Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – August 18, 2017

 

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News

August 18, 2017

 

Wellness program design tips are offered in new ComPsych report

ComPsych has released its yearly aggregate report of health assessments across its book of business, including data from hundreds of thousands of employees of all ages, occupations, regions and industries. The report provides eight tips on wellness program design, messaging and promotions, as well as a snapshot of employee physical and emotional health….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

FMLA’s limitations period was a statutory right that could not be waived by contract

Refusing to dismiss a fired employee’s FMLA interference and retaliation claims, a federal district court in Indiana first found that it was not barred by a six-month contractual limitations period because the longer two-year statutory period was an FMLA right that could not be waived. The court also found that the employee sufficiently pleaded her claims by alleging that she had a serious health condition, about which the employer knew, and she was fired because she had to miss too much work to receive treatment….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 17, 2017

 

Wellness programs boost employee health, productivity

Nearly 90 percent of companies in the United States use some form of employee wellness program—from gym memberships to health screenings to flu shots—all designed to improve health. But how do these wellness programs affect everyday employee productivity? Is it possible to do a job better as a result of feeling better on the job?….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues September 2017 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating July through September 2017, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.44 percent, up from the 2.15 percent rate that applied in April through June 2017. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in September 2017 is 1.00 percent, up from the .75 percent rate that applied in August 2017….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Government in breach of contract for failure to make risk corridor payments

An insurer who sold health insurance plans through the health benefit exchanges under the under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was entitled to partial motion for summary judgment when the government failed to make risk corridor payments under section 1342 of the ACA to cover the insurer’s losses, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled. The government’s promise to pay constituted an implied-in-fact contract, and Congress did not clearly or adequately express an intent to make the program budget neutral….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 16, 2017

 

Failing to clarify maternity leave also FMLA leave results in triable issue on interference claim

Denying cross-motions for summary judgment on a discharged employee’s FMLA interference claims, a federal district court in New York found triable issues on whether her employer’s inadequate FMLA notices resulted in her inability to structure her leave for childbirth so as to successfully return to her job, particularly given her obvious confusion over whether maternity leave and FMLA ran concurrently, the employer’s failure to answer her questions, and the lack of guidance in its policies….

        (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) »

DOL issues transition period FAQs concerning fiduciary status disclosures

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a set of FAQs that provides guidance on issues related to the phased-in fiduciary conflict of interest requirements that must be met during a transition period from June 9, 2017 to January 1, 2018. This guidance, like the fiduciary rule and related exemptions, is generally limited to advice concerning investments in IRAs, ERISA-covered plans, and other plans covered by Code Sec. 4975….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 15, 2017

 

Large employers project health care benefit costs to surpass $14,000 per employee in 2018, survey finds

Faced with another five percent increase in health care benefit costs, a growing number of large U.S. employers plan to focus more on how health care is delivered and paid for while still pursuing traditional methods of controlling costs such as cost sharing and plan design changes, according to an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health. As a result, more employees will have access to broader health care services including telemedicine, Centers of Excellence and onsite health centers during open enrollment while not experiencing major increases in their costs….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

AGs allowed to intervene in ACA subsidies case

The motion brought by 17 state attorneys general (AGs) to intervene in House of Representatives v. Price was granted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The decision declared that the AGs provided enough evidence to demonstrate standing and they met the requirements for intervention as of right….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 14, 2017

 

Executive order does not release employers from shared responsibility payments

The IRS has issued two information letters in response to inquiries about employer shared responsibility payments (ESRP) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the letters, the IRS emphasizes that, despite a recent executive order issued by the Trump administration, Code Sec. 4980H still provides that, if an applicable large employer (generally, one with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees) fails to offer health coverage to its employees, it may be liable for the ESRP. The IRS adds that there is no provision in the ACA that provides for a waiver of the ESRP….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

DOL signals it will further drag out fiduciary rule implementation

In a court document filed August 9, 2017, the Department of Labor notified the federal district court in Minnesota—and alert court watchers—that it intends to further delay the applicability dates of certain provisions of its controversial “fiduciary rule,” including the Best Interest Contract Exemption, from its January 1, 2018, applicability date until July 1, 2019….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »