Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – July 28, 2017

 

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July 28, 2017

Text: IRS, final rule, branded prescription drug fee

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Final regs define “controlled group” for branded prescription drug fee purposes

The IRS has issued final regulations that define the term “controlled group” for purposes of the branded prescription drug fee. The final regulations affect persons engaged in the business of manufacturing or importing certain branded prescription drugs and supersede and adopt the text of temporary regulations that define the term “controlled group.” The final regulations are effective July 24, 2017….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

SHOP has long way to go if it is to become a focal point of the small-group market

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)-created Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) has the potential to grow, but the program has a long way to go if it is to become a focal point of the small-group market, according to a recent report from The Commonwealth Fund. The report, Talking SHOP: Revisiting the Small-Business Marketplaces in California and Colorado, evaluated the SHOP exchanges in California and Colorado. The analysis found that the relative fortunes of SHOP appear closely tied to the performance of the ACA exchanges for individual coverage. Though the California and Colorado programs are similar in design, The Commonwealth Fund found that California’s has had more success, largely because of its stability and the broad political acceptance of the ACA within the state….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

July 27, 2017

Senate begins debate on ACA repeal, replace legislation

The Senate voted 51-to-50 on July 25 to proceed to take up the House-approved American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1628). The AHCA would repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) and related taxes. The House measure is being brought to the floor so the Senate can offer amendments to that repeal and replacement of the ACA….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers’ cost to provide employee benefits has risen 24 percent since 2001

Employers’ cost to provide employee benefits, measured as a percentage of pay, increased 24 percent between 2001 and 2015, due mainly to a doubling in health care benefit costs, according to recent research from Willis Towers Watson. The study, Shifts in Benefit Allocations Among U.S. Employers, found a major shift in how employers allocate benefit dollars and prompts questions as to whether they are delivering the benefits their employees want….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

July 26, 2017

HR director may be individually liable for FMLA and wage violations

A human resources director named, individually, as a defendant in a FMLA and wage lawsuit by an employee fired upon returning from medical leave, will remain on the hook in the lawsuit, a federal district court in Pennsylvania ruled. Denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss, the court concluded that the plaintiff sufficiently alleged that the individual defendant had supervisory authority over her and was responsible in part for the alleged FMLA violation. She also sufficiently alleged a claim for remedy under the state’s Wage Payment and Collection Law….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Some women’s benefits rise while others fall

According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits Survey, 30 percent of organizations currently provide paid maternity leave beyond what is covered by short-term disability or state law, an increase from 26 percent in 2016. Fewer employers on the other hand—24 percent—offer paternity leave. However, while some women’s benefits are on the rise others are on the decline. For example, contraceptive coverage has decreased by 7 percentage points compared to just five years ago….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

July 25, 2017

CBO releases score of revised Senate GOP ACA repeal, replace bill

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released an updated cost estimate on July 20 of Senate Republicans’ revised, third discussion draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), also released on July 20 by the Senate Budget Committee. The revised version would repeal and replace, in part, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and related taxes….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues revised procedures for multiemployer plans in critical and declining status seeking benefit reductions

The IRS has issued revised procedures regarding applications for a suspension of benefits for participants and beneficiaries in a multiemployer defined benefit pension plan in critical and declining status under Code Sec. 432(e)(9), which was authorized by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA), Division O of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-235). The revised procedures must be followed for applications submitted on or after September 1, 2017….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Failure to read SPDs and other financial disclosures time bars fiduciary breach claims

Fiduciary breach claims based on the alleged overallocation of plan assets to hedge funds, private equity, and other alternative investments were time barred, according to a federal trial court in California. The court imputed to the participant actual knowledge of the facts underlying the claims from the fact that the investments and investment strategies were disclosed in plan summary plan descriptions (SPDs) and Fund Fact Sheets. The fact that the participant did not read the disclosures or have an understanding of his legal claim did not negate the actual knowledge of the facts constituting his claim….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

July 24, 2017

New York adopts regulations implementing paid family leave program

New York has adopted regulations implementing the state’s Paid Family Leave program, according to New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo who made the announcement in a July 19 press release. The regulations outline the responsibilities of employers and insurance carriers in implementing the most comprehensive paid family leave program in the nation….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

U.S. ranks last in health performance among high-income countries

The United States spends far more on health care than 10 other high-income countries, yet the population’s health is poorer and the U.S. comes in last on health care system performance, according to recent research from The Commonwealth Fund. The report rated the United States last or next-to-last in four of the five health system categories assessed: equity, access, administrative efficiency, and health care outcomes. The United Kingdom ranked first in overall performance, according to the report, though it placed tenth in health care outcomes….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

ADA, GINA claims fail absent reasonable accommodation request or link between discharge and family history of cancer

Affirming summary judgment against a temp agency employee’s ADA failure-to-accommodate claim, the Tenth Circuit explained that regular attendance was essential to her temp assignment as a receptionist and her vague requests for absences for cancer treatment, with no information on expected duration, was unreasonable on its face. Summary judgment was also affirmed against her discrimination claim under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) because she failed to make a prima facie showing that her assignment was ended based on her family’s history of breast cancer….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »