Spencer Benefits Reports Netnews – September 25, 2015

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September 25, 2015


Senators introduce bipartisan bill to repeal “Cadillac Tax”

Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., on September 17 introduced bipartisan legislation to fully repeal a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) known as the “Cadillac Tax.” The provision taxes high-cost health insurance plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Moderate health care growth continues, but average family premium surpasses $17,000

Premiums for single and family coverage rose an average of 4 percent in 2015, continuing the decade-long trend of moderate growth, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET). The
2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey found that since 2005, premiums have grown an average of 5 percent each year. The average annual premium for single coverage is $6,251, of which workers pay $1,071. The average family premium is $17,545, with workers contributing $4,955….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Evidence of judicial action not required for recovery of attorney’s fees

A showing of “success on the merits” need not be connected to judicial action in order for a party in an ERISA action to recover attorney’s fees, according to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. In remanding the case back to the district court, however, the Third Circuit declined to express an opinion as to whether or not attorney’s fees should ultimately be awarded….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 24, 2015


Workers continue to give low marks to overall health care system, but rate their own health plans favorably

When asked to rate the U.S. health care system, many workers rate it as poor (25 percent) or fair (30 percent), according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Only a small minority rate it as excellent (4 percent) or very good (13 percent). In contrast to the ratings for the health care system overall, the
2015 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS) found that workers’ ratings of their own health plans continue to be generally favorable. One-half of those with health insurance coverage are extremely or very satisfied. Only 9 percent say they are not satisfied with their current plan….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues final regs on minimum required contributions for single-employer DB plans

The IRS has issued final regulations on the determination of minimum required contributions for single-employer defined benefit (DB) plans under IRC Sec. 430. In addition, final regulations concerning the related excise tax rules of Code Sec. 4971 are included, which are applicable to both single-employer and multiemployer defined benefit plans. These regulations also make changes relating to benefit restrictions under Code Sec. 436….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 23, 2015


Trade group smiles upon bill to expand dental coverage

Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) have introduced legislation that “would level the playing field for pediatric dental benefits inside and outside of the Exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” according to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). The group sent a letter to the representatives indicating its support for H.R. 3463 – “Aligning Children’s Dental Coverage Act….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Percentage of uninsured declined in 2014

The percentage of individuals without health insurance coverage for the entire 2014 calendar year declined from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 10.4 percent in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey,
Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014, noted that the number of people without health insurance declined to 33.0 million from 41.8 million over the period….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Is the ACA providing a gentle push toward retirement?

Researchers find “no evidence of an increase in retirement among individuals ages 55 to 64 in 2014 compared to 2013,” debunking what some consider is a myth, that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would act as an incentive for retirement. Even the 30 states that expanded their Medicaid programs, allowing more individuals access to health coverage, did not see a trend toward early retirement. The trend, or lack thereof, is noted by Helen Levy, along with Thomas Buchmueller and Sayeh Nikpay from the University of Michigan in a paper they presented recently at the Retirement Research Consortium in Washington, D.C….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 22, 2015


Text: IRS, information reporting on minimum essential coverage

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS intends to propose reporting rules for certain types of health care coverage

The Treasury Department and the IRS intend to propose regulations under Code Sec. 6055: (1) providing that health insurance issuers must report coverage in catastrophic health insurance plans described in §1302(e) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enrolled in through a Health Insurance Exchange; (2) allowing electronic delivery of statements reporting coverage under expatriate health plans unless the recipient explicitly refuses consent or requests a paper statement; (3) allowing filers reporting on insured group health plans to use a truncated taxpayer identification number (TTIN) to identify the employer on the statement furnished to a taxpayer; and (4) specifying when a provider of minimum essential coverage is not required to report coverage of an individual who has other minimum essential coverage. The notice also advises that the governments of United States possessions or territories are not required to report coverage under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and provides that the state government agency sponsoring coverage under the Basic Health Program is required to report Basic Health Program coverage….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Bill to allow states to classify medium-sized employers

A new piece of legislation proposes to halt the upcoming expansion of the small group health insurance market to include employers with 51 to 100 employees and allow states to make the decision to include those mid-size employers in either the small business group or to designate these employers as large employers. The bill, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act (H.R. 1624), would allow the states to individually decide whether the medium-sized employers should be subject to the requirements of the small group market, which were enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Students want employers to help manage student loans

With record amounts of student debt attached to the incoming workforce, the majority of the 1,000 individuals with student loans surveyed view employee benefits that address education loans as a breakthrough and welcomed solution….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


September 21, 2015


Accommodation process substantially burdens religious exercise, says 8th Circuit

The accommodation offered by CMS under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion by a nonprofit religious educational institution and is likely not the least restrictive means of furthering the government’s compelling interest in safeguarding public health and ensuring equal access to health care for women, the Eighth Circuit ruled. The court affirmed the ruling of the district court, which granted a motion for preliminary injunction enjoining the government from enforcing the contraceptive mandate….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

After same-sex marriage ruling, states reconsider domestic partner benefits

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, some states that offer health and retirement benefits to their employees’ domestic partners are considering changing those policies, in large part to save money or avoid discrimination lawsuits, according to Rebecca Beitsch, staff writer with

(Read Intelliconnect) »


HHS surpassed goal of 9.1M effectuated enrollments by June 2015

A snapshot of health insurance marketplace coverage shows that 9.9 million consumers effectuated coverage (paid premiums and had an active policy) through June 30, 2015. These numbers align with HHS’ goal of 9.1 million effectuated enrollments by the end of 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »