Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – June 9, 2017


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Featured This Week


New Reports




June 9, 2017


NY Governor moves to guarantee ACA protections

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has taken action to ensure that essential health services are protected and covered for all New Yorkers despite what he sees as federal-level efforts to strip millions of Americans of healthcare provided under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. On June 5, he directed the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) to promulgate new emergency regulations mandating that health insurance providers may not discriminate against New Yorkers with preexisting conditions or based on age or gender, in addition to safeguarding the 10 categories of protections guaranteed under the ACA….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Annual health care costs for a typical American family nearly $27,000

In 2017, the cost of health care for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is $26,944, according to the Milliman Medical Index (MMI). While the increase from 2016 to 2017 was low (at 4.3 percent), the rate of increase is still well above the growth in the consumer price index (CPI) for medical services….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

June 8, 2017


Senators fight for contraceptive access during review of unreleased rule

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) and 13 other Senate Democrats took a stance on protecting contraceptive coverage by issuing what the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) is characterizing as a “warning” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the letter, they strongly urge OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to avoid disrupting access to birth control in an upcoming review….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension plans maintained by church-affiliated hospitals exempt from ERISA regulation

A pension plan maintained by a church-affiliated hospital qualifies as a church plan even if not established by a church, and, therefore, is exempt from ERISA regulation, the Supreme Court has ruled, reversing decisions by the Courts of Appeals for the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits. The decision was unanimous with Justice Gorsuch not taking part and Justice Sotomayor filing a concurring opinion….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

June 7, 2017


Kaiser Poll finds public views ACA more favorably than Congress’ plan to replace it

Most (55%) of the public holds an unfavorable view of the Congressional plan that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and the same share (55%) want the Senate either to make major changes to the House-passed bill or not pass it all, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Average premiums up 105 percent from 2013 per ASPE analysis

According to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) under HHS, a significant increase in premium costs for individual market coverage has occurred since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) key provisions have been effectuated. The ASPE took a closer look, comparing data on premiums from 2013 and 2017 and found an average raw increase of $244 or 105 percent. Also, 62 percent of states saw 2017 exchange premiums at least double the 2013 average….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Justices asked to resolve split on relief available in ADEA retaliation claims

A nurse who claims her employer fired her in retaliation for complaining about age discrimination is asking the High Court to take up the question of whether a plaintiff who has been retaliated against under 29 U.S.C. Section 623(d) of the ADEA can seek compensatory and punitive damages as potential remedies for her claim. The plaintiff asserts in her petition for certiorari to review an adverse Fifth Circuit ruling that compensatory and punitive damages should be available for retaliation claims under both the ADEA and the FLSA….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

June 6, 2017


House lawmakers introduce bipartisan dependent care tax relief bill

Taxwriters on the House Ways and Means Committee have introduced a bipartisan bill that would increase the maximum amount of pre-tax dollars employees can set aside for dependent care. The Working Families Relief Bill (HR 2618) was introduced by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sanchez, D-Calif….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA changes contributed to slow in health care expenditures, study finds

Despite conventional wisdom that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has done little to address high growth in health care costs, national health expenditures have grown at historically low rates in recent years, according to a brief by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The slower growth is related in part to the recession and slow economic recovery, but changes associated with the ACA also seem to have contributed. Analysts predict that these factors will likely cause the slower growth rates to persist into the future….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

June 5, 2017


ERIC urges Nevada’s governor to veto paid sick leave bill

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) recently sent a letter to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval urging him to veto Senate Bill 196. The bill infringes on large employers’ ability to provide quality paid sick leave to employees under existing policies that already offer generous amounts of leave….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

HSA assets grew 50 percent over the last year

Assets in Fidelity health savings accounts (HSAs) rose 50 percent over the last year to surpass $2 billion, according to a recent analysis of Fidelity’s HSAs. Fidelity estimates that couples retiring today will need an estimated $260,000 for health care costs during retirement, and HSAs help employees and employers save some money for these expenses. Fidelity now has 657,000 individual account holders, a growth of 46 percent in just one year….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA’s Chicago office and PBGC recover $1.5M for terminated plan beneficiaries

Working together, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation have recovered almost $1.5 million for participants in two terminated Chicago-based pension plans. The EBSA’s Chicago Regional Office and the PBGC are trying to track down about 1,200 participants entitled to benefits under the Hartmarx Retirement Income Plan and the United Airlines Ground Employees’ Retirement Plan. During bankruptcy proceedings, the PBGC took responsibility for the Hartmarx plan when it terminated in 2009 and for the United Airlines Ground Employees’ Retirement Plan in 2005. Of the 1,200 missing participants, 100 are age 65 or older, and currently eligible to receive benefits from the plans, according to an EBSA news release….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »