Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – May 16, 2014

 

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Health Reform’s Premium Stabilization Programs, 5/14 (542.-1)
       

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  • Analysis: ACA’s Small Employer Health Care Tax Credit, 5/14 (530.-1)
       

 

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  • Analysis: Dental Benefits Coverage, 5/14 (325.4.-1)
       

 

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  • Survey: Consumer Price Index, Percent Changes For 2012-2013, 5/14 (301.1.-9)
       

 

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News

May 16, 2014

Employers Significantly More Informed About Coverage Options This Year Compared To 2013

Employers appear more informed about their companies’ options for providing health insurance this year than employers interviewed last year, according to a survey by Harris Poll on behalf of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS). In a 2013 benchmark study, only 37 percent of employers reported being very informed about their companies’ options for providing health insurance; in the 2014 study, 69 percent report being very informed….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Guidance Issued For Employers Who Fund Retiree Health Benefits Through Wholly Owned Subsidiary

In Rev. Rul. 2014-15, the Internal Revenue Service has provided guidance to employers who choose to fund their retiree health benefits through a wholly owned subsidiary. The risks involved were the health and accident risks of the retirees and their dependents, and the risk shifting and risk distribution occurred when a VEBA purchased a group-term life insurance contract and, subsequently, the subsidiary of the VEBA reinsured these risks by entering a second contract. The risks under this second contract were insurance risks, and therefore the second contract qualified as an insurance contract….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Supreme Court Declines Review Of How Much Weight To Give To SSA Disability Determinations When Insurers Make Benefit Determinations

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an insured’s request for review of whether it is “procedurally unreasonable” not to give weight to the disability determination by the Social Security Administration (SSA) when the disability standards employed by the agency and the long-term disability insurance plan administrator are functionally equivalent. The case is Nugent v. Aetna Life Insurance Company (Docket No. 13-1182)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 15, 2014

PBGC Issues Final Regs On Unpredictable Contingent Event Benefit Phase-In Rules

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued final regulations providing guidance on the phase-in period for the guarantee of “unpredictable contingent event benefits.” The regulations implement provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). The regulations are effective June 5, 2014, and were published in the May 6 Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Penalty Relief Provided For Late-Filers Of Pension Plan Returns

In Rev. Proc. 2014-32, the Internal Revenue Service has established a temporary one-year pilot program providing administrative relief to plan administrators and plan sponsors of certain retirement plans that need to be filed with the IRS, but not the Department of Labor. Also, the IRS has issued Notice 2014-35, which provides relief for late filers that satisfy certain requirements as well as the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) Program administered by the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 14, 2014

IRS Finalizes Regulations Governing Pension Distributions Used To Pay Insurance Premiums

The Internal Revenue Service has issued final regulations governing the tax treatment of payments by qualified retirement plans for accident or health insurance. The regulations apply for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015, but can be relied upon before then. These regulations affect sponsors, administrators, participants, and beneficiaries of qualified retirement plans. The final regulations were published in the May 12 Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Considers Additional Employer Mandate Guidance, Draft Forms For ACA Information Reporting Expected Soon, Officials Say

More guidance could be forthcoming for employers, insurers, health insurance providers, and other parties working on implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Internal Revenue Service officials said during a panel discussion at the 2014 May Meeting of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation in Washington, D.C. As soon as possible the IRS plans to release draft Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, which are necessary for health insurance providers and employers to comply with the information reporting requirements of Code Secs. 6055 and 6056, said Ligeia Donis, senior technician reviewer, IRS Office of Division Counsel and Associate Chief Counsel, Tax-Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE). Kathryn Johnson, senior attorney, IRS Office of Division Counsel and Associate Chief Counsel, hinted that the IRS is contemplating the release of additional guidance on the Code Sec. 4980H employer shared responsibility provisions…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 13, 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) »

Majority Of Benefit Decisionmakers Believe Cost Of Health Care Will Rise Due To Health Reform

The majority (60 percent) of senior level benefit decisionmakers believe that the cost of health care will rise as a direct result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to recent research from PlanSource. The Private Healthcare Exchange Survey also found that only 2 percent of decisionmakers have chosen a private exchange for their employees, with another 2 percent opting for a public health care exchange…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 12, 2014

Employers Likely To Shift Retirees To Private Exchanges

Companies are likely to continue to shift away from employer-sponsored retiree health plans and move retirees to private exchanges, according to recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The report, Market Trends in Retiree Healthcare and Financial Reporting Implications, observes that this will mimic the shift over the last decade from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution retirement plans. PwC noted that as companies change retiree health benefits, they need to consider the substance of the change and the related accounting implications…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits Costs Increased 0.4 Percent In First Quarter 2014

Benefits costs for civilian workers increased 0.4 percent for the three-month period ending March 2014, according to the most recent Employment Cost Index from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the first quarter 2014, benefits costs rose at a slightly higher rate than salaries, which increased 0.3 percent…

(Read Intelliconnect) »