Spencer Benefits Reports – September 6, 2013

 

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Health Care Coverage Reporting Rules For Large Employers, 8/13 (522.-1)
       

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  • Analysis: Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act, 8/13 (509.-5)
       

 

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  • Anaysis: HSA/HDHP Q&As, 8/13 (356.-65)
       

 

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  • Analysis: Individual Shared Responsibility Payments Under Health Reform, 8/13 (551.-1)
       

 

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News

September 6, 2013

Satisfaction With CDHPs Rise Over The Past Seven Years: EBRI

While traditional plan enrollees were more likely than those in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to be extremely or very satisfied with their overall plan, satisfaction levels trended up over the past seven years among CDHP enrollees and trended down among traditional-plan enrollees, according to research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Based on seven years of surveys, the
EBRI/MGA 2012 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey found that enrollees in CDHPs and HDHPs were much more likely to report that they were not too or not at all satisfied with their health plan, but those dissatisfaction levels appeared to be trending downward in most years of the survey…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Changes On The Horizon For HR Structures, Service Delivery

Some big changes may be in store for corporate human resource functions within the next two years as companies face mounting pressure to improve the delivery and effectiveness of human resources (HR) services, according to research from Towers Watson. The
2013 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey also found that companies are considering new HR technologies, will continue to invest in HR technology such as mobile applications, and plan to analyze and change their HR processes…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee Could Not Redesignate Beneficiary Of Survivor Benefits Subsequent To Retirement

An employee could not, pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), redesignate his current spouse as the beneficiary of plan survivor’s benefits subsequent to his retirement and the receipt of plan benefits, a federal trial court in the District of Columbia has ruled in
Vanderkam, et. al. v. PBGC, et al. Survivor’s benefits vest irrevocably in the beneficiary at the annuity starting date and cannot be reassigned by a QDRO after the retirement of the participant, the court explained…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 5, 2013

IRS To Require Filing Employee Retirement Benefit Plan Returns On Magnetic Media

The Internal Revenue Service is proposing to require filing of certain employee retirement benefit plan statements, returns, and reports on magnetic media. The term magnetic media includes electronic filing, as well as other magnetic media specifically permitted under applicable regulations, revenue procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance. The regulations would affect plan administrators and employers maintaining retirement plans that are subject to various employee benefit reporting requirements under the Internal Revenue Code. These regulations are proposed to apply for employee retirement benefit plan statements, notifications, returns, and reports required to be filed under Code Secs. 6057, 6058, and 6059 for plan years that begin on or after Jan. 1, 2014, but only for filings with unextended filing deadlines after Dec. 31, 2014. The proposed regulations were published in the August 30
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

As October 1 Nears, Majority Of Employers Have Yet to Communicate ACA-Related Employee Benefits Changes

Although the majority of employers indicate they are concerned the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may bring about challenges surrounding insurance coverage gaps and costs to employees, a large number of American workers remain unaware, confused, and unprepared for looming changes to their benefits coverage, according to research from Aflac. In fact, the
2013 Open Enrollment Survey found that 69 percent of workers said that their employer has not communicated changes coming to their benefits package due to health care reform despite the October 1 deadline for employers to notify their employees of their coverage options…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Proposed Retirement Savings Cap Could Have Big Impact

The Obama Administration’s proposal to cap tax-favored retirement savings plans could affect significant numbers of workers should interest rates return to their historically higher levels, according to a recent analysis from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Using its Retirement Security Projection Model, EBRI’s simulation results for 401(k) participants (assuming no defined benefit accruals and no job turnover) found that more than one in ten current 401(k) participants are likely to hit the proposed cap sometime prior to age 65, even at the current, albeit historically low, discount rate of 4 percent. When the simulation is rerun with higher discount rate assumptions closer to historical averages, the percentage of 401(k) participants likely to be affected by these proposed limits increases substantially, EBRI noted…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 4, 2013

Text: CMS, Final Rule, Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act; Program Integrity; Exchange, SHOP, And Eligibility Appeals

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS Finalizes Rule On Exchange Standards, SHOP Operation

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule that outlines health insurance exchange standards with respect to eligibility appeals, agents and brokers, privacy and security, issuer direct enrollment, and the handling of consumer cases. It also sets forth standards with respect to a state’s operation of the exchange and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The final rule was published in the August 30
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Large Employers Expect 7 Percent Increase In Health Care Costs In 2014

The cost of providing employee health care benefits at the nation’s largest employers is projected to increase 7 percent in 2014—the third consecutive year employers have budgeted this amount, according to recent research from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 3, 2013

All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes; FAQs Address Benefits Issues

In Rev. Rul. 2013-17, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage. The IRS also issued frequently-asked-questions in conjunction with this ruling that address some employee benefits issues…
(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers Wrestle With Repercussions Of DOMA Decision

Nearly three-fourths of employers have not yet decided how to handle the benefits of spouses of same-sex marriages in states that do not recognize such marriages, according to a recent poll from the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). The poll was conducted before the Internal Revenue Service declared that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Surviving Same- Sex Spouse Entitled To Death Benefits

The same sex spouse of a plan participant was entitled to the death benefit provided under the plan following the participant’s death, according to a federal trial court in Pennsylvania in
Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits, et al. Applying the reasoning of the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor, the court explained that, because the parties were legally married in Canada and that union was recognized as valid in their domicile state, the surviving partner was a spouse for purposes of the plan’s pre-retirement survivor annuity…

(Read Intelliconnect) »