Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – May 22, 2015

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May 18, 2015 – May 22, 2015    |    Products    |    Catalog


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New Reports




May 22, 2015


Start thinking about employee communication plans now, before 1095-C forms go out, experts advise

At the end of January 2016, most full-time and some part-time employees will be receiving a Form 1095-C from their employers. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that large employers provide health insurance to full-time employees and also mandates that all individuals have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Employers will send Form 1095-C to employees, which will be used to inform the IRS whether or not an employee received a qualifying offer, and was or was not enrolled in health care coverage….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Groups urge IRS to consider impact of “Cadillac” tax on employees and employers

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) and the American Benefits Council have both submitted comments to the IRS in response to Notice 2015-15, which solicits input on possible approaches for implementing the 40-percent excise tax on high-cost plans of employer-sponsored health coverage…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 21, 2015


Supreme Court confirms continuing duty of fiduciaries to monitor and remove imprudent plan investments

A suit brought within six years of an alleged breach by plan fiduciaries of their continuing duty to monitor and remove imprudent plan investments was not barred by ERISA’s statute of limitations, according to the United States Supreme Court. The Court unanimously validated the “continuing duty” standard, under which fiduciaries have a continuing duty, separate and apart from the responsibility to exercise prudence in initially selecting plan investments, to monitor and remove imprudent plan investments. The case is Tibble v. Edison International (No. 13-550)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

How does ACA affect your small business? IRS offers tips

The IRS has just published helpful guidance reminding small businesses that most employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, are not subject to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA), employer shared responsibility provision, since they are not applicable large employers (ALEs) for the current calendar year. This means that, not only are such employers not subject to the ACA’s employer shared responsibility provisions, they are also not subject to the employer information reporting provisions for the current year….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Evidence of judicial action not required for recovery of attorney’s fees

A showing of “success on the merits” does not have to be connected to judicial action in order for a party in an ERISA action to recover attorney’s fees, according to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Templin v. Independence Blue Cross (No. 13-4493). In remanding the case back to the district court, the Third Circuit declined to express an opinion as to whether or not attorney’s fees should ultimately be awarded, however….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 20, 2015


Employers don’t plan on exiting health care game any time soon

Thirty-three percent of employers say they “definitely will” offer health care benefits over the next five years, and an additional 52 percent say they are “very likely” to do so, according to recent research from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). Less than 5 percent of employers say they are planning to quit offering coverage over the next five years…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Doctor’s note plus knowledge of workplace incident may have been sufficient notice under FMLA

Disagreeing with a district court’s determination that a police officer failed to provide sufficient notice of a serious condition qualifying him for intermittent FMLA leave, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, found that a doctor’s note limiting his workday to eight hours together with the employer’s knowledge of a serious health-related incident at work (chest pains) provided evidence that his superiors were aware of his potential FMLA-qualifying condition. Further, because he provided sufficient evidence of the elements for a constructive discharge, the Sixth Circuit found that he established a fact issue as to whether he was denied a benefit under the FMLA. The grant of summary judgment on his FMLA retaliation claim was reversed as well because a reasonable jury could conclude he was targeted in such a way as to compel him to resign. The case is Festerman v. County of Wayne

(Read Intelliconnect) »


May 19, 2015


Report finds out-of-pocket spending surges under ACA

The growth in health care spending has slowed down and one reason for that slowdown is that people are spending more out of their own pockets, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies. The report pointed out that health care actuaries say that when people have to spend more out of pocket for health care, they tend to spend less elsewhere. And when a third party—employers, health insurers or the government—insulates consumers from the cost of care, they tend to spend more…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

House passes bill for penalty-free early retirement plan withdrawals

On May 12, 2015, the House passed H.R. 2146, which would allow federal law enforcement offers, federal firefighters, customs and border protection officers, and air traffic controllers to make penalty-free withdrawals from governmental plans upon the attainment of the age of 50. The “Defending Public Safety Employees Retirement Act” would amend Code Sec. 72(t)(10), which currently allows qualified public safety employees, defined as police, firefighters, and emergency medical service employees, to take distributions from their defined benefit plans at age 50, instead of age 55, without incurring a 10 percent penalty tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plans…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Tobacco cessation programs are free for Marketplace enrollees, PA official reiterates

Pennsylvania’s Acting Insurance Commissioner, Teresa Miller, has issued a consumer alert to inform Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees that tobacco cessation programs are free under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This alert followed a Pennsylvania Insurance Department reminder issued to all insurers offering health insurance policies through the Marketplace that they are required to provide tobacco cessation at no cost to policyholders…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 18, 2015


PBGC issues June 2015 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating April through June 2015, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.78 percent, down from the 2.89 percent rate that applied in January through March 2015. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in June 2015 is 0.75 percent, the same rate that applied in May 2015…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


IRS webinar reviews ALE status, employer shared responsibility provisions

In a May 12 IRS webinar, IRS officials continued efforts to educate employers on the employer shared responsibility and information reporting provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The webinar covered the definition of applicable large employer, full-time equivalent employee, hour of service, affordable coverage, minimum value and more. These terms are important for employers to understand in preparation for the upcoming effective date for the employer shared responsibility provisions under Code Sec. 4980H and the requirement to comply with information reporting requirements under Code Secs. 6055 and 6056, officials explained…

(Read Intelliconnect) »





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About this Newsletter

Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNewsTM contains the latest news and developments in the employee benefits field for both health care and retirement plans. Taken from the daily news updates in Spencer’s Benefits Reports on the Internet, the items include legislative and regulatory actions, court case summaries, industry news, and analysis of new trends such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and Roth 401(k) provisions — anything that can affect the design, implementation and administration of an employee benefits plan.


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