Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – September 2, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




September 2, 2016


Average cost of employee health care makes up 7.6 percent of a company’s annual operating budget, SHRM reports

The average cost of providing health care makes up 7.6 percent of a company’s annual operating budget and equates to an average of $8,669 per covered employee, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) new
Health Care Benchmarking Report….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employee premiums went up, even as coverage levels went down

While average health care plan costs for employers actually decreased slightly in 2016, employees’ share of the cost increased, even as they continued to accept lower coverage levels, according to the
2016 Health Plan Survey from United Benefit Advisors (UBA). In 2016, the average health plan cost was $9,727 per year, down from $9,736 in 2015. Of the $9,727, employees contributed an average of $3,378 and employers contributed on average $6,350, whereas in 2015, employers paid $6,403 of the $9,736 average overall cost, while employees paid $3,333….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ERISA Advisory Council to meet September 27

The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold a meeting on September 27 as a teleconference in Washington, D.C., in C5521 Room 4, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 1, 2016


Maximum wellness incentive allowed based on the total cost of the lowest cost self-only coverage available, EEOC confirms

Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) rules provide that where an employer offers more than one group health plan but enrollment in a particular plan is not required to participate in a wellness program, the maximum incentive is based on the total cost of the lowest cost self-only coverage under a major medical group health plan that the employer offers, according to a recently-released informal letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Office of Legal Counsel….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Continued post-ACA coverage gains in California

In California, 78 percent of individuals eligible for new health care coverage thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) now have coverage, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Longitudinal Panel Survey. The survey found that 72 percent of previously uninsured Californians, including those not eligible for ACA-related coverage options, now have coverage. The remaining uninsured individuals mainly face obstacles of cost and immigration status; undocumented immigrants are not currently eligible for coverage through the state Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, or Covered California, the state’s exchange….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Restriction in merger agreement on reduction of plan benefits enforceable

A clause in a merger agreement limiting the scope of future ERISA plan amendments was enforceable, according to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Thus, Berkshire Hathaway was subject to suit for allegedly causing a subsidiary to reduce benefit accruals under a pension plan and employer matching contributions under a 401(k) plan….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 31, 2016

Illinois sick leave benefits to be expanded January 1

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed the Employee Sick Leave Act (P.A. 99-841 (H. 6162), L. 2016) into law. The law provides that an employee may use personal sick leave benefits provided by the employer for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee’s child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent, for reasonable periods of time as the employee’s attendance may be necessary, on the same terms upon which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for the employee’s own illness or injury….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS discusses what plan amendments are needed before retirement plan termination

The IRS discusses on its website what plan amendments should be made before a retirement plan is terminated. A plan sponsor should make sure that its retirement plan document includes all law changes that the plan was required to follow as of the plan’s termination date. The IRS explains that these final plan amendments maintain the plan’s tax-favored status at termination, thus ensuring that distributions to participants are eligible for rollover to other qualified plans or IRAs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 30, 2016


SIFL rates issued for the second half of 2016

The Department of Transportation has released the applicable terminal charge and standard industry fare level (SIFL) mileage rates for July 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. These rates will be used by the IRS to determine the value of noncommercial flights on employer-provided aircraft….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS seeks answers on how consumers process plan information

In a network breadth pilot, information on the relative size of provider networks will be displayed for plans in a limited number of states on Healthcare.gov during the open enrollment period for the 2017 coverage year. According to the CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), the purpose behind the pilot is to help CMS understand how consumers make use of the information on breadth of provider networks at the county level in choosing a plan. The pilot program will involve six states; the focus will be on states that can provide a sample of plans in geographic areas with a range of network availability….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Successor that knew predecessor was unionized faces trial over withdrawal liability

A district court erred when it granted summary judgment against a multiemployer plan seeking to impose the withdrawal liability owed by a predecessor employer on the successor that purchased the assets of the prior employer, according to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. A buyer that knows a predecessor contributed to a union pension fund is on notice that the possibility of withdrawal liability exists….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

August 29, 2016

HHS Civil Rights Office thinks small to stop data breaches

Reports of breaches impacting the protected health information (PHI) of 500 or fewer individuals will be more widely investigated by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), beginning August 2016. Previously, the OCR’s regional offices investigated all breach reports involving the PHI of 500 or more individuals and only investigated smaller breaches when resources permitted the additional oversight. Under the new initiative, regional offices will retain discretion to investigate smaller breaches, but each office will increase investigative efforts to identify smaller breaches and obtain necessary corrective action….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

HSA assets surpass $34 billion

The number of health savings accounts (HSA) rose to 18.2 million, holding over $34.7 billion in assets, according to recent research from HSA investment broker Devenir. The
2016 Midyear Devenir HSA Research Report noted that this was an increase of 22 percent for HSA assets, and 25 percent for accounts for the period June 30, 2015, to June 30, 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »