Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – June 23, 2017

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Individual mandate, 6/17 (551.-1)

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  • Analysis: Designing CDHPs, 6/17 (356.-11)

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  • Overview: Health risk appraisals, 6/17 (326.-15)

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  • Overview: Health benefit exchanges, 6/17 (540.-1)

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  • News

    June 23, 2017

    Senate releases its version of health care replacement bill

    The Senate has released an amended version of H.R. 1628 (the American Health Care Act of 2017). The “discussion draft” will, according to a statement on the website of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget, help stabilize collapsing insurance markets—by creating a stabilization fund that would provide $15 billion per year in 2018 and 2019, and $10 billion per year in 2020 and 2021. It also provides for a short-term stabilization fund and cost-sharing reductions through 2019….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    EBSA seeks nominations for Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans vacancies

    In the June 21 Federal Register, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published a notice seeking nominations to fill vacancies on the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (the Council), established under ERISA Sec. 512….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    June 22, 2017

    One-third of companies increase employee benefits in war for talent, SHRM finds

    Nearly one-third of organizations increased their overall benefits in the last 12 months signaling the need to remain competitive in today’s recruiting environment, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) 2017 Employee Benefits survey report. The survey found that increases in benefits packages were most likely in health (22 percent) and wellness (24 percent) offerings….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Benefits were 31.7 percent of total compensation in March 2017, BLS finds

    Employer-provided benefits costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local governments in March 2017 averaged $11.18 per hour worked, accounting for 31.7 percent of total compensation costs, which averaged $35.28 per hour worked. The cost of benefits as a percentage of compensation has risen over the past several years from 27.4 percent of total compensation. These are among the findings of the March 2017 Employer Costs for Employee Compensation report, produced quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    June 21, 2017

    AHCA expected to reduce federal expenditures by $323B from 2017 to 2026

    The Office of the Actuary has prepared a memorandum which estimates that the financial effect of the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA) will be to reduce federal healthcare spending by more than $328 billion over the fiscal years 2017-2026, primarily because of lower Medicaid spending. The memorandum also estimated that the number of uninsured in 2018 will be 4 million higher than under current law, and that by 2026 overall Medicaid spending will be $105 billion lower. Other findings estimate a lowering of average gross premiums by 13 percent by the end of the ten fiscal-year period measured….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    IRS issues July 2017 AFRs

    The July 2017 short-term, mid-term, and long-term applicable federal interest rates (AFRs) have been issued by the IRS. The July mid-term 175 percent AFR (Annual) rate, used to calculate interest charged to the funding standard account for underpayments of quarterly contributions under Code Sec. 412(m), is 3.32 percent….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Employers continue to use traditional cost-shifting approaches to control health care costs

    Employers appear to be in a “wait and see” mode with regard to health care cost increases—rather than considering broad, transformational changes, they continue to use traditional cost-shifting approaches to control cost increases, according to recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The Health & Well-being Touchstone Survey found that 57 percent of employers expect to continue to increase employee contributions in the next three years, while 38 percent plan to increase employee-cost sharing through plan design changes….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    June 20, 2017

    Eating disorder is mental health condition subject to parity rules, FAQ says

    The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) applies to benefits a plan or issuer may offer for treatment of an eating disorder, according to a frequently asked question (FAQ) that the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (Departments) have issued. The FAQ also requests comments on whether further clarification is needed on this and disclosure issues the Departments previously raised in Affordable Care Act Implementation FAQs Part 34….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Age discrimination is a barrier to both hiring and further economic growth

    At a meeting on June 14, experts told EEOC Commissioners that persistent age discrimination and stereotypes about older workers continue to channel older workers out of the workforce, limiting further economic growth. At the meeting, entitled, “The ADEA @ 50—More Relevant Than Ever,” Acting EEOC Chair Victoria A. Lipnic, observed, “With so many more people working and living longer, we can’t afford to allow age discrimination to waste the knowledge, skills, and talent of older workers.” Lipnic said that outdated assumptions about age and work deprive people of economic opportunity and stifle job growth and productivity….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    June 19, 2017

    Midsized employers are worrying about compliance, health care costs, reform, and less about employee engagement

    A new ADP Research Institute® (ADPRI) study reveals that midsized business owners are most concerned about rising health care costs, health care reform legislation and the volume of government regulations. However, these same businesses are now less concerned with employee engagement, compared with the prior year’s study….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Bank did not realize net profit from improper transfer of 401(k) plan assets that could be subject to disgorgement

    A bank that improperly transferred individual 401(k) account assets to a pension plan did not realize a net profit from the transfer that would be subject to disgorgement, a federal trial court in North Carolina has ruled. Focusing only on the transferred assets and rejecting use-value as a measure of profit, the court found that an equity-weighted investment strategy applicable to the funds effectively precluded the bank from realizing a net profit from the transfer….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »