Spencer Benefits Reports NetNews – September 5, 2014

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September 5, 2014

Draft Instructions For ACA Reporting Forms Released

The IRS has released draft instructions for Forms 1095-A, 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C. These forms are used for reporting medical care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Uninsured Rate Decline Confirmed To ‘Coincide’ With ACA, Data Limitations Highlighted

A “significant decline in the uninsured rate among non-elderly adults that coincided with the initial open-enrollment period under,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was observed and highlighted in a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). While the study acknowledged and utilized similar data in previous analysis of “rapid-turnaround surveys,” it qualified those findings as well as its own results noting certain data limitations and “numerous factors that can affect estimated rates of Americans without insurance…”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

New Tools Help Educate And Engage Employees, Increasing Participation In Retirement Savings Plans

The economic uptick over the past year has led to renewed interest in retirement savings, according to Deloitte’s
13th Annual Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey. The survey found that average account balances have reached an all-time high of more than $95,000, up from $85,600 in 2012 and an increased number of employees are participating in defined contribution plans, jumping 6 percentage points (77 percent in 2013 vs. 71 percent in 2012). Among key findings, as the economy continues to recover, the number one reason for lack of employee participation in defined contribution plans is no longer due to an “uncertain economy/job market” (14 percent in 2013 compared to 24 percent in 2012), but instead a “lack of awareness and understanding” (30 percent in 2013, compared to 21 percent in 2012)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 4, 2014

EBSA Requests Information On Use Of Brokerage Windows By Individual Account Retirement Plans

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued a request for information (RFI) concerning regulatory standards for the use brokerage windows in participant-directed individual account plans. The RFI is designed to assist the DOL in determining whether, and to what extent, regulatory standards or other guidance concerning the use of brokerage windows by plans are necessary to protect participants’ retirement savings. Comments on the RFI must be submitted on or before Nov. 19, 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

California Gets On Board With ACA Waiting Period Rule

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, California state law regarding waiting periods for health care coverage will conform to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) waiting period limit. Governor Brown has signed into law Senate Bill 1034, which will impose a 90-day limit on eligibility waiting periods for insured health benefits. The law also prohibits a health care service plan or health insurer offering group coverage from imposing a separate waiting or affiliation period in addition to any waiting period imposed by an employer for a group health plan on an otherwise eligible employee or dependent…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 3, 2014

Who Still Wants COBRA?

It’s hard to see why anyone would want COBRA coverage these days, especially since it is often prohibitively expensive, and many individuals can qualify for a premium subsidy, making coverage via the marketplace even cheaper. Is COBRA doomed? Probably not. According to an article by Julia Zuckerman and Leslye Laderman for Buck Consultants, COBRA is probably here to stay, though, at least for a while, but it is likely to serve a more narrow purpose than it has in the past…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Anti-Cutback Rule Barred Application Of DB Plan Amendment

The ERISA Sec. 204(g) anti-cutback rule prevented the application of a multiemployer defined benefit plan amendment that reduced subsidized early retirement benefits, which were “retirement-type subsid[ies]”, for participants who left employment before satisfying the pre-amendment conditions, but who could later satisfy the conditions without returning to work, according to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in
Alcantara v. Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund Pension Plan

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 2, 2014

Text: IRS, Interim final rule, Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: IRS, Proposed rule, Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Many American Workers Have Nothing Saved For Retirement

Over a third of all Americans (36 percent) have not saved any money for retirement, although Americans who are saving are starting earlier, according to a new report from Bankrate. Twice as many 30 to 49 year-olds started saving in their 20s as opposed to their 30s, and 50 to 64 year-olds were only slightly more likely to have started saving in their 20s than their 30s. Americans 65 and older were almost evenly split between starting in their 20s, 30s and 40s, Bankrate reports…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

2014 Brought Significant Changes In Plan Choices And Cost-Sharing Options

A wide range of plan choices and cost-sharing options was a vital part of 2014’s initial open enrollment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148; ACA), according to an issue brief just issued by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). From the four plan categories available, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, 65% of the eight million individuals who selected a plan chose a silver plan. Silver plans averaged $5,730 for out-of-pocket expenses nationwide, while platinum plans, which were chosen by only five percent of individuals, had an average out-of-pocket limit of $1,855. AHIP adds that many plans have now set their out-of-pocket limits well below required levels…

(Read Intelliconnect) »