Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – November 18, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




November 18, 2016


Demonstrations of support beat financial incentives for boosting employee health plan participation

As businesses plan for next year’s open enrollment period, decision makers for employee benefit plans may be surprised to learn that involvement from company leadership plays more of a key role in driving employee medical plan participation than do financial incentives. That’s according to the 2016 Benefit Analytics and Benchmarking Study (BABS), conducted by Wells Fargo Insurance, part of Wells Fargo & Company.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Plan participants fail to clear Fifth Third pleading hurdle in BP stock drop suit

Participants in a company stock fund failed to state a fiduciary breach claim, in compliance with the heightened Fifth Third pleading threshold, by not factually supporting in their complaint an alternative course of action so beneficial that a prudent fiduciary could not conclude that it would be more likely to harm the fund than to help it, according to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 17, 2016


Two states adopt paid sick leave provisions

Unofficial results show voters approved paid sick leave provisions in two states: Arizona and Washington. The two states join Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont in offering statewide paid sick leave programs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Medicare Part A and Part B premiums set for CY 2017

Medicare Enrollees age 65 and over who have fewer than 40 quarters of coverage and certain persons with disabilities pay a monthly premium in order to receive coverage under the Medicare Hospital Insurance Program (Medicare Part A). Individuals who had at least 30 quarters of coverage or were married to someone with at least 30 quarters of coverage may buy into Part A at a reduced monthly premium rate, which will be $227 in calendar year (CY) 2017, a $1 increase from CY 2016, according to the CMS. The notice also provides that uninsured aged and certain individuals with disabilities who have exhausted other entitlement and who have less than 30 quarters of coverage will pay the full premium, which will be $413 a month in CY 2017, a $2 increase from CY 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 16, 2016

State age bias claim preempted by ERISA where ADEA claim would be time-barred

Former Chrysler executives who lost their retirement benefits after the company’s bankruptcy had dismissal of their state-law age discrimination claim affirmed on appeal. The Sixth Circuit, in an unpublished opinion, agreed with the district court that the discrimination claim was preempted by ERISA because it was brought outside the statute of limitations applicable to ADEA claims, so did not fall within ERISA’s savings clause for state-law claims that “mirror” ADEA claims. The appeals court also agreed with the lower court that allowing the executives to add ERISA claims that had previously been denied would be futile….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues December 2016 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating October through December 2016, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 1.98 percent, down from the 2.50 percent rate that applied in July through September 2016. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in December 2016 is .75 percent, up from the .50 percent rate that applied in November 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

2016 health insurance coverage trends for persons of all ages

In the first six months of 2016, 28.4 million (8.9 percent) of persons of all ages were uninsured at the time of the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Insurance Statistics (NCHS). This number represents a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the uninsured rate of 9.1 percent insured in 2015. In 2010, 20.2 million more persons of all ages were uninsured. The NCHS report includes selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population from January through June of 2016 based on data from the survey and comparable estimates from previous calendar years. In addition to insured and uninsured data, estimates provide data on public and private coverage, coverage through exchanges, and enrollment in high-deductible plans and consumer-driven health plans. In addition, tables provide estimates by selected demographics….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 15, 2016


Special relief encourages leave-based donation programs for victims of Hurricane Matthew

The IRS has provided special relief designed to support leave-based donation programs to aid victims of Hurricane Matthew. Under these programs, employees forgo their vacation, sick or personal leave in exchange for cash payments the employer makes to charitable organizations providing relief for the victims of this disaster. Under this special relief, donated leave will not be included in the income or wages of the employees and employers will be permitted to deduct the cash payments as business expenses….

(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) »

November 14, 2016


Wellness program choices should factor in generational differences in employee stressors

Despite an improving job market, workers are still experiencing high levels of stress, according to the 2016 ComPsych StressPulse Report, and that’s something employers should keep in mind when designing wellness and employee assistance programs (EAPs). Looking across three different age groups – Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers – the report revealed Millennials have the highest rates of anxiety and depression, and GenX employees have the highest rate of relationship issues….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Guaranteed benefits denied to beneficiaries of terminally ill employee who died before annuity starting date

A retirement plan committee did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in denying ten years of guaranteed annuity payments to the beneficiaries of a terminally ill employee who died after his last day of work but eight days before his annuity starting date, according to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Although the employee had delayed his retirement date on the advice of his employer, the terms of the plan implicitly conditioned the nearly $500,000 in guaranteed benefits on the employee surviving until the annuity starting date….

(Read Intelliconnect) »