Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – September 9, 2016

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Featured This Week


New Reports




September 9, 2016


San Francisco issues 2017 employer health care spending rates

The City of San Francisco has announced the 2017 rates for its employer health care spending law, whereby employers must either contribute a specified amount toward their employees’ health care costs on a regular basis or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents. Beginning January 1, 2017, the health care expenditure rate for employers with 100 or more employees will be $2.64 per hour, and the rate for medium-sized businesses with 20-99 employees will be $1.76 per hour….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Almost 10 percent of companies have implemented a spousal surcharge

Almost 10 percent of employers have implemented a spousal surcharge to help cut health care costs, according to a 2016 report from bnchmrk, a provider of benchmarking solutions for employee benefits. A spousal surcharge is when an employer charges employees more for health care if they want to cover spouses who can get benefits from their own employer. The survey of 1,974 employers found that technology firms (17 percent), health care companies (15 percent), and the manufacturing sector (13 percent) are more likely to add a spousal surcharge than companies in other sectors….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Fidelity’s retention of float on disbursed funds did not breach fiduciary duty

Cash held by a mutual fund is not transformed into a plan asset when it is received by a trustee who is obligated as an intermediary to transfer the funds directly to plan participants, according to the First Circuit U.S Court of Appeals. Accordingly, float interest earned on the funds and retained by Fidelity, as the intermediary, to defray its expenses, did not constitute a plan asset for purposes of ERISA’s fiduciary duty rules….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 8, 2016


HHS releases final rule to increase civil monetary penalties

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that adjusts the agency’s maximum civil monetary penalty amounts for inflation. The rule, which implements the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, adjusts the penalties to reflect inflation and “maintain their deterrent effect.” The rule was effective September 6, 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Low-income workers with HSA/HDHPs more likely to skip care

Low-income workers who switch to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) are more likely than their higher-paid colleagues to avoid certain types of health care, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The EBRI analysis, which looked at actual health claims of one large Midwestern employer by workers’ income levels, found significant differences for the use of some health services, but not for others….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 7, 2016

Text: IRS, final regulations, definition of terms relating to marital status

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues final regulations defining terms related to marital status

The IRS has released final regulations that reflect the holdings of Obergefell v. Hodges, Windsor, and Rev. Rul. 2013-17. The regulations define terms in the Code describing the marital status of taxpayers for federal tax purposes. As in the earlier proposed regulations, the final regulations provide that the terms “spouse,” “husband” and “wife” mean an individual lawfully married to another individual, and the term “husband and wife” means two individuals lawfully married to each other….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Traditional IRAs tend to be opened with rollovers, while Roth IRAs tend to be opened with contributions

Traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) tend to be opened with rollovers, in contrast to Roth IRAs that tend to be opened with contributions, according to two updated reports recently issued by the Investment Company Institute (ICI). The reports also show that withdrawal activity is lower, equity holdings are higher, and investors tend to be younger in Roth IRAs than in traditional IRAs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 6, 2016


HHS, proposed rule, HHS notice of benefit and payment parameters for 2018

(Read Intelliconnect) »

New 2018 proposed Marketplace rules for insurers and consumers arrive early

Normally issued in November, HHS has decided to issue its proposed annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2018 early, publishing them in the Federal Register on September 6, 2016. The proposed rule comes as high-profile insurers like Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group have opted to cut back on participation in the exchanges in 2017. Currently available as an Advance Release, the proposal provides numerous steps to strengthen the health insurance marketplace and respond to insurer concerns. Specifically, the proposal would revamp the risk-adjustment methodology, the cost-sharing parameters, and make changes designed to promote consumer choice in health plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Consumers should continue to have affordable health insurance options in 2017

Two features of the health insurance marketplace—consumers’ ability to shop around and the availability of premium tax credits—are helping to ensure that consumers have affordable health insurance options in 2017 and beyond. A new analysis by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) found that HealthCare.gov consumers would continue to have affordable coverage options, even if all marketplace final health insurance premium rates were to increase by double digits in 2017. In a hypothetical scenario where all rates increase by 25 percent, the vast majority of consumers (73 percent) would be able to purchase coverage for less than $75 per month, according to the analysis….

(Read Intelliconnect) »