Spencers & Benefits Reports NetNews – March 28, 2014


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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Guidance Issued On Employer-Shared Responsibility, 3/14 (550.1.-1)

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  • Analysis: Essential Health Benefits Package, 3/14 (541.-1)


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  • Analysis: Health Reform Mandates Preventive Coverage, 3/14 (514.-1)


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  • Analysis: Health Savings Accounts, 3/14 (356.-5)


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March 28, 2014

Retirement Confidence Rebounds, But Overall Savings Remain Low

Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has recovered somewhat from the record lows of the past five years, but appears to be limited to those with retirement plans, according to the
24th Annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates, Inc…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Most 401(k) Plan Participants Find Monthly Retirement Income Estimates Helpful, Yet Unsurprising: EBRI

Do employees know how much their 401(k) accounts would provide as a monthly source of income in retirement? Last year the Department of Labor issued a proposal to require retirement plan statements to show how a worker’s current account balance would translate into an estimated lifetime income stream of payments, and recent survey results from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), indicates that most who are currently contributing to an employer plan are unlikely to be surprised at what they hear—and few are likely to save more or work longer as a result…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 27, 2014

Small Businesses Have Four Paths For Employee Coverage In 2014

According to Hannah Ferris, an intern at The Bailey Group, there are four paths that small employers with group benefits may take with regard to employees’ health coverage in 2014 while at the same time staying compliant with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The first option, says Ferris, in an article entitled
4 Paths a Small Business With Group Benefits Should Consider in 2014, would be to enroll or renew employee policies with a private carrier, since all carriers must be compliant with various ACA provisions in 2014, and, employers with group benefits will most likely be able to grandfather their plan in and renew them “as is” even if they do not contain all ten essential health benefits mandated by the ACA. An increase in premiums is likely, however…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Association Lacked Standing To Challenge ACA Mandates

A doctors association lacked standing to challenge the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) because it failed to prove that it or its members suffered an imminent injury-in-fact that could be fairly traceable to the IRS’s actions. The case is
Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. v. J. Koskinen (U.S. District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, No. 13-C-1214, March 18, 2014)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 26

Seventeen States, Washington, D.C. Will Run SHOP Marketplaces

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia will be running their own Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces, where small firms can buy health insurance for their employees, while the federal government will operate SHOP marketplaces in the remaining 33 states, according to a recent Commonwealth Fund study. The report,
Implementing the Affordable Care Act: State Action to Establish SHOP Marketplaces, noted that most states running their own marketplaces seek to encourage small-business participation by focusing on features that were previously unavailable, such as being able to offer employees a choice of plans and set a predictable contribution toward their coverage…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee Satisfaction With Benefits Reaches Highest Level In Over A Decade

Employee satisfaction with benefits reached 50 percent in 2013, according to MetLife’s 12th Annual
U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study. That’s the highest level since the study began over a decade ago…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 25, 2014

Ernst & Young Speakers Point Employers To Upcoming ACA Deadlines And Requirements

Enforcement of the employer mandate begins Jan. 1, 2015, and employers now have everything they need to comply, according to speakers from Ernst & Young at a recent webinar review of final regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This lessens the likelihood, theorized Helen Morrison, one of the Ernst & Young speakers, that the government will provide further extensions of deadlines related to the ACA’s employer mandate requirements…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits Were 31 Percent Of Total Compensation In December 2013, BLS Finds

Employer-provided benefits costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local governments in December 2013 averaged $9.80 per hour worked, accounting for 31.0 percent of total compensation costs, which averaged $31.57 per hour worked. The cost of benefits as a percentage of compensation has risen in the past three years from 27.4 percent of total compensation. These are among the findings of the December 2013
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation report, produced quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Most Households Favor Retaining Tax Incentives For DC Plans

A strong majority of U.S. households favored preserving tax incentives for 401(k) plans and other defined contribution (DC) plans, according to recent research from the Investment Company Institute (ICI). The survey,
Americans’ Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, conducted from mid-November 2013 through mid-December 2013, covered a total sample of 3,021 American adults…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 24, 2014

ERIC Comments On Proposed Excepted Benefits Rule Center Around EAPs

Including employee assistance plans (EAPs) as a limited excepted benefit was a step in the right direction, according to the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in recent comments to the Department of Labor (DOL) about proposed regulations that would amend the definition of limited excepted benefits for purposes of complying with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, ERIC has requested that the DOL provide further clarification in the final rules about implementing an EAP as an excepted benefit…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers Have Opportunity To Implement Strategic Health Care Changes In Post-ACA World

As implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues in 2014, employers are confronting broader strategic considerations relating to health coverage for their employees, according to a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). In December 2013, PwC convened several roundtables with employers to discuss health coverage in 2014 and beyond. In its report,
The Future of Healthcare Benefits—Employers’ opportunity for strategic change in the new healthcare world, PwC provides highlights of these roundtables, and notes that employers are thinking about the Cadillac tax, private exchanges, and redesigning delivery systems…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

International Pension Plans Continued To Grow In 2013: Towers Watson

The number of companies using International Pension Plans (IPPs) continued to grow in 2013, according to a survey of multinational employers by Towers Watson…

(Read Intelliconnect) »