Spencer Benefits Reports NetNews – March 20, 2015

 

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Featured This Week

 

New Reports

 

  • Analysis: Domestic Partner Benefits, 3/15 (327.4.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Court Cases: Medical Evidence Needed To Establish Entitlement To LTD Benefits, 3/15 (323.5.-1)
    (Read Intelliconnect) »
  • Survey: 2015 PBGC Interest Rates For Single-Employer Plans And Multiemployer Plan Mass Withdrawal, 3/5, (619.5.-55)
    (Read Intelliconnect) »
  • Survey: 101.2.-9, IRS Prescribes Monthly Segment Rates To Be Used In Pension Funding, Present Value Calculations, 3/5, (101.2.-9)
    (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

News

March 20, 2015

 

Benefits Were 31.6 Percent Of Total Compensation In December 2014, BLS Finds

Employer-provided benefits costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local governments in December 2014 averaged $10.49 per hour worked, accounting for 31.6 percent of total compensation costs, which averaged $33.13 per hour worked. The cost of benefits as a percentage of compensation has risen in the past three years from 27.4 percent of total compensation. These are among the findings of the December 2014
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation report, produced quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)…..

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Workplace Health Programs Are Key to Improving American Life Expectancy And Health

As Americans face growing health and financial burdens from preventable, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers, a new study found that employers have a unique opportunity to improve Americans’ health. The research was led by Dr. Katherine Tryon and Dr. Derek Yach from the Vitality Institute and is published in the November issue of the
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

March 19, 2015

 

Text: IRS, DOL, HHS, Final Rule, Amendments To Excepted Benefits

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Final Regs Specify Requirements For Limited Wraparound Coverage To Qualify As Excepted Benefits

The Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (Departments) have issued final regulations on employer-provided limited wraparound coverage qualifying as excepted benefits. Benefits that are excepted benefits are not subject to the group health plan requirements, including market reforms, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The final regulations are effective May 18, 2015 and were published in the March 18
Federal Register

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Proceeding Well

On its first review of the activities of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that PCORI has developed its priorities, methodology, and processes, and it has begun to award contracts for comparative effectiveness research (CER) as required. It is in the process of developing a plan to share the results of its research with stakeholders and the public…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

March 18, 2015

 

Most Employers Unsure Of Best Way To Comply With Upcoming Reporting Requirements

A large percentage of employers still have not decided how they are going to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) information reporting requirements, according to speakers at a recent Mercer webcast entitled
ACA Play-Or-Pay and Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) Reporting. Employers will be required to do either Sec. 6055 or Sec. 6056 (and in some cases, both) reporting for the 2015 plan year. While the forms are not due to the IRS until early 2016, it is important for employers to determine the processes they want to use to comply with these provisions now…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

Wellness Programs Can Lower Medical Cost Growth Rates, If They Are Designed Well

If workplace wellness programs are well designed and well executed, they can work to slow down medical cost growth rates, according to a recent analysis of six studies that were conducted over the past two years by HERO and Mercer. More specifically, the studies noted in the report show companies with programs incorporating the most evidence-based best practices saw slower growth in medical costs over a three-year period than companies with programs using fewer best practices. Other studies in the report point to specific practices or strategies that support the effectiveness of wellness programs, such as having a formal strategic plan, company leaders who actively participate in programs, and a volunteer network of “wellness champions” to provide peer support for wellness initiatives…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

Fee Award Proper After Employers Prevailed In Withdrawal Liability Dispute

A district court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered the trustees of a pension fund to pay over $134,000 in costs and attorney’s fees to three electrical companies that won a dispute over withdrawal liability, the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Trustees of the Eighth District Electrical Pension Fund v. Wasatch Front Electrical and Construction, LLC. However, the court reversed the assessment of fees against the trustees’ co-plaintiff, a union…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

March 17, 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) »

More Pension Plan Sponsors Likely To Adopt Settlement Strategies To Better Manage Risk: Aon Hewitt

Employers are taking additional actions to address the future costs of pension plans, according to recent research from Aon Hewitt. In particular, in 2015, nearly two-thirds of employers plan to take actions in 2015 to curb Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premium costs down the road, with most of those likely to elect settlement strategies, Aon Hewitt found…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

March 16, 2015

 

PBGC Issues April 2015 Interest Rates For Valuing Terminating Pension Plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating April through June 2015, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.78 percent, down from the 2.89 percent rate that applied in January through March 2015. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in April 2015 is 0.75 percent, down from 0.50 percent rate that applied in March 2015…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

Use E-File For Health Provider Information Form, IRS Advises

The IRS is encouraging covered entities that are subject to the health insurance provider fee under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to submit Form 8963 via e-file. In the
IRS Health Insurance Provider Fee (IPF) News for the 2015 reporting season, the IRS notes that e-file reduces the risk of transcription errors and reduces the report processing time. In addition, electronic filers receive immediate acknowledgement of receipt and are able to track submission status online…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

Special Enrollment In State-Based Marketplaces Is A Work In Progress

Progress in state-based Marketplaces (SBMs) with regard to special enrollment periods (SEPs) has been limited according to a study of five state-based Exchanges during the 2014 open enrollment period. Specifically, the Urban Institute, which partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the purposes of this research, found that state Marketplace “systems and consumer outreach and enrollment efforts are still in progress and do not yet match the significant potential for SEP enrollment in the five SBMs…”

        (Read Intelliconnect) »