Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – June 5, 2015

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June 1, 2015 – June 5, 2015    |    Products    |    Catalog


Featured This Week


New Reports




June 5, 2015


Employers plan to expand use of onsite health centers

Nearly four in 10 (38 percent) large U.S. employers with onsite health facilities plan to add new centers over the next two years, according to recent research from Towers Watson. The 2015 Employer-Sponsored Health Care Centers Survey found these employers to be confident that onsite or near-site health centers improve the health and productivity of their employees…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Texting supervisor of absence may have been adequate notice; FMLA claims revived

A Tyson Fresh Meats supervisor who was fired shortly after his return from non-FMLA approved leave, purportedly for failing to notify the company that he was going to be absent, will have another chance to convince a jury that his termination violated the FMLA. Reversing the grant of summary judgment on his entitlement claim, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found fact issues existed as to whether he was restored to leave before being terminated. And because fact issues existed at to whether Tyson enforced its call-in policy and whether the employee adequately notified the company of his absence, his discrimination claim was also revived. The case is Hudson v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

June 4, 2015


CDHP enrollees tend to be older, more educated and have higher incomes: EBRI

CDHP enrollees tend to be older, more educated and have higher incomes: EBRI Individuals enrolled in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) tend to be older, more educated, and have higher incomes than those with traditional health plans, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). However, the study, Characteristics of the Population With Consumer-Driven and High-Deductible Health Plans, 2005–2014, found that there was no difference in gender: the population of adults with CDHPs or HDHPs and traditional health plans was split about 50–50 between men and women in 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Despite record-high 401(k) plan balances, it looks like few workers are actively managing their portfolios

While 401(k) plan balances and participation are at record-highs, a recent survey from Aon Hewitt reveals that few U.S. workers are actively managing their 401(k) portfolios, leaving opportunity for workers to be more proactively involved in their accounts and improve long-term savings…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

June 3, 2015


Nearly 40 percent of plan audits have major defects: EBSA

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released a study on the quality of benefit plan audits performed by certified public accountants which reveals what the agency called “serious issues with the current system.” The report, Assessing the Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits, found that 39 percent of audits have major defects. EBSA recommended three legislative fixes, including repeal of ERISA’s limited-scope audit exemption…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Report identifies troubling trends in insurance company compliance with ACA’s breastfeeding benefits

A recent report from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) has identified several troubling trends in insurance company compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) breastfeeding benefits. NWLC found violations such as limiting coverage of breast pump purchases and failing to have in-network lactation counselors…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


June 2, 2015


CMS clarifies Medical Loss Ratio reporting and rebate requirements

In response to reports that health insurance issuers have been attempting to exclude brokerage and agency fees and commissions from Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) reporting, CMS has issued a questions-and-answers bulletin outlining the very limited circumstances in which such fees can be excluded from reporting. The bulletin also addresses to whom the insurers must pay rebates if the minimum MLR standards are not met…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS warns small businesses that retirement plan penalty relief expires soon

Although small businesses can avoid stiff penalties for late filings of retirement plan tax returns, they must act soon, says the IRS. A special program provides penalty relief for late filers. Retirement plans usually must file Form 5500-EZ each year. Those who are eligible can avoid penalties of up to $15,000 by filing late returns by June 2, 2015. Plans that have already been assessed a penalty for late filings are not eligible for this program…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


FMLA didn’t protect employee discharged from hospital on same calendar day admitted

Interpreting the Department of Labor’s FMLA regulation, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that an employee who was discharged from the hospital more than 14 hours after he was admitted, but on the same calendar day, was not entitled to FMLA protection under the regulation covering “inpatient care.” The employee was admitted shortly after midnight and was not released until the following evening and was fired by his employer thereafter. Concluding that the employee’s hospital stay did not constitute the “overnight stay” necessary to qualify as “inpatient care,” the appeals court affirmed summary judgment for the employer. The case is Bonkowski v. Oberg Industries, Inc.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

June 1, 2015


Preventive services without copays available to many

137 million individuals, including 55 million women and 28 million children, have access to private health insurance that covers recommended preventive services without cost sharing, according to a new HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) Data Point. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health plans are required to provide coverage for recommended preventive health care services without copays, as increased access to preventive services can reduce and prevent costly chronic diseases…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

UPS can apply lifetime limits to its retiree health plans

United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS) can impose lifetime limits on benefits through its retiree health plan, according to a recent decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, because ERISA contains an exception for certain coverage mandates for retiree-only plans. The court also pointed out that agency guidance has indicated that exceptions for retiree-only plans are still in effect. The case is King v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Safe harbor is announced for new Massachusetts sick leave law

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that a safe harbor will be provided for employers that have existing paid time off policies for the period July 1, 2015, (when the new sick time law takes effect) to December 31, 2015. The Attorney General previously filed draft regulations that support the Earned Sick Time law passed by voters last November…

(Read Intelliconnect) »




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About this Newsletter

Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNewsTM contains the latest news and developments in the employee benefits field for both health care and retirement plans. Taken from the daily news updates in Spencer’s Benefits Reports on the Internet, the items include legislative and regulatory actions, court case summaries, industry news, and analysis of new trends such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and Roth 401(k) provisions — anything that can affect the design, implementation and administration of an employee benefits plan.


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