Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – February 9, 2018


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Featured This Week


New Reports




February 9, 2018


Americans hold their defined contribution plans in high esteem

Americans remained confident that 401(k)s, and other defined contribution (DC) plan accounts, will help them meet their personal retirement goals, according to a new study released by the Investment Company Institute (ICI). The study, “American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, 2017,” found that, overall, 77 percent of US households were confident that 401(k) and other employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts can help individuals meet their retirement goals….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

2018 pension plan limits not affected by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The IRS has announced that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) does not affect the tax year 2018 dollar limitations for retirement plans announced in IR 2017-177 and detailed in Notice 2017-64….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Motive for firing employee shortly after she took time off to care for husband was questionable

An employee who was terminated seven days after telling her supervisor she would be submitting FMLA paperwork for leave to care for her husband, who had been diagnosed with brain tumors, raised genuine issues of fact sufficient to survive summary judgment on her FMLA interference and retaliation claims, held a federal court in Maryland. Temporal proximity could support a finding of causation on her retaliation claim. Also, although the employer claimed she was discharged for misconduct, it had not acted on the misconduct at the time it was supposed to have occurred and, in the interim, it had informed the employee that she was not being terminated. Therefore, the employee also established a question of fact as to the employer’s stated motives for terminating her….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

February 8, 2018


Creditable coverage disclosure due to CMS by March 1

Group health plan sponsors that provide prescription drug coverage to individuals eligible for Medicare Part D must disclose to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) whether the coverage is creditable or non-creditable. The disclosure obligation applies to all plan sponsors that provide prescription drug coverage, even those that do not offer prescription drug coverage to retirees. Calendar year plans must submit this disclosure to the CMS by March 1, 2017. For non-calendar year plans, the Creditable Coverage Disclosure is due to the CMS no later than 60 days after the beginning of the plan year….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Bipartisan multiemployer pension bill takes shape

A bipartisan proposal for changes to multiemployer pensions is taking shape on Capitol Hill. Reps. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) said that they plan to roll-out a bill that would allow some multiemployer plans to move to a hybrid structure. Their proposal, called the Give Retirement Options to Workers Act (GROW Act), could be part of an omnibus fiscal year (FY) 2018 federal spending bill….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

February 7, 2018


Idaho willing to accept non-ACA-compliant plans

The Idaho Department of Insurance, as directed by the governor, is developing guidance for health care insurers that will enable state carriers to offer more health care plans that do not comply with all of the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The move comes following Congress’ elimination of the individual mandate penalty and an executive order issued by President Trump….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

NY, MN sue Administration for reducing Basic Health Plan funding

The Attorneys General of New York and Minnesota, the only two states to have created Basic Health Plans (BHPs) under the promise of federal funding, filed suit in the Southern District of New York against the Trump Administration for telling the states in December 2017 that it was cutting BHP funding by approximately 25 percent. The states argue in the complaint that the action was “abrupt and unlawful” and “will inflict significant financial injury on the states by forcing them to cover this dramatic loss in federal funding to avoid jeopardizing programs that provide over 800,000 low-income people with access to affordable health care….”

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

February 6, 2018


Tasking employee while she was on FMLA leave could constitute interference

Denying a school board’s motion for summary judgment in part, a federal district court in Illinois concluded that a principal who telephoned a teacher who was on medical leave and asked her to come up with lesson plans and to post grades could be considered to have “crossed the line into interference.” However, the employer’s request for a second medical opinion before approving leave did not constitute interference and the employee failed to raise a triable issue on her FMLA retaliation claim because the employer’s unrebutted evidence indicated she would have been suspended and terminated for poor performance in any event….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS updates IRA FAQs on recharacterization for Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes

The IRS has updated its website’s IRA FAQs concerning recharacterization of Roth rollovers and conversions for the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97). Effective January 1, 2018, under the Act, a conversion from a traditional individual retirement arrangement (IRA), SEP, or SIMPLE IRA to a Roth IRA cannot be recharacterized. In addition, the Act prohibits recharacterizing amounts rolled over to a Roth IRA from other retirement plans, such as 401(k) or 403(b) plans….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

February 5, 2018


Employees’ mistaken acknowledgment of independent contractor status precludes ERISA and COBRA claims

ERISA and COBRA claims brought by employees against Superior Healthplan, Inc., and Centene Corporation were dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, based on an agreement the employees had signed that acknowledged they were independent contractors, not common law employees. The employees were allowed to proceed with claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), however….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Nearly 70 percent of small business owners not confident about retirement

Sixty-nine percent of small business owners have zero to little confidence that they will be able to retire comfortably, according to a recent survey from Paychex. Thirty percent said they were somewhat confident, 21 percent said they were not at all confident, and 18 percent fall between somewhat confident and not at all confident—adding up to a total of 69 percent. Only 20 percent said they were very confident that they will have enough money to retire comfortably….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »