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<< Older News   |  August 16, 2017

Benefits in the News

CMS Releases Hospice Comparison Website
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
Aug. 16, 2017
"The site displays information in a ready-to-use format and provides a snapshot of the quality of care each hospice facility offers to its patients.... By ensuring patients have the information they need to understand their options, CMS is helping individuals make informed healthcare decisions for themselves and their families based on objective measures of quality."
ETFs Are Hot -- Except Among Retirement Plans
Aug. 16, 2017
"Of the $5 trillion in assets in company-sponsored 401(k) plans, two-thirds are held in mutual funds... ETF assets ... are a mere fraction of the pool left over... Among retail investors, ETFs are favored for tax efficiency, intraday trading and cheap fees.... In a tax-advantaged 401(k) plan, where investors are in it for the long-haul, those advantages matter less."
Bringing Telemedicine to the Workplace: What Employers Should Know
The Akron Legal News
Aug. 16, 2017
"Providing telemedicine services to employees can raise a number of legal issues -- the most common being compliance with federal laws such as ERISA, COBRA and HIPAA, as well as state laws concerning medical licensure and practice and informed consent. Employers offering access to a telemedicine program for all employees -- regardless of group health plan enrollment status -- could inadvertently create a separate ERISA group health plan."
American Academy of Actuaries Comments to ERISA Advisory Council on Annual Funding Notice for DB Plans (PDF)
Pension Committee, American Academy of Actuaries
Aug. 16, 2017
"We have three suggestions for improving the notice: narrow the focus, encourage helpful narrative, and provide generic information on the internet. We have included a sample of the first two pages of the notice incorporating the key suggestions in the appendix to this letter."
Ways Employers Can Promote Retirement Security
HR Daily Advisor
Aug. 16, 2017
"[1] Be an aging-friendly employer ... [2] Enable workers to work past age 65 ... [3] Adopt a flexible retirement program ... [4] Enhance retirement and employee benefit offerings."
Is Your Retirement Plan Overlooking Required Beginning Dates? (PDF)
William Grossman, via PenChecks
Aug. 16, 2017
"Each retirement plan document defines [required beginning date (RBD)], and is not required to adopt [the] broad regulatory definition.... A plan designed to permit the delay of RBD for non-5% owners (until retirement after age 70-1/2) will find there are non-5% owner participants who work beyond age 70-1/2 that anticipated starting RMDs at age 70-1/2 to supplement their income.... Therefore, a plan designed to delay RBD should include an in-service distribution provision to allow the plan to calculate what a participant's RMD would have been and distribute it when requested, but as an in-service distribution rather than an RMD."
The 2017 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C: Not Much Has Changed
Accord Systems, LLC
[Guidance Overview]
Aug. 16, 2017
"Employers should begin preparing to report on the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for 2017. It appears little has changed with respect to these Forms compared to previous years. However, we won't know for certain until the draft instructions are released."
Top Misperceptions About Re-Enrollment
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Aug. 16, 2017
"If I conduct a re-enrollment, my participants will push back.... A re-enrollment is too much of a fiduciary risk.... My plan is well diversified at an aggregate level, so everything is fine.... I added target date funds to the plan's lineup, but there is nothing I can do about my participants not taking action." [Infographic]
Practical Use of the Retirement Plan Reporting Service: Solving Oversight Issues in the Retirement Market
Investment Company Institute [ICI]
Aug. 16, 2017
"Before the [Retirement Plan Reporting (RPR) solution provided by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC)] was available, data gathering involved performing manual data entry from paper statements and custom data exchanges ... The RPR service, launched in 2013, provided the necessary infrastructure to get the data needed to solve for the supervisory challenge. The core data inputs needed to come from the retirement recordkeeping community: plan administrators, banks, trust companies, and custodians.... Over time, as the number of firms both on the advisory and retirement-plan provider side grows, the value extracted by using the service will continue to grow for all participants in the industry."
Chicago and Cook County Paid Sick Leave Ordinances May Apply to Your Organization
Jackson Lewis P.C.
[Guidance Overview]
Aug. 16, 2017
"Myth 1: Our company does not have a physical location in Chicago or Cook County, so the PSLOs do not apply to us.... Myth 2: Our company has a physical location in Cook County, but it is in a municipality that 'opted out' of the PSLO, so the PSLO does not apply to us.... Myth 3: We already have a sick leave policy that is more generous than the PSLOs require, so we don't need to make any changes to the policy.... Myth 4: We have an 'unlimited PTO' policy, so surely we are already in compliance."
Siblings Aren't FMLA-Covered Family Members, Are They?
HR Daily Advisor
Aug. 16, 2017
"There is no specific test or set of duties, responsibilities, or factors that will definitively establish an in loco parentis relationship ... There is even some difference in opinion between the drafted FMLA regulations and the [DOL's] interpretation as to whether an in loco parentis relationship requires both financial support and care, or whether one or the other is sufficient.... [A] sibling could be a covered family member if -- and that can be a big if -- an in loco parentis relationship exists between the sibling and the covered employee."
How to Select the Right Target Date Fund for a 401(k) Plan
Aug. 16, 2017
"Few plans have a homogenous participant pool that would clearly dictate the selection of a specific glide path perfectly fitting all participants' needs. It is also true that many plan participants, even those investing in 'through' TDFs, liquidate their retirement plan assets upon retirement.... Having lifetime-income (annuity) and target-risk (flat glide path) options can provide important flexibility to meet the needs of participants who don't fit the mold of a plan's chosen TDF series."
Federal Magistrate Recommends Dismissal of ESOP Challenge Against Wilmington Trust
Aug. 16, 2017
"The judge noted that stock must be purchased at an inflated price and sold at a loss for an economic injury to occur.... Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware found that the plaintiffs lack standing for subject matter jurisdiction because they did not allege an economic injury."
Teller Fired While Using Intermittent Leave Could Not Show FMLA Retaliation
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]
Aug. 16, 2017
"The court found that Walker had not offered any evidence that she was terminated because she took intermittent FMLA leave. Walker did not show that there were any employees who also performed poorly but were not terminated because they had not used FMLA leave. Rather, the facts showed that she was terminated because of her performance failings." [Walker v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 15-7911 (N.D. Ill. June 26, 2017)]
Recess Update on the ACA and Its Repeal and Replacement
Ballard Spahr LLP
Aug. 16, 2017
"To date, ACA rules on employers sponsoring group and individual health care coverage appear to have received little attention from regulators, and most of the requirements remain in place.... This means, among other things, that the Summary of Benefits and Coverage Rule template, updated effective April 1, 2017, must be addressed by employer plans and, as of now, employer reporting obligations will continue in January 2018."
Everything You Need to Know About the Fiduciary Rule Delay
Aug. 16, 2017
"The delay is not a done deal until OMB reviews the proposal and approves it, but the delay is consistent with the timeline requested by many parties within the financial industry when it came to phasing in this rule. The delay gives the DOL more time to conduct a review before the other parts of the rule are enforced, which include the Best Interest Contract (BIC) exemption rule. It also opens up the opportunity for the SEC to weigh in."
Accountable Care Organizations: The Next Wave?
Human Resource Executive Online
Aug. 16, 2017
"HR professionals working directly with ACOs or accessing them through a traditional health insurance network need to review their financial and health outcomes reports and ask plenty of questions ... [What] types of fees your company will pay? What types of savings and outcomes are being generated? How? How much of provider compensation is tied to the delivery of care? What different quality metrics are being used to measure performance? ... While ACOs provide a legal framework for health plans and employers that's compliant with federal health regulations, successful ACOs encourage providers to cut costs through serious financial incentives[.]"
Terminating CSR Payments Would Increase Deficits, CBO Finds
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs
Aug. 16, 2017
"The CBO affirms what earlier analyses have concluded: in the long run the primary loser if CSR payments are terminated would be the federal budget, which would see a net increase in the deficit of $194 billion over the 2017 to 2026 budget window. The report also projects, however, that market instability would increase in the short run[.]"
CBO Report: The Effects of Terminating Payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions (PDF)
Congressional Budget Office [CBO]
Aug. 15, 2017
14 pages. "As a result of the increase in total subsidies under the policy, CBO and JCT project these outcomes, compared with what would occur if the CSR payments were continued: [1] The fraction of people living in areas with no insurers offering nongroup plans would be greater during the next two years and about the same starting in 2020; [2] Gross premiums for silver plans offered through the marketplaces would be 20 percent higher in 2018 and 25 percent higher by 2020 -- boosting the amount of premium tax credits according to the statutory formula; [3] Most people would pay net premiums (after accounting for premium tax credits) for nongroup insurance throughout the next decade that were similar to or less than what they would pay otherwise -- although the share of people facing slight increases would be higher during the next two years; [4] Federal deficits would increase by $6 billion in 2018, $21 billion in 2020, and $26 billion in 2026; and [5] The number of people uninsured would be slightly higher in 2018 but slightly lower starting in 2020."
IRS Requests Input on Upcoming Presentation on Pre-Approved Plans Opinion Letter Program
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
Aug. 15, 2017
"[IRS is] developing a [video] presentation on this topic and would like your input on what to include ... The presentation will cover: [1] Merger of the 'master and prototype' and 'volume submitter' programs; [2] Differences between standardized and non-standardized plans; [3] Opinion letter application period for defined contribution plans; [4] Other changes made by Revenue Procedure 2017-41. [Send an email to the IRS at] by 5 p.m. ET on September 1, 2017 with any suggestions for this presentation."
Not Saving More for Retirement? You Should Be Feeling Left Out
Aug. 15, 2017
"23 percent of all U.S. adults say they've ramped up retirement saving during the past 12 months -- the best showing in six years of polling. And it's younger millennials between ages 18 and 26 who are the most likely (at 30 percent) to say they're saving more.... A strengthening job market and auto-enrollment into company retirement plans have helped millennials get a head start on retirement saving, while older generations have had help fortifying their nest eggs from a steady-as-she-goes economy."
CFOs Delighted with Pension Risk Transfers (PDF)
Aug. 15, 2017
"Eighty-three percent of the survey respondents who've executed such a transaction said they are completely satisfied with all aspects of their group annuity purchase, and virtually the same number -- 81 percent -- agreed that plan beneficiaries affected by the transaction are content to receive their pension payments from an insurance company. Eighty-six percent said they believe the arrangement offers those participants greater retirement security in the long run."
Economic and Regulatory Environment May Spur Pension Risk Transfers (PDF)
Aug. 15, 2017
"Among DB plan sponsors who have not yet purchased an annuity, nearly half said they have discussed the strategy with an outside provider or advisor, and one in five said they expect to purchase a group annuity in the next two years.... Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said that if Washington enacts tax reforms that lower corporate tax rates, their companies will very likely use the tax savings to increase funding of their defined benefit pension plan, and execute either a full or partial liability transfer via a group annuity."
Getting Tech Employees Engaged in Worksite Wellness
Aug. 15, 2017
"Technology employees, like many office workers, are challenged with high stress and long hours, putting them at risk for the 'sitting disease' -- or sitting all day at their desk -- resulting in increased risk for poor health and disease.... [1] Change their perception of how much time it takes to be healthy -- offering short, convenient sessions for fitting in fitness.... [2] Play to a common characteristic found in tech employees: Competitiveness.... [3] Tech employees naturally are comfortable with technology -- and expect to use it[.]"
If Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments End, States Can Use 1332 Waivers to Fund Their Own
Health Affairs
Aug. 15, 2017
"Creating a State-administered CSR mechanism will undoubtedly require expenditure from the State. While some will argue that the limited resources available in State budgets would render the idea all but theoretical, it would be beneficial to examine how States can use Section 1332 of the ACA to fund -- and potentially profit from -- providing CSR."

<< Older News   |  August 16, 2017

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