Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – December 8, 2017


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New Reports




December 8, 2017


Workplace leave policies are out of date, subcommittee is told

Public policy on paid leave and workplace flexibility options is behind the times, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) testified today during a subcommittee hearing on workplace leave policies and their impact on job providers and working families….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

U.S. employees’ financial well-being falters

The financial well-being of U.S. employees reversed direction this year following several years of steady improvement, according to Willis Towers Watson. The biennial survey also revealed a large increase in the number of employees who say their financial woes are negatively affecting their lives and who are worried about their future financial situation….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 7, 2017


Employers need to respond to IRS ESRP letter within 30 days, experts warn

The IRS has started sending Letter 226J to employers for the 2015 plan year, which an applicable large employer (ALE) is likely to receive if the IRS determines that, for at least one month during the year, one or more of the ALE’s full-time employees was enrolled in a qualified health plan for which a premium tax credit was allowed. According to experts at an ADP-sponsored webcast, The Time is Now for Best Practices for Managing IRS ACA Penalties, employers need to be “extremely mindful” of the 30 day response date….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Interest in student loan repayment benefits increases

More employees are expressing interest in student loan repayment benefits, and some employees are even willing to sacrifice other benefits for help with repayments, according to a survey from Millennial Personal Finance. Conducted with 500 recent college graduates working full-time and holding student loan debt, the survey found 23 percent of respondents said they would forgo health care benefits for student loan repayment help; 38 percent said they would switch out dental care benefits; 46 percent would give up paid time off (PTO); 33 percent would sacrifice retirement benefits; and 43 percent would rather have a student loan repayment benefit than life insurance….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 6, 2017


Employer credit for paid family and medical leave included in Senate-passed tax bill

The Senate has passed its amended version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes an employer credit for paid family and medical leave….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

CCIIO issues draft 2019 letter to guide exchange issuers

The CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has issued its draft 2019 letter to issuers in the Federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFEs) providing updates on operational and technical guidance for the 2019 plan year for issuers seeking to offer qualified health plans (QHPs). The guidance also covers stand-alone dental plans (SADPs) in either the FFEs or in the Federally-facilitated Small Business Health Options Programs (FF-SHOPs). Although many of the procedures and requirements largely follow the 2018 Letter to Issuers, there are some significant changes which issuers need to be aware of….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 5, 2017


Employee can’t sue employer’s defense counsel for FMLA interference or defamation

An employee was unable to advance his claims of FMLA interference and defamation against the law firm representing his former employer (who he was also suing for discrimination). Granting the law firm’s motion to dismiss his claims, which were based on the defense attorney’s alleged conduct and statements during DOL proceedings, a federal court in Kansas determined that the law firm was not an “employer” under the FMLA, and the attorney’s communications to the DOL investigator were entitled to an absolute privilege….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC multiemployer program’s deficit continues to grow, single-employer program’s deficit drops

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Annual Report, showing that the deficit in the PBGC’s insurance program for multiemployer plans continued to grow, increasing to $65.1 billion at the end of FY 2017 primarily because of the ongoing financial decline of several large multiemployer plans that the PBGC expects to run out of money in the next decade. However, the single-employer insurance program’s deficit narrowed, dropping to $10.9 billion at the end of FY 2017, as compared to $20.6 billion at the end of FY 2016. The PBGC notes that this improvement is primarily due to premium and investment income, and increases in the interest factors used to measure the value of future liabilities….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

December 4, 2017


CCIIO provides guidance for employers wishing to revoke accommodation for contraception coverage

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has provided clarification of notice procedures for employers that, based on sincerely held religious or moral beliefs, object to providing contraceptive preventive services. The CCIIO has detailed procedures that must be followed if such “objecting entities” no longer wish to use an accommodation previously provided in interim final rules published on October 13, 2017, that enabled certain employers to allow employees access to contraceptive preventive services via an indirect route….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Significant deficit reduction would come from elimination of individual mandate penalty

The reconciliation recommendations of the Senate Committee on Finance, on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which would amend numerous provisions of U.S. tax law, would also permanently repeal, beginning in 2019, the penalties associated with the requirement that most people obtain health insurance coverage (also known as the individual mandate). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the legislation would reduce revenues by about $1,633 billion and decrease outlays by $219 billion over the 2018-2027 period, leading to an increase in the deficit of $1.414 trillion over the next 10 years. The CBO notes that the bill’s most significant effects on outlays would occur as a result of the elimination of the penalties associated with the individual mandate….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »