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Featured This Week

 

New Reports

 

 

News

July 22, 2016

 

Draft forms for 2016 ACA health coverage reporting are now available

The IRS has published draft versions of the 2016 forms that applicable large employers (ALEs) must use to complete health coverage reporting—Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, and Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns. The forms are, so far, merely drafts, and should not be used for filing. The Form 1094-C and Form 1095-C are available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/f1094c–dft.pdf and www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/f1095c–dft.pdf, respectively….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Health spending to grow 5.8 percent annually, ACA effects waning

Health care spending growth will likely average 5.8 percent each year until 2025. These figures represent a slowdown from the years 1988-2008, during which health care spending grew almost 8 percent annually. The National Health Expenditure Accounts report, written by the CMS Office of the Actuary (OACT), found that Medicaid spending growth slowed to 5.3 percent in 2016, and will likely average 5.6 percent over the next two years….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 21, 2016

 

GOP resolutions would block EEOC’s wellness program regs

Senate health and labor committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety Chairman Jonny Isakson (R-Ga.) have introduced two resolutions to block what the Majority’s press release called “the administration’s attack on workplace wellness programs, which allow employees to save money on their health care premiums by making healthy lifestyle choices.” The “attack” they are referring to is a pair of regulations issued by the EEOC that govern workplace wellness programs….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues July 2016 AFRs

The July 2016 short-term, mid-term, and long-term applicable federal interest rates (AFRs) have been issued by the IRS. The July 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 2.08 percent….

(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) »

July 20, 2016

Opportunity exists to educate HR professionals about the benefits of private exchanges, survey finds

Forty-four percent of employers would switch to an exchange if it could help control their benefits costs without compromising the quality of plans they offer to employees, according to a Liazon survey. The survey, which gauged sentiment from Human Resources professionals involved in benefits decision making, reveals that many employers are looking for the very solutions private exchanges are designed to provide….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

New version of SBC to be used for first plan year after April 1, 2017, CMS confirms

On April 6, 2016, the Labor Department, IRS, and HHS released the final versions of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage template and the Uniform Glossary. In recently-released frequently-asked-questions, the CMS has confirmed that issuers are to use this final version of the SBC template beginning on the first day of the first open enrollment period that begins on or after April 1, 2017. Plans that do not do not use an annual open enrollment period would be required to use the newly-issued forms beginning on the first day of the first plan year (or, in the individual market, policy year) that begins on or after April 1, 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 19, 2016

 

ERISA applied to severance plan; benefits properly denied when employee failed to return property

Affirming summary judgment against an employee who was denied severance pay because he failed to return company property, the Fifth Circuit first held that ERISA governed the severance plans because they required more than a single lump-sum payment but involved ongoing plan administration and discretionary decisions on eligibility and amount of pay. On the merits, the appeals court agreed with the lower court that the plan allowed the employer to deny severance benefits on the ground that the employee failed to return company property (he deleted computer files) upon termination….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA’s tobacco surcharges lessen enrollment among smokers

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows health plans to levy a surcharge of up to 50 percent on a tobacco user’s health premiums. A new study from the Yale School of Public Health reveals that these high surcharges resulted in lower rates of insurance enrollment among smokers in the first year of the ACA’s implementation, without increasing smoking cessation….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

July 18, 2016

Tax credits even the playing field between low-income exchange, employer beneficiaries

Low- and middle-income recipients of plans on the health insurance exchanges pay about the same amount in premiums as individuals who receive insurance through their employers, but fewer than half view their plans as affordable. According to a Commonwealth Fund report, more than eight in 10 marketplace consumers are receiving federal premium tax credits, while 57 percent were enrolled in plans that offered income-based cost-sharing reductions in 2016. Although premiums were comparable between the marketplace and employer groups, marketplace consumers viewed coverage as less affordable than consumers enrolled in employer-sponsored plans….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

President Obama assesses ACA’s legacy, offers suggestions

In a Special Communication (SC) published on July 11, 2016 in The Journal of the American Medical Association, President Obama assessed the progress the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made toward improving the U.S. health care system and discussed how Congress can build on that progress by providing larger subsidies for private health insurance and creating a public plan like Medicare to compete with private insurers in some states….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues August 2016 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating July through September 2016, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 2.50 percent, down from the 2.77 percent rate that applied in April through June 2016. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in August 2016 is .50 percent, down from the .75 percent rate that applied in July 2016….

(Read Intelliconnect) »