Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – August 5, 2016

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News

August 5, 2016

 

Not finding bad faith or prejudice, court declines to award COBRA penalties

No statutory damages were imposed on an employer whose terminated employee went without medical insurance for a year after his job ended, based on his employer’s failure to notify him of his COBRA rights. The U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (D.P.R.) explained that it had broad discretion with regard to whether or not to award statutory penalties….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority of full-time workers had access to employer-provided medical care

Employer-provided medical care was available to 86 percent of full-time private industry workers in the United States in March 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). By contrast, only 19 percent of part-time workers had medical care benefits available. Access, or availability, also varied by establishment size, noted the BLS: 55 percent for workers in small establishments (those with fewer than 100 employees), compared with 82 percent in medium and large establishments (those with 100 employees or more). These are among the findings of the report,
Employee Benefits in the United States—March 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 4, 2016

 

More multinational organizations are centralizing employee benefits governance

Multinational companies face increasing cost pressures and rising risk when it comes to managing their employer-sponsored benefits programs around the world, but best practices in global benefits governance can lead to better risk management, according to Aon Hewitt and American Benefits Institute. A new report from Aon Hewitt and the American Benefits Institute, the research affiliate of the American Benefits Council, reveals these mounting challenges are continuing to drive the centralization of global benefits management….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Growing number of employers plan to shift resources toward retirement readiness over next several years

U.S. employers are becoming increasingly concerned over their employees’ financial well-being, and they are planning to take action to help their employees retire in a timely manner, according to recent research from Willis Towers Watson. The Retirement Plan Governance Survey found that a growing number of employers plan to shift resources toward benefit adequacy and retirement readiness over the next two years….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 3, 2016

Small employers cutting health coverage post-ACA, big employers hold steady

In the wake of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), fewer small employers are offering health benefits to their workers, but big employers are holding steady, according to findings by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS moves income verification thresholds, decreases need for additional verifications

CMS is now able to immediately verify the household income of more applicants on the federally-facilitated marketplaces (FFM) and state-based marketplaces (SBMs). By increasing the threshold for disparities between attested household income and income levels indicated by trusted data sources, CMS is limiting the number of alternate verifications required. The improved consumer experience is designed to reduce follow-up document submissions that were previously necessary for income verification purposes. The CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) issued an FAQ on the annual income threshold adjustment and the changes to the income verification process….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 2, 2016

 

Text: IRS, proposed regulations, Information Reporting of Catastrophic Health Coverage and Other Issues Under Section 6055

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Proposed regulations issued on minimum essential coverage information reporting

The IRS has issued proposed regulations relating to information reporting of minimum essential coverage under Code Sec. 6055 . Health insurance issuers, certain employers, and others that provide minimum essential coverage to individuals must report to the IRS information about the type and period of coverage and furnish related statements to covered individuals. The proposed regulations clarify issues relating to reporting of certain plans and TIN solicitation and truncation. The proposed regulations are generally proposed to apply for tax years ending after December 31, 2015, and may be relied on for calendar years ending after December 31, 2013, with the exception of rules on reporting of coverage under catastrophic plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Self-insured health plans have increased among small and midsized firms

The share of both private-sector self-insured health plans and number of covered workers in self-insured health plans have increased among small- and midsized firms since enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 1, 2016

Financial wellness programs can boost employee productivity and health

Employers looking for additional benefits to offer employees might want to consider implementing a financial wellness program. Financial wellness programs are still a rarity in U.S. corporations, but they can boost not just employee finances, but also employee productivity and health, according to speakers in a recent Four Seasons Financial Education webinar….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

DOJ lawsuit steps in between Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna mergers

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed two lawsuits to prevent Anthem from acquiring Cigna Corp and Aetna Inc. from buying Humana Inc.—mergers that, if successful, would reduce the nation’s five largest health insurers to three. According to Attorney General Lynch’s July 21, 2016 announcement, the Justice Department carefully considered the impact the acquisitions would have on the competitiveness of the multi-trillion dollar health insurance industry and determined that the mergers would drastically restrict competition in a number of key health insurance markets. The companies have already agreed, by the terms of their merger agreements, to challenge such government lawsuits. However, Cigna’s response to the government’s announcement suggests it is less likely than Aetna to litigate the issue….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

 

ERISA Advisory Council to meet August 23-25

The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold a meeting on August 23-25 in Washington, D.C., in C5521 Room 4, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW….

(Read Intelliconnect) »