Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – March 10, 2016

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March 10, 2017


ACA repeal, replacement legislation expected to move through House in coming weeks

The American Health Care Bill, House Republicans’ legislation to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148 ), which was released on March 6, is expected to reach the House floor for a vote in the next few weeks, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan told reporters in a March 7 press briefing that the American Health Care Bill will move through the House in regular order, despite criticism of the process from Democratic colleagues. The process will begin with respective committee votes on March 8, then on to the Budget and Rules Committees over the next two weeks, according to Ryan. “We will have 218 votes when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that,” Ryan said, responding to claims of Republican colleague’s criticism….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ERIC supports the American Health Care Act

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has announced its support the advancement of reconciliation measures collectively referred to as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), and urges the Senate to include full and permanent repeal of the 40 percent Cadillac excise tax on employer-sponsored health benefits….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Fiduciary conflict of interest rules again upheld as valid exercise of DOL authority

A federal trial court in Texas has issued a sweeping ruling upholding the fiduciary conflict of interest rules, including the best contract interest exemption (BICE) and re¬vised PTE 84-24, as a valid exercise of regulatory authority by the Department of Labor (DOL). In a remarkably thorough opinion, the court held that: the fiduciary rule does not exceed the DOL’s statutory authority under ERISA; BICE does not exceed the DOL’s exemptive authority by requiring fiduciaries who advise Title II plans, such as IRAs, to be bound by duties of loyalty and prudence; the written contract requirements in BICE and PTE 84-24 do not create a private right of action; the rulemaking process did not violate the notice and comment, or other conditions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); the DOL did not act in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it moved exemptive relief provisions for fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) from PTE 84-24 to BICE; BICE is administratively feasible; the rules do not violate the First Amendment as they have only an incidental effect on speech; and the written contract requirements of BICE do not violate the arbitration protections under the Federal Arbitration Act. Significantly, in finding that the DOL’s process was not arbitrary or capricious, the court stressed that the Department engaged a detailed cost benefit analysis of the effect of the rules on investors’ access to retirement advice and on the potential increased litigation exposure of advisers.…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 9, 2017


House Republicans act to protect employer wellness programs

The majority of employers offer a wellness program to employees, which help both contain costs and promote a healthy workforce. Some believe that Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules will undermine the use of employee wellness programs. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has proposed a bill, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313), that will “reaffirm existing law to allow employee wellness programs to be tied to responsible financial incentives….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Finally, Americans agree: health care got off on the wrong track

The number of Americans (48 percent) who view the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) in a favorable, versus an unfavorable (42 percent), light is at its highest percentage since the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) began tracking public views on the ACA in 2010. This does not mean that splits don’t exist along party lines, however, nor is the difference in favorable versus unfavorable views drastic. However, Americans tend to agree on one thing: 62 percent believe health care has “gotten off on the wrong track,” compared to only 30 percent who believe it is “headed in the right direction….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 8, 2017

House Republicans unveil ACA repeal, replacement bill

House Republicans on the evening of March 6 unveiled their much anticipated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement legislation. A markup of The American Health Care Act is scheduled in the Ways and Means Committee for Wednesday, March 8. “It is going to be a big week” , House Speaker Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., press secretary AshLee Strong said on March 6….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Offering financial wellness programs increases employee satisfaction with benefits

Employees were more likely to be satisfied in their employers’ benefits package when a wellness program was offered and even more when financial wellness was included, according to the Four Seasons Financial Education (FSFE) 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey. The national survey of 511 employees found that average satisfaction increased by 48.8 percent when comparing satisfaction ratings of employees with no wellness program to those with wellness that includes financial wellness….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 7, 2017


Democrats ask for hearings on ACA repeal and replacement bill before markup

House Ways and Means Committee Democrats sent a letter dated March 2 to Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., asking that hearings be held to examine the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) before it is moved forward to a full committee markup. The ACA replacement bill is expected to include ACA according to Ways and Means member Lloyd Doggett, D-Tex. A Ways and Means majority spokesperson confirmed with Wolters Kluwer on March 2 that the GOP ACA replacement plan is on track to move through the House in March….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Health care is ‘complicated’

President Trump met with the nation’s governors and major health insurance company CEOs in two separate sessions and discussed various topics, including health care reform plans under his Administration and a Republican-majority Congress….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 6, 2017


Employers Council on Flexible Compensation requests guidance on qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements

The Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), a membership organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the availability of benefit choices for working Americans through account-based benefit plans, has requested guidance from the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (Agencies) on a variety of issues related to the qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

DOL takes action on Trump directive to review fiduciary rule

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has released a proposed rule to implement a 60-day delay in the application dates of the final rules defining who is a “fiduciary” under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, and related prohibited transaction exemptions, including the Best Interest Contract Exemption and amended prohibited transaction exemptions, so that the DOL can address questions of law and policy….

(Read Intelliconnect) »