Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – October 14, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




October 14, 2016


ACA creates momentum for small business owners to rethink retirement benefits

A recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide appears to show that small business owners are finding that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has decreased the appeal of health care benefits to employees and increased retirement plans’ importance as a tool to recruit and retain employees. Nationwide found that 29 percent of owners of businesses with less than 300 employees, who offer 401(k) plans, and who plan to increase contributions, say that they are doing so because the ACA has made health benefits less attractive to employees….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues final regs lowering late premium payment penalties, providing new waiver

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued final regulations that lower the late premium payment penalties for plan years beginning in 2016 or later. Under the final regulations, late payment penalty rates and caps are reduced by 50 percent. In addition, for plans with good compliance histories that pay promptly after a PBGC underpayment notification, penalties are reduced even more (an 80 percent reduction, on top of the above 50 percent reduction). The final regulations are effective October 24, 2016, and apply to both single-employer and multiemployer defined benefit plans for late annual (flat- and variable-rate) premiums for plan years beginning after 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 13, 2016


Cook County, Illinois ordinance mandates five days’ paid sick leave

The Cook County Board of Commissioners recently approved an ordinance that will require employers in the county to provide employees with up to five days of paid sick leave each year. The requirement, which is effective July 1, 2017, does not apply to federal, state and local government employers, or to Indian tribes….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Uninsured rates down over all demographic categories

Health insurance coverage has consistently improved across a wide range of demographic categories, including age, race and ethnicity, geographic location (i.e., urban vs. rural), and income, since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) reached this conclusion based on an analysis of National Health Interview Survey data from the National Center for Health Statistics, from 2010 to 2015. The ASPE analysis also found substantially larger improvements in health coverage in states that have expanded Medicaid as opposed to states that have not yet expanded Medicaid, particularly for low-income individuals and racial and ethnic minorities.

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 12, 2016

SHRM survey finds significant difference by gender in maternity and paternity paid leave

New research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that, on average, women receive almost twice as much paid parental leave after the birth of a child as men. The Paid Leave in the Workplace Survey found that women, on average, were given 41 days of paid maternity leave compared with 22 days of paid paternity leave for men. (This is in addition to other forms of paid leave that might be available to new parents.) Perhaps not surprisingly, noted Evren Esen, director of workforce analytics at SHRM, the survey showed that very few employees left any parental leave unused….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS updates Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System

The IRS has updated the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), a comprehensive system of correction programs for sponsors of retirement plans that have failed to satisfy the requirements of Code Secs. 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408(k) or 408(p). EPCRS permits plan sponsors to correct failures and thereby continue to provide their employees with retirement benefits on a tax-favored basis. The components of EPCRS are the Self-Correction Program (SCP), the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP), and the Audit Closing Agreement Program (Audit CAP). The revenue procedure updates the prior consolidated statement of the correction programs under EPCRS issued in 2013. The updated EPCRS procedures are effective January 1, 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 11, 2016


ERIC submits comments on ACA reporting requirements

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has submitted comments to the IRS on proposed rules regarding reporting requirements for large employers that offer group health plans to employees and their families….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

‘Unreasonable’ premium increases require ‘prominent posting’ of justification

If a health insurance issuer offering non-grandfathered health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market through or outside of the Marketplace implements a rate increase that has been determined to be unreasonable by CMS, or by a state with an effective rate review program, the health insurance issuer must “prominently post” the required rate filing information and its Final Justification for implementing a rate increase. The posting must occur within 10 days after the implementation of the rate increase or the health insurance issuer’s receipt of the final determination by CMS or the state that the rate is “unreasonable.” The Final Justification must also be sent to CMS within the 10 day period….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 10, 2016


Benefits enrollment success depends on communication, technology and cost

A new white paper released by Colonial Life contains recommendations that could help employers and brokers strengthen worker satisfaction with benefits during the upcoming open enrollment season. Citing “rising health costs and the increasing financial fragility of America’s workers,” Steve Vermette, vice president, Growth Market Solutions at Colonial Life, advised that “brokers play a critical role in helping employees understand and participate in the benefits programs they need to protect themselves and their families.”…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Voters split on ACA, but most say Rx drug costs are unreasonable

The majority of Americans—including Democrats, Republicans, and independents—support several policy changes to control the cost of prescription drugs, according to a September 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Tracking Poll. The poll found, however, that Americans remain divided on whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working well, with 47 percent reporting an unfavorable view and 44 percent reporting a favorable one….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Plan maintained by church-affiliated hospital not exempt from ERISA as church plan

The Ninth Circuit has joined the Third and Seventh Circuits in affirming that a church plan maintained by a church-affiliated entity must also be established by a church or convention or association of churches in order to be exempt from ERISA. Accordingly, a pension plan maintained by a non-profit health care provider associated with the Roman Catholic Church was not exempt from ERISA’s requirements as a church plan. The opinion expressly rejects a longstanding IRS interpretation of the church plan exemption….

(Read Intelliconnect) »