Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – August 25, 2017


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Featured This Week

New Reports


August 25, 2017

More employers are requiring same-sex couples to marry to receive health benefits

Employers are increasingly requiring same-sex couples to legally marry to receive health care benefits, data from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reveals. The trend follows the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC reports multiemployer program likely to be insolvent by 2025

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Projections Report on the financial prospects of its pension insurance programs. The Agency’s single-employer pension program is likely to improve in the next ten years and to eliminate its deficit within the next three to seven years. Consistent with findings in last year’s Report, the multiemployer program is likely to become insolvent by 2025 without changes in the law or additional resources. The Projections Report, which is the PBGC’s actuarial evaluation of its future operations and financial status, is issued annually, as required by ERISA….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 24, 2017

Text: IRS, Rev. Proc. 2017-48

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

2017 monthly national average premium provided

The IRS has issued guidance providing the 2017 monthly national average premium for qualified health plans that have a bronze level of coverage for taxpayers to use in determining their maximum individual shared responsibility payment under Code Sec. 5000A(c)(1)(B). An explanation of the methodology used to determine the monthly national average premium amount also is provided….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

HSA assets reach $42.7 billion in June

Health savings accounts (HSA) have grown to an estimated $42.7 billion in assets and 21 million accounts as of June 30, 2017, according to the 2017 Midyear Devenir HSA Survey. Devenir is projecting that the HSA market will exceed $60 billion in HSA assets held amongst nearly 30 million accounts by the end of 2019….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Investment of stable value fund assets in conservative cash options conformed to plan’s investment objectives

The investment of a large percentage of a plan’s stable value fund assets in a short-term cash management fund that provided extremely low investment returns did not constitute a fiduciary breach, according to a federal trial court in Rhode Island, because the fund’s portfolio conformed to the plan’s stated investment objectives. The prudence of the plan’s investment strategy, the court stressed, could not be measured in hindsight….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 23, 2017

SIFL rates issued for the second half of 2017

The Department of Transportation has released the applicable terminal charge and standard industry fare level (SIFL) mileage rates for July 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017. These rates will be used by the IRS to determine the value of noncommercial flights on employer-provided aircraft….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

8 million more women insured since ACA implementation

The percentage of uninsured nonelderly adult women decreased from 20 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2016. According to a survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund (CWF), this amounted to an additional 8 million women gaining insurance since the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) major coverage expansions….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 22, 2017

ERISA preempted state unpaid leave claim; policy was VEBA-plan dependent

An employee’s unpaid leave claim under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act was completely preempted by ERISA because the employer’s leave policy was dependent on the terms of its VEBA plan, ruled the Seventh Circuit. In affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the employer, the appeals court found that the employee’s claim did not implicate a duty that was independent of ERISA….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues September 2017 AFRs

The September 2017 short-term, mid-term, and long-term applicable federal interest rates (AFRs) have been issued by the IRS. The September mid-term 175 percent AFR (Annual) rate, used to calculate interest charged to the funding standard account for underpayments of quarterly contributions under Code Sec. 412(m), is 3.41 percent….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority of Americans want Trump Administration to make ACA work

A large majority of Americans are ready for Washington to move on after the failure of Repeal-and-Replace legislation and begin working on making the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) work, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. Eight in ten Americans (78 percent) say they want the Trump Administration to make the current health care law work while a much smaller group (17 percent) say the Administration should do what it can to make the law fail so it can be replaced later. Those in favor of making the ACA work included large majorities of Democrats (95 percent) and independents (80 percent), as well as about half of Republicans (52 percent) and President Trump’s supporters (51 percent)….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

August 21, 2017

Survey shows financial wellness programs on the upswing, reflecting high costs of financial stress

Mercer has released the second installment of the Inside Employee Minds (IEM) Financial Wellness survey, which found that employers could lose up to $250 billion in lost wages due to employees’ stress about their personal finances. Employees reported spending approximately 150 hours annually of their work time worrying about money. On a total US wage bill of $5 trillion, this could be costing employers up to $250 billion in lost wages each year. The survey also finds that employees with access to financial wellness have over twice the job satisfaction and higher levels of trust than those without access….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Terminating ACA insurer payments would cause premiums, uninsured rate to yo-yo

If payments for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) are terminated, the insurance market would be unstable in the short run—2018 would see premiums would increase by 20 percent, the number of uninsured would increase slightly, about 5 percent of people would live in areas with no nongroup market plans available, and the federal deficit would increase by $6 billion in 2018—according to an August 2017 Congressional Budget Office report. At the request of the House Democratic Leader and the House Democratic Whip, the CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) took a look at the effect of terminating CSRs, the possibility of which has been posited by the President. Specifically, the CBO’s estimate assumed a policy where an announcement was made by the end of August 2017 (before insurers must finalize 2018 rate plans) that CSR payments would continue through December 2017 but not thereafter….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »