Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – November 6, 2015

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New Reports




November 6, 2015


Text: EEOC, proposed regulations, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

(Read Intelliconnect) »

You can provide incentives to your employees for spousal health information, EEOC says

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued proposed regulations that would allow employers that offer wellness programs as part of their group health plans to provide incentives, including financial inducements, in exchange for the provision by an employee’s spouse of information about his or her current or past health status. In this latest issuance, the EEOC is proposing to amend regulations implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) as they relate to such wellness programs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits costs increased 0.5 percent in third quarter 2015

Benefits costs for civilian workers increased 0.5 percent for the three-month period ending September 2015, according to the most recent Employment Cost Index from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the third quarter 2015, benefits costs rose slightly less than salaries, which increased 0.6 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 5, 2015


Replacing Cadillac tax with cap on exclusion may be more effective

The so-called “Cadillac tax” established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which places an excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health insurance plans, has been coming under scrutiny recently, and calls for its repeal have been increasing. An analysis issued by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggests that replacing the controversial Cadillac tax with a cap on employer exclusion may be more effective because it has more certain distributional impacts. However, if an exclusion cap cannot be accomplished, the Cadillac tax must be retained for its revenue creation and cost containment….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers taking action to help workers close the retirement savings gap

With only one-in-five workers on track to retire at age 65, a recent survey from Aon Hewitt found that U.S. employers are taking steps to help workers save more and improve their long-term financial outlook.…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 4, 2015


ACA’s automatic enrollment provision repealed

President Obama has signed into law a two-year budget agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which includes a health care-related section that repeals the automatic enrollment requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Repealing major ACA provisions could save about $130 billion, says CBO

A proposed bill that would repeal the individual mandate and employer mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) could reduce deficits by approximately $130 billion between 2016 and 2025, according to a recent cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, would also repeal federal excise taxes on the sale of medical devices, as well as the ACA’s Cadillac tax. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that, including macroeconomic feedback, the legislation would increase net direct spending and on-budget deficits by over $5 billion in at least one of the four consecutive 10-year periods following 2026….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Annuitization of retirees’ pension benefits did not violate ERISA

Plan fiduciaries did not breach their obligations under ERISA by transferring the pension benefits of retired employees to a group insurance annuity, according to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The annuitization was a settlor activity, not subject to ERISA’s fiduciary requirements….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

November 3, 2015


Limitations period starts when absence classified non-FMLA, not when fired years later for too many absences

An employee who was fired after accumulating 12 unauthorized absences over a period of seven years, in violation of her employer’s attendance policy that was based on a system of progressive discipline, could not pursue her untimely FMLA suit, which asserted that three of the absences were protected by the FMLA. In an issue of first impression, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the FMLA’s two-year statute of limitations began to run when the three contested absences were deemed unauthorized, not when she was fired years later as a consequence of her overall attendance record. Summary judgment was affirmed….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Budget Act increases PBGC premiums and extends funding interest rate relief

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, as approved by the House of Representatives on October 28, 2015 and the Senate on October 30, 2015, increases the flat rate and variable rate premiums paid by single-employer pension plans beginning in 2017; accelerates the due date by which the premium payments must be made for the 2025 plan year; allows for greater use of plan-specific mortality tables in making funding calculations; and further extends the interest rate relief (“segment rate stabilization”) available for determining funding liabilities….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


November 2, 2015


Tax regs could help private exchanges but “wait-and-see” approach is advised

Private multi-carrier exchanges have not taken off as anticipated, and, according to an issue brief from the Changes in Health Care Financing & Organization, the issuance of regulations that would allow workers to use pre-tax employer contributions might be an effective accelerant. However, based on survey responses from companies operating private exchanges, benefits advisors and consultants, and health benefits lawyers, among others, Mark A. Hall, J.D., the author of the issue brief, advises regulatory forbearance….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

With open enrollment, most returning consumers will see $100 premiums

Eight out of 10 returning consumers of the health insurance marketplace will be able to choose from plans with premiums of less than $100 a month after tax credits during the next open enrollment period, according to an HHS Marketplace Affordability Snapshot. Seven out of 10 returning consumers will have a plan available for less than $75 a month. HHS found that based on the second open enrollment period, returning consumers who switched plans within the same “metal” tier saved an average of nearly $400 on their 2015 annualized premiums after tax credits as compared to those who stayed in their same plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »


Overall health coverage up, but employment-based coverage remains flat, EBRI reports

More working-age Americans had health insurance in last year due to an increase in individuals buying health coverage individually and the growth of publicly financed care such as Medicaid, according to a new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The rate of coverage through employment-based health plans was essentially flat. The EBRI report is based on the most recent data from the March Supplement to the Current Population Survey from the Census Bureau….

(Read Intelliconnect) »