Spencer Benefits Reports NetNews – February 27, 2015


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Featured This Week


New Reports


  • Analysis: IRC Sec. 401(a)(17) Sets Annual Compensation Limit For Determining Retirement Benefits, 2/19 (113.09.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Highly Compensated Employees Include 5 Percent Owners, Employees With Compensation Above $115,000, 2/19 (113.05.-1)
    (Read Intelliconnect) »
  • Analysis: Premium Stabilization Programs Will Likely Impact Employer-Provided Health Plan Premiums, 2/12, (542.-1)
    (Read Intelliconnect) »
  • Analysis: Health Benefit Exchanges Established Under ACA, 2/12, (540.-1)
    (Read Intelliconnect) »



February 27, 2015


Text: Final rule, Family and Medical Leave Act

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Final FMLA Regulations Adopt “Place-of-Celebration” Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued final regulations that adopt a “place-of-celebration” rule for the definition of spouse under the FMLA. The final rule changes the regulatory definition of spouse to look to the law of the place in which the marriage was entered into, as opposed to the law of the state in which the employee resides. In addition, the definition of spouse expressly includes individuals in lawfully recognized same-sex and common law marriages and marriages that were validly entered into outside of the United States if they could have been entered into in at least one state. The final rule adopts the definition of spouse in the proposed regulations, which the DOL issued on June 27, 2014. . . ..

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: Final rule, Basic Health Plan

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Funding Methodology And BHP Payment Rates For 2016 Released

The final Basic Health Plan (BHP) funding methodology and federal BHP payment rates for 2016 are now available. These rates will apply to program year 2016, beginning January 1, 2016. Now that the final methodology has been published, CMS will only make modifications to the BHP funding methodology on a prospective basis with limited exceptions (see Text: Final rule, Basic Health Plan). . . ..

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

February 26, 2015


Towers Watson Explains Why Answers To the Top 10 Employee Questions On Private Exchange Enrollment Matter

An analysis of the top 10 questions asked by full-time active employees who enrolled in health plans effective January 1, 2015, on Towers Watson’s OneExchange shows that when offered a meaningful choice of health plans on private exchanges, first-time enrollees need basic information about their plan choices and how health insurance works. This underscores the importance of employers and exchange providers offering education, decision support tools and personalized, expert advice to help employees choose the plans that are best for them and their families. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Push For Earned Sick Leave Continues

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) have reintroduced legislation that would let workers earn paid sick leave that can be used for their own illness, to care for a sick family member, to obtain preventive care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. As expected, the Healthy Families Act, which never made it out of committee last year, was submitted for another try on February 12. The measure has been put before lawmakers every year since 2004. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


February 25, 2015


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) »


Life After King v. Burwell: Is HHS Ready?

Is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepared to deal with the possible aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in
King v. Burwell? That’s what House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leaders asked HHS Secretary, Sylvia Burwell, in a recent letter. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


February 24, 2015


Reformation is “Appropriate” Remedy For Notice Violations In Cash Balance Conversion

In its second attempt to establish a remedy for a class of pension plan participants whose employer failed to properly notify them regarding a cash balance plan conversion, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City (CA-2) has determined that reformation of the plan was “appropriate equitable relief” under ERISA §502(a)(3). As such, the members of the class would receive all benefits accrued under the original defined benefit plan (“Part A”) at the time of the conversion, plus the benefits accrued thereafter under the cash balance plan (“Part B”) (the “A+B” remedy). . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


IRS Urges Plan Sponsors to Review Forms 5500 For Errors

In many Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) projects, the IRS finds mistakes when plan sponsors enter incorrect information on their Form 5500 series returns or information reports. Because information on these returns and reports is used to select cases for compliance checks, plan sponsors who enter incorrect information on the return or report, or leave a field blank when there should be an entry increase the likelihood that they will be selected for an EPCU compliance check. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


February 23, 2015


Text: Notice 2015-17, Guidance on the Application of Code §4980D to Certain Types of Health Coverage Reimbursement Arrangements

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


IRS Issues Limited Transition Relief From Excise Tax For Failure To Satisfy ACA Market Reforms

The IRS has issued guidance reiterating its previous conclusion that employer payment plans are group health plans that do not comply with market reforms for group health plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148). Included in this latest guidance is transition relief from the assessment of excise tax under Code Sec. 4980D for the failure to satisfy ACA market reforms in certain situations. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


As CHIP Funding Expiration Looms, Dems Take Action

As the expiration of the funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) approaches, many have put pressure on Congress to take action to extend the program. As such, proposed legislation has been introduced that will extend CHIP funding through 2019 and would help save health insurance coverage for over 10 million children and pregnant woman. Supporters of the continuation of this funding noted the effect that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) has had on the importance of CHIP coverage to certain parts of the population. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »