Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – May 2, 2014

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: SHOP Exchanges, 4/13 (540.1.-5)

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  • Analysis: ACA Effective Dates, 4/13 (511.-7)


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  • Survey: Benefits Account For 31 Percent Of Total Compensation, 4/13 (422.-9)


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  • Analysis: Determining Whether A Multiemployer Plan Is In Endangered Or Critical Status, 4/13 (132.1.-1)


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May 2, 2014

Groups Comment On Allowable Bona Fide Employment-Based Orientation Period Under ACA

In February 2014, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (the Departments) jointly issued final regulations implementing the 90-day waiting period limitation under Public Health Service Act (PHSA) Sec. 2708. PHSA Sec. 2708, as added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), prohibits group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group coverage from applying any waiting period of more than 90 days before coverage starts. Concurrently with the final rule, the Departments issued a proposed rule clarifying the calculation of the maximum allowed length of an employment orientation period relative to final regulations implementing the 90-day waiting period limitation. Recently, two groups, the American Benefits Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, submitted comments on the proposed rule…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Consumer Group Provides Top Ten List For Increasing Coverage In Future Enrollment Periods

Now that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) first open enrollment period has ended, many are weighing in on how to improve the process. One group, the national consumer organization Families USA, has released ten recommendations for strengthening outreach and enrollment efforts to increase health coverage in future enrollment periods…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 1, 2014

More Mandated Health Benefits Laws On The Way From The States

The states seem to have picked up the pace in enacting mandated health benefits laws. Here’s a summary of some of the recent activity…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Decrease In Difficulty Paying Medical Bills Predates Full Implementation Of ACA: CDC

Despite the fact no one was covered by plans through the health insurance marketplace until 2014, an early release of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the percentage of people who were in families that had problems paying their medical bills decreased from the first six months of 2011 (21.7 percent) to the first six months of 2013 (19.8 percent). The CDC report was based on data from a National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). A “family” for purposes of the NHIS was generally defined as one or more persons living together in the same housing unit…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 30, 2014

Mandated Contraceptive Coverage Supported By Majority Of Americans

While the Supreme Court is considering challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate, a recent poll finds that the majority of Americans—69 percent—support mandated coverage of birth control in health plans. The study was conducted by the University of Michigan Health System and is reported in the article,
Attitudes About Mandated Coverage of Birth Control Medication and Other Health Benefits in a U.S. National Sample

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Fiduciaries Liable For Failure To Monitor Recordkeeping Costs, But Recordkeeper Evades Liability For Use Of Float Income

The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court ruling that plan fiduciaries violated their duties under ERISA by failing to monitor excessive fees remitted to a recordkeeper that was paid through revenue sharing. However, the court reversed and remanded the issue of whether the fiduciary breached ERISA by replacing a strong performing investment option with higher priced investment funds maintained by the recordkeeper, for determination under the deferential abuse of discretion standard. In addition, the court absolved the recordkeeper of liability for its use of float income retained on plan investments. The case is
Tussey v. ABB, Inc

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 29, 2014

PCIP Enrollees Provided With Special Enrollment Period To Sign Up For Marketplace Plan

On April 24, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice stating that participants in the federal high-risk health insurance pool who have not signed up for coverage through the health insurance exchanges can qualify for a 60-day special enrollment period that begins May 1…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Only A Third Of Employers Extend Health Benefits To Same-Sex Domestic Partners: BLS

Over 70 percent of civilian workers had access to employer-sponsored health benefits in March 2013, with nearly all the employers extending these benefits to spouses and children, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, the recent report,
Beyond the Numbers: Employer-Sponsored Benefits Extended to Domestic Partners, found that only 32 percent of civilian workers had health benefits extended to unmarried same-sex domestic partners, and 26 percent had benefits extended to unmarried opposite-sex domestic partners…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 28, 2014

2014 Premium Filing Instructions And My PAA For 2014 Premium Filings Now Available

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has announced the availability of the 2014 premium filing instructions, which contains changes reflecting recent PBGC final regulations that simplified the premium payment rules, and My PAA for 2014 premium filings. The final regulations simplified and streamlined due dates, coordinated the due date for terminating plans with the termination process, made conforming changes to the variable-rate premium rules, clarified the computation of the premium funding target, reduced the maximum penalty for delinquent filers that self-correct, and expanded premium penalty relief…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Participants In CDHPs Have Higher Income, Better Health

Compared with those in traditional health plans, those in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) tend to have higher income, more education, and be in better health, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). CDHPs typically consist of high-deductible health plans combined with health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) or health savings accounts (HSAs). Today, about 26.1 million individuals with private insurance, representing 15 percent of the market, are either in a CDHP or an HSA-eligible plan…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Stolen Laptops Lead To Significant HIPAA Settlements

Two entities have paid the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) $1,975,220 collectively to resolve potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. These major enforcement actions underscore the significant risk to the security of patient information posed by unencrypted laptop computers and other mobile devices, OCR noted…

(Read Intelliconnect) »