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<< Older News   |  February 20, 2017

Benefits in the News


Sixth Circuit Overturns Tax Court Decision on Abusive DISC Commissions to Roth IRA
RSM US
Feb. 20, 2017
"Contrary to the Tax Court, the Sixth Circuit determined that the IRS overstepped its bounds applying a substance over form argument to claim a tax avoidance transaction when Congress created both domestic international sales corporations (DISCs) and Roth IRAs with the purpose of providing taxpayers the opportunity to avoid tax, provided the taxpayers followed the form of structures of the DISC and Roth IRA." [Summa Holdings Inc. v. Commissioner, No. 16-1712 (6th Cir. Feb. 16, 2017)]
The State of Defined Benefit Plans
Pensions & Investments
Feb. 20, 2017
Infographic. "The largest corporate pension plans ... Median corporate plan returns ... Newer companies eschew pensions ... Retirees' only option."
Credit Easing, Regulation Put Plans on Critical List
Pensions & Investments
Feb. 20, 2017
"U.S. corporate defined benefit plans have been closing and freezing benefit accruals for decades, with a number of industry experts pointing to the very regulations meant to protect them as a top contributing factor. But the flood of cheap money unleashed by central banks' quantitative easing efforts to combat the global financial crisis has only added to the pressures that corporate, as well as public, plan sponsors face[.]"
Fiduciary Rule Update: Is the 'Applicability Date' Applicable? (PDF)
Groom Law Group
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 20, 2017
"Currently pending at [OMB] is a regulation ... entitled 'Delay of Applicability Date.' The fact that the regulation is listed as 'proposed' indicates that the regulation will not have immediate effect ... The release of the regulation has been held up as OMB meets with interested parties....Assuming a 44 day process would be sufficient for the current process, the proposed regulation would have to be published in the Federal Register no later than February 24, 2017 in order for the delay notice to be published on April 10, the scheduled Applicability Date of the Fiduciary Regulation."
Text of CMS Addendum to 2018 Letter to Issuers in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 20, 2017
89 pages, Feb. 17, 2017. "This Addendum to the 2018 Letter to Issuers changes the dates for the QHP certification timeline ... The dates in [this Addendum] also supersede all other references to corresponding dates with in the text of the 2018 Letter to Issuers, as well as any applicable guidance. All other parts of the 2018 Letter to Issuers remain unchanged by this document."
2017 Compliance Checklist for Qualified Plans Subject to ERISA (PDF)
Prudential
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 20, 2017
43 pages. "The Compliance Checklist incorporates defined benefit (DB), defined contribution (DC) and ERISA 403(b) requirements and provides information on the materials that you will need to file, filing due dates and agencies to which the filings should be made."
2017 Compliance Checklist for Qualified Plans Not Subject to ERISA (PDF)
Prudential
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 20, 2017
20 pages. "The Compliance Checklist incorporates requirements for governmental and nonelecting church plans, non-ERISA 403(b) plans, 457 plans and nonqualified executive benefit plans, and provides information on the materials that you will need to file, filing due dates and agencies to which the filings should be made."
Text of CMS Draft Bulletin: Revised Timing of Submission and Posting of Rate Filing Justifications for the 2017 Filing Year for Single Risk Pool Coverage; Revised Timing of Submission for Qualified Health Plan Certification Application (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 20, 2017
"CMS is releasing this draft bulletin for comment on the proposed revised uniform timeline for submission and public release of information about rate filings for single risk pool coverage ... The proposed timelines specified [in this bulletin] would apply to the rate filings issuers will submit in 2017 (2017 filing year) for single risk pool coverage (including both QHPs and non-QHPs) with plan or policy years beginning on or after January 1, 2018."
Text of CMS Summary of Key Dates for Calendar Year 2017 (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 20, 2017
Rev. Feb. 2017. "The dates in Table 1 ... generally supersede Table 1.1 Timeline for QHP Certification in the FFMs on pages 7 and 8 from the 2018 Letter to Issuers released on December 16, 2016. Table 2 reflects the proposed revisions to the Unified Rate Review timeline, as reflected in the February 17, 2017 Draft Bulletin: Revised Timing of Submission and Posting of Rate Filing Justifications for the 2017 Filing Year for Single Risk Pool Coverage. CMS also released an Addendum to the 2018 Letter to Issuers to reflect the current PY18 QHP certification timeline consistent with Table 1[.]"
State-by-State PBGC Pension Plan Payments
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] Blog: Retirement Matters
Feb. 20, 2017
"PBGC paid more than $5.6 billion (that's 'billion' with a 'b') to 840,000 retirees in 2015 ... This clickable map lists the total amount and number of people paid in each state, broken down by congressional district."
Timing of Refunds Due to 415 Limitation Violations: What Every 401(k) Plan Sponsor Should Know
Principal Financial Group
Feb. 20, 2017
"The 415 limitation tests gross salary deferrals, match, ESOP discretionary contributions and plan forfeitures. If there are refunds needed for failing the 415 limit, these refunds must be processed prior to any ADP/ACP refunds. The ADP/ACP test must take the post-415 refund deferrals and match into account."
New Deadlines Give Insurers More Time to Decide on 2018 Marketplace Participation
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 20, 2017
"The initial deadline for filing QHP applications and rate table templates for coverage that includes a QHP for 2018 is delayed substantially from May 3, 2017 to June 21, 2017. After that date, deadlines are compressed and generally moved backwards from the earlier calendar.... Oddly, a few dates in the schedule are moved up. Insurers will have until August 4 to petition to change their service areas, earlier than the initial deadline of August 9. The final deadline for insurers to petition to make changes in their QHP applications will be August 16, moved up from August 21. And the end of the limited window during which insurers can correct data errors identified by the states or HHS is advanced from October 13 to October 7."
CMS, IRS Address Affordable Care Act Issues in Transition
Ballard Spahr LLP
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 20, 2017
"The proposed [CMS] regulatory changes aim to promote more continuous coverage of individuals, particularly healthier individuals, with the intent of improving the risk pool in exchange plans and supporting competitive and stable individual and small group markets.... The IRS has announced that it will not reject individual income tax returns this year because of a failure by individuals to provide information about whether they have obtained coverage under the ACA's individual mandate."
New York Life Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged Excessive Fees in Its 401(k) Plans
Pensions & Investments
Feb. 20, 2017
"New York Life Insurance Co. has settled a class-action lawsuit for $3 million with participants in two company 401(k) plans ... Plan participants said two New York Life 401(k) plans should have searched for S&P 500 index funds that were cheaper than New York Life's MainStay S&P 500 fund. 'From 2010 to 2016, the plans' fiduciaries did not act in the best interests of the plans and their participants,' the lawsuit said."
DOL Fiduciary Rule -- What's Next?
K&L Gates LLP
Feb. 20, 2017
"The Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for President Trump's Secretary of Labor nominee.... OMB will release the DOL's proposal to the public.... [T]he DOL will prepare an updated economic and legal analysis concerning the rule's likely impact.... [The DOL may] seek to complete this analysis as quickly as possible to allow the DOL sufficient time to further propose rescinding or revising the rule, if the DOL deems such action is warranted."
HHS Expresses Interest in Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions
Littler
Feb. 20, 2017
"In addition to the stabilization proposals listed in the regulations, HHS expresses interest in implementing rules similar to the [pre-ACA] rules that allowed plans to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions if the covered individual experienced a gap in creditable coverage: ... Beginning in mid-2017, HHS will institute pre-enrollment verification of all special enrollment events. Accordingly, employers should be cognizant of the fact that they may be called upon to provide timely, written verification of an individual's loss of employer-sponsored group health coverage."
Healthcare Benefits in 2017: What Employers Have to Say
Healthcare Trends Institute
Feb. 20, 2017
"2016 marked a milestone for healthcare consumerism, with the amount of organizations offering HDHPs jumping from 28% four years ago to 39% in last year's survey to 53% in this year's survey.... With this rise in HDHPs came an increase in the number of employees being enrolled in a Health Savings Account [HSA], Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangement [HRA], or Flexible Spending Account [FSA] ... 51.5% of respondents' employees are enrolled in one or more of these plans/arrangements."
DOL's Fiduciary Rule Faces Threat from Trump Administration But Is Upheld by Texas District Court
Miller & Chevalier
Feb. 20, 2017
"On February 8, 2017 ... Chief Judge Barbara Lynn of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas delivered the DOL a sweeping victory in the third decided challenge to the final conflict of interest regulation and related exemptions ... The win adds to the DOL's scorecard, but the Fiduciary Rule's toughest test yet may be the Presidential Memorandum, issued on February 3, 2017."
New Labor Secretary Nominee Brings Legal Mind to Fiduciary Debate
InsuranceNewsNet.com
Feb. 20, 2017
"Alexander Acosta, nominated Thursday to lead the [DOL], drew praise ... as a thoughtful, experienced candidate likely to express mainstream conservative views on regulations.... Acosta could be approved and on the job quickly, a matter of no small import when it comes to the fiduciary rule.... [W]hile Acosta's extensive mainstream experience might get him confirmed quickly, he also might be averse to bold changes -- such as a complete reversal of the fiduciary rule."
Among Low-Income Respondents With Diabetes, High-Deductible Versus No-Deductible Insurance Sharply Reduces Medical Service Use
Diabetes Care
Feb. 20, 2017
"Compared with privately insured respondents with diabetes with [no deductible], privately insured lower-income respondents with diabetes with [a low deductible ($1,000/$2,400)] report significant decreases in service use for primary care, checkups, and specialty visits (27%, 39%, and 77% lower, respectively), and respondents with [a high deductible (>$1,000/$2,400) ] decrease use by 42%, 65%, and 86%, respectively."
Text of Sixth Circuit Opinion: State of Ohio Not Exempt from ACA Transitional Reinsurance Program Payment Requirement (PDF)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Feb. 20, 2017
15 pages. "Congress has demonstrated an ability explicitly to exempt state and local governments from certain requirements in the past, and it chose not to do so with respect to the Program. We therefore conclude that Congress intended the Transitional Reinsurance Program to apply to the States with the same force that it applies to private employers.... We conclude that the tax imposed under the Transitional Reinsurance Program is a non-discriminatory tax applied evenly to public and private group health plans. Application of the Program to the State of Ohio does not violate the intergovernmental tax immunity doctrine." [Ohio v. U.S., No. 16-3093 (6th Cir. Feb. 17, 2017)]
The Future of the ACA: Actuaries Focus on the Individual Health Insurance Market
Mintz Levin
[Opinion]
Feb. 20, 2017
"A recent report from the nation's top actuaries ... offers an unvarnished explanation of the impact of the relevant actuarial principles that informed the ACA and that must be negotiated in the process of its replacement.... The actuarial principles expounded in the paper appear to transcend law and politics and any ACA replacement plan that fails to take them in account may face significant, if not insurmountable, hurdles in achieving its objective."
New Determination Letter Procedures for Puerto Rico Retirement Plans
Willis Towers Watson
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 17, 2017
"Unlike the IRS, Hacienda is not restricting determination letters to establishing and terminating a qualified retirement plan (and a few other special circumstances). Hacienda continues to require sponsors to file determination letters for many types of plan amendments, and sponsors may seek determination letters for other amendments as well. All new plans must obtain a determination letter from Hacienda to become qualified."
Got an Employee Who Doesn't Follow Your FMLA Call-in Policy? Apparently, You Now Have to Ask Him Why He Couldn't
FMLA Insights
Feb. 17, 2017
"Even though Johnny failed to comply with the employer's call-in policy, the DOL took the position that his absences were nevertheless FMLA protected simply because he invoked the FMLA when he finally did make contact with the Company. Why is this so? The DOL investigator explained that the DOL reads into the cited regulation above a requirement that the employer must affirmatively ask the employee why he could not follow the employer's call-in procedures. Yet, this so-called obligation can be found nowhere in the FMLA regulations."
Mastering Tough FMLA Issues: Substitution of Paid Leave
HR Daily Advisor
Feb. 17, 2017
"In order to require employees to substitute paid leave for FMLA leave, you would need to provide notice of that requirement in the Rights and Responsibilities Notice. If you don't provide such notice, then the employee will be allowed to choose whether to use the two types of leave concurrently or consecutively. That could mean: [1] Using up all of their paid leave first, then using their 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave (or 26 weeks of military caregiver leave); [2] Saving their paid leave for other purposes; or [3] Choosing to have their paid leave run concurrently with FMLA leave. These options also need to be explained in the Rights and Responsibilities Notice."

<< Older News   |  February 20, 2017


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