Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – May 20, 2016

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May 20, 2016


Text: EEOC, final rule, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Text: EEOC, final rule, regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Final EEOC regs map out ADA, GINA compliance for employer wellness programs

The EEOC has released a pair of final rules that map out the extent to which employers may offer inducements and incentives for participation in wellness programs without running afoul of the ADA and GINA. Published in the
Federal Register on May 17, both final rules will be effective 60 days after publication, but would apply beginning on January 1, 2017. The two rules provide guidance to both employers and employees about how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA and GINA consistent with provisions governing wellness programs in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues June 2016 AFRs

The June 2016 short-term, mid-term, and long-term applicable federal interest rates (AFRs) have been issued by the IRS. The June 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 2.49 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

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) »

May 19, 2016


Text: HHS, final rule, nondiscrimination in health programs

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Final rule eyes equity and an end to discrimination in health care

Individuals are protected from sex discrimination in health care under a final rule issued by HHS to implement Section 1557—a nondiscrimination provision—of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition to prohibiting health care discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity, or sex stereotyping, the new regulations impose new requirements for communication with disabled individuals and support enhanced language assistance for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). The new regulations also specify that individuals can seek remedies for sex discrimination under Section 1557. The regulations take effect on July 18, 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues final regs on multiemployer plan ordering rule for suspension of benefits when employer has withdrawn

The IRS has finalized regulations under Code Sec. 432(e)(9) that concerns a specific limitation governing the application for a suspension of certain multiemployer defined benefit plan benefits where the employer has withdrawn from the plan. Code Sec. 432(e)(9) was added by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, Division O of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, (P.L. 113-235) (MPRA). The final regulations are effective May 5, 2016 and apply to suspensions for which the approval or denial is issued on or after April 26, 2016. In the case of a systemically important plan, the final regulations apply for any modified suspension implemented on or after April 26, 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

TIGTA reviews IRS’s handling of premium tax credit claims

The IRS accurately determined the allowable Premium Tax Credit (PTC) on more than 2.4 million returns, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). TIGTA evaluated the effectiveness of the IRS’s verification of PTC claims during the 2015 filing season to ensure that unauthorized payments or overpayments of the PTC were fully recouped….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 18, 2016


Supreme Court kicks contraception challenge back down the road, orders compromise

Catching the parties by surprise, but making no official decision, the Supreme Court ruled earlier than expected on the most recent challenge to the contraception coverage mandate within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The High Court sent
Zubik v. Burwell back to the lower circuit courts for a further examination of the alternatives to the mandate’s accommodation that were suggested in supplemental briefs by both parties and submitted to the court after oral arguments….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Is there a better way than the ACA? Hearing asks experts

Lawmakers considered health care reforms to improve pre-existing condition protections, lower patient costs, and encourage plan innovation at a hearing held by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. The hearing included testimony from health reform experts on the ways the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has aided or hindered the advancement of health care and experts offered recommendations for how the health reform law can be advanced or altered to improve the industry….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 17, 2016


Court sides with House Republicans, finds no appropriation for cost-sharing reductions under ACA

Cost-sharing reductions implemented under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) lack Congressional appropriation, and the payment of reimbursements under the program is in violation of the Constitution, held the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, siding with House Republicans challenging the Obama Administration’s implementation of the ACA. In its decision, the court held that while the advance premium tax credit program is properly appropriated, it is not so programmatically aligned with the cost-sharing reductions in that it shares appropriation under Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) (31 U.S.C. §1324)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee handbooks should be updated to reflect ACA changes

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate is fully in effect and phased-in, experts at Mintz Levin warn that few employers have bothered to review their employee handbooks to reflect the ACA….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC proposed regs lower penalties for late payment of premiums

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued proposed regulations that would significantly lower the rate of penalties charged for the late payment of premiums by defined benefit plans and would provide a waiver of most of the penalties for plans with good compliance with premium requirements. The proposed changes would apply to both single-employer and multiemployer plans for late annual (flat- and variable-rate) premium payments for plan years beginning after 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 16, 2016


Award of unemployment compensation benefits does not equal entitlement to COBRA benefits

A finding by an unemployment compensation office that a police officer was eligible for benefits was not sufficient evidence that the officer was also entitled to COBRA benefits, according to a decision rendered by a Florida district court….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues June 2016 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating April through June 2016, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.77 percent, down from the 2.82 percent rate that applied in January through March 2016. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in June 2016 is .75 percent, lower than the rate that applied in May 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


HHS hit with subpoena from House committees

After repeated denied requests for information from the Obama Administration, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee issued subpoenas to HHS for documents regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) cost-reduction (CSR) program. The subpoenas come after more than a year of efforts by the committees to request information from HHS via letters and telephone calls….

(Read Intelliconnect) »