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<< Older News   |  December 13, 2017

Benefits in the News



2017 IRS Form 8941: Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
[Official Guidance]
Dec. 13, 2017
Eligible small employers use Form 8941 to figure the credit for small employer health insurance premiums for tax years beginning after 2009.
Feds Defend Pension Law's Religious Exemption
Bloomberg BNA
Dec. 13, 2017
"[T]he government argued that [ERISA's] 'church plan' provision is constitutional because it has a secular legislative purpose and neither advances nor hinders religion. This is the first time the government has publicly commented on the constitutionality of the exemption in the four years since it's become a controversial issue driving dozens of ERISA class actions." [Sanzone v. Mercy Health, No. 16-923 (E.D. Mo., gov't memo filed Dec. 11, 2017)
Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, Part 73
FredReish.com
Dec. 13, 2017
"In the past, recordkeepers often provided sample line-ups to start-up plans and to existing plans that were transferring to their recordkeeping platform. However, under the new fiduciary definition, a selective list of investments is considered to be fiduciary investment advice, which means that the recordkeeper would need to make prudent recommendations and would be subject to ERISA's prohibited transaction rules (e.g., for any proprietary investments and revenue sharing). Fortunately, there is an exception in the fiduciary regulation; unfortunately, though, the scope of the exception is limited."
Representatives Introduce Electronic Disclosure Bill for Retirement Plan Information
Pensions & Investments
Dec. 13, 2017
"The proposed Receiving Electronic Statements to Improve Retiree Earnings (RETIRE) Act would automatically enroll plan participants in electronic delivery. It would require employers to make retirement information easily accessible online, and have protections for employees who prefer to receive paper documents and can opt out."
Roth Option Won't Remedy 'Pass-Through' Problem in Tax Bill
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]
[Opinion]
Dec. 13, 2017
"[A] Roth election, at best, can only apply to the elective contributions made to a 401(k) plan. There is no Roth option for matching contributions or discretionary profit sharing contributions. For a small business owner with the wherewithal to save, that amounts to $36,000 this year. More to the point, ... there is no 'Roth' election whatsoever with regard to contributions made to a cash balance plan (or any other type of defined benefit plan). Cash balance plans are extremely popular with small business owners who, after plowing money into their business for many years, can finally start funding their retirement."
Shipping Breast Milk Emerges as an Employee Benefit
Employee Benefit News
Dec. 13, 2017
"Companies like Milk Stork provide the service to corporate clients, and some companies are developing their own self-administered programs that do the same thing in house.... Milk Stork uses pharmaceutical-grade shipping coolers that provide a minimum of 72 hours of refrigeration. These are sent to the mother's hotel room, along with breast milk storage bags, seals and instructions.... The cost is $139 per travel day on average."
Aon Hewitt Can't Escape Safeway's 401(k) Fee Lawsuit
Bloomberg BNA
Dec. 13, 2017
"[The federal district judge] rejected Aon's argument that it didn't breach its fiduciary duty of prudence because it had in place a 'master consulting agreement' with Safeway that established Aon's 'robust process' in providing 'ongoing consulting and performance evaluation.' The terms of the agreement, standing alone, can't establish that Aon acted prudently, and the fact that an agreement exists doesn't prove it was followed, [the judge] said." [Terraza v. Safeway Inc., No. 16-3994 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 11, 2017)]
Rhode Island Is Newest State to Require Paid Sick Leave
Epstein Becker Green
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 13, 2017
"[E]mployers with 18 or more employees in Rhode Island are required to allow their employees to accrue up to 24 hours (three days) of paid sick and safe leave beginning in calendar year 2018, increasing to up to 32 hours (four days) in 2019, and up to 40 hours (five days) starting in 2020."
Wishful Thinking or Within Reach? Three Generations Prepare for Retirement (PDF)
Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies
Dec. 13, 2017
118 pages. "57% of Generation X and 55 percent of Baby Boomers cite outliving their savings and investments as one of their greatest retirement fears. 47% of Millennials fear that they will be unable to meet the basic financial needs of their family when they retire. 66% of all workers are concerned that Social Security will not be there for them when they are ready to retire."
Health Plan Year-End To-Dos and New Year's Resolutions
HUB International
Dec. 13, 2017
"[C]onfirm [participant health plan] elections before the end of the plan year ... [W]ork with your vendors to collect the information you need for ACA reporting, such as contribution amounts, coverage elections, etc.... Make sure your elections have been properly fed into your payroll system.... [Remind] employees that they need to take steps to set up their HSAs[.]"
New Blood Pressure Guidelines Impact Individuals and Wellness Programs
Findley Davies | BPS&M
Dec. 13, 2017
"It is expected that about half (46 percent) of American adults now meet the new definition for high blood pressure; and that 14 percent who previously were considered prehypertensive are now classified as hypertensive.... Employers ... incentivizing for achieving each biometric outcome (such as blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and/or weight) are advised to update their blood pressure goals to align with the new guidelines."
2017 Stable Value Study: A Survey of Plan Sponsors, Stable Value Fund Providers and Advisors (PDF)
MetLife
Dec. 13, 2017
30 pages. "[M]any plan sponsors recognize that stable value's performance track record is better than that of money market funds. However, ... there remains a need for the stable value industry to encourage a greater understanding for -- and appreciation of -- stable value's risk and return profile vis-à-vis other capital preservation options."
Qualified Plan Beneficiary Rules, Part 3
PenChecks
Dec. 13, 2017
"[A] surviving spouse has the option of rolling the funds into his or her own IRA or to a qualified plan, if the qualified plan accepts rollovers. However, many factors determine how and when the rollover should occur."
IRS Prepares to Nail Employers Under ACA Mandates
Solutions Law Press
Dec. 13, 2017
"[E]mployers sponsoring plans that violate any of 40 listed mandates imposed by Obamacare or certain other federal laws also become liable under Internal Revenue Code Section 6039D to self-identify, self-assess, report on Form 8928 and pay an excise tax equal to $100 per person per uncorrected violation. The IRS, [DOL] and [HHS] have taken the position the January 20 Executive Order ... does not bar enforcement of those Obamacare penalties."
CCIIO Issues Guidance for Employers Wishing to Revoke Accommodation for Contraception Coverage
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
Dec. 13, 2017
"[CCIIO] has provided clarification of notice procedures for employers that, based on sincerely held religious or moral beliefs, object to providing contraceptive preventive services.... [These procedures] must be followed if such 'objecting entities' no longer wish to use an accommodation ... that enabled certain employers to allow employees access to contraceptive preventive services via an indirect route."
Recent Data on the Funded Status of Multiemployer Pension Plans (PDF)
Segal Consulting
Dec. 13, 2017
"A majority of plans are in the green zone ... Most plans have a funded percentage above 70% and many are fully funded ... In the construction industry, a greater percentage of plans with fewer than 1,000 participants are in the red zone than larger plans ... Yet the industry as a whole remains overwhelmingly healthy with very few [critical and declining] plans -- only six in 2017."
2018 California PEPRA Compensation Limits
Van Iwaarden Associates
Dec. 13, 2017
"The 2018 [California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA)] compensation limits are $121,388 for Social Security members and $145,666 for non-Social Security members. These limits are the maximum pay that a California public agency can recognize in a defined benefit plan for PEPRA members, i.e. those first hired by a public employer in 2013 or later."
HHS Enforcement Report for Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, December 2017 (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
Dec. 13, 2017
"Currently, CMS is enforcing MHPAEA with respect to issuers in four states: Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. In these states, CMS reviews policy forms of issuers in the individual and group markets for compliance with MHPAEA prior to the products being offered for sale in the states. Through this process, numerous parity issues are identified by CMS reviewers and corrected by the issuers before individuals and groups enroll in the products.... [S]ince the beginning of 2016, CMS has finalized one market conduct examination."
ACA Round-Up: Qualified Health Plan Reviews and Contraceptive Coverage Litigation
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs
Dec. 13, 2017
"[CMS recently] released two reports summarizing reviews of federally facilitated exchange qualified health plan (QHP) insurers for the year 2016.... [O]ne report analyzes renewal and discontinuation notices and the other compliance with various QHP requirements.... The compliance review examines performance in fourteen areas by thirty insurers, including 26 individual medical insurers and four stand-alone dental plans."
NASRA Issue Brief: State Hybrid Retirement Plans (PDF)
National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA]
Dec. 13, 2017
"[A] growing number of states have established [hybrid plans] on either an optional or mandatory basis.... [M]ost contain the core features known to promote retirement security: mandatory participation, shared financing between employers and employees, pooled assets invested by professionals, targeted income replacement with survivor and disability protection, and a benefit that cannot be outlived." [Updated Dec. 2017]
Why Multiple Employer 401(k) Plans Are Obsolete Today
Employee Fiduciary
[Opinion]
Dec. 13, 2017
"MEP providers and their investment fund partners routinely tout plan benefits that either don't exist or are just as accessible with a single employer 401(k) plan. The reason is simple -- to protect asset-based fees that can quickly grow out of control.... [T]hanks to today's 401(k) investments and technology, single employer 401(k) plans can offer lower fees and the same level of outsourced fiduciary services (if desired). These developments have made MEPs obsolete."
American Academy of Actuaries Letter to Congress: Potential Adverse Consequences of Eliminating the ACA's Individual Mandate (PDF)
Health Practice Council, American Academy of Actuaries
[Opinion]
Dec. 13, 2017
"Eliminating the individual mandate would lead to premium increases.... Changes made to eliminate the mandate after premiums are finalized could weaken insurer solvency.... Increasing risks could cause an increase in insurer withdrawals from the market.... Strong alternative mechanisms to encourage enrollment and/or significant market stabilization provisions would be needed to counteract an elimination of the mandate."
Marketplace Plans Provide Risk Protection, But Actuarial Values Overstate Realized Coverage For Most Enrollees
Physicians for a National Health Program [PNHP]
[Opinion]
Dec. 13, 2017
"[A] weakness of using actuarial value is that doing so distracts consumers from the key purpose of insurance, which is financial risk protection. Actuarial value is driven by the average across the population and provides no information on the likelihood of different levels of spending or how specific consumers would fare financially under different scenarios."
2018 Reporting and Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Health and Retirement Plans (PDF)
Segal Consulting
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 13, 2017
"[This 33-page calendar summarizes] the annual compliance requirements and disclosure obligations that health and retirement plan sponsors need to know. The content in these calendars raise issues that may cause plan sponsors to check, change or consider their current approaches."
2018 Reporting and Disclosure Calendar for Single Employer Health and Retirement Plans (PDF)
Segal Consulting
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 13, 2017
"[This 33-page calendar summarizes] the annual compliance requirements and disclosure obligations that health and retirement plan sponsors need to know. The content in these calendars raise issues that may cause plan sponsors to check, change or consider their current approaches."

<< Older News   |  December 13, 2017


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