Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – September 19, 2014


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September 15, 2014 – September 19, 2014    |    Products    |    Catalog

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September 19, 2014

IRS Issues Guidance On Pension Funding Stabilization Under HATFA

In Notice 2014-53, the IRS has issued guidance on the changes to the funding stabilization rules for single-employer plans that were made by the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-159; HATFA). The guidance provides procedures for electing to defer the use of HATFA segment rates that relate to a plan year beginning in 2013…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

House Lawmakers Approve Bill Allowing Employers To Offer Plans That D Not Comply With ACA

House lawmakers have approved the Employee Health Care Protection Bill of 2014. The legislation, authored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) passed in the House by a vote of 247 to 167. The bill, H.R. 3522, would allow employers to continue offering health insurance plans available in 2013, specifically those that do not meet the coverage requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). It also would grandfather those plans under ACA Sec. 1501(b) through calendar year 2018…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

September 18, 2014

Benefits Were 31.3 Percent Of Total Compensation In June 2014, BLS Finds

Employer-provided benefits costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local governments in June 2014 averaged $10.00 per hour worked, accounting for 31.3 percent of total compensation costs, which averaged $31.96 per hour worked. The cost of benefits as a percentage of compensation has risen in the past three years from 27.4 percent of total compensation. These are among the findings of the June 2014 Employer Costs for Employee Compensation report, produced quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Parents Have Increased Coverage Under ACA, But Children Do Not: Urban Institute

Since September 2013, the number of uninsured nonelderly adults has fallen, according to a June 2014 Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS). HRMS has been monitoring health insurance coverage for people between the ages of 18 and 64 since the beginning of 2013. The report offers a glimpse of how insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been changing for parents living with their dependent children. HRMS attributes the decrease to a few factors, including the implementation of ACA; the expansion of Medicaid to nearly all adults with family incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) in 25 states and the District of Columbia; and federal subsidies that allow purchases of insurance coverage through new health insurance Marketplaces…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

September 17, 2014

Health Benefit Cost Increases Will Edge Up In 2015

Employers are predicting that health benefit cost per employee will rise by 3.9 percent on average in 2015, according to early responses from a Mercer survey still in the field. Cost growth slowed to 2.1 percent in 2013, a 15-year low, but appears to be edging back up, Mercer noted…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

41 Percent Of Employees Spend Less Than 15 Minutes On Benefits Selection

Selecting the right health insurance plan may be one of the most important decisions Americans will make during open enrollment, yet many workers do very little research on their health benefits. In fact, 41 percent of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season; and nearly a quarter (24 percent) spent five minutes or less, according to the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

No-Cost Retiree Health Benefits Not Vested Where Parties “May Agree Otherwise”

Agreements governing health insurance benefits for retirees, which were incorporated by reference into the parties’ relevant collective bargaining agreements, contained a continuation of coverage provision that, although providing that retirees’ coverage would not be terminated or reduced, expressly allowed the company and the union to “agree otherwise.” Consequently, in an unpublished opinion the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the plain language of the unambiguous provision precluded retired union members’ breach of contract claims that followed an agreed-upon change that those “no cost” provisions would be replaced by coverage that required premium payments. The case is Lewis v. Allegheny Ludlum Corporation (No. 13-3636)…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

September 16, 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) »

PBGC Issues October 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 October 2014 is 1.00 percent, down from the 1.25 percent rate that applied in September 2014…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS Provides One-Stop Compliance Guide For QHP Issuers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released an Agents and Brokers Program Module, which provides information and guidance to qualified health plan (QHP) issuers regarding their relationships and oversight obligations for agents and brokers selling QHPs in the Marketplace…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

September 15, 2014

Self-Insured Health Plans Wrestle With HPID Application

Ninety percent of ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) members have not applied yet for a Health Plan Identifier (HPID) for any of their self-insured health plans from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to a recent ERIC poll of its members. The group’s members are large employers that sponsor benefit plans for millions of workers…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Fewer Fortune 500 Companies Shifting Defined Benefit Plans To 401(k)s

The retirement plan landscape is stabilizing as fewer U.S. companies last year moved from defined benefit (DB) plans to offering only a defined contribution (DC) plan to new salaried employees than in any other year over the past decade, according to a new analysis by Towers Watson. The analysis also found that a few industry sectors—insurance and utilities—are bucking the trend from DB to DC plans. More than half the companies in these sectors still offer DB and DC retirement plans to new salaried employees…

        (Read Intelliconnect) »




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About this Newsletter

Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNewsTM contains the latest news and developments in the employee benefits field for both health care and retirement plans. Taken from the daily news updates in Spencer’s Benefits Reports on the Internet, the items include legislative and regulatory actions, court case summaries, industry news, and analysis of new trends such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and Roth 401(k) provisions — anything that can affect the design, implementation and administration of an employee benefits plan.

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