Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – February 5, 2016

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




February 5, 2016


No dismissal of fiduciary duty claim for failure to mention COBRA investigation

An HR director who contended that she was discriminated and retaliated against when she was fired from her job will be unable to proceed with her claims after summary judgment, a federal district court in Texas ruled, although her employer’s counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty will proceed. The HR director, was fired while she was on medical leave, for allegedly failing to send out COBRA notices, which led to a Department of Labor investigation….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Supreme Court’s March calendar includes ACA contraceptive mandate

The Supreme Court’s oral argument calendar for the session beginning March 21, 2016, shows that the Justices will hear arguments in consolidated cases testing the contraceptive mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 4, 2016


Fact sheet lays out joint employer responsibilities under FMLA

The Department of Labor has issued sub-regulatory guidance on the joint employment relationship and the corresponding responsibilities of primary and secondary employers under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The guidance includes both an example and a chart to illustrate the specific responsibilities of primary and secondary employers under the FMLA….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits costs increased 0.7 percent in fourth quarter 2015

Benefits costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent for the three-month period ending December 2015, according to the most recent Employment Cost Index from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the fourth quarter 2015, benefits costs rose slightly more than salaries, which increased 0.6 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 3, 2016


8 million people enrolled in private exchanges for 2016 benefit plan year, Accenture finds

About eight million people enrolled in private health insurance exchanges for the 2016 benefit plan year, according to a report from Accenture. The report states there was a 35-percent increase from 2015 when enrollment was approximately six million….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


CCIIO releases gold standard for calculating 2017 marketplace plan metal tiers

Methodologies are now available for health insurance issuers to use in determining 2017 Actuarial Values (AVs) for all plans offered through the individual and small group markets. The 2017 AV Calculator, which is used to determine the metal tier levels for marketplace plans, does not affect any 2016 health insurance plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 2, 2016


IRS issues guidance on expatriate health plans for 2016 fee year

The IRS has provided guidance that excludes expatriate health plans from the annual fee imposed on insurers of U.S. health risks for the 2016 fee year. The fee is imposed by section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Expatriate policies are defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as group health insurance policies that provide coverage to employees, substantially all of whom are: (1) working outside their country of citizenship; (2) working outside their country of citizenship and outside the employer’s country of domicile; or (3) non-U.S. citizens working in their home country….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS highlights changes to VCP Compliance Fees, including reduced fees for most 401(a) and 403(b) plans

In 2016, plan sponsors will refer to an annual revenue procedure to determine the appropriate fee when making a Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) submission to the IRS. This change results from the IRS classifying VCP fees as user fees subject to Code Sec. 7528 in 2015. In addition, the IRS has made changes to the general fees for submissions for Code Secs. 401(a) and 403(b) retirement plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


CMS to limit special enrollment periods

After the current open enrollment period ends on January 31, 2016, individuals seeking to enroll in coverage through the health insurance exchanges or marketplace will need to become more aware of the requirements for special enrollment periods, CMS has announced. The additional special enrollment periods that were available during tax season, for example, will not be repeated….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


February 1, 2016


The size of your workforce matters for ACA compliance, says IRS

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), the size and structure of your workforce – small or large – helps determine which parts of the law, including several tax provisions, apply to a particular organization, the IRS is reminding employers. The number of employees you had during the prior year determines whether your organization is an applicable large employer, or ALE, for the current year….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CBO lowers ACA enrollment figures, details future of big health care spending

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is dramatically reducing its estimate of how many individuals will obtain health coverage this year through the public exchanges established under Section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In its annual budget and economic outlook report, the CBO estimates that 13 million individuals, and not 21 million as previously forecasted, will be covered through plans obtained on the insurance exchanges. The CBO also released its projections for increased spending in health care over the next 10 years….

(Read Intelliconnect) »