Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – April 14, 2017

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April 14, 2017


More well-being programs include employee financial security features

As more employers recognize the impact of financial wellness on employee health, a growing percentage of companies are expanding their well-being programs to include employee financial security, according to the 8th annual survey on corporate Health and Well-being from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health. The survey, which includes responses from 141 large and mid-sized organizations, reveals 84 percent of companies now have financial security programs, such as access to debt management tools or student loan counseling, in their well-being strategies, an increase from 76 percent last year. Financial security programs are the third most-popular offering, following physical well-being programs (95 percent) and emotional health programs (87 percent)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS reminds VCP submitters about not overpaying user fees

The IRS reminds plan sponsors and their representatives making submissions to the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System’s (EPCRS’s) Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP) to pay the correct user fee. The Employee Plans Compliance function has noticed an increase in VCP submissions with an incorrect user fee, many of which are higher than what is required. The VCP allows a plan sponsor to pay a fee and receive the IRS’s approval for correction of certain qualification failures: operational, plan document, demographic, and employer eligibility. A VCP submission must describe the failures and the proposed methods of correction. After the IRS receives the VCP submission, it will determine if the plan meets the eligibility requirements. If the IRS decides that the VCP submission meets these requirements, it will contact the plan to discuss the proposed corrections….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 13, 2017

IRS spotlights employer shared responsibility payments

The IRS has updated its webpage with a fact sheet containing information about the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). An applicable large employer (ALE) may be subject to an employer shared responsibility payment if it fails to offer minimum essential coverage or if it fails to offer affordable minimum essential coverage that provides minimum value. However, an ALE may be subject to only one, not both, of the two potential employer shared responsibility payments depending on its decisions about offering minimum essential coverage to its fulltime employees (and their dependents)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA’s risk adjustment program reduced claims costs per enrollee, study shows

Although the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains uncertain, a recent study, published in the March issue of Health Affairs, sought to inform the discussion of how risk-sharing programs brought pursuant to the ACA can address risk selection. Specifically the study compared revenues versus claims costs for insurers in the individual market during 2014 and 2015, the first years of ACA implementation. The study,
Risk Adjustment, Reinsurance Improved Financial Outcomes For Individual Market Insurers With The Highest Claims, found the risk adjustment, as well as the reinsurance program, to be “relatively well targeted….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 12, 2017

As employee expectations redefine workplace, retention is top priority, MetLife survey finds

The gig economy and demographic shifts are disrupting the workplace, redefining employees’ workplace expectations, according to MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study. MetLife’s study found that the gig economy is posing a real threat to employers, with over half (51 percent) of employees saying they are interested in contract or freelance work for more flexible hours, the ability to work from home and project variety, as opposed to a full-time salaried job which may not offer such perks. Freelance work appeals to Millennials most, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the generation interested, followed by Gen X (52 percent) and Boomers (41 percent). Employers agree that the gig economy is affecting the workplace: nearly two-thirds (59 percent) say the increase of temporary jobs will impact the workplace in the next 3-5 years….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority support paid leave, but think employers should foot the bill

Many local and state governments recently have enacted laws to provide workers with access to paid family and sick leave. A recent study from Pew Research Center has found that Americans largely support paid leave, and most say that employers, rather than the federal and state government, should cover the costs of providing paid leave. However, the public is sharply divided over whether the government should require employers to provide this benefit or let employers decide for themselves, and relatively few see expanding paid leave as a top policy priority….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 11, 2017


Self-Insurance Protection Act clears House

On April 5, the House passed the Self-Insurance Protection Act, legislation that proponents contend would protect access to affordable health care options for workers and families. Introduced by Representative Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), H.R. 1304 would reaffirm long-standing policies to ensure workers can continue to receive flexible, affordable health care coverage through self-insured plans. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 400 to 16….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Half of mature U.S. workers will wait until at least age 70 to retire or won’t retire at all

Thirty percent of U.S. workers ages 60 and older plan to retire at age 70 or older, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Another 20 percent don’t believe they will ever be able to retire. While delaying retirement can be fueled by a number of reasons, financial motivations typically top the list as mature workers work to ensure they have a large enough nest egg. But, just how much they’ll need in the bank to enjoy their golden years remains a mystery or moving target for some. One third of workers ages 60 and older (34 percent) say they aren’t sure how much they’ll need to save in order to retire….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension plan’s “termination” clause aids employees who kept working after sale

Under the plain language of a pension plan, the sale of an employer’s subsidiary triggered the plan’s “involuntary termination” provision, requiring the plan to pay enhanced pension benefits to the subsidiary’s employees—even though they had remained continuously employed with the subsidiary after the sale, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 10, 2017


Text: DOL, final rule, extension of fiduciary rule applicability date

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers are relieved AHCA collapsed, want focus on Rx costs

Employers are relieved the AHCA didn’t pass, and they want pharmacy costs to be the top priority of policymakers, according to a survey of more than 500 healthcare benefit professionals taken during a recent Mercer Washington Update webcast. The benefit professionals were asked about their feelings towards the (apparent) collapse of the AHCA and what issue policymakers should focus on to better improve healthcare in the United States….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Fiduciary rule’s applicability delayed for 60 days

The Department of Labor has issued a final rule extending for 60 days the applicability dates of the fiduciary rule and related exemptions, including the Best Interest Contract Exemption. The move is unsurprising, as it follows the DOL’s proposal on March 2 to delay the rule in order to conduct the review directed by President Trump’s memorandum of February 3, 2017. This final rule delaying the applicability dates related to the fiduciary rule was published in the April 7
Federal Register….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Review of sleep apnea policy’s lawfulness under ADA denied

The High Court will not revisit an Eight Circuit holding that summary judgment was properly granted against an overweight truck driver’s claim that being required to undergo a sleep study violated the ADA. The Court entered an order on April 3 denying the truck driver’s petition for certiorari in
Parker v. Crete Carrier Corp. At issue was the employer’s perception that due to his size, the driver was at risk for sleep apnea and should therefore undergo a sleep study….

(Read Intelliconnect) »