Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – October 10, 2014


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New Reports



October 10, 2014

EBSA Issues Proposed Regs On Electronic Filing Of Top-Hat Plan Statements, Apprenticeship And Training Plan Notices

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued proposed regulations that would require electronic filing of “top hat” plan statements, and apprenticeship and training plan notices. Comments on the proposed rules are due by Dec. 29, 2014. The proposed rules were published in the September 30
Federal Register

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS Issues Final Regs That Require Filing Certain Retirement Plan Returns On Magnetic Media

The IRS has issued final regulations that require the filing of certain retirement plan statements, returns, and reports under Code Secs. 6057, 6058, and 6059 (i.e., Form 8955-SSA, Form 5500 series, and Schedules SB and MB) on magnetic media. The term “magnetic media” includes electronic filing, as well as other magnetic media specifically permitted under applicable regulations, revenue procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance on the IRS website. The final regulations are effective Sept. 29, 2014 and were published in the September 29
Federal Register

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 9, 2014

Short-Term Health Insurance Policy Holders Should Check Out Exchange Coverage During Open Enrollment

Many policy holders purchased short-term health insurance outside of open enrollment because they had not experienced a qualifying life event enabling them to purchase major medical coverage, according to a recent survey from eHealth, Inc. eHealth found that 70 percent of short-term policy holders considered purchasing a major medical plan instead, but 57 percent of those were unable to do so because they had not experienced a qualifying life event. However, 38 percent said they selected short-term insurance because they wanted lower monthly premiums…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Solicitor General To SCOTUS: ACA Subsidy Review ‘Unwarranted,’ There Is No Conflict

Following the decision by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in King v Burwell, Virginia residents who do not want to purchase comprehensive health insurance filed a petition for writ of
certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. On Oct. 3, 2014, Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., the United States Solicitor General, filed a brief in opposition with the Court on behalf of the U.S. Departments of HHS, Labor, and the Treasury, as well as HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Labor Secretary Jacob Lew, and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Arguing against the subsidy opponents’ claim that review by the High Court is necessary to resolve the conflict between two U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions, Verrilli wrote that not only is there no current conflict requiring resolution, but also that review is “unwarranted” because the Fourth Circuit’s decision is correct…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 8, 2014

Health Benefits Cost Trends Decrease In 2015, But Prescription Drug Costs Rise: Segal

Health benefit plan cost trend rates for 2015 are forecast to drop slightly for most health coverage, but to increase substantially for prescription drug coverage, according to the
2015 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey. This is Segal’s eighteenth annual survey of managed care organizations, health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and third-party administrators to gauge health care cost trends…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Growing Private Exchange Market Already Serves At Least 2.5 Million People

Fifteen percent of large employers either have adopted or are considering the adoption of a private exchange approach to employee health coverage, according to a recently-released Kaiser/HRET annual employer survey. Furthermore, in a new Kaiser Family Foundation report it is estimated that at least 2.5 million people already get their health coverage through private exchanges, including approximately 1.7 million group plan enrollees, 700,000 individual Medicare enrollees, and 100,000 individual enrollees (not including the purely e-broker individual market). Kaiser further predicts that the market is expected to grow…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 7, 2014

ACA May Encourage Self-Employment

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may encourage self-employment, according to a report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The report examined a Massachusetts state health reform law’s apparent bolstering effect on state self-employment rates and suggests that the ACA may have similar consequences. The authors submit that increased access to affordable insurance makes people less reliant on outside employers for insurance coverage, allowing them to work on their own…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Trustees’ Conflicting Interpretations Of “Retirement” Was “Paradigmatically” Arbitrary And Capricious

Trustees for a multiemployer pension plan acted in a “paradigmatically” arbitrary and capricious manner when they interpreted the plan term “retirement” in two different ways so as to justify awarding a participant $300 less per month than he was entitled to under the plan, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Schane v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local No. 710 Pension Fund Pension Plan, et al

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 6, 2014

Guidance Issued On The Effect Of HATFA On PBGC premiums

In PBGC Technical Update 14-1, the PBGC has issued a technical update providing guidance on the effect of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (HATFA) on PBGC premiums.…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Another Blow To Premium Subsidies—District Court Follows Halbig Analysis

A federal district court in Oklahoma has ruled that the IRS rule granting premium tax subsidies to persons enrolled in health insurance plans purchased on federally-facilitated Health Insurance Exchanges, and not just those established by a state, is invalid. The court agreed with the analysis of a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in
Halbig v Burwell and found that Congress’ choice of language in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) unambiguously allowed for credits for plans purchased only through state-operated Exchanges. Without stating its opinion as to the appropriateness of the subsidy application, the district court quoted the Seventh Circuit in another case of statutory interpretation, stating, “The text is what it is, no matter which side benefits,” The case is
Oklahoma v. Burwell (CIV-11-30-RAW)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »