Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – October 27, 2017


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New Reports




October 27, 2017


Taxpayer Advocate Service has self-help tools to assist employers with complex ACA requirements

The Taxpayer Advocate Service has announced that they have recently developed a tool to help employers understand how the provisions of the employer shared responsibility provision (ESRP) under Code Sec. 4980H apply to their organization. The ESRP applies to applicable large employers (ALEs) – generally, that means employers that had an average of at least 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees – FTEs), during the preceding calendar year….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC updates premium rates for 2018

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has updated the premium rates for 2018. Specifically, the per-participant flat-rate premium rate for single-employer plans increases to $74 (up from $69 in 2017). For multiemployer plans, the rate is $28 (unchanged from 2017). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-74) provided the increase in the single-employer rate, according to the PBGC. Any increase in the multiemployer rate will be the result of indexing. For plan years beginning in 2018, the variable rate premium for single-employer plans is $38 per $1,000 of unfunded vested benefits, which is an increase from the 2017 rate of $34….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Health fund employee time-barred from claiming benefits from multiemployer pension plan

A non-union employee of a union health fund was time-barred under the applicable six-year limitations period from pursuing her claim that the related multiemployer pension plan wrongfully denied her claim for benefits, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled. The employee knew no later than December 2007 that the pension fund did not consider her eligible for benefits but did not file suit until March 2015….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 26, 2017


Over one-third of employers not interested in providing employees with HRAs to help buy individual coverage

On October 12, President Donald Trump signed an executive order which directs the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS to consider changes to the regulations on health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) so that employers could fund HRAs with tax-free dollars for employees to buy coverage in the individual market. According to a recent survey from Mercer, 34 percent of employers would not consider providing employees with these kinds of HRAs….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Tax Exempt and Government Entities FY 2018 Work Plan priorities includes retirement plans

The IRS has released the Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) FY 2018 Work Plan, which includes initiatives for Employee Plans (EP). TE/GE Commissioner Sunita Lough and TE/GE Deputy Commissioner David Horton provided an overview of TE/GE’s work plan and priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2018 and shared an update as to the projects and initiatives from FY 2017….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 25, 2017


New rules for mandatory paid sick leave in Washington spell out requirements for employers in 2018

Mandatory paid sick leave in Washington starts in just over two months. Last week, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) released new state requirements on how the paid sick leave law will be implemented….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employer that failed to refute FMLA and overtime claims ordered to pay discharged worker over $70K

An employer failed to refute a dispatcher’s claims that she was denied overtime pay, discouraged from taking leave to undergo eye surgery, and fired in retaliation for asserting her FMLA rights. Granting the employer’s motion for summary judgment on her FLSA and FMLA claims, a federal court in Florida awarded her $70,222 in damages, broken down as follows: $2,549.25 in unpaid overtime plus an equal amount in liquidated damages, and two-years lost wages of $32,561.75 plus liquidated damages in the same amount….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 24, 2017


A quarter of people with employer health insurance plans are underinsured, Commonwealth Fund report finds

Twenty-eight percent of working-age adults in the United States who had health insurance all year were underinsured in 2016, up from 23 percent in 2014, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. More than half of the underinsured (52%) had medical bill problems and 45 percent went without needed health care because of cost….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS updates defined benefit plan funding method change procedures

The IRS has updated its single-employer defined benefit plan guidance on automatic approval of certain changes in funding methods. The updated guidance is effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018, but plan sponsors may elect to apply this guidance for earlier plan years. The IRS has also issued procedures for requesting approval from the IRS for a change in funding methods used for defined benefit plans and for revoking an election related to interest rates. These procedures are effective for requests for a change in funding method submitted on or after January 1, 2018. However, plan sponsors may elect to apply the procedures for earlier requests….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Tenth Circuit rejects burden shifting framework, requires plan alleging fiduciary breach to prove causation of loss

The Tenth Circuit has joined the Second, Sixth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits in ruling that a party alleging fiduciary breach must prove causation of loss, even if a prima facie case of fiduciary breach has been established. The court explicitly rejected the view of the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Circuits that, once a prima facie case of fiduciary breach has been established, the burden shifts to the fiduciary to disprove causation….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 23, 2017


IRS issues 2018 adjusted limits for various benefits

In Rev. Proc. 2017-58, the Internal Revenue Service provides a variety of inflation-adjusted figures for 2018, including figures for cafeteria plans, long-term care, medical savings accounts (MSAs) and transportation fringe benefits….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

2018 inflation adjustments for pension plans, retirement accounts released

The 2018 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 2018 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) »

Three out of four Americans concerned about potential health care policy changes

Eighty-one percent of Americans are aware of the health care debates in Washington, D.C. and of those, 92 percent are concerned about those changes and 59 percent are very or extremely concerned, according to a recent survey from the Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS)….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »