Health Care Benefits Second Most Difficult Decision for Consumers: Aetna

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: Americans rank choosing health care benefits as the second most difficult major life decision, behind only saving for retirement, according to a recent survey from health care company Aetna. The Empowered Health Index Survey noted Americans ranked choosing health care benefits more difficult than purchasing a car, making decisions about medical […]

2013 Open Enrollment Season Foreshadows Significant Structural Changes In 2014 And Beyond

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: As employees make their open enrollment selections this fall for the 2013 plan year, they are likely to see only minimal plan changes compared with last year. However, with mounting cost pressures, health care reform, the emergence of new network configurations and the rapid development of new health care delivery models, […]

Most Employers Considering Move Towards Exchange-Based Individual Market Strategies For Retiree Medical Programs

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: Driven by changes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), most employers are reevaluating their retiree health care strategy and are considering implementing strategies that open access to the individual Medicare plan market through health care exchanges, according to a new survey by Aon Hewitt. The survey of almost […]

Government May Provide Transitional Relief For Determining Employee Status Under ACA, Treasury Official Says

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: The government may provide transitional relief to employers who need to determine whether their employees are part-time or full-time under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Treasury Office of Benefits Tax Counsel attorney Kevin Knopf said at a September 27, D.C. Bar program. The program focused on Notice 2012-58, […]

Surveys Predict Single-Digit Health Care Cost Increases In 2013

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: Several recently-released surveys are predicting single-digit health care cost increases in 2013. The surveys were released by Aon Hewitt, Segal Company, Wells Fargo, Truven Health Analytics, and the Bipartisan Policy Center. Aon Hewitt. In 2013, Aon Hewitt is predicting a 6.3 percent health care premium increase, up from the 4.9 percent […]

Employer Entitled To Make “Reasonable Modifications” To Retiree Health Care Benefits, Sixth Circuit Rules

  An employer was entitled to make “reasonable modifications” to its retiree health care benefits, the Sixth Circuit ruled, reversing a district court’s grant of summary judgment to the retirees finding that the employer lacked the ability to modify any benefits except with the approval of the union that once represented them. The Sixth Circuit […]

Americans Still Confident About Health Care, But Concerned About Cost, EBRI Reports

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: When asked to rate the health care system, 28 percent of Americans consider it to be “good,” according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The report, 2012 Health Confidence Survey: Americans Remain Confident About Health Care, Concerned About Costs, Following Supreme Court Decision, found that 28 percent […]

Electronic Delivery Of Employee Health Plan Communications Continues To Grow

Employers are increasingly using electronic distribution and relying on outside assistance as existing and new federal regulations are requiring stepped up health plan communications, according to the findings of the fourth annual Compliance Communications Survey from HighRoads. In key findings, interest in—and demand for—electronic distribution is continuing to grow. Currently, 80 percent of employers report […]

Workplace Wellness Programs Can Significantly Reduce Health Risks, Study Finds

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: Participants in comprehensive workplace wellness programs can achieve a significant reduction in health risks in as little as 18 months, according to recent research from the Principal Financial Group. The study shows the greatest impact in reducing health risks is among participants who also received personalized health coaching. This reduction in […]

IRS/Treasury Discuss Shared Responsibility Payment Guidance And Safe Harbors

  During the September 20 ALI-CLE seminar Retirement, Deferred Compensation, and Welfare Plans of Tax-Exempt and Governmental Employers, Stephen Tackney, special counsel in the IRS Office of Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel, Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE), and Rachel Levy, attorney-advisor in the Treasury Office of Benefits Tax Counsel, discussed the latest guidance implementing applicable […]