Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – August 4, 2017

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  • News

    August 4, 2017

    Employers expect health care costs to rise by 5.5% in 2018, up from 4.6% in 2017

    Employers expect health care costs to increase by 5.5% in 2018, up from a 4.6% increase in 2017, according to the 22nd annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey by Willis Towers Watson. In the face of these continued cost pressures, including employee affordability, employers plan to step up cost management strategies over the next three years, including evaluation of emerging health care delivery solutions and improved patient navigation and health engagement….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    PSCA survey provides plan sponsor reactions to effect of possible tax reform on retirement plans

    More than 90 percent of respondents indicated that they strongly or somewhat agree that eliminating or reducing pre-tax contributions to retirement savings plans is a bad idea, according to a recent Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) snapshot survey. Jack Towarnicky, PSCA’s Executive Director, said that “Plan sponsors are very concerned about the potential impact of tax reform on their employees’ retirement savings….”

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    August 3, 2017

    Employers are revamping benefits strategies to outmaneuver competitors and become destination employers

    As the U.S. unemployment rate drops, the battle to recruit and retain top talent has only intensified. Becoming a destination employer is not only crucial for the competitiveness of individual organizations, it also impacts the economy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are currently 5.7 million job openings. If all of those positions were filled, the nation’s GDP growth rate could significantly increase….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    The ACA helped working people get insured

    Rates of health insurance coverage in working families increased under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). About 9.5 million workers and 5.2 million of their family members gained coverage from 2010 to 2015 under the ACA, according to a brief from the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Prior to the passage of the ACA, employer-sponsored insurance rates saw decades of decline….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    August 2, 2017

    House lawmakers introduce bipartisan ACA-related “compromise plan”

    The Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 40 House lawmakers, introduced a “compromise plan” on July 31 to address problems in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposal comes just days after Senate Republicans failed to move forward ACA repeal and replace legislation on the Senate floor….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    MagnaCare to return $14.5M to ERISA-covered plans after purported failure to disclose fees, other violations

    The Department of Labor announced an agreement with MagnaCare LLC, under which the third-party administrator that provides employee health benefit plans with access to a network of doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers will return at least $14.5 million in network management fees to ERISA health benefit plans in order to resolve allegations of ERISA violations. The company may also make additional payments of $4.5 million based upon business volume through 2019, the DOL said….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    August 1, 2017

    Denial of disability benefits, failure to offer accommodation didn’t show constructive discharge

    An employee who claimed his employer failed to engage in the interactive process or accommodate his disability, and that a claims examiner falsely told him she had contacted his doctor before denying his disability claim, was unable to proceed with his claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Family Rights Act (CFRA) after a federal district court found them unsupported by sufficient facts….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Majority of full-time workers had access to employer-provided medical care

    Employer-provided medical care was available to 85 percent of full-time private industry workers in the United States in March 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). By contrast, only 19 percent of part-time workers had access to medical care benefits. Access, or availability, also varied by establishment size, noted the BLS: 57 percent for workers in small establishments (those with fewer than 100 employees), compared with 84 percent in medium and large establishments (those with 100 employees or more). These are among the findings of the report, Employee Benefits in the United States—March 2017….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    July 31, 2017

    Text: IRS, final rule, health insurance premium tax credit

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    IRS finalizes premium tax credit regs

    The IRS has finalized regulations under Code Sec. 36B and Code Sec. 162(l) related to the premium tax credit. The temporary and proposed regulations (T.D. 9683; REG-104579-13), which were issued in 2014, provided….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Payment of fees from mutual funds owned by plan sponsor to subsidiaries did not constitute prohibited transaction

    The payment of management fees from mutual funds owned by the plan sponsor to wholly-owned subsidiary companies did not constitute a prohibited transaction, according to a federal trial court in Massachusetts, because the fees were not paid from plan assets. In addition, the court ruled that management fees paid by the mutual funds to the affiliates of the plan sponsor did not constitute a prohibited transaction because the fees were reasonable. The court expressly rejected a comparison of the actively managed mutual funds with passively managed indexed funds….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »