Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – December 15, 2017

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: IRC Sec. 415 benefit/contribution limits, 11/17 (109.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Dollar limits and thresholds indexed annually, 11/17 (101.3.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Survey: IRS monthly segment rates, 11/17 (101.2.-9)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Interest rates for funding calculations, 11/17 (101.2.-7)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • News

    December 15, 2017

    Little Sisters may not intervene in lawsuit challenging contraception coverage exemptions

    Finding that the federal government was rigorously defending health care regulations exempting employers with religious objections from providing coverage for birth control, a federal judge in Pennsylvania denied a nonprofit religious organization’s motion to intervene as of right. The court also denied permissive intervention finding that the organization’s participation in the suit would cause delay and complications….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Employees fail to take advantage of HSAs

    Nearly half (43 percent) of all employees enrolled in health savings accounts (HSAs) in 2017 did not contribute any of their own money to these tax-advantaged accounts, according to the 22nd annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey from Willis Towers Watson. With nearly three-quarters of employers (73 percent) offering their employees a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) tied to an HSA, this is a missed opportunity for many to reduce their out-of-pocket health care costs and potentially save for retirement….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    December 14, 2017

    Solving the workplace leave problem: Flexibility for employers versus guarantees for employees

    On December 6, a House Education and the Workforce subcommittee held a hearing to examine workplace leave proposals. There is a growing consensus in support of federal legislation that would set national workplace leave policy. The question that lawmakers must grapple with, however, is exactly what that legislation should look like….

            (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) »

    December 13, 2017

    Majority of U.S. employees do not believe their employers’ well-being initiatives meet their needs

    Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of U.S. employers aim to improve their health and well-being strategies and programs over the next three years to differentiate themselves from organizations with which they compete for talent. This is up from the 18 percent that say they do so now, according to the 22nd annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey by Willis Towers Watson. However, they have work to do: Findings of this employer survey and a concurrent employee survey reveal a sizable disconnect between employers and employees on the effectiveness of their current programs….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Health care spending passes $10,000 per person in 2016

    Health care spending reached $10,348 per person in 2016, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s National Health Expenditure 2016 report. Overall, health care spending in the United States increased 4.3 percent to reach $3.3 trillion. The overall share of gross domestic product (GDP) related to health care spending was 17.9 percent in 2016, up from 17.7 percent in 2015….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    December 12, 2017

    Employee with lung cancer, fired after seeking further leave, gets claims reinstated

    Granting a warehouse manager’s motion for reconsideration in a suit arising from her termination during an ongoing battle with lung cancer, a federal court in Kentucky concluded the court had committed clear error in dismissing her claims of FMLA interference and retaliation and ERISA interference, and her cause of action under the Kentucky Equal Opportunities Act (KEOA). The court concluded the employee had alleged more than sufficient facts to show that she suffered from a “disability” and a “serious health condition,” that the defendant was an FMLA-covered employer, and that the company fired her, at least in part, with the aim of interfering with her use of her benefits….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Guidance issued on computing affordability exemption

    The IRS has provided guidance on computing the affordability exemption. Market instability has resulted in limited plan offerings on the Marketplaces in some regions. Therefore, some individuals lived in rating areas where no bronze plan was offered for 2017. Consequently, affected taxpayers were not able to determine whether they would be eligible for the affordability exemption….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    December 11, 2017

    American Benefits Council sends Congress suggestions for single national paid leave policy

    In a December 6 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee, the American Benefits Council (the Council) voiced its support for a single, national standard regarding paid time off. Such a National standard must be practical, voluntary, uniform, and flexible, the Council advises….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Plan administrator’s interpretation of ambiguous plan terms in calculating pension benefit of disabled participant upheld as reasonable

    A plan administrator’s interpretation of ambiguous plan terms in calculating the final average compensation of a disabled employee, resulting in a reduced pension benefit, was not arbitrary and capricious according to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The fact that the plan sponsor funded and administered the plan suggested a conflict of interest, but no evidence indicated that the conflict affected the administrator’s calculation of the participant’s compensation and benefits….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »