Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – October 25, 2013


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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Health Reform Provisions, Cafeteria Plans, And HRAs, 10/13 (562.-1)

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  • Analysis: Compliance Challenges After DOMA Falls, 10/13 (327.4.-21)


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  • Analysis: The Basics Of Managed Care Plans, 10/13 (313.-1)


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  • Survey: Health Benefits Costs Rose 4.1 Percent In 2012: Mercer, 10/13 (422.1.-7)


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October 25, 2013

Supreme Court Asked To Review Next Set Of ACA Challenges

The Obama administration filed three documents with the Supreme Court on October 21 in response to various Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) petitions, making it likely that the Supreme Court will hear at least one new case against the law during the next term. Two of the documents focused on the birth control mandate, asking the court to hold back on its review of the
Conestoga Wood case until a decision is made in the Hobby Lobby case. And on another side of ACA, the Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to deny review of Liberty University’s challenge to the individual and employer mandates in the ACA, maintaining that no conflict exists with any of the issues raised in that petition. These filings complete the government’s responses to ACA cases currently in front of the Supreme Court…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority of U.S. Workers Believe ACA Will Increase Health Insurance Premiums: NBGH

Despite an overall lack of familiarity with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the majority of U.S. workers believe the health care reform law will ultimately increase how much they pay for health care insurance over the next several years, according to research from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). The survey,
Employer Perspectives on the Future of Health Benefits and Health Care Delivery, also found an increasing number of employees who are confident in their ability to shop for health insurance on their own, and that many workers would use a private health insurance exchange to buy insurance if offered by their employer…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 24, 2013

Small Business Owners Give High Ratings To Features Of New SHOP Marketplaces

Fifty-six percent of small business owners who currently provide their employees with health benefits are interested in being able to offer a choice of health plans while paying a fixed cost, with the employee paying extra for choosing a more expensive plan, according to recent research from NORC and The Commonwealth Fund. This type of coverage option is an important feature of 17 of 18 state-run Small Business Health Insurance Options (SHOP) marketplaces through which employers can buy health insurance policies for their workers, and that were created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Federally run marketplaces also will offer these options beginning in 2015…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Teacher’s FMLA Claims Fail Where He Was Ineligible For FMLA Leave

A federal district court properly granted summary judgment against a teacher’s claim that a school district improperly handled his request for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and forced him to resign in retaliation for seeking such leave, ruled the First Circuit in
McArdle v Town of Dracut (13-1044). Where the employee worked only 82 days in the 12 months preceding his request for FMLA leave, the 615 hours he worked did not come close to the 1,250 hours required for FMLA eligibility…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 23, 2013

5.2 Million Adults Will Fall Into ACA Coverage Gap In 2014

About 5.2 million poor, uninsured adults will fall into the “coverage gap,” created by 26 states choosing not to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation. These individuals are projected to have incomes too high to qualify for their state’s existing Medicaid programs, but below the federal poverty level (nearly $11,500 for an individual) required to be eligible for federal subsidies to buy private coverage on the new online insurance marketplaces set up by the ACA…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ERISA Advisory Council To Meet November 4-5

The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold a meeting on November 4 and 5, in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW. The notice of the meeting was published in the October 22
Federal Register

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Former Employee’s Suit To Recover Benefits Under Terminated Plan Time Barred

A former employee who did not receive vested pension benefits after the plan was terminated was not allowed to bring suit 17 years later to recover the funds, as the alleged fiduciary breach did not involve fraud or concealment, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in
Laskin, et. al. v. Siegel, et. al

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 22, 2013

Health Plan Cost Increases Averaged 3.3 Percent In 2013: Aon Hewitt

In 2013, U.S. companies and their employees saw the lowest health care premium rate increases in more than a decade, according to research from consultant Aon Hewitt. After plan design changes and vendor negotiations, the average health care premium rate increase for large employers in 2013 was 3.3 percent, down from 4.9 percent in 2012 and 8.5 percent in 2011. In 2014, however, average health care premium increases are projected to move back to the 6 percent to 7 percent range, the study noted…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Accounting Organization Backs Fewer Retirement Plans, Simpler Rules

Congress should consolidate and simplify the types of tax-favored retirement plans now available to small business owners in order to minimize the cost and administrative burden imposed by the plans, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) said in written testimony submitted for the House Small Business Committee’s October 2 hearing entitled
The Challenge of Retirement Savings for Small Employers

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 21, 2013

Employers And Plan Sponsors Prepare For ACA’s 2014 Changes

On Jan. 1, 2014, employers and plan sponsors will experience many significant changes because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to speakers at the annual employee benefits conference of The Groom Law Group, Chartered, Washington, D.C. The Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Labor (DOL) have released thousands of pages of rules and regulations under the ACA, many of which will come fully into force in 2014 and beyond…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

EBSA Should Provide Additional Guidance To Plans Holding Alternative Investments: OIG

The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a report,
Office of Audit, Report No. 09-13-001-12-121, recommending that the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) take action to provide additional guidance and oversight to ERISA plans holding “hard to value alternative investments…”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Since MPPAA Barred Exception To “Pay Now, Dispute Later” Rule, District Court Lacked Authority To Ban Interim Payments

A district court did not have the authority to issue an injunction to enjoin a multiemployer pension fund from collecting withdrawal liability payments, pursuant to the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA) interim payments requirement, before an arbitrator resolved a labor dispute between an employer and the multiemployer pension fund, according to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in
Findlay Truck Line, Inc. v. Central States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Fund. The plain language of the MPPAA divested courts of the power to create an equitable exception to the “pay now, dispute later” rule…

(Read Intelliconnect) »