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<< Older News   |  April 25, 2018

Benefits in the News



Desire to Move to Lifetime Income Options -- Is It Real?
Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell
[Opinion]
Apr. 24, 2018
"[T]wo in ten DC plan participants would like to get some lifetime income or longevity protection from their DC plans. But, what options are available? ... The experience in the marketplace thus far (anecdotally) is that participants will pay anywhere from 15% to 40% more for these annuities from DC plans than would be considered actuarially equivalent to a lump sum in a DB plan. Insurers need to be both risk-averse and profitable and therein lies a difference."
Retirees Get a 401(k) Withdrawal Headache
Squared Away Blog, by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
Apr. 24, 2018
"More than half of boomers approaching retirement have no money in a 401(k).... For those who do have savings, paralysis is the more common reaction.... Miscalculations can wreak havoc on retirement finances ... [N]ot many people can do the complex calculations required to find an optimal rate of withdrawal.... To preserve their finite resources, retirement experts recommend that boomers ... [1] Track spending and review sources of retirement income.... [2] Delay Social Security.... [3] Carefully plan a withdrawal strategy."
New Hardship Exemptions Let Consumers Avoid ACA Penalty for Not Having Health Insurance
Kaiser Health News
Apr. 24, 2018
"Under the new rules, people can apply for a hardship exemption that excuses them from having to have health insurance if they: [1] Live in an area where there are no marketplace plans. [2] Live in an area where there is just one insurer selling marketplace plans. [3] Can't find an affordable marketplace plan that doesn't cover abortion. [4] Experience 'personal circumstances' that make it difficult for them to buy a marketplace plan, including not being able to find a plan in their area that gives them access to specialty care they need."
Case Study: Providing Adequate Retirement Income for Employees Through Cash Balance Plans
Milliman
Apr. 24, 2018
"[S]pecific participant-centric goals were developed: [1] Provide broad coverage; [2] Offer meaningful benefits; [3] Attract and retain talented employees; [4] Be innovative; [5] Differentiate the employer from their peers ... [C]overage in the DB plan had dropped to just under 40% of their active employees. While the 401(k) plan had a high participation rate (92%), employee deferrals were lower than the amount required to receive the full employer matching contribution ... and the average 401(k) participant (age 44) had accumulated an account balance of only $54,000."
The SEC's Fiduciary Proposal: Investment Adviser Standard of Conduct
Spencer Fane
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 24, 2018
"While the Regulation Best Interest rule is applicable to broker-dealers, the SEC also issued a release that provides an Interpretation Regarding Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers ... According to the SEC, the purpose of the release is to 'affirm investments advisers' understanding of the obligations they owe their clients, reduce uncertainty for advisers, and facilitate their compliance.' In addition, the SEC is requesting comments on three specific areas that are addressed under the regulatory regime for broker-dealers, but may not be addressed with respect to investment advisers. Those three areas are: [1] federal licensing and continuing education, [2] provision of account statements, and [3] financial responsibility."
The Elusive Search: Considerations for Locating Missing Retirement Plan Participants (PDF)
Isler Dare
Apr. 24, 2018
"[R]ecent government focus and audit activity on the failure of retirement plans to make required distributions such as RMDs increases the risk of IRS penalties and excise taxes, and of claims that a breach of fiduciary duty may have occurred.... [P]lan administrators should take a fresh look at the processes they have in place for locating missing or nonresponsive plan participants."
Eye-Opening Facts About Benefits and Employee Retention
Hodges-Mace
Apr. 24, 2018
"47% of your employees will look for another position in the next 12 months.... [H]ow many people would have stayed in their current role if they understood their current benefits and what their total compensation truly was? ... 51% of employers say that using benefits to retain employees will become even more important in the next 3 to 5 years.... 75% of employees reported to be more likely to stay with an employer based on their benefit program[.]"
New Jersey Passes Paid Sick Leave Law
Fox Rothschild LLP
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 24, 2018
"Over the past few years, New Jersey local governments have been active on the issue of earned paid sick leave, leading to 13 municipalities to enacting their own laws. These municipalities are: [1] Bloomfield; [2] East Orange; [3] Elizabeth; [4] Irvington; [5] Jersey City; [6] Montclair; [7] Morristown; [8] Newark; [9] New Brunswick; [10] Passaic; [11] Paterson; [12] Plainfield; and [13] Trenton. The good news for employers is that the state law preempts all of these local ordinances so employers will need to comply only with the state law."
Treasury Department Notice of Multiemployer Pension Plan Application to Reduce Benefits: Plasterers Local 82 Pension Fund
U.S. Department of the Treasury
[Official Guidance]
Apr. 24, 2018
"The Board of Trustees of the Plasterers Local 82 Pension Fund, a multiemployer pension plan, has submitted an application to reduce benefits under the plan in accordance with [MPRA].... [T]he application ... has been published on the website of the Department of the Treasury ... [P]ublic comments on the application [are requested] from interested parties, including participants and beneficiaries, employee organizations, and contributing employers[.]"
Treasury Department Notice of Multiemployer Pension Plan Application to Reduce Benefits: Sheet Metal Works Local Pension Plan
U.S. Department of the Treasury
[Official Guidance]
Apr. 24, 2018
"The Board of Trustees of the Sheet Metal Workers Local Pension Plan, a multiemployer pension plan, has submitted an application to reduce benefits under the plan in accordance with [MPRA].... [T]he application ... has been published on the website of the Department of the Treasury ... [P]ublic comments on the application [are requested] from interested parties, including participants and beneficiaries, employee organizations, and contributing employers[.]"
The SEC's Fiduciary Proposal: Regulation Best Interest
Spencer Fane
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 24, 2018
"Because the SEC believes that whether a broker-dealer is acting in a client's best interest is determined based on the particular facts and circumstances, it declined to define 'best interest.' Similarly, the SEC proposal does not define 'recommendation.' ... The Regulation Best Interest rule is intended to bridge this gap by setting forth specific obligations that (if fulfilled) are deemed to satisfy the rule. The three obligations are: Disclosure obligation ... Care obligation ... Conflict of interest obligation."
Massachusetts Begins Assessing New Employer Healthcare Penalties
Mazursky Constantine LLC
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 24, 2018
"According to the current guidance ... an employer appears to have a limited basis on which to appeal a penalty determination. For example, an employer may argue that the individual triggering the penalty is an independent contractor and not an employee or that the wages on which the penalty was based were incorrect. Notably, the Department's guidance does not address what appears to be the most obvious grounds for appeal -- that the employee was not actually eligible for the state program triggering the penalty."
Priorities for Retirement Plan Sponsors: Plugging Leakage, Enabling Auto-Portability
Employee Benefit News
Apr. 24, 2018
"[T]he process of rolling a 401(k) savings account from a former-employer plan into an active account in a current-employer plan took more than two months to complete for 27% of participants.... [On] average, participants expect a roll-in to require them to spend 19 hours of personal time[.]"
Sixth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on ERISA Section 510 Claims Because of Management Comments That Healthcare Costs Are Rising
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Apr. 24, 2018
"[W]hile the supervisor who fired plaintiff did not know about the son's medical expenses, the Sixth Circuit found significant that the Vice President and director who commented about medical expenses played a role in the decision. Also, plaintiff contended that Atlas had tried to contact other employees before firing them under the no-call/no-show policy, but did not do the same for him." [Stein v. Atlas Industries, Inc., No. 17-3737 (6th Cir. Apr. 9, 2018)]
Health Care and Benefits Stats Every Employer Should Know
Willis Towers Watson
Apr. 24, 2018
"[T]he average cost of new cancer therapy is $171,000 and spend for specialty drugs used in cancer treatment is expected to increase by 20% every year.... There are 86 million pre-diabetic adults in the U.S. and 90% don't even know it.... More than two-thirds of adults with depression don't get treatment.... Specialty prescription costs are expected to double in three years."
401(k) Trends: Where We've Been, Where We May Be Headed -- Part 2
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]
Apr. 24, 2018
"Aggregation/consolidation will improve plan efficiency ... while concurrently addressing the challenges of access, missing participants, and leakage.... For the next decade or so, almost all new entrants and most new assets will come from the Millennial generation -- a generation with unique needs and habits.... It is only another half-step to transform your 401(k) into a holistic financial wellness instrument[.]"
Executive Compensation as Corporate Waste? Delaware Court Allows a Lawsuit to Continue
Winston & Strawn LLP
Apr. 24, 2018
"Two full pages of the opinion are devoted to listing facts and information 'demonstrating that it should have been abundantly clear to the members of the Board ... that far from being 'actively engaged' in CBS's affairs, Redstone was providing no meaningful services to the Company beginning at some point in the latter part of 2014 or in 2015. During and after that period, CBS paid Mr. Redstone more than $13 million, most of it in performance bonuses." [Feuer v. Redstone, No. 12575-CB (Del. Ch. Apr. 19, 2018)]
The State of Employee Benefits: Findings from EBRI's 2017 Health and Workplace Benefits Survey
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]
Apr. 24, 2018
"Benefit offerings generally remain similar between years, with the most frequently offered benefits being health insurance (67 percent), dental insurance (59 percent) and retirement savings plans (57 percent).... Just over one-half (52 percent) of employees say they understand their health benefits and 43 percent indicate they understand their non-health benefits very/extremely well. Both statistics are down from 2016[.]"
Your Employee Surgery Roadmap
mpirica
Apr. 24, 2018
Infographic. "When your employees need surgery, the way to safe, effective care is fraught with obstacles. Surgeons push for care that patients don't need; it's extremely difficult to find high-quality providers; and hospital systems charge rates far out of proportion with their value.... [1] Avoid inappropriate procedures ... [2] Avoid ineffective surgeons ... [3] Avoid overcharging."
Retirees: What's Your Plan for Dealing with the Upcoming Bear Stock Market?
Ken Steiner, FSA Retired
Apr. 24, 2018
"The primary point of this example (and post) wasn't necessarily to argue that one alternative spending plan is better than another (or to scare you about the future), but rather to illustrate how using the Actuarial Approach and the ABB (together with whatever other approach you are currently using) can help you develop a plan of action (strategy) to deal with a range of future scenarios."
Bridging the Wellness Generation Gap
Frenkel Benefits
Apr. 24, 2018
"For the first time in history, five generations are rubbing shoulders in the workplace; and each generation is associated with distinct stereotypes. A one-size-fits-all approach to your wellness program activities probably won't cut it (unless it only involves free food and chair massages!)."
Changes to the Essential Health Benefits Standards in the 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters
National Health Law Program [NHeLP]
Apr. 24, 2018
"The Final Rule eliminates the ten benchmark options ... and establishes new benchmarking options for states that wish to redefine their EHBs. For all benchmarking options, the Final Rule imposes a 'generosity cap' which enables states to weaken EHB minimum standards, but penalizes states seeking to improve and strengthen EHB."
Text of Agency Proposed ACA FAQs, Part 39: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Implementation and the 21st Century Cures Act (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]; and U.S. Department of the Treasury
[Official Guidance]
Apr. 23, 2018
12 pages. "With regard to any nonquantitative treatment limitation (NQTL), the MHPAEA final regulations provide that a group health plan or health insurance issuer may not impose an NQTL with respect to MH/SUD benefits in any classification unless, under the terms of the plan (or health insurance coverage) as written and in operation, any processes, strategies, evidentiary standards, or other factors used in applying the NQTL to MH/SUD benefits in the classification are comparable to, and are applied no more stringently than the processes, strategies, evidentiary standards, or other factors used in applying the limitation to medical/surgical benefits in the same classification. MHPAEA also imposes certain disclosure requirements on group health plans and health insurance issuers." [12 Questions and Answers provide specific examples of plan provisions, including covered services, level of coverage, and provider selection criteria, along with required and permitted coverage and provider directory disclosures.]
Sample Form to Request Documentation from an Employer-Sponsored Health Plan or an Insurer Concerning Treatment Limitations (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]
[Official Guidance]
Apr. 23, 2018
"This is a tool to help you request information from your employer-sponsored health plan or your insurer regarding limitations that may affect your access to mental health or substance use disorder benefits. You can use this form to request general information about treatment limitations or specific information about limitations that may have resulted in denial of your benefits. An example of a request for general information might be a request for the plan's preauthorization policies for medical/surgical and mental health treatments. An example of a request for specific information related to a denial of benefits based on a failure to show medical necessity might be a request for the internal medical necessity guidelines used to deny your claim. Your plan or insurer is required by law to provide you this information in certain instances, and the information will help you determine if the coverage you are receiving complies with the law."
Self-Compliance Tool for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 23, 2018
23 pages. "The goal of this self-compliance tool is to help group health plans, plan sponsors, plan administrators, group and individual market health insurance issuers, State regulators and other parties determine whether a group health plan or health insurance issuer complies with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), and additional, related requirements that apply to [ERISA] group health plans. The requirements described in this tool generally apply to group health plans, group health insurance issuers, and individual market health insurance issuers. However, requirements that do not apply as broadly are noted."

<< Older News   |  April 25, 2018


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