Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – March 3, 2017

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New Reports




March 3, 2017


Whether sergeant protested FMLA policy in manner warranting denial of promotion was jury question

A police sergeant who was initially denied his request to use his accrued sick leave to care for his wife following childbirth complications due to the employer’s erroneous belief that he sought “paternity” leave, and also was denied his request not to have the leave designated as FMLA leave, avoided summary judgment on his FMLA interference claim. The federal court in Nevada also allowed him to advance his retaliation claim, which alleged that he was passed over for promotion based on his opposition to the city’s FMLA policy, because whether his protected activity was carried out in such a manner that it became a legitimate reason for the decision should be decided by a jury….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

How will Congress replace the ACA? KFF compares plans

Amidst all the talk in Congress of repealing and replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Kaiser Family Foundation has provided information on its website allowing visitors to perform side-by-side comparisons of the ACA and replacement plans proffered by Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) A Better Way plan; the Empowering Patients First Act, proposed by HHS Secretary Tom Price during his tenure as a Republican representative from the state of Georgia; Sen. Bill Cassidy’s (R-La.) Patient Freedom Act; and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) Obamacare Replacement Act….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 2, 2017


Employee fired for threatening supervisor after tardiness write-up failed to revive FMLA claims

An employee who was suspended and discharged after threatening a supervisor who gave him a write-up for a tardy that the employee claimed was covered by the FMLA, failed to revive his FMLA interference and retaliation claims. In an unpublished opinion, the Sixth Circuit determined that he failed to show that he was entitled to FMLA leave on the day in question or that the employer’s proffered reason for his discharge was pretextual. Accordingly, dismissal of his claims on summary judgment was affirmed….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HSA/HDHP enrollment tops 20 million

As of January 2016, approximately 20.2 million individuals were enrolled in health savings account (HSA)-compatible high deductible health plans (HDHPs), according to recent research from AHIP. The 2016 Survey of Health Savings Account—High Deductible Health Plans noted that this is up from 19.7 million in 2015, or an annual increase of 2.5 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

March 1, 2017

Text: IRS Notice 2017-20, extension of period for furnishing written QSEHRA notice to eligible employees

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues transition relief for QSEHRA notice

The IRS is extending the period for an employer to furnish an initial written notice to its eligible employees regarding a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA). The period is extended until no earlier than 90-days after the IRS issues guidance with respect to the contents of such a notice. Employers that provide written notice earlier may rely on a reasonable good faith interpretation of Code Sec. 9831(d)(4)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employees of sold-off subsidiary entitled to enhanced pension benefits even though they never lost their jobs

Former employees of an Anheuser-Busch subsidiary had their employment “involuntarily terminated” under the terms of the Anheuser-Busch Companies Pension Plan when the employer sold the subsidiary to an investment firm and they became employees of another company, even though they never experienced a job loss, ruled the Eighth Circuit. Anheuser-Busch could not reasonably interpret Section 19.11(f) of a pension plan to require plan participants to have been “out of work after they involuntarily lose their employment within three years after a change in control,” the appeals court concluded, affirming the district court. However, finding that the employees had made a sufficient request to the district court for an actual award of the enhanced benefit, the appeals court reversed as to the calculation of damages….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 28, 2017


President Trump signs executive order on regulations, reiterates promise to repeal, replace ACA

President Trump signed an executive order on February 24 that directs federal agencies to establish a regulatory reform task force to assess whether regulations are burdensome to the economy and job creation. “Excessive regulation is killing jobs, driving companies out of our country like never before,” Trump said at the White House before signing the directive. “Every regulation should have to pass a simple test; does it make life better or safer for American workers or consumers,” he added….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Warren finds financial firms on board, ready to comply with fiduciary rule

In the aftermath of President Trump’s executive order calling on the Department of Labor (DOL) to review its controversial fiduciary rule that, among other things, was aimed at eliminating conflicts of interest, and to rescind or revise the rule if certain criteria are met, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Edward Hugler summarizing comments she received from more than 21 leading financial firms. The responses affirmed widespread industry support for full and timely implementation of the fiduciary rule. Those comments were sent in response to letters from Senator Warren in January 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 27, 2017


Employers evolve benefits to fight opioid epidemic

The opioid epidemic has found its way into the workplace with employers evolving their benefits offerings to help fight prescription drug abuse, according to a new report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA has had little to no adverse effect on employment and usual hours worked

Through 2016, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had little to no adverse effect on employment and usual hours worked per week, according to recent research from the Urban Institute.…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA marketplaces support the adoption of total cost estimators despite challenges

Although Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces that offered total cost estimators to help consumers select a health care plan encountered issues in the development and implementation of such tools, they concluded cost estimators may generate higher enrollment during the sign-up process, according to a study conducted by The Commonwealth Fund. The study includes interviews with marketplace officials, consumer enrollment assisters, technology vendors, and subject matter experts who used cost estimators to understand their experiences with cost estimators, as well as the opinions of those that did not use them….

(Read Intelliconnect) »