Spencer & Benefits Reports NetNews – March 27, 2015


About this Newsletter

The Spencer’s Benefits Reports is a summary of the week’s news items posted
in the WHAT’S NEW pages of Spencer’s Benefits Reports
For questions regarding this email service, contact Customer Service at (800)449-9525.

NetNews Subscription

Want to receive these Newsletters via E-mail?

hr.cch.com Resources

About Links in this Newsletter

To access the IntelliConnect™ full text documents you must be a subscriber
to the Spencer’s Benefits Reports IntelliConnect product
(depending on the link*).

Links within news stories display full text documents including legislation, regulations,
court decisions, rulings and government reports.

The first time you click on a link you will be taken to the IntelliConnect login page, where you will need to enter your ID and password. Subsequent links will take you directly to the desired document.


If you aren’t a subscriber call 800-449-9525, or let us contact you about,

Email Us

Contact us by sending an e-mail to


Featured This Week


New Reports




March 27, 2015


Effective Wellness Programs Provide Financial Incentives: EBRI

Financial incentives are an important factor in enrolling unhealthy workers into workplace wellness programs, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). EBRI examined data on first-time wellness participants who completed a health risk assessment (HRA) or biometric screening in the two or three years after financial incentives were offered in a large employer’s wellness program….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

DB Plan Participants Need Better Information When Offered Lump Sums Replacing Their Lifetime Benefits

Packets of informational materials provided to retirees and others by sponsors offering lump sums consistently lack key information needed to make an informed decision or were otherwise unclear, according to a recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

March 26, 2015


PBGC Guarantee For Multiemployer Plan Participants Will Cover Smaller Share Of Benefits In Future Plan Insolvencies

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has released a study that finds that, in the coming years, more than half of workers and retirees in terminated multiemployer plans will face a reduction in benefits under current PBGC guarantees if their plans run out of money. This study,
PBGC’s Multiemployer Guarantee, takes a closer look at how the guarantee limits will impact the pension income of workers and retirees in multiemployer plans that will receive financial assistance from PBGC…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority Of Organizations Support Employee Well-Being Initiatives To Curb Rising Health Care Costs

Workplace wellness programs and well-being initiatives are key components to improving employee health and containing rising health-care costs, according to the
Total Rewards and Well-Being survey conducted by WorldatWork with underwriting support from HealthMine. Ninety six percent of participating organizations support employee well-being programs and nearly three-quarters (74 percent) report they plan to increase their well-being offerings or activities in the next two years…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


House Again Approves Bill Exempting Emergency Services Volunteers From ACA

The House on March 17 unanimously approved for the third time, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Bill (HR 1191), which ensures that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees by the IRS under the employer mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (ACA). The final vote was 415 to 0…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


March 25, 2015


Five Years In, ACA Has Had Major Impact On Health Care Industry

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) turned five on March 23, and over its first five years, it has had a major impact on the U.S. health sector, according to a recent report from PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI). The report, Five Trends to Watch as the
Affordable Care Act Turns Five, noted that the law has accelerated the rise of a new health economy founded on value…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Paid Family And Medical Leave Proposal Reintroduced

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have reintroduced a measure that would create paid family and medical leave. The proposal would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program with the aim of “ensuring that American workers would no longer have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member….”

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


March 24, 2015


ACA’s Small Business Rules Could Trigger Higher Premiums For 2016

According to the American Academy of Actuaries (the Academy), the scheduled expansion of how small employers are defined under health care reform to include groups sized 51 to 100 creates the likelihood of premium increases, both for groups with one to 50 employees and groups with 51-100 employees. The Academy explains that, when groups with 51-100 employees renew or purchase new coverage, they will have to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) rules and regulations that govern fully-insured plans in the small group market, which now only covers groups from one to 50 (or two to 50, as defined by certain states)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Retiree Medical Program Alternatives Gaining Steam

Amid growing concerns over the high cost of retiree health benefits, many large employers are considering plan alternatives that better align with their current workforce planning initiatives, according to recent research from Towers Watson. The
2015 Survey on Retiree Health Care Strategies found nearly nine out of 10 employers (89 percent) said retirement health care benefit security is somewhat to extremely important to their retirees. Most respondents (78 percent) provide health benefits to both pre-Medicare and Medicare-eligible retirees; 70 percent will offer health care benefits to the majority of their current full-time employees upon retirement. The number of employers offering retiree health care benefits to employees hired in 2014 or later drops to 57 percent…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Insured Made Whole Under ERISA Could Not Recover Additional Equitable Relief For Same Injury

Equitable relief under ERISA Sec. 502(a)(3) for breach of fiduciary duty was not in line with the remedial objective of ERISA when such relief would be additional to that already received under ERISA Sec. 502(a)(1)(B) and had made the insured whole for the same injury, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled, vacating the lower court’s disgorgement award. The issue of whether prejudgment interest was appropriate was remanded. The case is
Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America (No. 12-2074)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


March 23, 2015


ACA Has Made “Virtually No Change” In Employer Health Plan Enrollment Numbers

Between 2014 and 2015, there has been “virtually no change” in the average percentage of all employees—full-time and part-time—enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans, according to a recent Mercer survey. The survey,
Health Care Reform Five Years In, a study of nearly 600 employers, also showed that the 1.6 percent increase in the absolute number of employees enrolled was a result of a 2.2 percent increase in the size of the workforce, instead of a result of changes required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


Let Employers Show Employees The Money For Getting Healthy, Group Urges Congress

Congress should support the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (S. 620). That’s according to the HR Policy Association, which recently sent a letter to Senate Health, Labor, Employment and Pension Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN). The Act would reaffirm the wellness program incentives under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allow employee wellness programs to have financial incentives up to 30 percent of the cost of coverage and up to 50 percent for tobacco cessation programs…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »


PTO Beats Benefits As Most Desired Workplace Perk

When asked which workplace perk they think their employees are most interested in receiving this year, 41 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed in one of two surveys by Accountemps said better benefits, and 19 percent said more vacation days. In a separate survey of workers, however, more paid time off (30 percent) narrowly edged out better benefits (26 percent) as most desired in 2015. The surveys include responses from more than 2,100 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas and more than 320 employees age 18 and older who work in an office environment…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »