Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – March 14, 2014


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Featured This Week

New Reports

• Survey: 2014 PBGC Interest Rates, 2/14 (619.5.-53)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
• Survey: IRS Monthly Segment Rates, 2/14 (101.2.-9)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
• Analysis: Interest Rates For Funding Calculations, 2/14 (101.2.-7)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
• Survey: Monthly Retirement Plan Interest Rates, 2/14 (101.2.-1)
(Read Intelliconnect) »
March 14, 2014
Text: CMS, Final Rule, Basic Health Program
(Read Intelliconnect) »
HHS Implements Basic Health Program Under The ACA
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule establishing the basic health program (BHP), as required by Sec. 1331 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The BHP provides a health benefits coverage program for low-income individuals that are not eligible for Medicaid, but would otherwise be eligible to obtain coverage through the health insurance marketplace. The final rule was published in the March 12 Federal Register…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Enrollment In Health Insurance Marketplaces Increases To 4.2 Million; Number Of Uninsured Dropping
Enrollment in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)-created health insurance marketplaces has increased to 4.2 million as of February 2014, according to a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Independent studies from Gallup-Healthways and McKinsey and Company also recently confirmed that the U.S. uninsured rate has dropped…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
2015 Budget Proposal Would Limit Retirement Tax Deductions, Allow PBGC To Set Risk Adjusted Premiums
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal would impose a limit on the total accrual of amounts in qualified plans and IRAs and would give the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Board the authority to set risk-adjusted premiums. The proposals are similar to those offered in last year’s budget request…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
March 13, 2014
Despite Low Increases In Benefits Costs, Employers Are Rethinking Health Coverage Strategies: Towers Watson/NBGH
Although the cost of providing employer-sponsored health care benefits is expected to increase just 4.4 percent this year, employers have plans for moderate to significant changes to their employee benefit plans within the next few years, according to a recent survey by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). Due to uncertainties in health care benefits, only one-quarter of those surveyed indicated that they expect to be providing coverage ten years from now…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Boeing Nixes Nonunion Employee Pensions In Favor Of Defined Contribution Retirement Savings Plan
In the latest of a series of steps taken to address challenges created by defined benefit pension plans, on March 6, Boeing announced its plan to freeze the pensions of 68,000 employees, including managers and executives, who participate in the main Boeing and subsidiary defined benefit pension plans. Under the move, nonunion employees participating in the company’s defined benefit pension plans will be transitioned in 2016 to a company-funded defined contribution retirement savings plan…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Senate Democrats Propose Legislation To Expand ACA Tax Credits To Small Businesses
A group of Senate Democrats recently introduced the Small Business Tax Credits Accessibility Bill (S. 2069), which would make purchasing health care coverage more affordable for small businesses by expanding tax credits currently available only to larger enterprises. The lawmakers said they believe the tax credit should be available for a longer period of time and accessible to more people…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
March 12, 2014
Text: CMS, Final Rule, Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2015
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Final Rule Details Provisions Of 2015 Stabilization Programs
Provisions related to the implementation and oversight of the risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridor programs—the premium stabilization programs created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)—are detailed in a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) final rule. The final rule also sets out key payment parameters for the 2015 benefit year. The final rule was published in the March 11 Federal Register…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Departments Request Comments On Provider Nondiscrimination Rules
The Internal Revenue Service, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (the Departments) are requesting comments on the interpretation of Sec. 2706(a) of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), which was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). FAQs released by the Department of Labor on April 29, 2013, provide that Sec. 2706(a) does not require plans or issuers to accept all types of providers into a network and also does not govern provider reimbursement rates, which may be subject to quality, performance, or market standards and considerations. The request for comment was published in the March 12 Federal Register…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
ERISA Advisory Council To Meet March 26
The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold a meeting on March 26, in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW. The notice of the meeting was published in the March 10 Federal Register…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
March 11, 2014
Text: Final Rule, Information Reporting By Applicable Large Employers On Health Insurance Coverage Offered Under Employer-Sponsored Plans
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Text: IRS, Final Rule, Information Reporting of Minimum Essential Coverage
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Final Regs Allow Combined Reporting By Applicable Large Employers And Health Insurance Providers
The Internal Revenue Service has issued two sets of final regulations regarding health insurance reporting. The first final rule provides regulations for information reporting by applicable large employer members under IRC Sec. 6056 concerning health care coverage they offer to their full-time employees. The second final rule concerns information reporting by providers of minimum essential health coverage (including employers with self-insured plans) under IRC Sec. 6055 regarding the type and period of coverage. Both rules were published in the March 10 Federal Register…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Clarification And Expansion Are Sought For Proposed Regulations On Amendments To Excepted Benefits
The Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC) has recently submitted comments to the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), suggesting that proposed regulations issued on Dec. 24, 2013, be clarified to provide that limited scope vision and dental benefits offered on a stand-alone basis, no matter if they are self-funded or fully insured, are automatically considered excepted benefits. Excepted benefits are generally exempt from such Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) market reforms as prohibitions on lifetime and annual limits and on preexisting condition exclusions. The ECFC further recommends that clarification be issued that the reason stand-alone limited scope dental and vision plans are excepted benefits is because they are per se “not an integral part of a group health plan…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
March 10, 2014
Non-Compliant Insurance Plans Provided Two More Years
Individuals with health insurance that does not comply with the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may keep their policies for another two years, the Obama administration said on March 5. In its release of 2015 health policy standards to insurers and employers, CMS released a bulletin on the Extension of the Transition Policy through October 1, 2016, which effectively extends several 2014 policies to 2016, continue to phase in provisions of the ACA, and provide what CMS considers “a smooth transition where needed—so that consumers, employers, health plans and others can plan for the future…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Obama Administration’s 2015 Budget Includes $77.1 Billion In Discretionary Spending For HHS
The Obama Administration announced its 2015 budget proposal, dedicating $77.1 billion to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) discretionary spending, as well as an outline for 2015 health-related expenditures including continued support of new health reform programs, specific distribution of the budget between health agencies, and additional increases for certain initiatives. The budget explanation with respect to the HHS apportionment specifies the use of the funds to continue support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the operation of health insurance Marketplaces and the implementation of subsidies…
(Read Intelliconnect) »
Arbitration Clause In Separate Agreement Governs Dispute Over ERISA Plan Benefits
Former employees who allege the vesting and forfeiture provisions of a retirement plan violated ERISA must arbitrate their claim pursuant to the arbitration clause contained in a separate agreement that summarized the employer’s compensation and benefits package, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in Hendricks, et al. v. UBS Financial Services, Incorporated…
(Read Intelliconnect) »

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