Spencer’s Benefits NetNews — November 16, 2018

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Social Security, 11/18 (100.-5)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: HIPAA regulations, 11/18 (501.-51)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: HIPAA privacy standards, 11/18 (502.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Health insurer premium increases, 10/18 (534.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • News

    Final rules expand exemptions from contraceptive coverage mandate

    The Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor have issued two final rules regarding exemptions from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage mandate for various entities and individuals on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs or non-religious moral convictions. The rules finalize, with changes based on public comments, interim final rules issued on October 13, 2017. The final rules will be published in the Federal Register on November 15, 2018.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Assuring employee would receive FMLA leave before eligible makes FMLA claims plausible

    After learning an employee planned to take FMLA leave as soon as she reached the 12-month mark for eligibility, a human resources coordinator allegedly told her to begin leave as soon as possible (with no medical reason) and encouraged her to move up her surgery date, assuring the employee she would receive FMLA leave and her job would be waiting. Instead, the employee was denied FMLA coverage and terminated. Refusing to dismiss her subsequent FMLA interference and discrimination claims, a federal court in Wisconsin found that should her allegations turn out to be true, the employer could be estopped from denying FMLA coverage. The court also pointed to an Eleventh Circuit opinion stating that the FMLA’s advance notice requirements shouldn’t be a trap for newer employees.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Majority of firms offering coverage to opposite sex spouses offered coverage to same-sex spouses

    The majority of employers (63 percent) offering health insurance to opposite sex spouses also offered coverage to same-sex spouses, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is up from 43 percent in 2016. Kaiser examined the 2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey to examine employer-sponsored health insurance coverage trends for same-sex spouses, and found that most same-sex spouses (88 percent) now have access to employer-sponsored insurance.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Adjusted applicable dollar amount for fee imposed on health insurance plans announced

    The IRS has announced that the applicable dollar amount used to calculate the fees imposed by Code Secs. 4375 and 4376 for policy and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2018, and before October 1, 2019, is $2.45. This figure is based on the percentage increase in the projected per capita amount of the National Health Expenditures published by HHS on February 14, 2018.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    HSA balances rise, but few treat them as retirement savings vehicles

    While more Americans are using Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to save and pay for medical expenses, few are investing the funds, maxing out contributions, or otherwise using it as a retirement savings tool, according to a study conducted by EBRI. The research, “Health Savings Account Balances, Contributions, Distributions, and Other Vital Statistics, 2017: Statistics from the EBRI HSA Database,” is the fifth annual report examining account balances, individual and employer contributions, distributions, invested assets, and account-owner demographics. It is informed by cross-sectional data from nearly six million HSAs with $13 billion in assets from the EBRI HSA Database.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    2019 inflation adjustments for pension plans, retirement accounts released

    The 2019 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that affect pension plan dollar limitations and other retirement-related provisions have been released by the IRS. In general, many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2019 because the increase in the cost-of-living index due to inflation met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, other limitations will remain unchanged.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »