Spencers and Benefits NetNews – November 8, 2013


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Featured This Week

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  • Analysis: DOL Regulations On The FMLA, 10/13 (327.1.-5)


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November 8, 2013

Treasury Official Says No Postponement Of Individual Mandate Needed, Explains New FSA Carryover Rule

In contrast to the need to postpone the employer reporting requirements and employer responsibility payments within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a similar case for a postponement of individual responsibility payments (the individual mandate) cannot be made, according to Mark Iwry, senior advisor to the secretary of the Treasury and deputy assistant secretary (Retirement and Heath Policy) on November 5. Speaking at the AICPA National Tax Conference in National Harbor, Md., Iwry’s presentation covered aspects of employer and individual responsibility compliance, as well as recent guidance on flexible spending accounts (FSAs)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC Maximum Insurance Benefit Increases for 2014

The yearly maximum benefit a 65-year-old retiree can receive has increased to almost $59,320 from $57,500, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Most retirees who get their pension from PBGC—more than 85 percent—receive the full amount of their promised benefit…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Less Than 20 Percent Of Americans Eligible For Coverage Have Visited Health Marketplaces

Seventeen percent of Americans who are potentially eligible for coverage have visited new health insurance marketplaces to buy coverage, via mail, Internet, phone, or in person, according to recent research from the Commonwealth Fund. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the health insurance marketplaces and enrollment began on October 1. The survey, conducted between October 9 and 27, tracked experiences with the marketplaces since the October 1 launch…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 7, 2013

Employers Pay An Average Of $6,118 Per Employee For Health Coverage

In 2013, employers paid, on average, $6,118 per employee for health coverage, up from $5,184 in 2012, according to recent research from United Benefit Advisors (UBA). The 2013
Health Plan Survey found that employees paid for family coverage, on average, was $1,151 in 2013, up from $1,110 in 2012…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

House Passes Bill To Defer DOL Fiduciary Regs Until SEC Acts

On October 29, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2374 (The Retail Investor Protection Bill), legislation that would prohibit the Department of Labor (DOL) from issuing any regulation under ERISA defining the circumstances under which an individual is considered a fiduciary“ until 60 days after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues a final rule governing standards of conduct for brokers and dealers under specified law.” The purpose of the bill, according to the Committee Report, is to “promote coordination between the DOL and the SEC, and to reduce the potential for conflict among any related regulations.” The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) and co-sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee Who Breached Return-To-Work Agreement By Consuming Alcohol Had No Recourse Under ADA Or FMLA

An employee of a freight company subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol regulations, who took Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to undergo treatment of his alcoholism and was later discharged when he relapsed and violated terms of his “return to work agreement,” failed to advance Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and FMLA claims, the Third Circuit ruled in
Ostrowski v Con-way Freight, Inc. Affirming dismissal of his claims on summary judgment, the Third Circuit ruled that the return-to-work agreement did not itself violate the ADA and that the employee failed to show that the employer’s use of it as a basis for discharge was pretextual…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 6, 2013

CMS Updates FAQs On Composite Rates In Federally-Facilitated SHOP

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated its frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the federally-facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP). The updated FAQs provide additional information on composite rates, expanding on the FAQs issued on Oct. 2, 2013…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Drop In Recordkeeping Fees Drives Continued Decline In Plan Costs

Fees related to retirement investment accounts especially recordkeeping costs, continue to decline, despite an increase in asset balances, according to a 2013 survey of defined contribution (DC) plan fees by the NEPC Defined Contribution Practice Group. However, while recordkeeping fees have declined substantially, the
2013 Defined Contribution Plan and Fee Survey found that total plan costs have declined only slightly and investment management fees have remained constant, suggesting that providers may be merely rebalancing fee payments…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Plan’s Refusal To Change Distribution Method Upheld: Participant’s Claim Of Clerical Error “Not Credible”

The Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has rejected as “not credible” a divorced retiree’s claim that a clerical error by the employer caused him to receive a lower monthly pension amount than what he had elected in
Huffstutler v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Thus the plan administrator properly refused to change the retiree’s pension distribution from a reduced monthly benefit (beginning after the first five years) with spousal survivor benefits, to a full monthly pension with no survivor’s benefits…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 5, 2013

Numerous Retirement Plan Dollar Limits Will Increase In 2014

The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2014 cost-of-living adjustments to retirement plan limits. As a result of the new COLAs, many dollar limitations applicable to retirement plans will increase in 2014, while others will remain unchanged…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Issues 2014 Adjusted Limits For Transportation, Long Term Care, Adoption Assistance, MSAs

In Rev. Proc. 2013-35, the Internal Revenue Service provides a variety of inflation-adjusted figures for 2014, including figures for transportation fringe benefits, long term care, medical savings accounts (MSAs), and adoption assistance and tax credit limits…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 4, 2013

Text: IRS, Notice 2013-71, Modification of “Use-or-Lose” Rule For Health Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Clarification Regarding 2013-2014 Non-Calendar Year Salary Reduction Elections Under Sec. 125 Cafeteria Plans

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Will Allow Some Unused Health FSA Funds To Be Carried Over To Entire Subsequent Years

In Notice 2013-71, the Internal Revenue Serivde has issued modifications to the Code Sec. 125 rules for cafeteria plans that include changes to the “use it or lose it” rule for health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) currently set forth in proposed IRS regulations and clarification of the transition relief regarding changes in salary reduction elections for accident and health plans provided the preamble to proposed Code Sec. 4980H regulations…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Federal Employee Benefits Extended To Children Of Same-Sex Domestic Partners In States Where They Cannot Marry

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has released a final rule amending the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) regulations concerning coverage for children up to the age of 26. The regulation also permit the children of same-sex domestic partners living in states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry to be covered family members under the FEHBP and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). The final rule is effective beginning Jan. 1, 2014, and was published in the October 30
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benz Communications Offers Five Steps For Improving Communication Of High-Deductible Health Plans

As an increasing number of companies make high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) their only option for company-sponsored health insurance, Jennifer Benz, CEO of Benz Communications, reminds employers to provide clear communication to help employees determine whether a HDHP is right for them…

(Read Intelliconnect) »