Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – March 24, 2017

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Featured This Week


New Reports




March 24, 2017


Stress about retirement isn’t prompting many Americans to prepare for it

Many American workers today are feeling stressed about retirement but are still not taking steps to prepare for it. And those feeling stressed have lower levels of retirement confidence and are less likely to feel financially secure, according to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers act to improve quality and access to behavioral health programs

With anxiety, depression and substance abuse on the rise in the general population, 88 percent of U.S. employers said that behavioral health is an important priority over the next three years, according to recent research from Willis Towers Watson. The
2017 Behavioral Health Survey found that many are planning to take steps to improve the effectiveness of their programs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 23, 2017


Private exchange option used by less than 1 percent of employers for active employees

Less than 1 percent of employers currently use a private exchange for active employees, according to the
Fifth Annual Employer Survey on Private Exchanges from Chelko Consulting Group. In addition, 74 percent of employers are not even interested in exploring a private exchange as an option for delivering benefits to their active employees. Chelko noted, “It appears this once heavily touted option lacks any real forward momentum….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Primary reason consumers enroll in HSAs is to pay for future medical costs

More than 40 percent of individuals enrolled in a health savings account (HSA) as a way to pay for future medical costs, according to recent research from ConnectYourCare. The survey,
ConnectYourCare Consumer-Driven Health Plan Enrollment & Usage Trends Survey, noted that this response came in ahead of “tax savings,” which 21 percent selected, and “lower premiums” offered by high deductible health plans (HDHP), which only 9.5 percent of survey respondents selected….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS’s TE/GE provides guidance on documenting substantiation for 401(k) plan hardship distributions

The IRS’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division has issued new internal guidance for its agents who are examining 401(k) plans for whether the plans are properly documenting hardship distributions. The memorandum covers the substantiation guidelines for Employee Plans Examinations employees examining whether a Code Sec. 401(k) plan’s hardship distribution is “deemed to be on account of an immediate and heavy financial need” under safe-harbor standards set out in IRS Reg. Sec. 1.401(k)-1(d)(3)(iii)(B). The guidance is effective February 23, 2017 and will be incorporated into the Internal Revenue Manual within two years from its release….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 22, 2017

SIFL rates issued for the first half of 2017

The Department of Transportation has released the applicable terminal charge and standard industry fare level (SIFL) mileage rates for January 1, 2017, through June 30, 2017. These rates will be used by the IRS to determine the value of noncommercial flights on employer-provided aircraft….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Lawmakers ask White House to support repeal of Multiemployer Pension Reform Act

More than 20 members of Congress have asked President Trump to support repeal of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA, P.L. 113-235). The lawmakers wrote a letter to President Trump on March 7, 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 21, 2017


House budget committee approves GOP health care bill

The House Budget Committee in a March 16 markup of the proposed American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA) approved the bill by a slim 19-to-17 vote. Three Republican members voted against the measure alongside Democrats. The bill now advances to the Rules Committee, where changes are expected before reaching the House floor….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Chamber urges additional one-year delay of DOL fiduciary rule

Calling the Department of Labor’s original 12-month implementation period for its fiduciary rule an “unrealistic deadline,” the Chamber of Commerce supported the agency’s proposal to delay applicability for 60 days and urged the DOL to tack on another year. The pool of advisers willing to work with smaller retirement investors is already shrinking, the chamber submits, and this situation will worsen as more advisers announce their compliance plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 20, 2017


CCIIO gives small group non-grandfathered policies more time to ease into ACA compliance

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has issued guidance stating that it is extending its transitional policy allowing certain health policies to continue coverage that would otherwise be cancelled for noncompliance with various provisions of the Public Health Service Act and Sec. 1312(c) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The extension of the transition is available to non-grandfathered policies in the small group and individual market….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues April 2017 AFRs

The April 2017 short-term, mid-term, and long-term applicable federal interest rates (AFRs) have been issued by the IRS. The April mid-term 175 percent AFR (Annual) rate, used to calculate interest charged to the funding standard account for underpayments of quarterly contributions under Code Sec. 412(m), is 3.72 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Ninth Circuit recharges fiduciary breach suit by Edison employees

Plan beneficiaries had not previously forfeited a duty to monitor claim and were entitled to a new trial on the claim that the plan fiduciaries should have switched the plan’s investments from retail mutual fund shares to institutional class shares in service of their continuing duty to monitor the appropriateness of plan investments, according to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The court, sitting
en banc, vacated a ruling from a Ninth Circuit panel, which had heard the case on remand from the Supreme Court….

(Read Intelliconnect) »