Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – September 23, 2016

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September 23, 2016


DOL announces two-month extension for public comments on Form 5500 modernization proposals

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a two-month extension of the comment period on the Form 5500 Modernization Proposals. The department, the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation published a Notice of Proposed Revision of Annual Information Return/Reports in the Federal Register on July 21, 2016. The department also published a separate, but related Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the same day….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS provides updated static mortality tables for 2017

The IRS has issued the static mortality tables to be used by defined benefit plans under Code Sec. 430(h)(3)(A) and ERISA Sec. 303(h)(3)(A) for purposes of calculating the funding target and other items for valuation dates occurring during calendar year 2017, and modified “unisex” version of the mortality tables for use in determining minimum present value under Code Sec. 417(e)(3) and ERISA Sec. 205(g)(3) for distributions with annuity starting dates that occur during stability periods beginning in calendar year 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 22, 2016


Top questions for employees to ask this open enrollment season

To help employees gain insight during the upcoming open enrollment season, Willis Towers Watson has released a list of the top 10 questions for employees to ask employers as they select and enroll in new health plans for 2017. Willis Towers Watson noted that the questions are based on employers’ expectations of an average 5 percent increase in total health care costs in 2017, per survey data reported last month from the consultant’s Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues final regs regarding bifurcated accrued benefits for certain defined benefit plans

The IRS has issued final regulations regarding the minimum present value requirements applicable to certain defined benefit plans. The final regulations change the regulations regarding the minimum present value requirements for defined benefit plan distributions to permit plans to simplify the treatment of certain optional forms of benefit that are paid partly in the form of an annuity and partly in a single sum or other more accelerated form….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 21, 2016

Market volatility, election causing employer uncertainty around pre-65 retiree health care strategies, survey finds

In light of recent Affordable Care Act marketplace plan and premium volatility and the upcoming election, only 13 percent of employers plan to move forward with their pre-65 strategies regardless of the election’s outcome, according to a new pulse survey from Aon Hewitt….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues October 2016 AFRs

The October 2016 short-term, mid-term, and long-term applicable federal interest rates (AFRs) have been issued by the IRS. The October mid-term 175 percent AFR (Annual) rate, used to calculate interest charged to the funding standard account for underpayments of quarterly contributions under Code Sec. 412(m), is 2.27 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Exchange enrollment concentrated among few issuers in 2014

Although enrollment in private health insurance plans was concentrated among only a small number of issuers in 2014, concentration was even higher on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges. On average, there were five exchange issuers in the individual exchange market per state, compared to 22 issuers in the overall market, and three versus 11 in the small group market. Issuers newly entering the market generally obtained a larger share of exchange enrollment than overall enrollment….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 20, 2016


Disability benefits are an often-overlooked piece of the benefits package

When weighing the employee benefits of a new job, candidates definitely consider the health care benefits, probably read over the retirement plan and will no doubt investigate the number of vacation days—but few new hires take time to consider the disability benefits offered. That’s according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ Employee Benefits Survey 2016, which found that disability benefits remain a steady inclusion in employers’ benefit packages, whether employees are aware of the benefit or not….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

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) »

Percentage of uninsured declined in 2015

The percentage of individuals without health insurance coverage for the entire 2015 calendar year declined from 10.4 percent in 2014 to 9.1 percent in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey, Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015, noted that the number of people without health insurance declined to 29.0 million from 33.0 million over the period….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 19, 2016


CDHP out-of-pocket costs are much higher than those for traditional coverage

A new study from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) shows lower total per capita spending on health care for people with consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs). HCCI posits that this is driven in part by the same people using less health care overall than people with traditional non-CDHP commercial health plans. However, for the same period studied, HCCI says that spending out of pocket by CDHP consumers was 1.5 times higher on average than non-CDHP consumers….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

CMS to take on special enrollment period abuse with pilot program

CMS is developing a pilot program to address growing concerns regarding abuse of special enrollment periods (SEPs) for health insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges. CMS announced, via a Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) guidance, the proposed pilot, which will include a pre-enrollment verification process to ensure greater integrity in the ACA’s SEP process….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employer’s notes from meeting with employee about her anxiety not relevant to FMLA claim

Handwritten notes from a meeting that a store owner requested with an employee before allowing her to return from medical leave were not relevant to her subsequent FMLA claim, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found, noting that while they contained details about her anxiety and medications, they did not suggest displeasure with her use of leave. Thus, the court below did not err in excluding them from trial. Nor did it err in denying her untimely motion for leave to amend to add claims under Title VII and the ADA or in dismissing a second lawsuit she filed asserting those same claims….

(Read Intelliconnect) »