Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – December 2, 2016

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December 2, 2016


HSA balances post significant growth in 2015

Balances in health savings accounts (HSAs) grew by more than a third in 2015, according to the most recent (third annual) results from the EBRI HSA Database. Furthermore, at year-end 2015 (the latest data available), the average HSA balance was $1,844, up from $1,332 at the beginning of the year. Average account balances increased with the age of the owner of the account. Account balances averaged $759 for owners under age 25 and $3,623 for owners ages 65 and older….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Trump selects Price, Verma to helm HHS and CMS in new administration

President-elect Donald Trump (R) will nominate Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga) to be HHS Secretary and Seema Verma, who helped craft Indiana’s conservative Medicaid expansion, to lead CMS. In nominating Price, President-elect Trump is taking action to carry out his campaign promises of repealing or dismantling parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Price, an orthopedic surgeon, currently is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a member of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. Price has been a staunch critic of the ACA and had been one of the first Republicans to offer a counter to President Obama’s landmark health care program in the form of the Empowering Patients First Act….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

December 1, 2016


EBSA does not have the ability to protect 79 million participants in self-insured health plans from claims denials

The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a performance audit to determine if the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has the ability protect the estimated 79 million participants in self-insured health plans from improper claims denials. The audit concluded that the EBSA does not have this ability because the EBSA lacked any primary knowledge of denials of health benefit claims in any of the plans under its oversight….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee productivity is top priority for wellness programs, according to Xerox survey

If a business is to thrive, the focus of its wellbeing program should be on increasing employee productivity, according to survey results from a 2016 Xerox study, “Working Well: A Global Survey of Workforce Wellbeing Strategies”. Improving productivity rose from fourth in 2014 to the top objective this year, outpacing employee engagement and attracting and retaining employees….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 30, 2016

Hiring holiday help is subject of latest IRS health care tax tip

Employers who hire seasonal or holiday workers should know how those employees are counted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new IRS health care tax tip….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Implicit interest pension equity plans not subject to market rate of return limitation rule, yet

The IRS has issued guidance regarding the applicability of the market rate of return limitation rules of Code Sec. 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and IRS Reg. §1.411(b)(5)-1(d) to a type of pension equity plan that applies a deferred annuity factor to the participant’s accumulated benefit in order to determine deferred benefits. A defined benefit plan that expresses a participant’s accumulated benefit as the current value of an accumulated percentage of the participant’s final average compensation, highest average compensation, or highest average compensation during a limited period of years is referred to as a pension equity plan or PEP. A type of PEP that applies a deferred annuity factor to the participant’s accumulated benefit in order to determine deferred benefits is often referred to as an “implicit interest PEP….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

$397M issued in rebates for 2015 due to medical loss ratio

The medical loss ratio (MLR) provision implemented by section 1001 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to ensure that health coverage offers high value in exchange for the premiums paid by consumers. In 2015, four states had an average refund per family greater than $300 per family individual market. Overall, this rule, known as the 80/20 rule, has resulted in almost $2.8 billion in total rebates….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 29, 2016


UMass settles potential HIPAA violations following malware infection

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) has agreed to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. The settlement includes a corrective action plan and a monetary payment of $650,000, which is reflective of the fact that the University operated at a financial loss in 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Registration begins for 2017 advance monthly payment HCTC program

The IRS has opened the registration and enrollment process for qualified taxpayers to receive the benefit of the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) on an advance monthly basis during 2017. Eligible taxpayers could have 72.5 percent of their qualified health insurance premiums paid in advance directly to their health plan administrator each month….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ERISA plans not “affiliates” excluded from participation in sponsor’s securities fraud settlement

ERISA retirement plans that purchased stock issued by the plans’ sponsor are not the sponsor’s “affiliates” and thus cannot be excluded from receiving a share of the proceeds from settlement of a securities violations class action against the plans’ sponsor, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 28, 2016


Text: IRS, Notice 2016-70, transition relief for reporting required by IRC Secs. 6055 and 6056 for 2016

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Nearly half of employers view employer mandate as top health care concern going into 2017

With the results of the 2016 election now in the record books, Congress and the president are set to engage, for the second time in less than a decade, in a debate over the future of the United States health care system. According to a recent pulse survey from Aon, 48 percent of employers say the employer mandate is their primary health care concern going into the next administration….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS extends due date for furnishing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to individuals

The IRS has extended the due date for furnishing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to individuals. Health insurers and applicable large employers (ALEs) are required, by Code Secs. 6055 and 6056, respectively, to file and furnish annual information returns and coverage statements. Penalties are imposed under Code Secs. 6721 and 6722 for violations of these requirements….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues December 2016 AFRs

The December 2016 short-term, mid-term, and long-term applicable federal interest rates (AFRs) have been issued by the IRS. The December mid-term 175 percent AFR (Annual) rate, used to calculate interest charged to the funding standard account for underpayments of quarterly contributions under Code Sec. 412(m), is 2.58 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »