Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – March 21, 2014


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Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews™

March 17, 2014 – March 21, 2014

Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: ERISA Sec. 412 Requires Bonding Of Individuals, 3/14 (605.3.-1)

(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Shared Responsibility Provisions Of Health Reform, 3/14 (550.-1)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Chronology Of Sec. 125 Guidance, 3/14 (350.-7)


(Read Intelliconnect) »

  • Analysis: Domestic Partner Benefits, 3/14 (327.4.-1)


(Read Intelliconnect) »


March 21, 2014

Text: CMS, Proposed Rule, Exchange And Insurance Market Standards For 2015 And Beyond

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Certain Third-Party Premium And Cost-Sharing Payments Must Be Accepted By QHPs

Premium and cost-sharing payments made to qualified health plans (QHPs), including stand-alone dental plans (SADP), on behalf of certain enrollees by certain entities must be accepted according to a new interim final rule released by CMS. Specifically, the rule dictated that QHP and SADP issuers accept such payments made by: (1) the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program; (2) other federal and state government programs providing support for specific individuals; and (3) Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations. The rule also provided for civil monetary penalties (CMPs) for those issuers that fail to accept the payments from these third parties. Finally, the release explained that due to the necessity to provide benefits for the individuals covered by these third-party payments, CMS will waive the typical notice-and-comment rulemaking period and intends to release an immediate effective date with the issuance of the final rule. The rule was published in the March 21 Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CCIIO Issues Final 2015 Letter To Issuers In The Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has issued a Final 2015 Letter to Issuers in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces. The final letter provides technical and operational guidance to issuers attempting to offer qualified health plans (QHPs) in a federally-facilitated marketplace (FFM) or federally-facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ERRP Contact Center Closing Soon, CMS Announces

As part of the plan to end the temporary Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will discontinue telephone and email support through the ERRP Center (also known as the ERRP Contact Center) after March 28, 2014. Effective March 29, 2014, plan sponsors will be unable to call or email the ERRP Center as the telephone lines and the help@errp.gov email address for the ERRP Center will be disabled…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 20, 2014

Text: CMS, Interim Final Rule, Third Party Payment Of Qualified Health Plan Premiums

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS Proposes New Requirements For Marketplace QHPs For 2015

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued an interim final rule that would amend several regulations that implement key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that govern the requirements for qualified health plans (QHPs). The interim final rule addresses many disparate issues that were not considered in prior rulemaking and updates some provisions based on recent experience. Among the issues included are: exemption of self-insured nonfederal government plans from certain ACA requirements, including the ban on preexisting condition exclusions; the calculation of maximum out-of-pocket costs; premium stabilization and risk adjustment; and the functions and operations of state and federal health insurance exchanges/marketplace; and quality reporting. The interim final rule was published in the March 19 Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS Requires Provision Of Nondiscriminatory Coverage For Legally Married Same-Sex Spouses

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a release clarifying that the availability of coverage requirement of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) requires issuers of health insurance coverage to provide the same coverage to legally married same-sex spouses under the same terms and conditions offered to opposite-sex spouses. In recently released questions and answers, CMS cited PHSA’s implementing regulations, which set forth a prohibition on discriminatory marketing practices and benefit designs…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Mercer Finds No Significant Increase In Employee Health Care Enrollment For 2014

Despite the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) looming employer shared responsibility (employer mandate) penalties for 2015 and 2016, there has not been a substantial increase in the number of employees enrolling in their employers’ health coverage for 2014, according to recent research from consultant Mercer. The study, Health Reform 2014 Are We There Yet?, only revealed a minimal increase in employer health plan enrollment from 2013 to 2014. Of employees eligible for health coverage, 84.9 percent were enrolled in 2013, and 85.2 percent were enrolled in 2014. Only 85.3 percent were projected to be enrolled in 2015…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 19, 2014

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) »

PBGC Issues April 2014 Interest Rates For Valuing Terminating Pension Plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating April through June 2014, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 3.47 percent, up from the 3.35 percent rate that applied in January through March 2014…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC Issues Final Regs Simplifying Premium Payment Rules

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued final regulations designed to make its premium payment rules more effective and less burdensome. “We want to help employers keep their pensions, and that means giving them more flexibility and less regulatory hassle,” said PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum. The final regulations were published in the March 11 Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Spending On Children’s Health Care Increased Every Year Between 2009-2012 In Employer-Sponsored Plans

Spending on health care for children covered by employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) increased between 2009 and 2012, rising an average 5.5 percent a year, with more dollars spent on boys than girls, and higher spending on infants and toddlers (ages 0-3) than any other children’s age group, according to a recent report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). The report, Children’s Health Spending: 2009-2012, found that per capita spending on children reached $2,437 in 2012, a $363 increase from 2009…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 18, 2014

Proposed Rules Would Require Service Providers To Furnish Guide To Required Service And Fee Disclosures

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has proposed an amendment to the fee disclosure rules issued in February 2012 that would require service providers to furnish plan fiduciaries with a “guide” to required initial disclosures that are contained in multiple or lengthy documents. The guide, which would be provided in a separate document, is intended to enable fiduciaries, especially those responsible for small and medium sized plans, to easily locate and access “all principle data elements required as initial disclosures” in a cost-effective manner. The rule was published in the March 12 Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

House Passes Triad Of Bills For ACA Exemptions

House lawmakers on March 11 approved a triad of bills related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new measures, if enacted, would exclude certain individuals for purposes of the employer mandate for insurance coverage and creates a broad religious exemption from the individual mandate…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Rep. Camp’s Tax Reform Proposal Would Curtail Tax Incentives For Retirement Plans

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) recently unveiled a comprehensive tax reform package. Camp’s proposed Tax Reform Bill of 2014 would make several changes to the tax code and would reduce current tax incentives for retirement plans in a number of ways. “This is a comprehensive plan that reflects input and ideas championed by Congress, the administration and, most importantly, the American people,” Camp said…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 17, 2014

IRS Encourages Small Employers To Check Out Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging small employers that provide health insurance coverage to their employees to check out its small business health care tax credit website, which provides information and resources designed to help small employers see if they qualify for the credit and then figure it correctly, including a 2013 tax credit estimator, examples of typical tax savings under various scenarios and answers to frequently-asked questions…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Establish A Monitoring Process to Ensure Compliance, Finance Association Recommends To Government Employers

State and local government employers that sponsor group health plans should implement a process for reviewing federal health care benefit requirements at least quarterly to ensure that they are aware of any newly issued or soon-to-be issued health care reform regulations, according to a recent Best Practice from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), the professional association of state/provincial and local finance officers in the United States and Canada…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Court Upholds PBGC’s Benefit Determinations For Pilots In U.S. Airways’ Pension Plan

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) properly calculated benefits owed to U.S. Airways pilots who participated in a pension plan terminated pursuant to ERISA’s distress termination procedures, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia (CA-DC) has ruled in Davis v. PBGC

(Read Intelliconnect) »

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