BenefitsLink logo
EmployeeBenefitsJobs logo
  
  

Search the News


Featured Jobs
Loan & Distribution Specialist
Retirement Plan Consultant
Assistant Retirement Plan Administrator
Compliance Specialist/Client Implementation
Search all jobs
 
Get the BenefitsLink app for iPhone and iPad LinkedIn
Twitter
Facebook

Benefits in the News

Older News | June 24, 2016

Search the News

Text of Federal District Court Opinion: Participant's Failure to Repay Erroneous Overpayment Is Breach of Fiduciary Duty (PDF)
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
6/24/2016
"A plan fiduciary is anyone who 'exercises any authority or control respecting management or disposition of [plan] assets.' ... Defendant became a plan fiduciary because she retained control over Plan assets she was not entitled to ... In withholding the funds, Defendant continues to obstruct the [Plan's] access to and use of the funds it overpaid to her.... Because Defendant is a fiduciary of the plan .. she is personally liable and must 'make good to such plan any losses to the plan resulting from each such breach." [Altcatel-Lucent v. Borlabi, No. 13-4543 (D. N.J. June 16, 2016)]
Will Fiduciary Rule Survive Rising Tide of Lawsuits?
Todd Berghuis, for Ascensus
[Opinion]
6/24/2016
"The plaintiffs' arguments for an injunction [include] ... DOL infringing on the authority of other federal and state agencies, doing financial harm to investors, ... exposing financial advisors and their employers to litigation risk, and issuing a final rule with new conditions that allowed no opportunity for public review and comment. This last ... is thought to have a greater chance of swaying a court in favor of the plaintiffs.... Another charge that might have some possibility of 'sticking' is that DOL, despite their claims to the contrary, does not appear to have coordinated in a serious way with the [SEC.]"
The New Fiduciary Regs: A Practical Review, Part 2 (PDF)
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center LLP
[Guidance Overview]
6/24/2016
"It is clear from the Preamble to the exemption, as well as the exemption terms themselves, that the DOL is trying to structure an environment where the participant remains protected and the advisor acts in the participant's best interests. The DOL approaches this in two ways: on the one hand, forcing the fiduciary to behave within constraints, and on the other, giving a disappointed participant access to litigation as an enforcement mechanism." [Also see Supplement: Best Interest Contract Exemption.]
The Best Interest Contract Exemption (PDF)
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center LLP
[Guidance Overview]
6/24/2016
8 pages. "[C]ompliance with the BICE will not be easy....[C]ompliance involves not only the Advisor who is giving the advice to the plan or participant, but also the [Financial Institution], its Affiliates, and its Related Entities. The DOL has assured the retirement plan industry that it will be provided significant additional guidance before the BICE becomes effective." [This article published as a Supplement to The New Fiduciary Regs: A Practical Review.]
HHS Issues New Nondiscrimination Requirements for Plans That Receive Any Federal Funding
Segal Consulting
[Guidance Overview]
6/24/2016
"[T]he disclosure requirements for individuals with limited English proficiency are different from similar requirements that govern plans under [ERISA] or recent rules implementing the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) forms that must be distributed by all group health plans.... [P]lan sponsors will have to refer to two sources for information as to which languages to use. In addition, the SBC requires only up to four languages, while the Section 1557 rule requires 15 languages -- an amount that will not fit on the SBC template."
Health Insurance Marketplace Information Can Be Included in COBRA Notices
Lockton
[Guidance Overview]
6/24/2016
"[S]hould employers or their COBRA administrators opt to amend their COBRA notice election forms to include additional information about ACA Marketplace coverage options, they need to ensure the amended election notice meets all COBRA requirements, and is easily understood by the average plan participant."
Text of S. 3078: 'Retirement Savings Registry' Bill, Introduced by Sen. Warren
U.S. Senate, via American Benefits Council
6/24/2016
15 pages. "Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of the Treasury ... shall establish an on-line mechanism to be known as the 'Retirement Savings Registry', to be managed by the Director of the Retirement Savings Registry established under ... this Act ... to allow an individual to search for information that enables the individual to locate the plan administrator of any plans with respect to which the individual is a participant or beneficiary, and to provide contact information for the plan administrator of any plan ... with respect to which the individual may be entitled to a benefit[.]"
Great-West Loses Another Round in ERISA Class Action
Bloomberg BNA
6/24/2016
"A federal judge in Colorado certified the case as a class action on behalf of more than 270,000 investors in about 13,600 different retirement plans. The judge also denied Great-West's attempt to block expert testimony on the amount of money at stake in the lawsuit.... The dispute centers on the Great-West Key Guaranteed Portfolio Fund, a guaranteed investment contract the company offered to participants in 401(k) plans." [Teets v. Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co., No. 1:14-cv-02330 (D. Colo. June 22, 2016)]
Paid Sick Leave Is Coming to Chicago July 1, 2017
Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
[Guidance Overview]
6/24/2016
"A Covered Employee who works at least 80 hours for an Employer within any 120 day period, shall be eligible for Paid Sick Leave as provided for under the ordinance. (Keep this in mind for your summer seasonal employees.).... The time will accrue only in hourly increments, as fractional accruals are not permitted.... [M]ake room among your other state and federal mandated notices to now include notice to the employees of their rights under this ordinance."
Chicago Approves Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
[Guidance Overview]
6/24/2016
"Effective July 1, 2017, employers in the City of Chicago will be required to offer at least five days of paid sick leave to part-time and full-time employees.... Employees accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, with the ability to accrue a maximum of five paid sick days in a 12-month period."
Are Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notices Required for an HRA?
Thomson Reuters / EBIA
[Guidance Overview]
6/24/2016
"Medicare Part D creditable coverage notices generally must be provided for HRAs that reimburse prescription drug expenses, even if the HRAs only cover retirees. The notice obligation applies only for 'Part D eligible individuals' ... (including active and disabled employees, COBRA participants, retirees, and their covered spouses and dependents) who live in the service area of a Part D prescription drug plan. Notices are not required, however, if the Part D eligible individuals are also covered by a Part D plan that is provided by the HRA plan sponsor[.]"
2016 Health and Well-being Touchstone Survey Results
PricewaterhouseCoopers
6/24/2016
"Employers are continuing to rely on traditional methods for mitigating increasing costs through plan design changes and increasing contributions, and they aren't making transformational changes.... 72% of all participants offer a HDHP.... 69% of employers surveyed indicated that they will be financially impacted by the excise tax on high cost plans.... 76% of employers offer wellness programs and they've expanded them into well-being."
Wall Street Splits with Smaller Firms Over Fiduciary Rule Lawsuit
Financial Planning
6/24/2016
"Debate over the high-profile litigation has roiled SIFMA, one of several trade groups that sought to overturn the regulation in federal court in Dallas earlier this month.... While the suit was ultimately approved with the strong backing of regional brokerage firms, tensions flared during conference calls and meetings leading up to the court filing ... At one point, Wells Fargo threatened to quit SIFMA, if it joined the suit[.]"
Text of Written Statements to ERISA Advisory Council by Invited Witnesses
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]
6/24/2016
Links to the full text of statements submitted to the ERISA Advisory Council's meetings on June 7-8, 2016, covering [1] Cybersecurity Considerations for Benefit Plans (8 statements), and [2] Participant Plan Transfers and Account Consolidation for the Advancement of Lifetime Plan Participation (7 statements).
Health Spending Growth: Still Facing a Triangle of Painful Choices
Health Affairs
[Opinion]
6/24/2016
"The rate of growth in health spending increased in 2014 and 2015 but has recently trended downward, perhaps toward the record low levels experienced from 2009 through 2013. That's the good news. The bad news is that even these record low levels are not sustainable in the long run without sacrifices that will cause extreme pain across the political-economic spectrum."
The Fantasy of Single Payer Health Care in the States
National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA]
[Opinion]
6/24/2016
"Single-payer healthcare has long had a following in the United States, but it is unlikely to become federal policy.... So single-payer advocates are focusing on individual states. This November Coloradans will vote on single-payer healthcare. A couple of years ago, Vermont's governor tried to institute it, but gave up short of the finish line. Other states will surely try. .. Oregon and (maybe) Hawaii [might be] at the top of the list of states to watch."
TIAA's Roger Ferguson Breaks with Rivals to Support Obama Fiduciary Rule
InvestmentNews
[Opinion]
6/24/2016
"Roger Ferguson, the former Federal Reserve vice chairman who is chief executive officer of TIAA,... said the rules help address one of his concerns: In some cases, customers were encouraged by outside advisers to roll over workplace retirement plans into individual accounts that might not have been in their best interest. The CEO's remarks carry weight because of both TIAA's size and his ties in Washington. The company, which is known for providing financial services and insurance to teachers, oversees more than $800 billion."
Retirement Assets Total $24.1 Trillion in First Quarter 2016
Investment Company Institute [ICI]
6/24/2016
"Assets in [IRAs] totaled $7.4 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 1.0 percent from the end of the fourth quarter of 2015. [DC] plan assets rose 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016 to $6.8 trillion. Government [DB] plans -- including federal, state, and local government plans -- held $5.1 trillion in assets as of the end of March, a 0.8 percent decrease from the end of December. Private-sector DB plans held $2.8 trillion in assets at the end of the first quarter of 2016, and annuity reserves outside of retirement accounts accounted for another $2.0 trillion."
Engaging Young Employees with Health Savings Accounts
Xerox HR Insights
6/24/2016
"[T]he average HSA-qualified plan is $2,665 less than the average traditional plan, and about $1,600 of that is the employee's contribution to premium. There is a 100% chance they will realize the premium savings, and a lower chance of high out-of-pocket costs for younger, healthy people.... [E]ncourage your young employees to think of HSA savings as part of their retirement planning, not just as a better health spending vehicle."
Insurer Land of Lincoln Sues Over Unpaid Obamacare Subsidies
Chicago Tribune; subscription may be required
6/24/2016
"Start-up insurer Land of Lincoln Health sued the federal government Thursday, saying it is owed more than $70 million under the [ACA].... Land of Lincoln lost $90.8 million last year and another $7.1 million in the first three months of 2016."
Federal Standardized Health Insurance Plans Could Help Improve Access to Care Without Raising Premiums (PDF)
Families USA
[Opinion]
6/23/2016
10 pages. "Health insurance companies should offer plans on the [ACA] marketplaces that cover the cost of basic outpatient care -- like primary care, specialty care, and prescription drugs -- before people pay off their deductible. The new federal standardized silver plans ... would have premiums that are comparable to current silver marketplace plans that cover little to no services before the deductible. Offering these standardized plans could improve access to outpatient care without driving up premiums."
District Court: Telecommuter's Eligibility for FMLA Was Based on Number Employed at Office to Which She Reported
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
6/23/2016
"[The court found] the numerical threshold in this case was to be assessed based on the office to which the employee reported. In her affidavit, she attested that she worked 'offsite and from home' through telecommunication and reported to the Tampa, Florida corporate office, which 'has more than 50 employees.' " [Donahoe-Bohne v. Brinkmann Instruments, No. 16-2766 (E.D. La. June 15, 2016)]
Evaluating Auditor Proposals
Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC
6/23/2016
"Evaluating responses to your plan auditor request for proposals can be done simply and efficiently if you lay out the criteria you consider most critical in advance and assign a weight in terms of importance to each. This approach creates a framework of objectivity before you begin reviewing the proposals. Each evaluator should assign their own weighting to each criterion ... [You should] also determine if there are any 'non-starters' in the criteria that would eliminate a candidate regardless of how it responds in other areas."
The Cold Comfort of the Best Interest Contract Exemption
Latham & Watkins
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
10 pages. "[T]he BIC Exemption comes at a steep price, imposing extensive compliance costs in the form of new disclosure requirements, as well as new policies and procedures requirements ... The exemption also substantially increases litigation risk by providing IRA and other retirement plan investors ... a new private enforcement right against financial advisers."
Five Common Mistakes Employers Are Making with the ACA
Health Care Attorneys P.C.
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"[In] the event of an audit, an employer is going to want to have policies in place explaining its ACA compliance efforts. At a minimum an employer should have four policies ... [1] a policy that explains its look back measurement method.... [2] a document explaining how it determines whether an employee who has been rehired is a new or a continuing employee.... [3] a policy explaining the special unpaid leave rules.... [4] a policy explaining which affordability safe harbor it has elected to use."
Flexibility Offered for Deferred Compensation Plans of Tax-Exempt Organizations, Government Agencies
Ballard Spahr LLP
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"Highlights of the new proposed regulations include ... 'Rolling' vesting is still permitted, subject to certain conditions.... Section 457(b) plans maintained by state and local government entities may include Roth contribution features.... Guidance is provided in defining bona fide vacation and sick leave plans, which are exempt from the Section 457(f) deferred compensation rules."
Proposed Regs on Deferred Compensation Released
RSM US
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"Additional regulatory guidance was needed under section 457 to incorporate certain statutory changes and required amendments to existing regulations. Accordingly, the proposed regulations incorporate changes with respect to designated Roth contributions, certain public safety officers and qualified military service."
EEOC Final Regs on ADA and GINA Compliance in Wellness Programs
Willis Towers Watson
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"The ADA rules address incentives in wellness programs that ask disability-related questions and/or require medical exams. The GINA rules focus on inducements tied to requests for a spouse's health information as part of an HRA or medical exam under a wellness program. Wellness programs must provide a notice explaining what medical information will be obtained, how it will be used and who will receive it."
How 403(b) Plans Can Inform 401(k) Plans
CFO
6/23/2016
"[U]nlike 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans originally were designed as core retirement plans for nonprofit organizations, with a focus on generating lifetime income. Investment menus for 403(b) plans commonly feature income options -- such as low-cost, in-plan fixed annuities, which can provide a guaranteed benefit that never goes down and serve to manage risk in employee' overall portfolios."
The Problem with Investment Committees
Russell Investments
6/23/2016
"The decisions which have the most negative impact on investment results tend to be associated with capitulating on a good strategy after a stretch of bad performance. In fact, capitulation can evolve into a pattern of selling low and buying high as the investor seeks to recoup foregone returns. The typical investment committee structure doesn't help."
IRS Clarifies Numerous 409A Issues (PDF)
Groom Law Group
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"The new regulations still do not flatly state that beneficiaries are treated the same as participants for all section 409A purposes. However, the new guidance helpfully provides for that treatment in [certain specified] situations.... Many employers have struggled with the current section 409A rules around the timing of payments following death. The proposed regulations provide ... very helpful relief on this front.... The new regulations tighten significantly the correction opportunity afforded prior to the year of vesting ... A number of the changes in the new regulations impact equity awards and transactional matters."
Employees Working in the City of Los Angeles Gain Enhanced Paid Sick Leave Rights
Epstein Becker Green
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"Unlike the California law, the Ordinances do not allow employers to require employees to take sick leave in blocks of at least two hours.... [E]mployers exempted from the California law will still need to comply with the Los Angeles Ordinances. This includes providers of publicly funded in-home supportive services, some employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, certain employees of air carriers, and retired annuitants working for governmental entities."
Plan Fees Are Still a Lawsuit Trigger for Retirement Plan Sponsors
Bloomberg BNA
6/23/2016
"The principles promoted by DOL and in the fiduciary rule can help recordkeepers avoid a 'race to the bottom' in which the promise of lower fees leads to lower plan performance, [said Tom Kmak, founder and CEO of Fiduciary Benchmarks]. Too often the setting of fees is considered a one-variable equation in which the only factor that matters is the cost ... Instead ... the better way to consider fee setting is as a four-variable equation in which cost is the last consideration after quality, service and value."
Social Security Finances: A Review of the 2016 Trustees Report (PDF)
National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI]
6/23/2016
"Projections indicate that scheduled Social Security benefits can be paid in full over the next 18 years with no change in current law. Over the long term, a significant projected shortfall must be addressed. Timely revenue increases and/or gradual benefit adjustments can bring the program into long-term balance, ensuring that Social Security will continue to pay all promised benefits for the next 75 years and beyond."
Los Angeles and San Diego Join the Fray with New and Expanded Sick Leave Laws
Hanson Bridgett LLP
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"The San Diego Ordinance requires employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked within the city limits, with no cap on accrual, and allows employees to use 40 hours of sick leave in a 12-month period.... [The Los Angeles] sick leave ordinance ... requires employers to provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave per year.... [N]either local law provides for a collective bargaining agreement exemption (unlike the CA state paid sick leave law). In addition, both the San Diego Ordinance and the Los Angeles Ordinance provide penalties for violation of [their] requirements, including notice and posting requirements."
OCR's Updated HIPAA Audit Program: What You Need to Know
HIPAA One
6/23/2016
"Specific steps to take in light of the new HIPAA Audit Protocol: [1] Check your 'Clutter', 'Junk' or 'Spam' folders to ensure that an email sent from OSOCRAudit@hhs.gov (OCR office) is forwarded to the appropriate person.... [2] Review your organization's policies and procedures ... [3] Address risks found in previous risk analysis efforts.... [4] Identify who your business associates (BA) are ... and collect proof that the BA or Subcontractor actually has a HIPAA Security, Privacy and Breach Notification assessment and/or other proof of compliance ... [5] Ensure any software tools used are updated with the new release of the OCR's updated HIPAA Audit Protocol[.]"
Retirement Calculators Show 'Dramatically Different' Results
InvestmentNews
6/23/2016
"Calculators used by investors to gauge their probability of retirement success may not actually be good gauges of that success. Comparing the outputs from several retirement planning programs shows a huge dispersion of results, underpinning how investors and advisers should use them as a guide rather than take them at face value."
Employee Financial Literacy and Retirement Plan Behavior
Pension Research Council, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; free registration required
6/23/2016
33 pages. "[The authors] examine changes in employee plan behavior one year after employees completed a Learning Module about retirement planning, and we compare it to baseline patterns.... [T]hose employees who completed the Learning Module were more likely to start contributing and less likely to have stopped contributing to the DC plan post-survey."
Analysis Suggests Anthem Deal Could Raise Health Costs
Reuters
6/23/2016
"Anthem has said the added heft will work for employers, not against them. A bigger Anthem, it emphasizes, could drive better deals from doctors and hospitals and pass savings onto these customers. In addition, Anthem has argued that there still will be plenty of competition: large employers pit smaller, local insurers' bids against those of large national carriers in regional markets.... But an Aon Hewitt analysis of benefits data for Reuters found that a majority of large employers buy worker health benefits from just one or two insurers."
IRS Issues Sec. 409A Proposed Regulations
The Tax Adviser
[Guidance Overview]
6/23/2016
"[T]he proposed rules clarify that Sec. 409A applies to nonqualified deferred compensation plans separately and in addition to the Sec. 457A rules.... The proposed regulations also modify the short-term deferral rule (which provides that a prohibited deferral of compensation does not occur for certain short-term deferrals) to permit a delay in payments to avoid violating federal securities or other laws."
Social Security Will Be There for You, Millennials
Bloomberg
6/23/2016
"While older Americans can't imagine a world without Social Security, most millennials have become fatalistic about it ... Only 6 percent of them expect current benefits to be there when they hit 67 years old -- the full benefit age for those born in 1960 or later -- and 51 percent expect the program to go entirely extinct ... Under the current estimate, 2034 is the year when Social Security can no longer pay full benefits ... But the program should still be able to pay three-quarters of benefits at that time and for decades afterward, backed by a steady stream of payroll taxes from future generations."
Takeaways from the 2016 Enrolled Actuaries Meeting (PDF)
H.C. Foster & Company
6/23/2016
"[A] PBGC representative predicted the largest of the multiemployer pension plan takeovers are yet to come.... Many accounting firms interpreted the FASB guidance to mean the RP-2014 tables should be applied with full mortality improvements through age 120 without modifications, producing very large pension liabilities ... A primary concern of accountants, attorneys, and actuaries is that they do not inadvertently incur fiduciary status via advice that implies discretionary authority and/or control over plan matters."
National Business Group on Health Comments on House Republican Task Force Outline for Health Care Reform
National Business Group on Health [NBGH]
[Opinion]
6/23/2016
"Rather than taxing benefits, we encourage Congress to focus more on removing payment incentives for health care providers and suppliers that drive unnecessary health care spending. This includes moving faster toward paying for value in Medicare rather than volume, and ridding Medicare of financial incentives that encourage providers to use more expensive care in more expensive settings when lower cost alternatives of equal or better quality exist."
Text of the 2016 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds (PDF)
The Board of Trustees, Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds
6/22/2016
272 pages. "Considered separately, the DI Trust Fund reserves become depleted in the third quarter of 2023 and the OASI Trust Fund reserves become depleted in 2035. In last year's report, the projected reserve depletion years were 2034 for OASDI, 2016 for DI, and 2035 for OASI. The change in the depletion date for DI is largely due to the temporary tax rate reallocation enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.... The projected OASDI annual cost rate increases from 14.05 percent of tax- able payroll for 2016 to 16.61 percent for 2038 and to 17.68 percent for 2090, a level that is 4.35 percent of taxable payroll more than the projected income rate[.]"
ERIC Statement About New Health Care Tax Proposed by House GOP
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]
[Opinion]
6/22/2016
" 'We are concerned that the Task Force paper proposes creating a new tax on benefits, and justifies this by suggesting that taxing health insurance will make health insurance cost less,' said James Gelfand, Senior Vice President of Health Policy, ERIC.... 'The policy rests on the myth that employer-sponsored health insurance is overly generous -- that working families' benefits need to be reduced, and that more costs need to be shifted to employees.' "
IRS Health Care Tax Tip 2016-57: Deadline Reminder for Employers and Providers: Electronically File Information Returns with IRS by June 30
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
[Guidance Overview]
6/22/2016
"Self-insured employers, applicable large employers and health coverage providers are reminded that the June 30 deadline to electronically file information returns with the IRS is approaching. The deadline to provide information returns to employees or responsible individuals was March 31. While the deadline to file paper information returns with the IRS was May 31, electronic filers have more time."
Social Security Board of Trustees: Long-Range Projection Unchanged for Trust Fund Reserve Depletion
U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA]
6/22/2016
"The asset reserves of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $23 billion in 2015 to a total of $2.81 trillion. The combined trust fund reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through 2019. Beginning in 2020, the total cost of the program is projected to exceed income. The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034 -- the same as projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 79 percent of scheduled benefits."
The Ease of Automation and Guaranteed Lifetime Income (PDF)
Prudential
6/22/2016
16 pages. "Participants who have had experience with either auto enrollment or auto escalation contribute, at the median, 43% more of their pay to their retirement plan than those without that experience. More than three-quarters of plan participants familiar with guaranteed lifetime income solutions consider it very important to include them in workplace retirement plans. Among participants in different age groups, Millennials are the most enthusiastic about automatic plan features and guaranteed lifetime income solutions."
PSCA Supports Multiple Employer Plan Legislation
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]
[Opinion]
6/22/2016
"In a time when policy makers in Washington are looking for ways to encourage employers to offer retirement plan coverage, the positive attributes of MEPs become more noteworthy.... [T]he time finally has come to revise our country's laws to remove the barriers that have prevented MEPs from growing and prospering, and the Plan Sponsor Council of America ('PSCA') supports bi-partisan proposals to do so."
Impacts of the ACA's Medicaid Expansion on Insurance Coverage and Access to Care (PDF)
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
6/21/2016
12 pages. "[Medicaid] Expansion states realized a 9.2 percentage point reduction in the number of uninsured adults (a 49.5 percent decline in the uninsured rate). Non-expansion states realized a 7.9 percentage point reduction in the uninsured rate among uninsured adults (a 33.8 percent decline in the uninsured rate)."
Some Life Insurance Sales Covered by DOL Fiduciary Rule
InsuranceNewsNet.com
6/21/2016
"Life insurance is the forgotten transaction in ongoing debate over the [DOL's] fiduciary rule.... The key is the fiduciary rule governs the sale of investments into qualified retirement accounts. So that means all life insurance that is sold into 401(k)s and purchased with plan distributions will be covered by the new rule. In the big picture, that covers a small amount of life insurance sales, but agents need to be prepared."
Here's Why HR Pros Can Be Personally Liable for FMLA Blunders
HR Benefits Alert
6/21/2016
"[Because] the FMLA was initially adopted as an amendment to the FLSA ... the court applied the FLSA's control or 'economic reality' test to the claim [the employer's] director of HR was [herself] an employer and found two key reasons to support that claim: [1] The director of HR controlled [the employee's] schedule and conditions of employment, and [2] She had the power to fire [the employee].... Therefore, she could be personally liable for FMLA violations." [Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, No. 15-888 (2d Cir. Mar. 17, 2016)]
Rescue Plan Proposed for Your Stranded 401(k)
Bloomberg
6/21/2016
"Senator Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] ... [has] introduced a bill that would create a database of your old retirement accounts. The bill would also allow abandoned retirement accounts to be invested in target-date mutual funds ... Right now, many stranded 401(k) accounts end up in cash, where their value is steadily eroded by inflation."
Supreme Court Ruling Deals a Blow to Pharma, Win for Generics
American Journal of Managed Care
6/21/2016
"Brand-name pharmaceutical companies were backing the plaintiff in the case, while generic drug companies and health insurance plans supported the new rule and argued that the patent system was being exploited by the drug industry in order to keep prices high. The new rule could help lower drug prices." [Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, No. 15-446 (S. Ct. June 20, 2016)]
Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, Part 10
FredReish.com
6/21/2016
"FINRA issued its Regulatory Notice 13-45 in late 2013. As that notice explained, distribution recommendations are investment recommendations (and thus, in the case of FINRA, are subject to the suitability standard), but distribution education is not an investment recommendation.... [M]any RIA firms and broker-dealers adopted a distributions education approach using 13-45 as the model. While the DOL agrees that distribution education is not a fiduciary recommendation, it does not agree that 13-45 is a safe harbor:"
Text of Congressional Republican Proposals for Health Care Reform (PDF)
U.S. House Republicans
6/22/2016
37 pages. "[This] plan advances a series of proposals that not only protects the health insurance Americans receive through their job, but also moves toward a fairer system that ensures access to coverage for all Americans. It allows for more choices, not top-down mandates, so that Americans can pick the benefits that work best for them. Recommendations: [1] Expanding Consumer-Directed Health Care Options; [2] Expanding Opportunities for Pooling; [3] Making Support for Coverage Portable; [4] Preserving Employee Wellness Programs; [5] Preserving Employer-Sponsored Insurance; [6] Protecting Employers' Flexibility to Self-Insure; [7] Purchasing Across State Lines; [8] Medical Liability Reform."
Tax-Efficient Retirement Portfolio Spending Strategies
Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View
6/22/2016
"The conventional view is that taxable investment accounts should be liquidated first, while tax-deferred accounts are allowed to continue to compound.... [T]he optimal approach is actually to preserve the tax-preferenced value of retirement accounts and to fill the tax brackets early on, by funding retirement spending from taxable investment accounts but doing systematic partial Roth conversions of the pre-tax IRA to fill tax brackets in the early years."
House GOP Health Plan, Unsurprisingly, Is Market-Based
Morning Consult
6/22/2016
"[As] part of a full repeal of the [ACA], the current law's mandates for individuals and insurers would disappear under the GOP plan. It would overhaul Medicare by transitioning to a premium support system under which beneficiaries would receive a set amount to pay for coverage.... People who do not receive health insurance through their employer, Medicare, or Medicaid would receive an advanceable, refundable flat tax credit.... Although the white paper gives no specific value, it says the tax credit 'would be large enough to purchase the typical pre-Obamacare health insurance plan.' "
Text of Grand Jury Report: Orange County's $4.5 Billion Unfunded Pension Liability and Retirement Plans (PDF)
Grand Jury of Orange County, California
6/22/2016
36 pages. "When compared to its peer units of government in California, Orange County at 70% funded is in the median range (70-80%) of pension liability funding; Unfunded pension liabilities of the County have been reduced by over $500 million (11%) since 2012 after many years of dramatic increases ... Orange County Employees' Retirement System (OCERS) has reduced the amortization of the unfunded liabilities from 30 years to 20 years, helping to reduce the liabilities faster ... The reduction of unfunded liabilities in recent years is contrary to OCERS actuary's forecast, which projects increases totaling 8% in the next four years, followed by declining levels. This contradiction needs to be resolved.... [This report provides] a number of findings and recommendations that should allow the County to further reduce its unfunded pension liability and provide for a more equitable pension/retirement choice."
Macys, Another Cigna-Administered ERISA Health Plan, Sued for Embezzlement, Issuing 'Secret Checks'
AVYM Healthcare Revenue Consultants
6/22/2016
"According to the court documents, Macys, through Cigna, sent EOBs telling the hospital that it would not get paid until it provided proof the patient paid their entire out-of-pocket costs, at the same time, according to the complaint, Macys, through Cigna, sent a different EOB to its member patients telling them they owed nothing!... The Macys lawsuit, which was filed on June 21, 2016, comes on the heels of two other recent lawsuits involving Cigna and Cigna Administered ERISA health plans[.]" [REDOAK Hospital, LLC v. Macys Inc., Welfare Benefits Plan, No. 4:16-cv-01783 (S.D. Tex. filed June 21, 2016.]
Text of the 2016 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Medicare Trust Funds (PDF)
The Boards of Trustees, Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund
6/22/2016
267 pages. "Notwithstanding recent favorable developments, current-law projections indicate that Medicare still faces a substantial financial shortfall that will need to be addressed with further legislation. Such legislation should be enacted sooner rather than later to minimize the impact on beneficiaries, providers, and taxpayers.... Medicare's costs under current law rise from their current level of 3.6 percent of GDP to 5.6 percent in 2040 and to 6.0 percent in 20 90. Under the illustrative alternative, in which adherence to the MACRA and ACA cost-reducing measures erodes, projected costs would rise to 6.2 percent of GDP in 2040 and to 9.1 percent in 2090."
Spring 2016 Zone Report: Multiemployer Plans Are Predominantly 'Green' (PDF)
Segal Consulting
6/22/2016
"[W]hile 64 percent of plans are in the green zone based on all zone certifications filed in the 12 months ending in March 2016 ... just under half of all participants are in plans in the red zone based on the full set of plan data. Significantly, about half of these red-zone participants (23 percent overall) are in plans that are considered to be 'critical and declining.' "
HHS Targets Young Adults in Efforts to Improve Marketplace Risk Pool
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs
6/21/2016
"The [CMS] fact sheet focuses on efforts to improve coverage for young adults. Although ... the uninsured rate among young adults has fallen by more than half, young adults are still more likely than the general population to remain uninsured.... [This] undermines the individual market risk pool, as younger individuals tend to be healthier and, under the ACA's limited age rating, to cost less to cover in proportion to the premiums they pay than older enrollees"
DOL Issues Final Investment Advice Fiduciary Rules (PDF)
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
[Guidance Overview]
6/21/2016
16 pages. "Sponsors and fiduciaries of ERISA-governed plans who wish to retain an investment advice fiduciary to advise participants ... need to carefully review the agreements under which those services will be performed to determine if the compensation arrangements or other potential conflicts of interest require reliance on the 'best interest contract' exemption. If so, then the plan fiduciaries would need to determine if the contract or other disclosures provided by the fiduciary meet the requirements of the exemption and to monitor the investment adviser's compliance with the exemption going forward."
2016 CEO Pay Trends (PDF)
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC
6/21/2016
22 pages. "The data in this report examines CEO pay for S&P 500 companies ... over the last five fiscal years. In that time, the U.S. stock markets have recovered from previous lows during the financial crisis, and in tandem with the recovery, reported CEO pay increased every year -- the largest period of growth coming between 2012 and 2013 when reported pay was 10.5% larger at the median. This report also visualizes shifts in how companies award CEO pay."
HHS Final Rule Addresses Categorical Exclusions for Health Services Related to Gender Transition
Littler
[Guidance Overview]
6/21/2016
"The Final Rule [states] that all health-related insurance plans or other health-related coverage ... that currently have explicit categorical or automatic exclusions of coverage for all health services or care related to gender dysphoria or associated with a gender transition are unlawful on their face; in sum, by singling out the entire category of gender transition-related services, such an exclusion or limitation systematically denies services and treatments for transgender individuals and is, by definition, prohibited discrimination[.]"
PBGC Proposes Late Payment Penalty Relief
Milliman Retirement Town Hall
[Guidance Overview]
6/22/2016
"This proposal could drastically reduce the financial burden imposed on a plan for underpaid and late filings. For example, a plan with a $1 million premium that is two months late (after notice from the PBGC) would have a $100,000 penalty (two months at 5% per month times the amount outstanding) under the current regulation. Under the proposed regulation, this penalty would be reduced to $50,000. The penalty could be further reduced to $10,000, if the plan is eligible for the compliant plan partial waiver of 80%."
Fact Sheet: Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report
U.S. Department of the Treasury
6/22/2016
"Taken in combination, Social Security's retirement and disability programs have dedicated resources sufficient to cover benefits for nearly two decades, until 2034. The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will have sufficient funds to cover its obligations until 2028, two years earlier than was projected last year, but still 11 years later than was projected in the last report issued prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act."
IRS Proposes Rules Clarifying and Modifying Section 409A Final Regs, and Withdrawing and Replacing a Provision of the Proposed Income Inclusion Regs
Practical Law Company
[Guidance Overview]
6/22/2016
"[Among other items, the proposed regs:] [1] Clarify that Section 409A's rules apply separately and in addition to the rules under Code Section 457A ... [2] Modify the short-term deferral rule ... Modify the definition of 'eligible issuer of service recipient stock' ... [3] Modify the rules regarding recurring part-year compensation ... [4] Create a rule for determining when a payment has been made under Section 409A."
IRS Wellness Program Etiquette -- Don't Double Dip (PDF)
Xerox HR Services
[Guidance Overview]
6/21/2016
"[IRS Chief Counsel memorandum 201622031] addresses program designs that recently have been marketed to employers as a way to provide tax -free benefits to employees by reimbursing (on a tax-free basis) wellness program premiums paid with (pretax) salary reduction dollars. This kind of 'double dipping' offers a benefit scheme that might be too good to be true."
IRS Proposes Rules Under Section 457 for Deferred Compensation Arrangements Maintained by Tax Exempt Organizations
Practical Law Company
[Guidance Overview]
6/22/2016
"The proposed regulations issued on June 21, 2016: [1] Include amendments to the 2003 final regulations to reflect subsequent statutory changes made to Section 457 ... [2] Provide guidance on certain issues under Sections 457(e)(11) and 457(e)(12) (relating to exemptions from Section 457) that are not addressed in the 2003 final regulations. [3] Provide additional guidance for ineligible plans under Section 457(f)."

RSS feed for BenefitsLink.com RSS feed for BenefitsLink.com

 
Webmaster:
© 2016 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
Privacy Policy