returns

The IRS has released draft instructions for filing some information returns required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The draft instructions cover Forms 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns; 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns; 1095-B, Health Coverage; and 1095- C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Special enrollment snapshot captures almost 950,000 sign-ups in four months

While open enrollment to obtain coverage on the health insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not begin until November 1, 2015, those who signed up for coverage under special enrollment period (SEP) rules during a four month period in 2015 topped out around 944,000 individuals. A snapshot released by CMS focused on the SEP enrollment, which may be triggered by life changes such as the loss of health coverage or Medicaid eligibility and changes in family status, between February 23, 2015, and June 30, 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


August 24, 2015


Aflac study shows benefits remain a key tool for retention and recruitment

In spite of major changes in the health care landscape, small-business owners looking to recruit and retain top employees still need to pay close attention to their benefits offerings. According to the 2015
Aflac WorkForces Report for Small Businesses released by Aflac, a majority of workers employed in small businesses are willing to consider a job with slightly lower pay but better benefits, while half of potential job-changers say improving their benefits package could keep them right where they are….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Non-grandfathered student health plan rates subject to federal review

Non-grandfathered student health insurance plans (SHPs) are subject to federal rate review and the filing deadlines for SHPs that have rate increases on or before December 31, 2015, are extended. The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) explains that SHPs were previously exempted from rate increase reporting through the Unified Rate Review Template (URRT) because it did not accommodate such plans. However, in 2013, CMS developed a process to accommodate SHPs, which have been required to submit rate increase information since that time….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


HSA market approaching $30 billion in assets

By the end of 2015, the health savings account (HSA) market will likely approach $30 billion in assets, covering more than 16 million accounts, according to the 2015 Midyear Devenir HSA Research Report. The survey was conducted in July 2015 and contains responses from 100 HSA providers….

(Read Intelliconnect) »