Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – July 29, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




July 29, 2016


Use healthcare data to maximize your wellness program dollars, experts say

Wellness programs are now the norm for large companies, and employers can maximize the dollars they spend on these programs by using available data to provide employees with health solutions and information and to change health behaviors, according to experts speaking during a recent webinar hosted by ActiveHealth Management. According to webinar presenter Shawn Moore, the rapid increase in technology from such devices as smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and fitness tracking devices, is changing how employers communicate with employees, and changing employees’ expectations regarding their health data….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Trustees breached duty of loyalty in allowing sale of closely held stock to ESOP

Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees breached fiduciary duties under ERISA by allowing the sale of overvalued stock held by the company owner to the ESOP, according to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The owner was subject to fiduciary liability as a trustee of the ESOP, even though he abstained from votes relating to the sales transactions involving the ESOP….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 28, 2016


Employees are satisfied with wellness programs, but more personalization is needed

Satisfaction with health and well-being programs is high, but more personalization is needed, according to recent research from Welltok and the National Business Group on Health. The study,
Whispers from the Water Cooler: What Motivates Employees to Improve Their Health and Well-Being, found that 81 percent of employees saw a positive impact on their physical well-being and more than 60 percent agreed or strongly agreed that including family in such programs would likely increase their participation. For those that did not participate, 37 percent did not find them personally relevant and 20 percent did not know they were available, an indication that greater personalization and awareness is needed to drive employee engagement….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

DOL makes technical corrections to fiduciary conflict of interest rule exemptions

The Department of Labor has made technical corrections to the “Best Interest Contract” Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) that it issued in April 2016 in conjunction with its controversial final rule addressing conflicts of interest in retirement advice and defining the term “fiduciary” for ERISA purposes. The DOL is likewise making technical corrections to the “Principal Transactions” PTE for certain investments between investment advice fiduciaries, employee benefit plans, and IRAs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 27, 2016

Survey finds concerns about changes in reporting retiree health benefit costs under GASB’s accounting changes

Few public sector organizations have taken action to mitigate the impact of Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) new retiree health care and Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) accounting requirements. That’s according to a survey conducted by Segal Consulting and co-sponsored by the State and Local Government Benefits Association and the Public Sector HealthCare Roundtable….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Marketplace deductibles down, cost-sharing for common services low

Health coverage from the marketplace covers, on average, seven common health care services other than preventive services with no or low cost sharing before policyholders meet their deductibles. Additionally, the median individual deductible for HealthCare.gov policies went down $50 from 2015 to 2016, according to a CMS Data Brief. The brief looked through data on marketplace plans and discussed the numbers showing that health insurance is more affordable for consumers than it was before passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 26, 2016


Comments requested on alternative accommodation for providing contraceptive services

The IRS, Department of Treasury, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively, the Departments), have jointly requested information through comments from all interested parties on whether there are alternative ways (beyond current regulations) for eligible organizations that object to providing coverage for contraceptive services on religious grounds to obtain an accommodation, while still ensuring that women enrolled in the organizations’ health plans have access to coverage of the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Ways and Means Committee examines rising premiums, tax consequences under ACA

The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on July 12, 2016, examining the increase in premiums for health insurance plans offered in the health insurance marketplace. Individuals who obtain coverage through the marketplace may qualify for the Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit to help offset the cost of premiums….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 25, 2016

Tax credits even the playing field between low-income exchange, employer beneficiaries

Low- and middle-income recipients of plans on the health insurance exchanges pay about the same amount in premiums as individuals who receive insurance through their employers, but fewer than half view their plans as affordable. According to a Commonwealth Fund report, more than eight in 10 marketplace consumers are receiving federal premium tax credits, while 57 percent were enrolled in plans that offered income-based cost-sharing reductions in 2016. Although premiums were comparable between the marketplace and employer groups, marketplace consumers viewed coverage as less affordable than consumers enrolled in employer-sponsored plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Wellness tops ACA compliance as companies’ top priority

Despite 2016 being the first year of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting and IRS audits, only 58 percent of small-middle market employers ranked ACA compliance as a top priority, according to recent research from Hub International. ACA compliance ranked third behind employee wellness and productivity improvements (83 percent), and cost management (76 percent)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »