Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – October 17, 2014

 

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News

October 17, 2014

Chief HR Officers Give Negative Reviews To ACA’s Impact On Employee Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased health care costs, which are being largely borne by individuals with existing employer-provided health insurance, according to a survey conducted by the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. Fifty-two percent of the Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) responding to the survey reported that, as a direct result of the ACA, they have raised employee contributions toward health insurance. Eleven percent have cut back coverage eligibility, but few have moved employees to either private exchanges (1 percent) or public exchanges (.5 percent)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Flexible Work Arrangements Benefit Employers And Employees

Most flexible work arrangements are successful, and human resource professionals predict that telecommuting and other employer-offered flex options will increase substantially during the next five years, according to new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The
2014 Workplace Flexibility–Overview of Flexible Work Arrangements found that three-quarters or more (73 to 92 percent) of human resource professionals from organizations that offer flexible work say 16 types of flexible arrangements are somewhat or very successful…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 16, 2014

IRS, HHS, DOL Clarify “Reasonable Method” For Reference-Based Pricing

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury have issued guidance setting forth factors that they will consider when determining if a non-grandfathered group health plan has met its obligations under PHS Act Sec. 2707(b). This latest in a series of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) addresses obligations with regard to reference-based pricing. Under reference-based pricing, a plan pays only a fixed amount for a particular procedure, which certain providers then accept as payment in full…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC Issues November 2014 Interest Rates For Valuing Terminating Pension Plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating October through December 2014, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 3.10, down from the 3.43 percent rate that applied in July through September 2014. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in November 2014 is 1.25 percent, up from the 1.00 percent rate that applied in October 2014…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Most Employees Who Can Direct Savings Primarily Toward Retirement Have Access To An Employer Plan

An updated study released by the Investment Company Institute (ICI) finds that most workers who are likely to have the ability to save and to be focused primarily on saving for retirement have access to an employer-provided retirement plan. “It’s well known that about half of America’s workers are covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but less is known about who is in that half, and why,” said Peter Brady, ICI senior economist. In Who Gets Retirement Plans and Why, 2013, ICI uses the most recent data on pension coverage to update its analysis of the employee characteristics that make some employers more likely to offer, and some workers more likely to seek, compensation packages that include retirement benefits…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 15, 2014

Walmart Cuts Part-Time Employee Benefits, Partners With DirectHealth.com

On the heels of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s (Walmart) announcement that it will be partnering with insurance agency DirectHealth.com (DirectHealth) to set up in-store insurance enrollment counters came the news that the company also is raising health insurance premiums for its U.S. workforce and ending coverage for employees who work less than 30 hours per week…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Deadline For Appeals In SPD Was Incorporated Into Plan’s “Written Instrument”

An appeals deadline set forth in a long-term disability plan’s summary plan description (SPD) barred a participant’s overdue claim because the SPD was incorporated into the plan’s other written documentation, according to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in
Tetreault v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (No. 13-2353). The long-term disability (LTD) plan participant had filed an internal appeal of a claim denial more than a year after the plan’s 180-day deadline…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 14, 2014

Employers Looking To Enhance 401(k) Investment Structures

With millions of workers now relying on 401(k) plans as their primary retirement savings vehicle, U.S. employers are enhancing the investment structures of those plans, according to a new survey by Towers Watson. This includes replacing single, stand-alone investment options with multi-manager, white-label choices, implementing custom target-date fund (TDF) solutions and outsourcing all or portions of their 401(k) plan oversight…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Fiduciaries Held To Higher Standard In Proving Plan Loss Was Not Caused By Procedural Imprudence

In determining whether fiduciaries who breached duties of procedural prudence in divesting a plan of company stock actually were liable for causing the resultant loss, courts must ascertain whether another fiduciary acting prudently would have made the same decision, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has held in
Tatum, et al . v. RJR Pension Investment Committee. Accordingly, a lower court erred in focusing on whether a prudent fiduciary could have made the same decision…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

October 13, 2014

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) »

Health Reform Will Impact This Year’s Benefits Communication Strategy

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is impacting how employers are creating this year’s benefits communication strategies, according to recent research from the nonprofit National Business Coalition on Health and Benz Communications. The study found that 73 percent of employers report that the ACA will have the biggest impact on their benefits communication strategy in the year ahead…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Artist Asks Full D.C. Court To Review Origination Clause Challenge

The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), on behalf of Matt Sissel, has asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hear PLF’s Origination Clause challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The petition for
en banc review comes after an adverse ruling by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit this past July. The panel upheld the dismissal of Sissel’s claims that the ACA unconstitutionally originated in the Senate…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »