Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – May 27, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




May 27, 2016


Survey findings tie private exchanges to employee retention

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of employees using a private exchange say they are more likely to remain with their employer because of their benefits program, according to a new Liazon survey. “The retention case is incredibly strong for private exchanges,” said Ashok Subramanian, Liazon’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “The data show us that employees appreciate their benefits more when they are engaged in the process of selection and view the full cost of their plans. As private exchanges become a more popular form of benefits delivery, employers are beginning to recognize the model as a way to communicate the value of the benefits they are offering to their workforce….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Alternative marketplace enrollment procedures detailed for 2017

For benefit year 2017, alternative enrollment procedures for health insurance marketplaces are largely unchanged from benefit year 2016. The only change of note is the discontinuation of advance payments of the premium tax credit (APTC) and cost-sharing reductions (CSR) for a new group of individuals, which CMS expects to be very small. The eligibility redetermination and re-enrollment procedures were detailed in recent guidance from CMS’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 26, 2016


Employers to focus on employee well-being

The majority (64 percent) of employers say that by 2018, they will focus on developing a workplace culture that supports employee well-being as a primary strategy to boost health engagement, according to recent research from Willis Towers Watson. This is a significant shift, as just 34 percent say it was a core strategy in 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Central States’ proposed pension rescue plan rejected

The Treasury Department has denied the rescue plan proposed by the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF). The pension fund, which is in critical and declining status, is expected to run out of money within ten years or less, the CSPF said in a statement. Hundreds of employers that used to contribute to the fund on behalf of employees have closed their doors or gone bankrupt, including many trucking giants, according to the pension plan, which claims it now pays out $3.46 for every dollar it takes in….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 25, 2016

Senate small business committee examines tax consequences of ACA

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee held a hearing recently to discuss the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on small businesses. Lawmakers examined various tax implications of the health care law and how IRS regulations have affected small business growth….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Marketplace cost-sharing got more costly between 2015 and 2016

Out of pocket costs—co-payments and deductibles—increased between 2015 and 2016 for the 40 percent of enrollees in marketplace plans who were not receiving cost-sharing subsidies. The rise in consumer cost sharing under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was identified by University of Chicago researchers as part of a study on changes in consumer health plan cost-sharing—deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket limits—between 2015 and 2016. The finding represents a change from the 2014 to 2015 period when cost-sharing amounts for individual and family plans obtained through the state and federal marketplaces remained stable….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 24, 2016


Seventy-eight percent of employers would keep some ACA-mandated provisions if law were repealed, report finds

Health care and the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been defining issues for presidential candidates this election season. A new report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans finds that if the ACA is repealed, 78 percent of employers would keep in place at least some of the provisions they have already implemented in their health plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

More companies pledge to fight the Cadillac tax

American Airlines and WestRock have joined the Alliance to Fight the 40, a coalition seeking to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)-created 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health plans. American Airlines and WestRock directly sponsor health plans or advocate on behalf of tens of millions of Americans with employer-sponsored coverage….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

FMLA allotment calculation should have included overtime that started voluntary, became mandatory

Although an employee had the choice of whether to put his name on a list as available for certain overtime shifts, once he did that and was selected, the overtime shift became mandatory and should have been included by his employer when it calculated his allotment of FMLA leave for the year, ruled the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Because the employer did not include the employee’s overtime at all when calculating his allotted leave, it denied him FMLA benefits to which he was entitled and summary judgment was affirmed in the employee’s favor….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 23, 2016


Exchange enrollees are just as satisfied with coverage as those with employer-sponsored plans

Individuals who have obtained health coverage on the health insurance exchanges are just as satisfied with their coverage as individuals with employer-sponsored coverage, and they are showing signs of increased confidence in coverage affordability, according to recent research from Deloitte. The
2016 Survey of US Health Care Consumers found that while exchange enrollees are as satisfied as those with employer coverage, they are still less satisfied than those with Medicare and Medicaid….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Public reporting of marketplace quality info delayed one year

Public reporting of quality rating information by the federally-facilitated marketplaces (FFMs), including FFMs where the state performs plan management functions, and state-based marketplaces on the federal platforms (SBM-FPs) will begin during the 2018 open enrollment period, with a limited pilot taking place for the 2017 plan year. CMS revised a previously released timeline for the required display of qualified health plan (QHP) quality rating information….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


ERISA Advisory Council to meet June 7-9

The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold a meeting on June 7-9 in Washington, D.C., in C5320 Room 6, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW….

(Read Intelliconnect) »