Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – May 8, 2015

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May 4, 2015 – May 8, 2015    |    Products    |    Catalog


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New Reports




May 8, 2015


Satisfaction with job increases with number of benefits offered

There is a correlation between the number of benefits offered by employers and the likelihood an employee would recommend their employer as a great place to work, according to MetLife’s 13th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study. At companies where employees are offered no benefits, only 46 percent of employees would recommend their employers as great places to work. This number increases to 53 percent at companies where employees are offered between one and five benefits, but at companies where employees are offered 11 or more benefits, this number jumps to 66 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Pipeline awards will funnel $700,000 to projects focusing on major health issues

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has approved 47 new projects to receive community-building funding support through its Pipeline to Proposal Awards program. Awards totaling $700,000 will support initiation of community-building projects that can lead to research proposals…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 7, 2015


IRS issues 2016 inflation-adjusted amounts for HSAs

The IRS has issued inflation adjusted amounts under Code Sec. 223 for health savings accounts (HSAs) for 2016. For calendar year 2016, the annual limitation on deductions under Code Sec. 223(b)(2)(A) for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan is $3,350. For calendar year 2016, the limitation on deductions under Code Sec. 223(b)(2)(B) for an individual with family coverage under a high deductible health plan is $6,750…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Drop in employer-sponsored insurance only partially mitigated by Medicaid, CHIP increases

Rates of employer-sponsored insurance dropped at an accelerating pace since the Great Recession and have continued to decline since 2010. However, in the same period of time, gains in coverage have resulted from public programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report details the convergence of population shifts and economic forces that influence the effect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ERISA Advisory Council to meet May 27-29

The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold a meeting on May 27-29, in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW. The notice of the meeting was published in the May 6 Federal Register….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

May 6, 2015


IRS released draft publication on filing ACA forms electronically

The IRS has released a draft publication on filing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) forms electronically. The publication outlines the communication procedures, transmission formats, business rules and validation procedures for returns transmitted electronically through the AIR system. To develop software for use with the AIR system, Software Developers, Transmitters, and Issuers should use the guidelines provided in the publication along with the Extensible Markup Language (XML) Schemas published on IRS.gov…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Lawmaker introduces bill to repeal ‘Cadillac’ tax

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) on April 28 introduced legislation, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Bill, which would repeal the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans scheduled to go into effect in 2018. The so-called “Cadillac” tax would apply a 40-percent tax on health insurance expenditures over $10,200 per person and $27,500 per family. The tax is intended to help reduce the costs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


May 5, 2015


Congress called it a tax, so Anti-Injunction Act bars court challenge

The federal courts lacked jurisdiction to hear a challenge to the employer mandate provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) because the litigation was barred by the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA), a federal appeals court has ruled. The assessable payment imposed on employers who do not offer affordable minimum essential coverage is a tax, and the AIA prohibits lawsuits to prevent the collection of any tax. The party objecting to the tax must first pay it and then sue for a refund. Therefore, the court vacated the district court ruling that dismissed the case on the merits and directed the court to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court also ruled that it had no jurisdiction over Dr. Steven Hotze’s challenge to the individual mandate because he did not have standing to sue; his complaint did not allege that his employer-sponsored coverage failed to meet ACA requirements. The case is Hotze v. Burwell

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Erroneous interpretation of plan that reduced benefits was “amendment” under anti-cutback rule

Finding that a straightforward reading of an employer’s pension plans, which was consistent with the company’s earlier interpretation of those plans, led to the conclusion that terminated vested participants were entitled to pensions in an amount that did not include an actuarial adjustment for the years prior to age 65 in which they received benefits, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined that the plan administrator’s second interpretation of the plans could be construed as an “amendment” to the plans that violated ERISA’s anti-cutback rule. The court also ruled that the second interpretation of the plans denied the participants’ benefits due them in violation of ERISA Sec. 502(a)(1)(B). The case is Cottillion v. United Refining Company

(Read Intelliconnect) »


May 4, 2015


Eliminate Subsidies And Mandates To Broaden ACA’s Market Incentives, CED Proposes

Broadening health care reform’s market incentives by replacing premium subsidies with fixed—dollar tax credits and eliminating the employer mandate will improve the existing health care and health insurance system for the working-age population and their dependents, according to recommendations recently published by the non-profit Committee for Economic Development (CED). The CED also recommends a shift from fee-for-service medicine, upon which it says “the deficient core of the health care system” is based, to capitated or bundled reimbursement…

(Read Intelliconnect) »


House Ways And Means Committee Approves Extension Of Health Coverage Tax Credit

The House Ways and Means Committee on April 23 approved, by a 25-to-13 vote, trade legislation that would extend a health care tax credit for individuals affected by foreign trade practices. The provision was included as part of a broader trade adjustment assistance (TAA) bill. The Senate Finance Committee approved the measure late on April 22 by a vote of 17 to 9…

(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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