Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – September 21, 2018

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Court cases: Cash balance plans not discriminatory, 9/18 (106.3.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Dependent care, 8/18 (327.2.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: ACA’s individual mandate, 9/18 (551.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Severance benefits, 9/18 (602.3.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • News

    San Francisco issues 2019 employer health care spending rates

    The City of San Francisco has announced the 2019 rates for its employer health care spending law, whereby employers must either contribute a specified amount toward their employees’ health care costs on a regular basis or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents. Beginning January 1, 2019, the health care expenditure rate for employers with 100 or more employees will be $2.93 per hour, and the rate for medium-sized businesses with 20-99 employees will be $1.95 per hour.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Insured with bipolar disorder limited to 24 months of benefits

    A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating an insured’s benefits after 24 months in accordance with the policy’s limitation of coverage for disabilities due to mental illness, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in a summary order. The insured’s disabling condition—bipolar disorder—was listed as a mental disorder in the applicable version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and, thus, qualified as a mental illness within the meaning of the policy.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Automatic enrollment boosts retirement plan participation

    Enrolling new employees automatically into retirement plans increases plan participation dramatically, according to recent research from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The study found that plans that auto-enroll have participation rates that exceed 90 percent, compared with rates in the 50 percent range for plans in which workers must opt-in.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Trump’s executive order directs review of guidance related to MEPs, plan disclosures, RMD tables

    On August 31, 2018, President Donald Trump issued an executive order (EO) declaring it the policy of the federal government “to expand access to workplace retirement plans for American workers.” The EO directs a review of current ERISA and IRS regulations to determine where new rulemaking and/or guidance may further that policy, particularly concerning multiple employer plans (MEPs). The EO also directs a review of actions that could reduce the cost of furnishing plan disclosures and of life expectancy and distribution tables in regulations on required minimum plan distributions.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    House bill would extend Cadillac tax delay

    On September 12, the House Rules Committee examined the Save American Workers Act of 2018 (H.R. 3798) to prepare the bill for a floor vote. The employer-focused health care package would provide relief from certain Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes and the employer mandate. The legislation, which is expected to pass the House on a largely partisan vote, is unlikely to be taken up in the Senate this fall, although reports note that certain provisions of the bill could make their way into a larger, year-end Senate package.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Failure to obtain preapproval for air ambulance transport dooms coverage

    The administrator of an ERISA health plan was not required to cover an infant’s non-emergency medical flight for which the air ambulance provider had not obtained precertification, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled. In addition, although the infant’s father was not directly billed for the flight, he had standing to sue the plan as a participant because he had suffered a concrete injury: the denial of health benefits he allegedly was owed under the plan.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    DOL reissues FMLA forms with new expiration dates

    The Department of Labor has reissued seven Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms. These forms now have an expiration date of August 31, 2021.

            (Read Intelliconnect) »