Spencer’s and Benefits Reports NetNews – March 17, 2017

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Featured This Week


New Reports




March 17, 2017


Following CBO report, Senator Murray challenges Price to explain how “No One Will Be Worse Off”

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has called on Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price to explain his claim made on Meet the Press that “no one will be worse off financially” under the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Recently, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate for the Republican bill and found that “in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the [AHCA] than under current law….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Federal interest rates announced for pensions

The following interest rates have been announced for use in the operation and administration of qualified pension plans…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues April 2017 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating April through June 2017, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is2.15 percent, up from the 1.87 percent rate that applied in January through March 2016. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in April 2017 is 1.00 percent, down from the 1.25 percent rate that applied in March 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 16, 2017


SHRM study finds parental and caregiving leave benefits have remained the same since 2012

Despite reports from well-known companies that they have expanded their paid-leave benefits, the average amount of parental and caregiving leave provided by U.S. employers has not changed significantly since 2012, the National Study of Employers has found. The comprehensive study of how employers are responding to the changing workforce was designed and conducted by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Pretext evidence supports revival of ADA, FMLA claims of employee RIF’d between surgeries

Reviving the ADA and FMLA claims of an employee who used crutches as a result of damage to his leg from childhood bone cancer, and who was discharged in between two surgeries, the Fifth Circuit found triable questions on whether the stated reason for his termination—a reduction in force—was pretextual. Reversing summary judgment, the appeals court observed that not only did his employer’s explanations change over time, there was evidence calling into question the veracity of those explanations, as well as evidence that he was not given the same opportunities as other employees because of his disability….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 15, 2017

CBO, JCT release AHCA’s cost estimate

The House GOP’S Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement plan is on track on its path toward the House floor. The House Budget Committee is expected to mark up the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) on March 15….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

State views, even in GOP states, not fully aligned with current repeal initiatives

An issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) summarizes input and recommendations from governors and insurance commissioners in 35 states regarding health care reform, including their view on repeal and replacement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and changes Congress is considering to the structure and financing of Medicaid. KFF’s analysis in its issue brief shows that state leaders have varied views on ACA repeal and replacement and potential changes to Medicaid. While many of their views fall along party lines, some views are shared across parties and those who support and oppose repeal….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 14, 2017


Health benefits seen as tool to improve employee morale, survey finds

As the health care industry undergoes significant changes, more than two-thirds of employers are relying on health benefits packages to improve employee morale and satisfaction within the workplace, according to findings from the Healthcare Trends Institute’s fourth annual Benefits Benchmark Survey, which provides employers insights into how their peers are adopting new health care benefits options….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Americans are worried about costs beyond the ACA

Health care reform efforts that focus narrowly on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges ignore bigger health care cost issues, like those relating to health insurance obtained through an employer, Medicare, or Medicaid, according to new Kaiser Family Foundation polling data. The new poll reveals that a growing number of Americans, including those with health insurance not purchased on an ACA exchange, are facing greater difficulty paying for health care….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 13, 2017


Study connects the dots between essential health care and paid sick leave

Researchers from Cleveland State University and Florida Atlantic University have found that regardless of sociodemographic factors, workers who lack paid sick leave were significantly less likely to have received preventive health care screenings in the last 12 months—even among those who have been told they have a condition such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease that places them at higher medical risk. Moreover, workers without paid sick leave are 1.6 times less likely to have received a flu shot in the past 12 months, according to the research announced on March 1….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers search for diverse solutions to reduce health care costs

Employers are looking beyond substantial health plan design changes to other strategies that will help them control costs, according to recent research from DirectPath and CEB. The 2017 Medical Plan Trends and Observations Report noted that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are not a “silver bullet” for health care cost containment, and so employers are incorporating solutions like health savings accounts (HSAs), wellness plans, spousal surcharges, and other alternative options to reduce costs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »