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.
Want to receive these Newsletters via E-mail?
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,
Contact us by sending an e-mail to
- Definitions: Health benefit exchange, 2/16 (540.1.-1)
- Analysis: Loss ratio rules specifics, 2/16 (533.-1)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
- Analysis: Grandfathered health plan regulations, 2/16 (520.1.-1)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
- Analysis: GINA adds nondiscrimination protections, 2/16 (402.3.-1)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
VOI is a marker of wellness program success, says IFEBP
According to a new report by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), when it comes to measuring wellness program success, employers are not necessarily just focusing on the financial bottom line. Twenty-eight percent of the employers included in the IFEBP report use traditional return on investment (ROI) numbers, which typically measure the financial success of an employer’s wellness program by comparing the money spent on it to money saved, when determining the worth of their wellness programs….
Despite dire predictions, ACA serves as economic stimulus
There is no evidence that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had a negative impact on economic growth or jobs or that the ACA has undermined full-time employment, all effects that opponents of health reform warned about, according to a report by The Commonwealth Fund. Evidence actually indicates that the law has served as an economic stimulus by freeing up private and public resources for investment in jobs and production capacity….
18 states showed notable drop in uninsured rate in 2015
Eight states saw significant drops in their uninsured rates in 2015, and all but one had expanded Medicaid programs under section 2001 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national health interview survey revealed that for the first time, the percentages of adults insured through public programs significantly exceeded the number of uninsured. The AP noted that of the 18 states with either statistically significant coverage gains or notable reductions in uninsured percentages, 12 have Republican governors….
Claim that hours were cut to dodge ACA mandate plausible under ERISA
A former Dave & Buster’s employee may proceed with a putative class action alleging that her work hours were cut so that the restaurant chain could avoid paying the looming increase in health insurance costs brought on by Obamacare, a federal district court in New York held. Denying the employer’s motion to dismiss her claim for lost wages and salary incidental to the reinstatement of benefits, the district court found the employee stated a plausible claim under ERISA, Section 510, and rejected the notion that her theory of liability failed as a matter of law….
Favorable ruling for GOP in ACA challenge would cost $47B
A ruling in favor of the Republican-led House of Representatives in its lawsuit challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments could cost the federal government $47 billion over 10 years. An analysis funded by the Urban Institute that examined the implications of a favorable ruling for Republicans in
House of Representatives v. Burwell, also determined that such a ruling could eventually cause insurers to pull out of the marketplace altogether….
Cadillac tax a “crucial tool” for building a better health care system, researchers say
The excise tax on high-cost health plans, also known as the “Cadillac” tax, is a crucial tool for building on recent years’ progress toward a better health care system and it will have major benefits for our economy. Or at least that is what researchers at the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggest in their recent perspective:
The Cadillac Tax—A Crucial Tool for Delivery-System Reform….
Federal interest rates announced for pensions
The following interest rates have been announced for use in the operation and administration of qualified pension plans…
Enhancements to FSAs, HSAs, savers credit introduced in Senate Finance Committee
Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) on February 4 introduced the Health Savings Bill of 2016. The bill would enhance flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). On the same day, SFC ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) proposed enhancements to the retirement savings contribution credit (known as the savers credit)….
Could your state’s alternative plan better accomplish ACA’s goals?
In the coming year, states that wish to pursue alternative health care approaches that might better suit their market needs can apply for Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers, which can go into effect for the first time beginning January 1, 2017. According to a health policy brief from Deloitte, states should consider acting now, so they can be ready to implement reforms….
PBGC issues March 2016 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans
For single-employer pension plans terminating January through March 2016, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.82 percent, up from the 2.46 percent rate that applied in October through December 2015. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in March 2016 is 1.25 percent, the same rate that applied in February 2016….
Supreme Court affirms higher pleading threshold under
Fifth Third for fiduciary breach claims
The rejection by the United States Supreme Court of the presumption of prudence as applied to fiduciaries who manage employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) suggested a higher threshold plan participants would need to satisfy in order to state a claim for fiduciary breach with respect to the management of employer stock holdings. The Ninth Circuit, however, subsequently determined that the Court had not established a higher pleading standard of particularity. The Supreme Court has now reversed the Ninth Circuit, forcefully advising courts that complaints alleging fiduciary breach must fully support the claim that a prudent fiduciary could not have concluded that an alternative action would do “more harm than good….”