Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – October 6, 2017


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Featured This Week


New Reports




October 6, 2017


Equitable tolling of COBRA election applies only for period beneficiary is incapacitated

An employee who was in an accident and admitted to a hospital before the end of his 60 day election period under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), may qualify for equitable tolling of the election period for the time of incapacity. However, the tolling ends once the employee is no longer incapacitated and an employee or their representative can not retroactively elect to continue coverage once that election period has ended. Further, any claims related to the election period or equitable tolling of the election period under COBRA must be brought as a federal claim under Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), as any state law claims are preempted by ERISA….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Senate EEOC hearing discusses employer wellness program rules and disability

On September 19, 2017, a hearing by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions to consider two nominations to be Commissioners on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a nomination for General Counsel for the Department of Education addressed the need for clear rules for employer-sponsored wellness programs and the empowerment and employment of disabled Americans….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 5, 2017


CMS announces SEPs for those impacted by recent hurricanes

As a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will make available special enrollment periods (SEPs) for all Medicare beneficiaries and certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the federal health insurance exchange. This gives individuals and families who have been impacted by the hurricanes the opportunity to change their Medicare health and prescription drug plans and gain access to health coverage on the exchange immediately if eligible for a SEP….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Democratic lawmakers question move to shut down HealthCare.gov during open enrollment

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules, are pressing the Trump Administration on its apparent decision to shut down HealthCare.gov during the upcoming open enrollment season….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 4, 2017


Governor Raimondo signs legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for Rhode Island employees

Governor Gina M. Raimondo, joined by legislative sponsors, members of her Cabinet and community advocates, has signed legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for more than 100,000 Rhode Island employees….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers want small fixes to ACA

According to recent Mercer pulse survey, there is limited support for continued efforts to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The survey of 300 health benefit professionals found that just 35 percent say they favor repeal and replace, with 51 percent opposed and 14 percent expressing no opinion. Employers are, however, interested in numerous other changes, ACA-related and otherwise….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 3, 2017


2018 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements

The IRS has provided the 2017-2018 special per diem rates for taxpayers to use to substantiate ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. The guidance provides the special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) rates, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. Taxpayers using the rates and list of high-cost localities provided must comply with Rev. Proc. 2011-47, I.R.B. 2011-42, 520….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC provides guidance to avoid duplicative reporting for active participant reduction reportable events

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued guidance to eliminate possible duplicative reporting for plans that reported an active participant reduction due to a single-cause under PBGC Reg. Sec. 4043.23(a)(1). The PBGC is providing an alternative method for determining whether an active participant reduction due to attrition must be reported to the PBGC under PBGC Reg. Sec. 4043.23(a)(2)….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 2, 2017


AON says U.S. defined benefit plans aren’t disappearing as fast as you may think

While the decreased prevalence of corporate pension plans has dominated headlines over the past decade, a new report by Aon shows that just 6 percent of U.S. corporate pension obligations have actually been settled since 2012….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Participants again fail to establish plan investment lineup of low return and high fee options as fiduciary breach

Plan participants again failed to allege facts sufficient to state a claim that plan fiduciaries breached duties of loyalty and prudence by: providing participants with a money market fund, rather than a stable value fund as a low cost investment option; paying excessive fees to a recordkeeper through asset-based revenue sharing; and failing to remove an underperforming small cap fund from the investment lineup, according to a federal trial court in California. The amended complaint stressed the availability of low cost alternative options, but did not establish that the process used by the fiduciaries in selecting the money market fund was imprudent. Poor performance, the court stressed, is not sufficient to create a reasonable inference that fiduciaries have failed to adequately investigate an investment….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »