Spencer Benefits Reports – October 4, 2013

 

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Featured This Week

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News

October 4, 2013

Mercer Expects Employers To Hold The Line On Health Benefit Costs In 2014

Based on early responses from a major survey conducted annually by Mercer, employers expect health benefit cost per employee will rise by 4.8% on average in 2014. Cost growth slowed to 4.1% in 2012, a 15-year low. The projected increase for 2014, while still relatively low, represents a slight uptick in the rate of growth.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Health Care Cost Increase Remained Low In 2012, At 4 Percent

For the third consecutive year, the growth rate of health care spending among privately insured individuals under age 65 remained low at 4.0 percent, according to recent research from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). Health care spending averaged $4,701 per person with employer-sponsored coverage in 2012, up $181 from 2011….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 3, 2013

Start Of Exchange Enrollment Gives Employers Opportunity To Highlight Health Plans

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Exchanges (also known as marketplaces) began on October 1. Employees with employer-provided coverage might be curious about how their plans compare to those offered on the exchanges. So this gives employers an opportunity to demonstrate the richness of the benefits plans they provide their employees and families, according to Jennifer Benz, the founder and CEO of Benz Communications . . .

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Lack Of Awareness Of ACA Provisions Persists

The general public continues to be unaware of the major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) as three recent studies show. According to the September 2013
Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), two-thirds of the public were unaware that the ACA-created health insurance exchanges were due to begin enrollment on October 1 . . .

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 2, 2013

Universal Simplification Of ACA Employer Reporting Unlikely

The Internal Revenue Service is exploring ways to simplify Code Sec. 6056 reporting by employers but a one-size-fits-all approach is not the likely outcome, an IRS official recently predicted. The IRS has provided transition relief and proposed regulations on reporting, Stephen B. Tackney, deputy division counsel/deputy associate chief counsel, IRS Tax-Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division, told the ABA Health and Welfare Benefit Plans conference in Arlington, Va.….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employer Failed To Show It Would Have Fired Employee For Work Issues And Faking Need For FMLA Leave

Reversing a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Chevron, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found the company failed to show that, despite its retaliatory motive, it would have fired an employee who was seeking Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave based on his history of attendance and performance-related deficiencies, his alleged statements to a coworker about faking a nervous breakdown in order to take leave, and his abusive conduct toward coworkers in
Ion v Chevron USA, Inc.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 1, 2013

Employers Try To Boost Success Of Health And Productivity Programs

To boost the success of health and productivity programs, employers have to address lifestyle risk issues, improve employee engagement, and articulate a strategy in order to establish a workplace health culture, an essential factor for success, according the
2013/2014 Staying@Work Survey, conducted by Towers Watson, and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). In nearly all of the countries or regions that participated in the study, the same three lifestyle risks arose as the biggest workforce issues: stress, obesity, and lack of physical activity.…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers Satisfied With Group Long-Term Disability Plans

More than eight in ten employers offer group long-term disability insurance to employees, and, while 83 percent of those employers feel the amount of base coverage is adequate, gaps still exist in the coverage for executives, according to recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 30, 2013

Exchanges Will Lead To Choice And Lower Than Expected Premiums For Consumers: HHS

In state after state, health care consumers will see increased competition in the health insurance marketplaces, which will lead to new and affordable choices for consumers, according to a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). According to the report, consumers will be able to choose from an average of 53 health plans in the Marketplace, and the vast majority of consumers will have a choice of at least two different health insurance companies, but usually more.…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Service Provider Was Not Fiduciary Subject To Liability For Allegedly Excessive Fees Assessed To Plan Participants

A service provider did not violate ERISA by charging plan participants an allegedly excessive fee for reviewing domestic relations orders, as it was not a fiduciary at the time the fee structure was negotiated with the plan sponsor, according to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in
Danza v. Fidelity Management Trust Company, et al

(Read Intelliconnect) »