Spencer Benefits Reports NetNews – January 30, 2015


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Featured This Week


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  • Analysis: General Rules For Sec. 125 Provide Guidance On Written Plans, Qualified, Nonqualified Benefits, 1/22 (351.-1)

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  • Analysis: IRC Sec. 7702B Provides Limited Tax Exclusion For Qualified Long Term Care Insurance, 1/22 (325.2.-1)
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January 30, 2015


States’ Medicaid Enrollment Increases Regardless of Expansion Choice

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) uses two major vehicles to increase health insurance in the United States. First, it provides premium tax credits to moderate-income individuals to aid in the purchase of coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace. Second, as initially enacted, it required all states to expand Medicaid eligibility to all individuals under 65 with income at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty line. As designed, the expansion was to fill historical gaps in Medicaid eligibility for adults and be the primary source to insure eligible individuals. To fund the expansion of Medicaid benefits, the ACA provides for the federal government to reimburse states for 100 percent of the new mandatory eligibility group beginning in 2014 through 2016, tapering off to a final federal reimbursement of 90 percent for the new mandatory eligibility group beginning in 2020. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Court Must Apply Ordinary Contract Principles to Lifetime Contribution-Free Retiree Health Care Question

Applying ordinary principles of contract law, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Sixth Circuit’s ruling that provisions in expired collective bargaining agreements created a right to lifetime contribution-free health care benefits for retirees, their surviving spouses, and their dependents. In so ruling, the Court disapproved of the reasoning in the Sixth Circuit’s 2009 decision in International Union, United Auto, Aerospace, & Agricultural Implement Workers of Am. v. Yard-Man, Inc. (Yard-Man). Justice Ginsburg filed a separate concurring opinion, in which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined (M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, January 26, 2015, Thomas, C.). . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


January 29, 2015


IRS Revises User Fee Program For Employee Plan Determination Letters

The IRS has released Rev. Proc. 2015-8 updating its user fee schedule, generally effective February 1, 2015, for requests for various types of employee plan letter rulings and determination letters, and other matters under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE). This procedure is a general update of the IRS user fee program. Changes related to the realignment of technical work from the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division to the Office of Associate Chief Counsel are included in the update.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Democrats Move on Paid Parental Leave For Federal Workers

Taking the president’s lead, House Democrats on Monday, January 26, introduced legislation that would provide six weeks’ paid leave to federal employees for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA), H.R. 532, differs from the executive memorandum that President Obama signed on January 15, which permits all federal employees to receive an advance of sick and annual leave to be used for leave connected with the birth or adoption of a child or for other sick leave-eligible uses. The FEPPLA would amend the law to permit federal employees to be paid during their approved Family and Medical Leave Act leave; this time would not count against sick or annual leave. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


January 28, 2015


President’s Tax Reform Proposal Includes “Auto-IRA” Requirement

In one of several initiatives announced by the White House prior to the annual State of the Union address, President Obama has unveiled several tax reform proposals affecting retirement plans, including a measure that would require most employers that don’t otherwise provide a retirement plan for workers to auto-enroll employees in an individual retirement account (IRA). The retirement proposals would, the White House says, give 30 million additional workers access to employment-based retirement plans. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


January 27, 2015


Survey Shows Employers Offering More Tools And Resources To Improve Financial Outcomes For Workers

As employers expand their focus on the overall financial well-being of their workers, a new survey from Aon Hewitt reveals that an increasing number of companies are broadening the types of financial and retirement planning tools and resources they provide to workers. Employers are also taking advantage of the size and purchasing power of their defined contribution (DC) plans to reduce costs and improve returns for employees. According to the survey of nearly 250 U.S. employers representing approximately six million employees, 93 percent intend to focus on the financial well-being of their employees in a way that extends beyond retirement. Nearly half (46 percent) are very likely and another 47 percent are somewhat likely to add new plan features, mobile apps or online tools to assist individuals with understanding financial concepts and financial planning. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Few Mid-Tier Employers Plan To Eliminate Healthcare, According To Survey

Despite concern over rising costs, few small to mid-size companies plan to eliminate employee healthcare coverage in the next year, according to a survey of more than 400 executives by TAG Employer Services. Asked if they agree or disagree with the statement…We will continue to offer healthcare coverage to our workers…68 percent of the respondents strongly agree and 28 percent somewhat agree. Only 4 percent somewhat or strongly disagree. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

January 26, 2015


Federal Filings Allow Peek Behind The Reasons For Increasing Health Insurance Rates

The average rate increase that nongrandfathered plans in the individual and small-group markets submitted for review for renewals taking effect from mid-2013 through mid-2014 was 13%, according to an analysis by The Commonwealth Fund of insurers’ filings with the federal government. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) requires these health insurers in the individual and small group markets to justify rate increases of 10% or more for their plans that were introduced or substantially changed after March 23, 2010. The Commonwealth Fund found that at least 75% of the larger rate increases were attributable to routine factors, such as trends in medical costs, which included increased use of medical services and higher unit prices. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


President Pushes To Give More Workers Earned Sick Time, Paid Leave

Determined to make paid leave available to more workers, President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to pass an earned sick-time bill and urging states to pass legislation that would give more workers access to paid leave. And, the president is putting his money where his mouth is, by proposing funding that would help states and municipalities figure out how to make earned sick-time and paid leave a reality. Building on earlier efforts born of last year’s White House Summit on Working Families, the White House outlined the steps the president plans to take in a fact sheet. . . .

        (Read Intelliconnect) »