Spencer Benefits Reports NetNews – July 17, 2015


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Featured This Week


New Reports




July 17, 2015


Practitioners urge employers to attend to ACA requirements after Supreme Court ruling

After the Supreme Court upheld the health insurance premium tax credit (and, in effect, the employer mandate), practitioners at Ernst & Young LLP (E&Y) are urging employers to attend to information reporting rules and other requirements imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The practitioners discussed the Supreme Court’s decision in
King v. Burwell and its implications for individuals and organizations subject to the ACA. The program was moderated by Cathy Koch of E&Y…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers plan to take little action in modifying health care strategy in 2015

Very few employers plan to make changes to their health care strategies in 2015, according to recent research from Aon Hewitt. The survey found that even some of the most prevalent tactics in employers’ health strategies had low adoption rates in 2015. For example, only 16 percent plan to increase deductibles and copays; only 10 percent plan to provide cost and quality transparency tools; and only 9 percent plan to provide personalized, aggregated online views of health care usage and other information…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employer did not give employee chance to cure medical certification; FMLA claim revived

Finding that an employee’s medical certification in support of her request for intermittent FMLA leave was “insufficient,” rather than “negative on its face” as a district court had concluded, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the employer was required by regulations to give the employee notice of the deficiency and an opportunity to cure it rather than simply firing her. It therefore reversed the dismissal of her interference claim, as well as her FMLA retaliation claim…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

July 16, 2015


Employers are considering modifying domestic partner benefits after Supreme Court decision

The June 26, 2015, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges means that all states must now license same-sex marriages or recognize those performed in other states. A recent International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) survey found that slightly half of employers believe the decision will have an impact on their organization…

        (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) »

PBGC issues August 2015 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating July through September 2015, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.32 percent, down from the 2.71 percent rate that applied in April through June 2015. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in August 2015 is 1.50 percent, up from 1.25 percent that applied in July 2015…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

July 15, 2015


Text: IRS, HHS, DOL, final regulations, coverage of certain preventive services under the ACA

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


“Closely held” corporations provided with contraceptive coverage accommodation in final regulations

The Internal Revenue Service, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services (the Departments) have jointly issued final regulations regarding coverage of certain preventive care services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148). Under the ACA, all nongrandfathered insured and self-insured health plans must cover certain preventive services without cost-sharing, including the coverage of contraceptive services. This provision of the ACA has been one of the most hotly contested, resulting in hundreds of lawsuits and a series of related regulations and guidance. The final rules maintain the existing contraceptive services accommodation for eligible religious nonprofit organizations, but also finalize an alternative pathway for those organizations to provide notice of their objection to covering contraceptive services. In addition, the final regulations provide certain “closely held” for-profit entities the same accommodations…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Segal reports surprising findings on multiemployer plan changes since passage of ACA

A study of nearly 300 multiemployer health plans shows that most plan sponsors have not made changes to their plans in anticipation of 2018’s upcoming 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans (the “Cadillac Tax”). The study also shows that 60 percent of the 300 plans have actuarial levels that are the equivalent of gold plans sold through the federal Marketplace and state Exchanges. That’s good news for plan participants, since gold plans pay approximately 80 percent of eligible benefits…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Civil action appropriate avenue to contest arbitrator’s award, not Arbitration Act rules

Settling a “narrow procedural question,” the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has determined that a pension fund seeking to vacate or modify an arbitration award regarding a withdrawal liability dispute must file a complaint in district court as provided under ERISA Sec. 4221(b)(2) and ERISA Sec. 4301, rather than follow procedures for judicial review under the Federal Arbitration Act. Thus, a district court erred when it dismissed the fund’s timely-filed complaint…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


July 14, 2015


Transitional reinsurance, risk adjustment programs functioning as intended

Preliminary analysis of the transitional reinsurance and risk adjustment programs for the 2014 benefit year shows that the programs are working as intended, according to CMS’ Summary Report on Transitional Reinsurance Payments and Permanent Risk Adjustment Transfers for the 2014 Benefit Year. The report is available to issuers of reinsurance-eligible plans and includes issuer’s total estimated reinsurance payment for the 2014 benefit year, which is calculated based on reinsurance contributions HHS has already collected and that are scheduled to be collected by November 15, 2015…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

NFIB urges repeal of small business excise tax

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is urging a quick repeal of an IRS rule imposing fines under a Code Sec. 4980D excise tax on small businesses with 50 or more full-time employees for helping defray the cost of their workers’ health insurance or medical expenses under arrangements that fail to qualify with Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) market reforms. Transition relief from immediate application of the excise tax provided by Notice 2015-17 and Notice 2013-54 expired on June 30, 2015…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


HRA bills introduced in Congress

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Congressmen Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD, (R-LA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) have introduced bipartisan companion language in the House (H.R. 2911) and Senate (S. 1697) known as the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act to roll back existing Treasury Department guidance issued under the authority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibiting the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Boustany and Thompson introduced the legislation last Congress…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

July 13, 2015


President-signed trade bill increases ACA information return penalties after 2015

The President signed the Trade Preferences Extension Act (P.L. 114-27) on June 29, which contains several revenue offsets, including future increases in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) information return and payee statement (Forms 1094 and 1095) penalties…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Sky-is-falling hiring predictions failed to materialize, ADP says

Whether employers would change their hiring practices due to the employer mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a big question in many people’s minds. Some commentators expressed concern that employers would cut hours for part-time workers, while increasing the hiring of part-time workers with schedules that call for under 30 hours worked per week. But a new study from the ADP Research Institute indicates little to no change in the number of workers within each of three hourly ranges studied since implementation of the ACA provisions began…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »