Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – October 19, 2018


About this Newsletter

The Spencer’s Benefits Reports is a summary of the week’s news items posted
in the WHAT’S NEW pages of Spencer’s Benefits Reports
For questions regarding this email service, contact Customer Service at (800)449-9525.

NetNews Subscription

Want to receive these Newsletters via E-mail?

hr.cch.com Resources

About Links in this Newsletter

To access the IntelliConnect™ full text documents you must be a subscriber
to the Spencer’s Benefits Reports IntelliConnect product
(depending on the link*).

Links within news stories display full text documents including legislation, regulations,
court decisions, rulings and government reports.

The first time you click on a link you will be taken to the IntelliConnect login page, where you will need to enter your ID and password. Subsequent links will take you directly to the desired document.


If you aren’t a subscriber call 800-449-9525, or let us contact you about,

Email Us

Contact us by sending an e-mail to


Featured This Week


New Reports





HHS increases penalties for HIPAA noncompliance

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that includes the agency’s annual inflation-related adjustments to civil monetary penalties for certain violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The annual adjustments are required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, and were effective as of October 11, 2018.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers turning away from shifting health care costs to employees in 2019, Aon says

The coming year is expected to usher in better news for U.S. workers when it comes to their health care costs, according to a new actuarial analysis by Aon. In 2018, health care premiums rose 3.5 percent. However, employers passed along a lower 2.2 percent premium increase to employees, absorbing a larger 3.9 percent increase to company costs. Aon’s analysis found that after plan design changes and vendor negotiations, 2019 medical and pharmacy plans premiums are expected to increase by 3.5 percent, the same percentage as 2018.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC updates premium rates for 2019

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has updated the premium rates for 2019. Specifically, the per-participant flat-rate premium rate for single-employer plans increases to $80 (up from $74 in 2018). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-74) provided the increase in the single-employer rate, according to the PBGC. For multiemployer plans, the rate is $29 (up from $28 in 2018). Any increase in the multiemployer rate is the result of indexing.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS announces 2019 Medicare Parts A and B premiums and deductibles

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the 2019 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for Medicare Parts A and B.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

2019 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will be 2.8 percent

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced a 2.8 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits received by beneficiaries starting in January 2019. This COLA will produce an estimated average monthly benefit of $1,461 for all retired workers in 2019, $39 a month more than in 2018.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employees missing out on the benefits of health savings accounts, says Willis Towers Watson

As employees think about the affordability of health care now and in the future, 82 percent see medical costs as their biggest challenge. And yet only 25 percent rank contributing to a health savings account (HSA) as a top current financial priority, falling below saving for retirement in a 401(k), paying for essential day-to-day expenses and paying off debt, according to a new study by Willis Towers Watson. Based on the Willis Towers Watson 2018 Health Accounts Employee Attitudes Survey, the majority of employees (69 percent) who didn’t enroll in an HSA say they chose not to because they didn’t see the benefit, understand HSAs or take the time to understand them.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Compliance assistance for association health plans now available at Employer.gov

The U.S. Department of Labor has added compliance assistance materials on Association Health Plans (AHPs) to its new Employer.gov website that will help job creators and plan sponsors understand their ERISA obligations when setting up and managing AHPs.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »