Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – September 8, 2017

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

  • Survey: 2017 PBGC interest rates, 7/17 (619.5.-59)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Survey: IRS monthly segment rates, 8/17 (101.2.-9)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Survey: Monthly retirement plan interest rates, 8/17 (101.2.-1)

    (Read Intelliconnect) »

  • News

    September 8, 2017

    Less than half of employed Americans have workplace group life insurance

    When asked if they had auto, health or home insurance, 80 percent of Americans say they have at least two of these. But over half of employed Americans (55 percent) don’t have voluntary group life insurance provided by their employer….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Major ACA provisions improved minority access to health care

    Health care access disparities experienced by blacks and Hispanics, compared to whites, narrowed after the major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) were implemented. According to the Commonwealth Fund, states that chose to expand their Medicaid programs were more likely to see greater declines in this disparity….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    Strict interpretation of election window foreclosed terminally ill retiree from receiving lump-sum distribution

    The strict interpretation of a plan’s lump-sum distribution option as requiring the submission of prescribed forms within a specified election period was not arbitrary and capricious, according to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The plan did not prevent the plan sponsor from strictly applying the plan’s requirements to ensure the orderly administration of the lump-sum election option, even if the interpretation foreclosed an early election by a terminally ill retiree and resulted in a loss of over $460,000 to his surviving spouse….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    September 7, 2017

    Crunching the ‘hours worked’ number lets employer avoid FMLA interference claim

    No matter which way an employee tried to count her hours worked, she came up short of the requisite 1,250 hours worked during the 12 months preceding her requested taking of leave, she was not an eligible employee under the FMLA, a federal district court in Iowa ruled. Her firing for accumulating too many absences when she did not report to work the day she requested leave to care for her adult son, who had been shot and was hospitalized in intensive care, was not FMLA interference….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    SEC Commissioner urges DOL to reconsider fiduciary rule

    In a recent comment letter to the Department of Labor, SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar outlined his three main objections to the DOL’s definition of “fiduciary” and urged the agency to reconsider the rule’s implementation. Phase-in of the rule began in early June, but the DOL issued a request for additional public comments in response to a Trump administration order for the DOL to review the potential impact of the rule….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    September 6, 2017

    After years of erosion, employer health insurance offer rate ticks up in 2016

    Despite predictions the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would cause private sector employers to stop offering health coverage to their workers, the national offer rate is ticking up, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). EBRI noted that the offer rate has likely increased because of a health economy and low unemployment rates….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    CBO director assures of agency efforts to remain impartial, avoid speculation

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) takes several steps to ensure that its work is objective and nonpartisan, including limiting employees’ political activities and consulting with experts who have a wide range of perspectives. The CBO Director met with Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) in July 2017 to discuss some questions related to the agency’s objectivity and analysis of the effects of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1628), and in a follow-up letter to the congressman noted that some of the topics questioned were not discussed in the CBO’s AHCA report because the predictions would be too imprecise or uncertain….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    September 5, 2017

    DOL, IRS provide relief for benefit plans affected by Hurricane Harvey

    The Labor Department has issued ERISA compliance guidance that applies generally to employee benefit plans, plan sponsors, employers and employees, and service providers to employers located in a county identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »

    DOL proposal again delays application of fiduciary rule, solicits more comments

    As suggested earlier this month in a Notice of Administrative Action filed in Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Acosta, the Department of Labor’ has released a notice of proposed amendments that would further delay the applicability dates of certain provisions of its controversial “fiduciary rule,” including the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE), from its January 1, 2018, applicability date until July 1, 2019. Comments must be submitted on or before September 15….

            (Read Intelliconnect) »