Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – August 19, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




August 19, 2016


Family-friendly benefits gain popularity in the workplace

In an effort to attract and retain top talent, employers are offering a variety of family-friendly benefits including perks such as fertility services, paid leave and flexible work hours. A new survey,
Employee Benefits Survey 2016, conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, examines the many ways employers are creating a family-friendly culture in the workplace….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employer-provided retirement education a win-win for employers and employees

Americans’ workplace retirement plans play a central role in their future retirement prospects. More than 60 percent of American workers currently contribute to a 401(k), and they expect their 401(k)s to be a top source of income when they retire. But 40 percent of workers participating in a survey conducted by Ramsey Solutions say their employers do not provide any type of retirement or financial education. And that gap leaves them feeling stressed—those same workers rank anxiety as the number-one emotion they associate with retirement. Given that workers with access to such resources report higher levels of retirement confidence and an overwhelming majority of American workers say they are open to talking with their employers about retirement, Ramsey Solutions says employers should consider doing more to help their employees plan for retirement….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 18, 2016


Employers out of touch with employee’s open enrollment preferences

Only 38 percent of employers believe that their employees want to use a computer to enroll for employee benefits, and 27 percent think that employees still want to enroll through paper forms. However, 68 percent of employees said they want to enroll in their benefits online or electronically, and just 16 percent prefer paper forms, according to a recent study from LIMRA….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employees may pursue equitable relief in dispute over past service credits

While the terms of a pension plan preclude the employees of a company purchased by a successor firm from receiving benefit accrual credit under ERISA Sec. 502(a)(1)(B) for their service with the acquired employer, they may proceed with their claim for equitable relief under ERISA Sec. 502(a)(3), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has held….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 17, 2016

Nearly half of Americans think their employer isn’t investing enough in their health and wellness, survey finds

Health benefits can make a significant difference in people’s job satisfaction and may even impact their choice of jobs, according to a survey conducted by One Medical Group. The results also suggest that despite offering health insurance options, many companies still have some work to do when it comes to keeping their employees healthy and happy….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers expect health care costs to increase 5 percent in 2016 and 2017

Employers expect health care costs to increase 5 percent in both 2016 and 2017, up from 4 percent in 2015, according to the Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey from Willis Towers Watson. With these increases, employers expect average employee per-year costs to rise to $12,338 in 2016 and nearly $13,000 in 2017. Despite these cost pressures, Willis Towers Watson found that 81 percent of employers will make relatively modest changes to employee premium contributions and other cost-sharing provisions such as deductibles and out-of-pocket limits for 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 16, 2016


ERISA preempted state-law claims arising from denial of severance benefits

ERISA preempted state-law claims arising from a denial of severance benefits because the separation plan, which granted discretion to the plan administrator and contained typical ERISA benefit payments, was an ERISA plan, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled. In granting the employer’s motion to dismiss, the court denied the employee leave to amend the complaint to include an ERISA claim because he had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues September 2016 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating July through September 2016, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.50 percent, down from the 2.77 percent rate that applied in April through June 2016. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in September 2016 is .50 percent, the same rate that applied in August 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Insurers get some needed flexibility in MLR and risk corridor reporting

CMS recognizes that some flexibility is needed when reporting premium stabilization and financial program amounts for purposes of medical loss ratio (MLR) and risk corridors reporting. As a result, CMS’ Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) issued guidance indicating that it will no longer require a qualified health plan issuer that reported a certified estimate of cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) for the 2014 benefit year that was lower than the actual amount of CSRs provided in the 2014 benefit year, and that is subject to the adjustment to 2015 risk corridors payments and charges, to adjust the 2015 CSR amount reported in its 2015 MLR and risk corridors forms to account for the adjustment amount….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 15, 2016

Large U.S. employers expect health benefit cost increases to hold steady for 2017

Employees can expect incremental changes in plan offerings and contributions for 2017, according to the latest results from an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). Despite skyrocketing specialty pharmacy costs, overall health care benefit cost increases at large U.S. employers are expected to hold steady at 6% again in 2017, NBGH says. The Large Employers’ 2017 Health Plan Design Survey also revealed that employees will not see major increases to their costs during this year’s open enrollment season….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

State innovation waiver review sees gains, work to be done

HHS’ and Treasury’s controls in the review process of waivers granted under section 1332 of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensure that the approved waivers meet the statutory criteria of preserving health coverage and controlling federal costs, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO found that both Departments had issued joint regulations and guidance for waiver review and approval process. Although HHS and Treasury officials were willing to coordinate their efforts, as of May 2016 there were no waivers available for illustration….

(Read Intelliconnect) »