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Benefits in the News

Older News | July 31, 2014
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Court Endorses PTO Use Under California Labor Code for Exempt Employee Partial-Day Absences
Ogletree Deakins More items by Ogletree Deakins
7/31/2014

"Employers often confuse the strict rules limiting the docking of exempt employees' salary with different rules relating to partial-day deductions under vacation or 'paid time off' (PTO) policies. A California appellate court has reaffirmed and clarified the vacation rule in Rhea v. General Atomics, No. D064517 (Cal. Ct. App. July 21, 2014)."
The Future of Premium Tax Credits in Federally-Facilitated Exchanges: The Implications of Halbig and King (PDF)
Alston & Bird, LLP More items by Alston & Bird, LLP
7/31/2014

"By striking at the core of the ACA, the Halbig decision, if it ultimately prevails, could have a dramatic impact on the success of ACA. However, the impact may depend on the details of an issue that is not really addressed by either the Halbig or King court -- what exactly is a Federal vs. a State Exchange or, more precisely, what does a State need to do to establish an Exchange?"
Why Congress Needs to Reform Multiemployer Pension Plans Now
Mark Miller, via Reuters More items by Mark Miller, via Reuters
7/31/2014 [Opinion]

"Policymakers, legislators, business and labor groups have debated the issue for two years. Now we're at a key turning point, argues Josh Gotbaum, the PBGC's director. 'If Congress doesn't act this year, it is very likely that major plans will fail and the multi-employer system will collapse,' he [said] ... It's not that plans will run out of money this year or next, Gotbaum says. Instead, he says employers could start scrambling off a sinking ship, accelerating pressures on the system."
Checklists for Investment Policy Statements
Strategic Benefit Services More items by Strategic Benefit Services
7/31/2014

"Get started on your IPS by gathering all of your plan documents (trust documents, summary plan descriptions, written minutes, current vendor service agreements, investment performance reports, enrollment reports, participant educational material, procedural manuals and Form 5500) ... After you have reviewed your plan documents, you are ready to write your IPS.... It is not enough for you to simply write an IPS. You must also follow it, communicate it and review it. An ignored IPS is evidence that you are not managing or using the plan the way it was intended."
BLS Employment Cost Index, June 2014 (PDF)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] More items by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]
7/31/2014

"Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending June 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported ... Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.6 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 1.0 percent."
What Does Consistent Participation in 401(k) Plans Generate? Changes in 401(k) Account Balances, 2007-2012 (PDF)
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] More items by Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]
7/31/2014

"Overall, the average account balance of consistent 401(k) participants increased at a compound annual average growth rate of 6.8 percent from 2007 to 2012, to $107,053 at year-end 2012. The median 401(k) account balance increased at a compound annual average growth rate of 11.9 percent over the period, to $49,814 at year-end 2012.... At year-end 2012, the average account balance among consistent participants was 67 percent higher than the average account balance among all participants in the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database. The consistent group's median balance was almost three times the median balance across all participants at year-end 2012."
The Potential Side Effects of Halbig
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation More items by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
7/31/2014 [Opinion]

"First, it would nullify the so-called 'employer mandate' in states using the federal marketplace.... Second, it would make the individual insurance market unstable and potentially unworkable in federal marketplace states."
What's the Role of Bonds in Retirement Portfolios?
Morningstar More items by Morningstar
7/31/2014

"[B]ear markets and bonds, we could lose a couple of percent a year. Bear markets and stocks, you could lose like 45%. Running from something that can lose 3% into something that can lose 45% is not a good risk-management strategy. It's not a good return strategy. It's not a good anything strategy."
Five Reasons We Can't Predict the Future of Health Costs
Vox More items by Vox
7/31/2014

"1) What's happening with the overall economy? ... [2] Why has technological change slowed? ... [3] Will payment reforms take hold more broadly and be successful? ... [4] What will happen to out-of-pocket costs over time? ... [5] Will narrow networks survive?"
CDHPs: As Enrollment Goes Up, a Time to Tune Up (PDF)
Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS] More items by Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS]
7/31/2014

"The authors discuss the advantages for organizations that offer CDHPs, as well as outline key considerations for companies looking to update, optimize and align their CDHPs with the realities of health care reform. They also explain how CDHPs go hand in hand with wellness and health management strategies, both of which increase collaboration between employees and employers to control costs and give employees more personal responsibility for better outcomes."
Poor Planning and Oversight Led to Healthcare.gov Flaws, GAO Finds
The Washington Post; subscription may be required More items by The Washington Post; subscription may be required
7/31/2014

"Building 'a first-of-its-kind marketplace' was certain to be a complex undertaking, the investigators conclude ... But agency officials aggravated the situation by allowing too little time for the work; changing the directions [they] gave the main contractor ... and not scrutinizing the contractor's progress, the investigators found.... Overall, the GAO concludes, the efforts of federal health officials 'were plagued by undefined requirements, the absence [of] a required acquisition strategy, confusion in contract administration responsibilities, and ineffective use of oversight tools.'"
Text of GAO Report to Congress: 'Healthcare.gov: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management' (PDF)
U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO] More items by U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO]
7/31/2014

66 pages. "CMS incurred significant cost increases, schedule slips, and delayed system functionality for the FFM and data hub systems due primarily to changing requirements that were exacerbated by oversight gaps... Late in the development process, CMS identified major performance issues with the FFM contractor but took only limited steps to hold the contractor accountable... As of June 2014, costs on the contract had increased to over $175 million due to changes such as new requirements and other enhancements, while key FFM capabilities remained unavailable. CMS needs a mitigation plan to address these issues. Unless CMS improves contract management and adheres to a structured governance process, significant risks remain that upcoming open enrollment periods could encounter challenges."
Text of Comments by Pension Rights Center to PBGC on Termination of Single-Employer Plans, Missing Participants (PDF)
Pension Rights Center More items by Pension Rights Center
7/31/2014 [Opinion]

"[We] urge the PBGC to require that plan administrators of single-employer plans undergoing standard terminations provide to the PBGC an accurate list of annuity providers and a list of participants entitled to an annuity from each annuity provider. Additionally, plan administrators should provide to the PBGC a list of all other plans that have been merged into the terminating plan along with plan documents, including summary plan descriptions, from those plans."
An Examination of Physician Visit Cost Sharing and Benefit Design for Silver-Level Plans
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation More items by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
7/31/2014

"Nationwide, copayments for [primary care physician (PCP)] visits range from $0 to $75 with a median of $35. Coinsurance ranges from 0 percent to 50 percent with a median of 25 percent. For specialist visits, copayments range from $10 to $150 with a median of $75. Coinsurance ranges from 8 percent to 100 percent with a median of 40 percent. Unlike most employer-sponsored insurance plans, many Exchange plans subject PCP and specialist visits to a deductible."
EEOC Issues Sweeping Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination
Schiff Hardin More items by Schiff Hardin
7/31/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"On July 14, 2014, the [EEOC] issued a detailed Enforcement Guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues ... Exclusion of all infertility coverage for all employees is gender neutral and does not violate Title VII, but exclusions of treatments that pertain only to one gender might violate Title VII.... [An] employer's health insurance plan must cover prescription contraceptives on the same basis as prescription drugs, devices and services that are used to prevent the occurrence of medical conditions other than pregnancy (such as vaccinations, physical examinations, prescription drugs that prevent high blood pressure or lower cholesterol levels). A health insurance plan is facially discriminatory if it excludes prescription contraception but otherwise provides comprehensive coverage."
Evaluating Retirement Income Security for Illinois Public School Teachers
Urban Institute More items by Urban Institute
7/31/2014

"Long-serving teachers receive generous pensions, but only 18 percent of teachers remain employed for at least 25 years. Only 24 percent of those who complete at least five years of service receive pensions worth more than the value of their required plan contributions. Alternative plan designs, such as cash balance plans, could distribute benefits more equitably and put more teachers on a path to a financially secure retirement."
Strategies Employers Are Using to Control Health Plan Costs (PDF)
McGraw Wentworth More items by McGraw Wentworth
7/31/2014

"[E]mployers continue to embrace CDHPs and wellness as long-term cost control strategies.... New options that may become available to the middle market include: Accountable care organizations (ACOs),... Patient-centered medical homes... Reference-based pricing ... [An] employer may offer telemedicine with a low copay, or no copay at all....[S]ome employers are structuring cost-sharing to steer members to outpatient facilities, stand-alone imaging centers and other less costly treatment venues."
New Responsibility for Self-Funded Employers: Obtain a Health Plan Identifier (PDF)
McGraw Wentworth More items by McGraw Wentworth
7/31/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"[HHS recently updated the Code Set rules, which] create uniform electronic standards for common health plan administrative processes. Requiring health care providers and other stakeholders to use the same data formats for common transactions simplifies certain administrative aspects of providing and paying for health care. Under the latest rules, self-funded employers need to apply for a Health Plan Identifier (HPID). Most employers will have to apply by November 5, 2014. This number will be used to ensure employers comply with certain Code Set rules requirements."
The Importance of Stock Plans to Employees, and Insights Into Their Use of Proceeds
myStockOptions.com More items by myStockOptions.com
7/31/2014

"[M]any employees don't just value stock plans highly but now expect them as an employment benefit, especially when considering a new job.... [A]mong the surveyed employees in 2014, ... 40% stated outright that they would not consider a new job opportunity unless the company offered a stock plan -- a view held by a whopping 86% of the survey respondents under the age of 40.... Saving for retirement is the overwhelming top use of stock plan assets[.]"
Does Every Employee Want to Be an Owner?
The Retirement Plan Blog More items by The Retirement Plan Blog
7/31/2014

"[T]he theory behind ESOPs makes one assumption that is often overlooked ... [which] is that, given the opportunity, all employees would like to be (part) owners of the firm they work for.... Why might a person not want to be an owner? Perhaps the most obvious reason is that ownership comes with responsibilities as well as rights.... Another reason is that an employee ... might feel that he or she lacks the training, experience, or expertise necessary to be an effective owner ... Finally, group ownership may not seem like 'real' ownership, since it generally doesn't include individual control over decision-making."
Unforeseeable Emergency Distributions from 457(b) Plans
Belfint Lyons & Shuman, CPAs More items by Belfint Lyons & Shuman, CPAs
7/31/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"Unlike hardship distributions from 401(k) and 403(b) plans, hardship distributions from 457(b) plans may not be made for the acquisition of a principal residence or for the payment of tuition and related educational fees.... Operational errors in this area are common, and usually the result of plan sponsor's ignorance of the rules regarding what constitutes a hardship, or an incorrect assumption that the third party administrator will collect the necessary backup."
How Executive Compensation Plans Relate to Shareholder Value
CFO More items by CFO
7/31/2014

"At the outperforming companies: Stock options play a prominent role in long-term incentive (LTI) programs.... Target compensation is at the market median, but actual pay is consistently above the median.... Compensation designs evolve as companies grow and mature.... CEOs are a relative bargain."
Young Adults and Health Insurance: Not Invincible, But Perhaps Convincible
Deloitte Center for Health Solutions More items by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions
7/31/2014

"Among the young adults who didn't sign up for coverage, fewer than one in five said it was because they don't expect to need insurance. But two-thirds said they just couldn't afford it.... Those who did get insurance said the most important reasons were to pay medical bills, to secure peace of mind -- and to avoid paying the federal penalty.... [M]ore than half of all respondents (those who signed up and those who did not) remain unaware that the federal government can help them pay for insurance, or that they can stay on their parents' policies until age 26."
Upcoming IRS Phone Forum on DB Plan Terminations Is August 14
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
7/31/2014

A discussion of issues related to terminating a defined benefit retirement plan, including: how the IRS defines the date of termination, final funding requirements, PBGC issues, reversions, and what is needed in a notice of intent to terminate the plan. Questions can be emailed to the IRS before August 8.
QLACs Provide New 401(k) Plan Annuity Option
Ascende More items by Ascende
7/31/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"Offering plan participants the opportunity to purchase a [Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLAC)] inside the plan, provides another tool to help participants achieve a steady income at retirement that can complement Social Security payments. QLACs should have the added advantage of being less expensive than annuities available in the individual market because retirement plans should be able to qualify for institutional level pricing. However, QLACs also open up a new fiduciary hurdle that must be managed."
Less Than Half of Retirement Plan Participants Over 50 Have Considered an Asset Withdrawal Strategy
OneAmerica More items by OneAmerica
7/30/2014

"Forty-three percent of retirement plan participants age 50 or older say they have considered a withdrawal strategy for their retirement assets ... Survey respondents over 50 are more likely to have considered how to pay for healthcare after they retire (64 percent)."
House Panel Told Changes Are Coming for Employer Health Plans Under ACA
Bloomberg BNA More items by Bloomberg BNA
7/30/2014

"Many employer-based health insurance plans covering approximately 170 million people 'will change or disappear' due to [ACA] requirements [Stan Veuger, resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, told the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee].... 'The most obvious way that it happens is very similar to what happened in the individual market,' where plans covering as many as 9 million people were canceled in 2013 because they didn't meet ACA requirements, [he said]."
DOL Delays Revision of 'Fiduciary' Definition
Benefits Bryan Cave More items by Benefits Bryan Cave
7/30/2014

"[EBSA's] re-proposal of the controversial rule has been delayed again, this time until January 2015 ... Assuming a six-month comment period and six months of hearings to develop final regulations, the final rule could be up for a vote in early 2016.... While it is true that the way Americans save for retirement looks different today than it did in 1974, the challenge for the DOL is to ensure the cure is no worse than the ailment. The EBSA's challenge is to draft regulations that protect plan participants and IRA investors from true conflicts of interest resulting in unsuitable investment advice, but that do not have a significant unintended chilling effect on the provision of suitable investment advice."
Former Obama Administration Official Offers Plan to 'Fix' Tax Incentives for Retirement Plans -- Here's Why It's Dead Wrong
Employee Fiduciary More items by Employee Fiduciary
7/30/2014 [Opinion]

"Last week's Op-Ed in The New York Times ('A 401(k) for All' by Gene B. Sperling) ... aims to address wealth inequality by 'fix(ing) what I have long called our "upside-down" tax incentive system for retirement savings.' ... He proposes a policy to that would 'both reduce wealth inequality and encourage individual wealth creation.' ... [C]hanging 401(k) incentives is a poor tool for addressing wealth inequality ... The idea that there are winners and losers in 401k plans is an inappropriate frame of reference."
IRS Releases Draft Forms for Employer Reporting Requirements Under ACA
Miller Johnson More items by Miller Johnson
7/30/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"The good news is that these forms appear relatively simple to complete. The bad news, however, is that compiling the information necessary to complete these forms will likely impose significant administrative burdens.... [T]he significant amount of information that is required to be reported to both employees and the IRS on these forms may factor in to an employer's overall strategy for compliance with Health Care Reform's pay or play penalty requirement. Further, the IRS is accepting comments on the draft versions of the forms from employers who have suggestions for improvements."
Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits: Fiduciary Considerations for Plan Sponsors (PDF)
O'Melveny & Myers, via Benefits Law Journal More items by O'Melveny & Myers, via Benefits Law Journal
7/30/2014

"[A]s a practical matter, the fiduciary standards applicable to the offering of guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) products are not materially different than the standards applied to fiduciaries in connection with the selection of any other investment or guaranteed lifetime income option for an individual account plan.... This article is ... a roadmap of much of the available guidance, which fiduciaries can use to answer most of the questions that would reasonably be expected to arise if GLWBs were added to a plan's menu of investment options."
Job Lock After the ACA: How Many Hang On for Health Coverage? (PDF)
Securian Financial Group More items by Securian Financial Group
7/30/2014

"When asked outright whether respondents would quit their jobs if they could buy health insurance comparable in cost and coverage to the policies they currently have through their employers, 40 percent said they would. About one-third (32 percent) said they don't know whether they would take that leap. Respondents were also asked whether they ever considered leaving their jobs but didn't because they didn't want to give up their health insurance. More than half (56 percent) say they have considered it."
Paid Vacation Benefits Available to 77 Percent of Private-Industry Employees
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] More items by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]
7/30/2014

"Access to paid vacations varied significantly by occupation. Paid vacation benefits were available to 55 percent of private-industry workers in service occupations in March 2014. In contrast, over 90 percent of private-industry workers in production occupations, installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, and management, business, and financial occupations received paid vacations."
Employee Terminated for Migraine Headaches Can Advance FMLA Claim
FMLA Insights More items by FMLA Insights
7/30/2014

"Strike One: The employer failed to recognize that migraines could be covered by FMLA.... Strike Two: The employer used Jill's absences for migraine headaches as a negative factor in her employment evaluations, which is a sure fire way to lose on summary judgment.... Strike Three: Jill's supervisors learned that she had applied for 'FMLA leave,' yet they still chose to terminate her employment at that time for 'job abandonment.'" [Alexander v. Boeing Co., No. C13-1369RAJ (W.D. Wash. July 28, 2014)]
Premium Subsidy Fight Creating Uncertainty for Hospitals, Health Plans
HealthLeaders Media More items by HealthLeaders Media
7/30/2014

"The tax subsidies are a key provision of Obamacare that keeps health insurance affordable for millions of people, and the uncertainty created by the rulings is a 'credit negative' for health plans and not-for-profit hospitals, Moody's Investors Service said."
Measuring the Economic Impact of DB Pension Expenditures by Governments
National Institute on Retirement Security [NIRS] More items by National Institute on Retirement Security [NIRS]
7/30/2014

"[E]xpenditures made from public, private, and federal government pension benefits in 2012: [1] Had a total economic impact of more than $943 billion. [2] Supported 6.2 million American jobs that paid nearly $307 billion in labor income to American workers. [3] Supported more than $135 billion in federal, state, local tax revenue. [4] Had large multiplier effects. For every dollar paid out in pension benefits, $1.98 in total economic output was supported. For every taxpayer dollar contributed to state and local pensions $8.06 in total output was supported."
Chicago Telephone Tax to Rise by 56 Percent to Shore Up Pensions
Chicago Sun-Times More items by Chicago Sun-Times
7/30/2014

"A family of four with four cell phones and a land-line would end up paying $84 in additional taxes each year. That's $34-per-year more than the $50 price of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's original plan to raise property taxes by $250 million over a five-year period to shore up two of Chicago's four city employee pension funds."
Almost No One Wants the Obamacare Employer Mandate: Here's Why
Los Angeles Times More items by Los Angeles Times
7/30/2014

"'The employer mandate is not an essential feature of the Affordable Care Act,' said Dr. Bob Kocher, former special assistant to the president for healthcare and economic policy. Kocher worked extensively on the law in 2009 and 2010. 'The best course now would be to forego it as long as job growth remains slow, few employers drop coverage, and Americans who can't get insurance at work can find it on the marketplaces created by the law,' he said. Support for the employer mandate has faded in part because employers have continued to offer benefits, even without a penalty."
West Virginia Sues, Contends Administration's Extension for Noncompliant Individual Policies Was Illegal
Bloomberg Businessweek More items by Bloomberg Businessweek
7/30/2014

"West Virginia's attorney general ... faulted President Barack Obama for an 'administrative fix' last year that burdens states with the cancellation or approval of health-care plans that don't comply with the new law. Shifting that responsibility to states violates provisions of the health-care overhaul and constitutional limitations on the powers of the U.S. government, according to the complaint filed [July 29] in federal court in Washington."
Which Fiduciary Should a Plan Sponsor Hire: ERISA 3(16), 3(21) or 3(38)?
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants More items by Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants
7/30/2014

"Plan sponsors should keep in mind that choosing a 3(16) fiduciary to be responsible for some or all of their plan administration duties does not relieve them of all fiduciary responsibility.... Most 401(k) retirement plan sponsors who have retained an investment advisor who is a fiduciary, work with a 3(21) advisor.... Section 3(38) financial advisors often are a best fit for non-employee directed retirement plans, like defined benefit plans."
Over-The-Counter Vitamin Supplements Triggered Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion
Lane Powell PC More items by Lane Powell PC
7/30/2014

"What sort of 'medical treatment' triggers the pre-existing condition exclusion in an ERISA-governed disability policy? Can taking over-the-counter vitamin supplements trigger the exclusion? Yes.... [The employee] had a progressive eye disease. In 1994, his doctor directed him to start taking daily 15,000 unit doses of an over-the-counter vitamin A supplement. This could slow, but not cure, this progressive disease which can lead to blindness. In June 2010 [his] employer bought a new policy for the ERISA-governed disability benefit." [Kutten v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, 2014 WL 3562783 (8th Cir. July 21, 2014)]
Implementing the ACA: Delays, Extensions, and Other Actions Taken by the Administration, Updated July 28, 2014 (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS] More items by Congressional Research Service [CRS]
7/30/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"[A table] summarizes selected administrative actions taken by CMS and the IRS to address ACA implementation. The table entries, which are grouped under general topic headings, are not organized in any particular priority order. Each entry includes a brief summary of the action and some accompanying explanatory material and comments to help provide additional context. Where available, links are provided to relevant regulatory and guidance documents online.... This report is updated periodically to reflect significant ACA implementation actions taken by the Administration."
Survey of Federal Funding for Health Insurance Exchanges (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS] More items by Congressional Research Service [CRS]
7/30/2014

"To fund the establishment of exchanges, the ACA authorizes the HHS Secretary to award grants to states through 2014. Each exchange is expected to generate its own funds to sustain its operations beginning January 1, 2015. This report provides a state-by-state breakdown of the grants awarded to date. It then briefly describes the requirement for exchanges to be self-sustaining, and concludes with a discussion of the sources and amounts of funding that HHS has used and plans to use to support FFE operations."
Employers Can Pay Adoption Expenses for Their Employees on Tax-Advantaged Basis
McAfee & Taft More items by McAfee & Taft
7/30/2014

"An employer who desires to help its employees with adoption expenses just needs to establish a written plan document that spells out the terms of the program ... Subject to certain limitations, amount paid under an adoption assistance plan are generally excludable from an employee's income."
OCR to Begin Phase 2 of HIPAA Audit Program
McDermott Will & Emery More items by McDermott Will & Emery
7/30/2014

"The Phase 2 Audit Program will focus on areas of greater risk to the security of protected health information (PHI) and pervasive noncompliance based on OCR's Phase I Audit findings and observations ... OCR will use the Phase 2 Audit findings to identify technical assistance that it should develop for covered entities and business associates.... [The authors] summarize OCR's Phase 1 Audit findings, describe the Phase 2 Audit program and identify steps that covered entities and business associates should take to prepare for the Phase 2 Audits."
Should We Save More or Spend More? An Economic Exploration
October Three Consulting More items by October Three Consulting
7/30/2014 [Opinion]

"There seems to be a bipartisan consensus amongst those in the retirement security business that increasing retirement savings is a good thing. Amongst policymakers not concerned with retirement security, however, there has been concern that, to recover from the recent recession and to improve a weak recovery, we need to stimulate spending.... In this article we consider the question: what does it mean for the broader economy to pursue policies that increase retirement savings?"
Senate Passes Highway Bill But Deletes Pension 'Smoothing' Provision
ABC News More items by ABC News
7/30/2014

"The Senate voted Tuesday to keep federal highway money flowing to the states into December but only after rejecting the House's reliance on what lawmakers called a funding 'gimmick'... More than half the $10.8 billion in the House bill was raised by letting companies defer required contributions to their pension plans -- thus increasing the taxes those companies pay ... Lawmakers said such 'pension smoothing' will cost the government money in the long run and undermine the financial stability of pension funds."
Text of GAO Report on 401(k) Plans: 'Improvements Can Be Made to Better Protect Participants in Managed Accounts'
U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO] More items by U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO]
7/30/2014

"GAO examined [1] how providers structure managed accounts, [2] their advantages and disadvantages for participants, and [3] challenges sponsors face in selecting and overseeing providers.... GAO recommends that DOL consider provider fiduciary roles, require disclosure of performance and benchmarking information to plan sponsors and participants, and provide guidance to help sponsors better select and oversee managed account providers."
Will 401(k) Participants and IRA Owners Choose Longevity Contracts?
Vanguard More items by Vanguard
7/30/2014

"These policies require investors to be exceptionally far-sighted. Think of today (2014), then go back 20 years (1994). What decision did you make in 1994 to realize some benefit that might occur in 2014? Could you imagine selecting an insurance company in 1994, and think then about waiting 20 years until 2014 for a future contingent benefit -- an income benefit only if you're alive? It's hard to imagine a world of such patient decision-makers."
IRS Forms Address Information Reporting under ACA
Practical Law Company More items by Practical Law Company
7/30/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"On July 24, 2014, the IRS issued a set of draft forms (Forms 1095-C, 1094-C, 1095-B and 1094-B) which, when finalized, will be used by employers and insurers in satisfying health care reform's information reporting requirements under Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code. According to an IRS announcement regarding the forms: Draft instructions for completing the forms will be released in August [and] the forms and the instructions will be finalized in 2014."
The Health Care Assister's Guide to Tax Rules: Determining Eligibility for Medicaid and Premium Tax Credits (PDF)
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities More items by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
7/30/2014 [Guidance Overview]

34 pages. "This guide is designed to familiarize people who are assisting consumers with the health care affordability program application with the tax rules that are applied in determining eligibility for these programs. A basic understanding of these rules can help guide discussions with applicants, especially those with complicated family situations or multiple sources of income, or who are unfamiliar with filing taxes."
Proposed Paid Medical Leave Legislation Includes Incentives for Employers
Employee Benefit News More items by Employee Benefit News
7/30/2014

"Introduced in the Senate (S.2618) and as a companion bill in the House of Representatives (H.R.5173) in July, the 'Strong Families Act' stipulates that the employer will receive a 25% non-refundable tax credit for each hour of paid leave provided. U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced the paid leave proposal to serve as an extension of the Family and Medical Leave Act to encourage employers of all sizes to provide leave options to their employees, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time."
Top Ten Retirement Plan Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions
Practical Law, via Association of Corporate Counsel [ACC] More items by Practical Law, via Association of Corporate Counsel [ACC]
7/30/2014

"[1] Controlled group liability ... [2] Multiemployer plan withdrawal liability ... [3] Single-employer defined benefit plan liabilities ... [4] Partial terminations ... [5] ERISA reportable events ... [6] Plan qualification defects ... [7] ERISA fiduciary issues ... [8] Plan loans ... [9] Designing post-acquisition plans ... [10] Providing required notifications and notices to employees and government agencies."
2015 Benefit Correction Notice Resource Guide for Issuers: Qualified Health Plan and Stand-Alone Dental Plan Design (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] More items by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
7/30/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"This Resource Guide was developed to assist Qualified Health Plan (QHP) and Stand-Alone Dental Plan (SADP) issuers in addressing certain required corrections related to plan design (e.g., nondiscrimination, meaningful difference, and cost sharing reduction plan variations)."
D.C. Circuit Wrongly Rejects Constitutional 'Origination Clause' Challenge to Obamacare
Cato Institute More items by Cato Institute
7/30/2014 [Opinion]

"[The] D.C. Circuit decision ... holds that there is another variety of tax that isn't a 'bill for raising revenue.' And that is, taxes whose 'main object or aim' is something other than generating income for the government. According to this 'purposive approach,' the court says, the court should look to 'the primary aim' of the bill to decide whether the Origination Clause applies -- without regard for whether it will 'generate substantial revenues.' But the Supreme Court has never endorsed this vague 'purposive approach,' and for good reason." [Sissel v. HHS, No. 13-5202 (D.C. Cir. July 29, 2014)]

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