Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – January 15, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




January 15, 2016


Okay to require wellness program compliance for employer health insurance, says Wisconsin district court

In a matter of first impression in the Seventh Circuit, a federal district court in Wisconsin found that an employer’s requirement that employees who wanted to participate in its health insurance plan first complete a wellness program (including a health risk assessment and biometric test) did not violate the ADA’s prohibition against medical exams because the requirement was a term of the plan, was used to enable the employer to underwrite, classify, and administer its health insurance risks, and was not used as a subterfuge to evade the purposes of the ADA….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Are you an ALE?

You are an applicable large employer (ALE) if you averaged at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, during the prior year. ALEs are subject to the information reporting and employer shared responsibility provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148). The IRS recently issued a tax tip reminding employers that it is important to review their ALE status annually….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 14, 2016


IRS provides guidance and procedures for retroactive parity for transit and parking benefits

The IRS has provided guidance in response to Congressional extension of retroactive parity for the exclusion of qualified parking costs on the one hand, and the exclusion for commuter highway vehicles and transit passes (transit benefits) on the other. As a result, the monthly maximum exclusion for transit benefits has been increased from $130 per participating employee to $250 per participating employee for the period from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. The IRS’s guidance is provided for employers that want to take advantage of the change (however, nothing in the law requires any employer to do so)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers will add more financial well-being programs in 2016

Large employers plan to expand the depth and breadth of financial well-being programs in the year ahead, according to a recent report from Aon Hewitt….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 13, 2016


Affordable Care Act information return (AIR) processing begins January 21

The IRS will begin processing electronic Forms 1094 B/C, which provide information about the issuer of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) information returns, and Forms 1095 B/C, which provide information about covered individuals, beginning on January 21, 2016. Application to application (A2A) users will need the latest TY2015 A2A Production Web Services Definition Languages (WSDLs)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


IRS to hold hearing on Obergefell proposed regs

The IRS will be holding a hearing on recent proposed regulations relating to the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and Windsor v. U.S., as well as a revenue ruling that defines the terms in the IRC describing the martial status of taxpayers. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, January 27 at 10:00am, and will be held in the Chief Counsel NYU conference room 2615, IRS Building, 111 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20224….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Despite reductions and credits, insurance still unaffordable for some

The health insurance exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) have had a dramatic positive effect on the insured rate, with the rate among nonelderly adults increasing by 45 percent from September 2013 to the present, and a 21 percent decline in financial hardship. However, despite the availability of financial assistance in the form of cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) and premium tax credits, the remaining uninsured list unaffordability as the most common reason for remaining uninsured. Researchers from the Urban Institute, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examined the levels of financial burden facing the uninsured and suggested reforms to improve the affordability of marketplace coverage….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

January 12, 2016


Study reveals increase in well employees calling in sick to work

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 38 percent of employees have called in to work sick when they’re feeling well in the past year, up from 28 percent in 2014. Of the employees who have called in sick when feeling well in the past year, 27 percent said they had a doctor’s appointment, the same proportion said they just didn’t feel like going, 26 percent said they needed to relax, 21 percent said they needed to catch up on sleep and 12 percent blamed bad weather….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS report shows rate increases in individual and small group plans are moderate

An HHS annual report claims that in 2015, the Department’s Rate Review Program reduced total health care insurance premiums for renewed single risk pool plans by an estimated $1.1 billion in the individual market and by $418 million in the small group market. HHS estimates that 6.5 million consumers benefited from this $1.5 billion in premium savings in 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


January 11, 2016


Bill to repeal portions of ACA lands on President’s desk

On Wednesday January 6, the House of Representatives voted predominantly along party lines, 240 to 181, to pass the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3762), which would repeal portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) and defund Planned Parenthood. Three Republicans voted against the bill and one Democrat for the bill. President Obama has previously stated that he would veto any such bill….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA highlights results of enforcement and compliance activity in FY 2015

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued the results of its enforcement and compliance activity for employee benefit plans and participants in fiscal year (FY) 2015. EBSA’s oversight authority extends to nearly 681,000 retirement plans, approximately 2.3 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance. As of October 2, 2015, these plans covered about 143 million workers and their dependents and included assets of over $8.7 trillion….

(Read Intelliconnect) »