Pension and Benefits News Library – 2018


1/19/2018 Despite letter referencing FMLA leave, employee was not eligible for leave under the Act
1/19/2018 EBSA semiannual regulatory agenda addresses rules on Form 5500 revision, fiduciary relief
1/18/2018 Multi-state cancer center to pay HHS $2.3M for failure to protect ePHI
1/18/2018 DB plan’s return to overfunded status dooms fiduciary breach claims
1/17/2018 Employers received approximately $344 million in rebates in 2016 due to ACA’s MLR provision
1/17/2018 PBGC final regs expand its missing participant program to DC, multiemployer DB, and other DB plans
1/16/2018 ERISA final rule on new disability benefits claims procedures will apply April 1
1/15/2018 DOL proposed regulation would allow association health plans
1/12/2018 Employers say acquisition announcements likely to impact future health care strategies
1/12/2018 SSA issues revised maximum taxable wage base for 2018
1/11/2018 Court vacates incentive portions of EEOC wellness regs, delays effective date until 2019
1/11/2018 IRS issues updated mortality improvement rates and static mortality tables for 2019
1/10/2018 States made progress on coverage and access to care from 2013 to 2016
1/10/2018 IRS issues 2017 required amendments list for individually designed plans
1/9/2018 Health care savings needed for retirement increases: EBRI
1/9/2018 Fiduciary rule PTEs’ implementation again delayed
1/8/2018 DOL issues annual adjustments to penalties for 2018
1/8/2018 Tax bill signed into law, retirement plan provisions included
1/5/2018 Global medical costs expected to increase in 2018 as local rates of inflation rise
1/4/2018 Court grants preliminary injunction against Trump’s religious and moral exemptions rules
1/3/2018 Little Sisters may not intervene in lawsuit challenging contraception coverage exemptions
1/2/2018 American Benefits Council commends legislation delaying Cadillac Tax
12/22/2017 Employee with lung cancer, fired after seeking further leave, gets claims reinstated
12/21/2017 Majority of U.S. employees do not believe their employers’ well-being initiatives meet their needs
12/20/2017 Health care spending passes $10,000 per person in 2016
12/19/2017 American Benefits Council sends Congress suggestions for single national paid leave policy
12/18/2017 Workplace leave policies are out of date, subcommittee is told
12/15/2017 Employee can’t sue employer’s defense counsel for FMLA interference or defamation
12/14/2017 U.S. employees’ financial well-being falters
12/13/2017 Employers need to respond to IRS ESRP letter within 30 days, experts warn
12/12/2017 CCIIO provides guidance for employers wishing to revoke accommodation for contraception coverage
12/11/2017 AHA, community organizations react to CMS’ ‘Benefit and Payment Parameter’ proposed rule
12/8/2017 Employee fired days after intermittent leave approved advances FMLA claims
12/7/2017 DOL releases advance copies of 2017 Form 5500
12/7/2017 IRS modifies accounting change procedures for qualified foreign plan election
12/6/2017 Jury will say if city disclosed basis for FMLA leave and was liable for resulting harassment
12/6/2017 GAO says better future retirement security requires comprehensive re-evaluation
12/5/2017 DOL provides compliance guidance for employee benefit plans adversely affected by Hurricane Maria and California wildfires
12/5/2017 Treasury and DOL extend deadlines for employee benefits plans affected by Hurricane Maria
12/4/2017 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report series issued
12/4/2017 DOL postpones final rules on disability benefit claims procedures
12/1/2017 Free health insurance for former employee relieved employer of liability for COBRA violation
12/1/2017 PBGC multiemployer program’s deficit continues to grow, single-employer program’s deficit drops
11/30/2017 Claims to lifetime retiree health insurance benefits ended with expiration of CBA
11/30/2017 PBGC seeks comments on request for extension of OMB approval of information collection on plan termination disclosures
11/29/2017 Annual survey reveals highest rate of employers offering health care benefits since 2013 despite concerns about looming changes
11/29/2017 EBSA seeks comments on information collection requests contained in various rulings
11/28/2017 Small employers worried about growing complexity of regulations
11/28/2017 IAM Motor City Pension Plan application to reduce multiemployer plan benefits is approved
11/27/2017 IRS issues sample shared employer responsibility payment letter
11/27/2017 PBGC issues 2018 table showing present value of maximum benefit guarantee
11/22/2017 IRS provides retirement plan loan and hardship distribution relief for victims of Hurricane Maria and California wildfires
11/17/2017 Fact disputes surrounding employee’s three medical leaves send California leave law claims to jury
11/16/2017 Lawsuit filed against Trump Administration on exemptions to contraceptive coverage rules
11/16/2017 2017-2018 IRS Priority Guidance Plan includes many employee benefits projects
11/15/2017 San Francisco issues 2018 employer health care spending rates
11/15/2017 Plan administrator’s interpretation of ambiguous plan terms in calculating pension benefit of disabled participant upheld as reasonable
11/14/2017 House tax bill would eliminate favorable tax treatment for several fringe benefits
11/14/2017 PBGC seeks comments on termination of single-employer plans and missing participants
11/13/2017 IRS provides extensive new guidance on Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements
11/13/2017 PBGC increases maximum monthly benefit guarantee for 2018
11/10/2017 Chronic back condition, disputed notice issues leave FMLA claims standing
11/10/2017 House GOP unveils sweeping tax reform bill with retirement provisions
11/9/2017 State university hospital immune from FMLA suit, but claims against individual supervisors survive
11/9/2017 Participant’s missed plan loan installment payments did not violate level amortization requirement because they were properly cured
11/8/2017 Five tips for improving employee benefits programs
11/8/2017 Prohibition on loans from 403(b) plan participant’s account to church-related employer applies to indirect loans
11/7/2017 Employer premiums rise nearly 7% in 2017 as employees absorb more of health insurance cost
11/7/2017 IRS seeks comments on Form 5330
11/6/2017 Taxpayer Advocate Service has self-help tools to assist employers with complex ACA requirements
11/6/2017 IRS seeks comments on Form 5308
11/3/2017 PBGC creates new pilot program for mediation of certain Termination Liability Collection and Early Warning Program cases
11/3/2017 Employer that failed to refute FMLA and overtime claims ordered to pay discharged worker over $70K
11/2/2017 New rules for mandatory paid sick leave in Washington spell out requirements for employers in 2018
11/1/2017 Over one-third of employers not interested in providing employees with HRAs to help buy individual coverage
10/31/2017 A quarter of people with employer health insurance plans are underinsured, Commonwealth Fund report finds
10/30/2017 Three out of four Americans concerned about potential health care policy changes
10/27/2017 Employee fired while on leave, not allowed to telecommute, advances FMLA and ADA claims
10/26/2017 Worker not entitled to multi-month leave after FMLA exhaustion; extended absence not reasonable accommodation
10/25/2017 Equitable tolling of COBRA election applies only for period beneficiary is incapacitated
10/24/2017 Out-of-pocket spending increased for employees in large group plans
10/23/2017 Employee fired days after receiving VA letter rating PTSD as 70 percent disabling advances FMLA, ADA claims
10/20/2017 Annual Aflac study shows employees continue to lack understanding when it comes to benefits enrollment
10/19/2017 Lower prescription drug costs predicted for 2018
10/18/2017 Adjusted applicable dollar amount for fee imposed on health insurance plans announced
10/17/2017 Kraft retirees had no vested right to health care benefits beyond termination of CBAs
10/16/2017 City manager fired while she was on leave-behind her back-not because she was on leave
10/13/2017 Senate EEOC hearing discusses employer wellness program rules and disability
10/12/2017 Governor Raimondo signs legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for Rhode Island employees
10/10/2017 Employers want small fixes to ACA
10/9/2017 Nearly one-third of employers offer vacation time donation
10/6/2017 Employer-provided benefit cost varies sharply by industry
10/5/2017 Expert reminds calendar year plans to implement new SBC requirements during this year’s open enrollment
10/4/2017 Most HSAs rolled over money at the end of 2016
10/3/2017 Annual family premiums averaging $18,764 in 2017
10/2/2017 More voluntary benefit options likely to be on offer during this year’s open enrollment
9/29/2017 Signing release to settle workers’ comp claim did not waive right to file FMLA claims
9/28/2017 Hospital employee’s agreement to six-month limitations period can’t bar FMLA claim
9/27/2017 Percentage of uninsured declined in 2016
9/26/2017 Employers predict 4.3 percent increase in 2018 health benefit cost, highest since 2011
9/25/2017 Employers should rethink pharmacy benefit strategies, MBGH says
9/22/2017 Deli worker fired for leaving store without telling managers may have given timely FMLA notice a day later
9/21/2017 Less than half of employed Americans have workplace group life insurance
9/20/2017 Uninsured rates for some groups rose, survey finds
9/19/2017 Employers look to reduce work-from-home options, but job candidates not on board
9/18/2017 Prescription drug spending in U.S. among highest worldwide
9/15/2017 Crunching the ‘hours worked’ number lets employer avoid FMLA interference claim
9/14/2017 Major ACA provisions improved minority access to health care
9/13/2017 After years of erosion, employer health insurance offer rate ticks up in 2016
9/12/2017 Survey suggests HR missing the mark when it comes to open enrollment
9/11/2017 DOL, IRS provide relief for benefit plans affected by Hurricane Harvey
9/8/2017 Question remained whether employee was prejudiced by leave denial
9/7/2017 Guidance reminds health insurers they cannot deny coverage based on gender identity
9/6/2017 U.S. workers poised to spend an average of $5,200 in health care costs in 2018
9/5/2017 More employers are requiring same-sex couples to marry to receive health benefits
9/1/2017 ERISA preempted state unpaid leave claim; policy was VEBA-plan dependent
8/31/2017 HSA assets reach $42.7 billion in June
8/30/2017 2017 monthly national average premium provided
8/29/2017 Financial wellness programs on the upswing, reflecting high costs of financial stress
8/28/2017 Wellness program design tips are offered in new ComPsych report
8/25/2017 FMLA’s limitations period was a statutory right that could not be waived by contract
8/24/2017 Failing to clarify maternity leave also FMLA leave results in triable issue on interference claim
8/23/2017 Wellness programs boost employee health, productivity
8/22/2017 Large employers project health care benefit costs to surpass $14,000 per employee in 2018
8/21/2017 Executive order does not release employers from shared responsibility payments
8/18/2017 Dispute over injured employee’s ‘resignation’ advances his FMLA claims
8/17/2017 CMS issues Part D premiums for 2018
8/16/2017 Exclude health savings accounts from fiduciary rule, ECFC says
8/15/2017 Employers expect health care costs to rise by 5.5 percent in 2018, up from 4.6 percent in 2017
8/14/2017 Religious exemption to contraceptive mandate not extended to nonreligious employers
8/11/2017 Denial of disability benefits, failure to offer accommodation didn’t show constructive discharge
8/10/2017 Employers are revamping benefits strategies to outmaneuver competitors and become destination employers
8/9/2017 The ACA helped working people get insured
8/8/2017 IRS finalizes premium tax credit regs
8/7/2017 Final regs define “controlled group” for branded prescription drug fee purposes
8/4/2017 ADA, GINA claims fail absent reasonable accommodation request or link between discharge and family history of cancer
8/3/2017 HR director may be individually liable for FMLA and wage violations
8/2/2017 SHOP has long way to go if it is to become a focal point of the small-group market
8/1/2017 Employers’ cost to provide employee benefits has risen 24 percent since 2001
7/31/2017 U.S. ranks last in health performance among high-income countries
7/28/2017 Veteran could proceed with claim employer reduced his salary by disability benefits amount
7/27/2017 Few participants use HSAs as investment vehicles
7/26/2017 Eliminate group health plan “footprint” rule, allow standalone FSAs, ECFC urges HHS
7/25/2017 Challenges to ACA final rule involving gender identity halted
7/24/2017 Premiums the big factor in health plan enrollment
7/21/2017 Recordkeeping evidence leads Eleventh Circuit to conclude that former employer met COBRA obligations
7/20/2017 Texas Supreme Court: Obergefell did not address same-sex benefits for municipal workers, so ‘neither will we’
7/19/2017 Court erred in finding benign mass on foot could not be ‘serious health condition’ under FMLA
7/18/2017 Employers view consumer directed healthcare offerings as critical to their future success
7/17/2017 Timing of layoff maximized employee’s benefits, so no pregnancy bias or FMLA retaliation
7/14/2017 Suspending employee upon return from FMLA leave, firing her after skipped meeting, did not show retaliation
7/13/2017 Repeal of ACA preexisting condition rules could leave millions of newly insured without coverage
7/12/2017 Pregame away day meals were fully deductible de minimis fringe benefit
7/11/2017 Retirement, college, and health savings activity expanding in U.S.
7/10/2017 ACA made big changes for maternity and mental health coverage
6/30/2017 One-third of companies increase employee benefits in war for talent, SHRM finds
6/29/2017 Employers continue to use traditional cost-shifting approaches to control health care costs
6/28/2017 SHRM survey respondents believe taxing insurance contributions will raise health care costs for employees
6/27/2017 Midsized employers are worrying about compliance, health care costs, reform, and less about employee engagement
6/26/2017 Eating disorder is mental health condition subject to parity rules, FAQ says
6/23/2017 Walmart employee did not timely submit medical certification, so FMLA claims fail
6/22/2017 Often-absent employee raised triable issue on whether termination constituted FMLA retaliation
6/21/2017 NY Governor moves to guarantee ACA protections
6/20/2017 More than 50 groups urge Senate to preserve employer-sponsored health benefits
6/19/2017 HHS seeks comments on reducing ACA regulatory requirements for individual and small group markets
6/16/2017 Annual health care costs for a typical American family nearly $27,000
6/15/2017 Kaiser Poll finds public views ACA more favorably than Congress’ plan to replace it
6/14/2017 Average premiums up 105 percent from 2013 per ASPE analysis
6/13/2017 Employees want flexible schedules and summer Fridays, but fewer companies offer them
6/12/2017 House lawmakers introduce bipartisan dependent care tax relief bill
6/9/2017 AHCA high-risk pool funding may fall short
6/8/2017 Nurse fired for violating dual employment policy while on extended leave can’t advance FMLA claims
6/7/2017 Extrinsic evidence indicated that retiree health care benefits vested for life
6/6/2017 CDHPs continue to gain popularity
6/5/2017 Dairy consortium members with genuine organizational relationship can have MEWA, says DOL
6/2/2017 Employee placed in different job upon return from leave, laid off weeks later is denied FMLA claims
6/1/2017 On rehearing, panel reaffirms finding that retiree benefits were not vested
5/31/2017 Both employers and employees interested in using wearable activity tracking devices to enhance wellness programs
5/30/2017 ERIC urges Senate to expand HSAs, repeal Cadillac tax
5/26/2017 Just over a third of small business employees satisfied with benefits
5/25/2017 Rising health care benefit costs show no sign of abating globally, Willis Towers Watson survey finds
5/24/2017 Reporting requirements here to stay under AHCA, although perhaps will become simpler, expert says
5/23/2017 Employers continue to address health care cost increases
5/22/2017 Employers expect to keep popular ACA provisions, despite potential for law’s repeal
5/19/2017 IRS updates premium tax credit table, required contribution percentage
5/18/2017 GM didn’t violate FMLA by suspending electrician who failed to follow union–negotiated policy for calling in absences
5/17/2017 ACA’s contraception mandate accommodation rendered lower court injunction moot
5/16/2017 2018 inflation adjustments for health savings accounts released
5/15/2017 Employers view HSAs as part of their retirement benefits strategy
5/12/2017 Generational split on health benefits led by millennials
5/11/2017 Cardiac monitoring service breaches of unsecured ePHI leads to settlement with OCR
5/10/2017 Majority oppose use of hardball negotiating tactics to replace ACA
5/9/2017 All-encompassing strategy is key to building effective employee health care programs
5/8/2017 Preeclampsia screening must now be covered by group health plans
5/5/2017 Retirees of automotive manufacturer established entitlement to lifetime health benefits
5/4/2017 Measuring temporal proximity from last (not first) day of FMLA leave revives employee’s FMLA retaliation claim
5/3/2017 Employee who was ‘locked out’ over supervisor’s concerns about her gun failed to revive FMLA claim
5/2/2017 $100K settles agency’s first challenge to an employer wellness program
5/1/2017 Employers offering benefits have competitive advantage
4/28/2017 Ex-husband who declined COBRA coverage thinking he was still married is denied reinstatement
4/27/2017 Employers and employees see value in health coaching
4/26/2017 More well-being programs include employee financial security features
4/25/2017 Employer mandate provisions implemented but need improvement, TIGTA finds
4/24/2017 HHS finalizes rule to improve marketplace stability
4/21/2017 ACA’s risk adjustment program reduced claims costs per enrollee, study shows
4/20/2017 IRS spotlights employer shared responsibility payments
4/19/2017 Majority support paid leave, but think employers should foot the bill
4/18/2017 Review of sleep apnea policy’s lawfulness under ADA denied
4/17/2017 As employee expectations redefine workplace, retention is top priority, MetLife survey finds
4/14/2017 Change in enforcing FMLA notice procedures, timing of termination, suggested FMLA retaliation
4/13/2017 Nurse fired for sleeping on the job can’t claim FMLA retaliation
4/12/2017 More choice in employer plan offerings raises risk of adverse selection
4/11/2017 Employers overwhelmingly opposed to additional taxes on employer-provided health coverage
4/10/2017 DOL review of group health plan filings shows decline in percentage of self-insured
4/7/2017 Court lacked jurisdiction to hear failed CO-OP’s claim under ACA’s ‘3Rs’ program
4/6/2017 Telehealth may drive medical spending up, not down
4/5/2017 State grades improve after ACA coverage expansions, more work needed
4/4/2017 Bill to establish small business association health plans clears the House
4/3/2017 HHS OIG to review decision to pull outreach for ACA open enrollment
3/30/2017 Primary reason consumers enroll in HSAs is to pay for future medical costs
3/29/2017 Private exchange option used by less than 1 percent of employers for active employees
3/28/2017 CCIIO gives small group non-grandfathered policies more time to ease into ACA compliance
3/27/2017 Following CBO report, Senator Murray challenges Price to explain how “No One Will Be Worse Off”
3/24/2017 Study connects the dots between essential health care and paid sick leave
3/23/2017 Pretext evidence supports revival of ADA, FMLA claims of employee RIF’d between surgeries
3/22/2017 Health benefits seen as tool to improve employee morale, survey finds
3/21/2017 SHRM study finds parental and caregiving leave benefits have remained the same since 2012
3/20/2017 Employers search for diverse solutions to reduce health care costs
3/17/2017 House Republicans act to protect employer wellness programs
3/16/2017 Offering financial wellness programs increases employee satisfaction with benefits
3/15/2017 Employers Council on Flexible Compensation requests guidance on qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements
3/14/2017 ERIC supports the American Health Care Act
3/13/2017 House Republicans unveil ACA repeal, replacement bill
3/10/2017 Whether sergeant protested FMLA policy in manner warranting denial of promotion was jury question
3/9/2017 HSA/HDHP enrollment tops 20 million
3/8/2017 Employee fired for threatening supervisor after tardiness write-up failed to revive FMLA claims
3/7/2017 ACA has had little to no adverse effect on employment and usual hours worked
3/6/2017 IRS issues transition relief for QSEHRA notice
3/3/2017 Single mom denied benefits for taking stale cake has claim revived
3/2/2017 Majority of consumers unaware of advantages of HSAs
3/1/2017 American Benefits Council advocates against cap on employer-sponsored coverage
2/28/2017 Small business advocates plead for better access, cheaper plans, fewer regulations
2/27/2017 Proposed ACA exchange regulations would tighten enrollment eligibility and allow higher deductible plans
2/24/2017 Employer must seek more information when employee requests FMLA leave to care for ailing grandfather
2/23/2017 Paid family leave passes in D.C. and is proposed again in Congress
2/22/2017 Lost BlackBerry and stolen laptop costs hospital $3.2M for ePHI breaches
2/21/2017 Markets remained concentrated among small number of issuers
2/17/2017 Evidence employee was discouraged from taking intermittent leave, fired after doing so, support revival of FMLA claims
2/16/2017 Honest belief employee was abusing FMLA leave defeats retaliation claim
2/15/2017 Forecast is mixed for health benefits in 2017 and beyond
2/14/2017 Needed health savings in retirement increases due to drug costs
2/13/2017 ACA has been a success in the individual market, survey says
2/10/2017 Even tasks performed rarely can be ‘essential’ under ADA
2/9/2017 Consumers find incentive to switch plans when net premiums change
2/8/2017 Over half of all MHPAEA violations in 2016 concerned annual dollar limits
2/7/2017 NBGH advocates for sustainable and affordable pricing for specialty drugs
2/6/2017 ACA repeal would interfere with Oregon’s universal health coverage proposals, say health policy
2/3/2017 State university is an arm of the state, immune from FMLA suit
2/2/2017 Companies report increase in productivity measures through focus on employee health
2/1/2017 Protected health info and HIPAA are focus of HHS discussion
1/31/2017 Survey highlights shifting benefit priorities in the workforce
1/30/2017 More Americans with pre-existing conditions insured due to ACA
1/27/2017 Employee proved retaliation for seeking leave to care for autistic child
1/26/2017 Employer need not reassign disabled employee without requiring her to apply like everyone else
1/25/2017 FAQs address integrated HRAs
1/24/2017 Employers with wellness programs get answers from EEOC on ADA notice questions
1/23/2017 ERIC cheers bill to repeal Cadillac Tax
1/20/2017 Failure to notify employee that proper medical release needed to return to work constituted FMLA interference
1/19/2017 Some ACA provisions could continue temporarily post-repeal
1/18/2017 Bipartisan bill introduced to repeal Cadillac tax
1/17/2017 ACA repeal bill introduced
1/16/2017 Current accommodation for employers objecting to contraception coverage will remain unchanged
1/12/2017 Nearly three-quarters of U.S. employees would like a customized benefits package
1/11/2017 Guidance describes premium age curves and state reporting
1/10/2017 IRS reminds employers of important health care reporting dates
1/9/2017 EEOC’s ADA, GINA wellness regs survive AARP’s attempt to thwart them
1/6/2017 ERISA and other claims against noncompliant group health plan for ACA violations dismissed
1/5/2017 No rapid crossover yet of “narrow provider networks” from health exchanges to employer plans
1/4/2017 Final rule updates ACA risk adjustment, cost sharing, and consumer choice
1/3/2017 EBSA guidance includes clarification of effect of CURES Act on HRAs