Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – July 12, 2013

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Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – 7/12/13



Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews™

July 8, 2013 – July 12, 2013

Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: COBRA Update Notices, Notification Requirements, 6/13 (329.3.-1)

(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Employer, Employee Definitions Vary, 6/13 (301.-1)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Court Cases: Equitable Defenses Cannot Override Express Plan Terms, 6/13 (602.4.-13)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Health Reform Requires Annual Review Of Health Premium Increases, 6/13 (534.-1)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Summary Of Benefits And Coverage, 6/13 (522.1.-1)


(Read Intelliconnect) »


July 12, 2013

Text: CMS, Final Rule, Medicaid And Children’s Health Insurance Program: Essential Health Benefits In Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Federal Interest Rates Announced For Pensions

The following interest rates have been announced for use in the operation and administration of qualified pension plans…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS Delays Until 2015 Income And Health Insurance Reporting Requirements Tied To Insurance Subsidies

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delaying until 2015 a requirement that new health insurance exchanges created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) verify the income and health insurance status of individuals looking to receive subsidies to help buy health insurance. The final rule is scheduled to be published in the July 15
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Delay Of Employer Mandate Will Allow Government To Issue More Guidance, IRS Confirms

The government’s decision to postpone the employer mandate enacted in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) “will allow us to get more guidance out,” Kevin Knopf, senior technician reviewer, IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities, said July 9 on Tax Talk Today, a web-based program on taxes. Knopf, on detail to the IRS from Treasury’s Office of Benefits Tax Counsel, said that the government will issue proposed regulations in 2013 under Code Sec. 6055 (reporting of insurance by employers and insurers) as well as Code Sec. 6056 (reporting by employers of coverage provided to employees). The proposed regulations will help people know what to do, he said. In the meantime, the government hopes that employers will continue to provide insurance coverage or will start to offer coverage…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 11, 2013

Text: PBGC, Request For Information, Missing Participants In Individual Account Plans

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC Issues RFI On Missing Participants In Individual Account Plans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking comments from the public to assist it in making decisions about implementing a new program to deal with benefits of missing participants in terminating individual account plans. The RFI was published in the June 21
Federal Register….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Agency Issues Guidance On Changes To Federal Worker Benefits As A Result Of DOMA Ruling

In a June 28 memorandum to federal executive departments and agency heads, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) acting director Elaine Kaplan provided guidance on the changes that will take place for federal employees in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision finding Sec. 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. She said that OPM will now be able to extend the benefits to federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

DOL Extends Comment Period On Lifetime Income Proposed Regs

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has extended the comment period on its advance notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on lifetime income illustrations given to participants in defined contribution pension plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. The proposed rules were issued in the May 8
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 10, 2013

Text: IRS, EBSA, HHS, Final Rule, Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the ACA

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Exemption For Contraceptive Coverage For Religious Employers Is In Final IRS, EBSA, HHS Regs

The Internal Revenue Service, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services (the Departments) have jointly issued regulations that simplify and clarify the exemption for group health plans established or maintained by certain religious employers (and group health insurance provided in connection with such plans) from the requirement under the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) that various preventive services for women, including contraceptive services, be covered without cost-sharing. The final regulations also set forth accommodations regarding the contraceptive coverage requirement for group health plans established or maintained by “eligible organizations” and for student health insurance coverage arranged by eligible organizations that are institutions of higher learning. Related amendments to regulations on the state exchanges are also included in the final regulations. The final regulations were published in the July 2
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Proposed Regulations Address Information Reporting Requirements For Health Exchanges

The Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations relating to requirements for Affordable Insurance Exchanges to report information relating to the health insurance premium tax credit enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed regulations affect exchanges that make qualified health plans available to individuals and employers and are applicable for tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2013. The proposed regulations were published in the July 2
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

White House Defends Delaying Health Care Mandate

The Obama Administration justified postponing until 2015 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements, claiming it was done in response to business leaders who said they need more time in order to fully comply with the new reporting requirements. Republican leaders, however, called the delay an admission that the law is a failure…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 9, 2013

Text: HHS, Final Rule, ACA Exchange Functions, Eligibility For Exemptions, Miscellaneous Minimum Essential Coverage Provisions

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Obama Administration Postpones Implementation Of Employer Mandate To 2015

According to an announcement on July 2 from the White House that probably surprised plan practitioners and employers alike, employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015, instead of in 2014, as was originally anticipated. Very generally, Code Sec. 4980H, as added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), provides that any applicable large employers that fail to offer to at least 95 percent of full-time employees and their dependents minimum essential coverage will be assessed a $166.67 per month ($2,000 per year) penalty per full-time employee, assuming that at least one employee obtains premium assistance via a health care exchange. It also provides that applicable large employers that offer minimum essential health coverage that is either unaffordable or does not provide minimum value will be assessed a $250 per month ($3,000 per year) penalty for each employee that receives subsidized coverage…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS Issues Final Rule On Determination Of Individuals’ Eligibility For Exemption From ACA’s Shared Responsibility Payment

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that implements certain functions of the Affordable Insurance Exchanges. These specific statutory functions include determining eligibility for and granting certificates of exemption from the individual shared responsibility payment Code Sec. 5000A. The final rule was published in the July 1
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Small Group Health Insurance Enrollment Continues To Decline

Enrollment in small and large businesses fully-insured comprehensive health insurance policies declined 3.2 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, between 2011 and 2012, according to recent research from Mark Farrah Associates (MFA). The
Healthcare Business Strategy Report found that in 2012, more than 17.7 million people received comprehensive health insurance through fully-insured small group policies, compared to nearly 40.1 million people who received similar coverage through fully-insured large group policies…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 8, 2013

DOMA Ruling Raises Benefits Questions For Employers Seeking To Comply With The Law

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had previously provided that the definition of marriage applied only to the legal union of one man and one woman, and that the definition of spouse referred only to a person of the opposite sex who was a husband or wife (United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307, (US Sup Ct.) June 26, 2013). Employers are now left wondering about the ramifications of the decision on the administration of their employees’ various benefit plans. Questions such as “How will availability or taxation of benefits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) be affected?” and “What changes do we have to make to beneficiary information on our retirement plans?” will have to be answered, especially since the High Court specified that, because Section 2 of the law had not been challenged, it was not addressing DOMA’s provision that a state may refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of another state…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Gen X Employees Struggle The Most Financially, Most Likely To Dip Into Retirement Savings: PwC

Generation X employees—those born in the early 1960s to the early 1980s—struggle the most when it comes to juggling competing financial priorities related to their homes, children and parents, reveals PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC)
2013 Employee Financial Wellness Survey. As a result, 36 percent of Gen X employees think it is likely that they will need to dip into their retirement savings to pay for nonretirement expenses, a percentage significantly higher than for both Baby Boomers and Gen Y, the “Millennials.” Thirty percent of Gen X employees admit having already withdrawn money held in their retirement plans for expenses other than retirement…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

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