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Senate Bill Would Boost Alternative Assets in 401(k) Plans
Roll Call Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"A new bill from top Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee aims to open workplace retirement plans to a bigger range of investments, making it easier for 401(k) plans to diversify with holdings in private equity, hedge funds, real estate, cryptocurrencies and other alternative assets.... The [Retirement Savings Modernization Act] would also clarify that expenses related to these investments, which in many cases charge higher fees than traditional mutual funds found in typical 401(k) plans, would be acceptable."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Investments

CBO Letter: Effect of the PBGC's Final Rule on Special Financial Assistance
Congressional Budget Office [CBO] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"The final rule, which was issued in July 2022, changed the method used to compute SFA, including the assumed rate of return. It also changed the type of assets in which pension plans may invest SFA, which changes the expected rate of return and risk profile of those investments. CBO anticipates that the changes in the final rule will increase the total amount of SFA that plans will receive. The agency estimates that the amount of assistance will total $90.4 billion over the 2022-2032 period, which is $4.5 billion, or 5 percent, more than the $85.9 billion estimated in CBO's May 2022 baseline budgetary projections, which were based on expectations consistent with the July 2021 interim final rule."

Tags: ARPA  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans  •  PBGC

Trends in Prescription Drug Spending, 2016-2021 (PDF)
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

13 pages. "In 2021, the U.S. health care system spent $603 billion on prescription drugs, before accounting for rebates, of which $421 billion was on retail drugs. Spending growth on drugs was largely due to growth in spending per prescription, and to a lesser extent by increased utilization (i.e., more prescriptions). Expenditure growth was larger for non-retail drug expenditures (25%) than for retail expenditures (13%).... Drug spending is heavily driven by a relatively small number of high-cost products."

Tags: Health Plan Costs

Price Increases for Prescription Drugs, 2016-2022 (PDF)
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"In January 2022, the average price increase was nearly $150 per drug (10.0 percent), and in July 2022, it was $250 (7.8 percent). The dollar increases were larger than for the same months in previous years. In 2022, several drugs increased their list prices by more than $20,000 or by more than 500 percent. There were 1,216 products whose price increases during the twelve-month period from July 2021 to July 2022 exceeded the inflation rate of 8.5 percent for that time period. The average price increase for these drugs was 31.6 percent."

Tags: Prescription Drug Costs

Consolidation Trends and Impacts in Health Care Markets
RAND Corporation Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"This report summarizes findings of an environmental scan on consolidation trends and impacts in health care markets. It describes the evidence on price, spending, quality of care, access, and wages in health care provider and insurance markets, as well as other market trends. The authors found strong evidence that hospital horizontal consolidation is associated with higher prices paid to providers and some evidence of the same for vertical consolidation of hospitals and physician practices. Health care spending is likely to increase in tandem with these price increases."

Tags: Health Plan Costs

Implementing the Drug Negotiation Provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act: Considerations for CMS
Health Affairs Forefront Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 30, 2022

"While other nations have decades of experience in drug price regulation, the IRA creates a new challenge for Medicare’s administrators. How it carries out this work will have important implications for stakeholders and is critical to determining whether this new authority can be sustained or, as some may hope, built upon to regulate additional drug prices."

Tags: Medicare  •  Prescription Drug Costs

Text of 2022 IRS Form 1095-A: Health Insurance Marketplace Statement (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 30, 2022

"This Form 1095-A provides information you need to complete Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC)."

Tags: Health Plan Administration

Text of IRS Publication 5164: Test Package for Electronic Filers of ACA Information Returns (AIR), Processing Year 2023 (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 30, 2022

18 pages, rev. Sep. 2022. "[This document] contains general and program specific testing information for use with ACA Assurance Testing System (AATS).... Software Developers must pass IRS AATS scenarios for the forms and tax year that the software package will support.... Transmitters and Issuers must pass a one-time communication test for the forms they will file."

Tags: Health Plan Administration

Employers Required to Provide Public Health Emergency Leave to San Francisco Employees
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 30, 2022

"Requiring employers to provide additional paid leave to employees during certain public health emergencies -- including Spare the Air days -- Proposition G is not tied to the COVID-19 pandemic or other specific health emergency, unlike prior leave laws. Voted into law by San Franciscans in June 2022, the new ordinance goes into effect on October 1, 2022."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Rash of Recent Lawsuits Focus on BlackRock Indexed Target Date Options: Even Low-Cost Funds Are Being Attacked
Trucker Huss Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"The claims in these cases are atypical of claims usually asserted by ERISA plaintiffs because the allegations in the BlackRock cases are focused on performance alone, and not the funds' cost. Further, because the primary focus of previous plaintiffs has been on the investment options' costs, the focal point of litigation has traditionally been actively managed investment options and the claim that the options were overly priced, in addition to being poorly performing. The complaints in the BlackRock cases appear to concede that the passively managed BlackRock Funds were not overpriced."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investment Costs  •  Retirement Plan Investments

ERISA Self-Dealing Lawsuit Targets Wells Fargo and Ex-CEO
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"Plaintiffs claim that during the class period -- from September 27, 2016, to 'the date of judgment' -- the defendants breached their fiduciary duties to participants and engaged in prohibited transactions under ERISA ... by overpaying for stock in the employee stock ownership plan." [Beville v. GreatBanc Trust Company, No. 22-2354 (D. Minn. complaint filed Sep. 26, 2022)]

Tags: ESOPs  •  Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

No Fiduciary Breach Where Insurer Sets Guaranteed Rate of Return on Stable Value Contract in Shared Interest of Plan Participants
Thomson Reuters / EBIA Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"Despite the existence of a conflict of interest, the Eighth Circuit concluded that there was no breach of the duty of loyalty where the insurer was not motivated by economic self-interest and did not place its own interests ahead of those of the participants or the plan. Thus, in the Eighth Circuit at least, if a fiduciary insurer can show that the interest rate for fixed-income investments is set according to a shared interest with participants, and appropriately accounts for its risks and costs in offering the investment, there should be no breach of the duty of loyalty." [Rozo v. Principal Life Ins. Co., No. 21-2026 (8th Cir. Sep. 2, 2022)]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Retirement Income Is Front and Center; Should Your Committee Consider the Pursuit?
PlanPILOT Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"The need to help plan participants translate retirement savings into income is real and well understood. In equal form, the layers of complexity and variation in approaches have influenced the tepid pace of adoption thus far. In this article, [the authors] offer a backdrop of complicating factors, summarize key retirement service and solution concepts, and provide suggested activities for plan sponsor consideration."

Tags: Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Retirement Plan Design

Limited Plan Audits Are History: What 401(k) Plan Sponsors Should Know
Sequoia Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"[L]imited scope audits are history, being replaced by ERISA Section 103(a)(3)(C) audits. This newly named audit does not change any of ERISA's laws or applicability. However, it does affect how 401k plans are audited, effective as of on December 15, 2021."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

Inflation's Impact on 2023 Open Enrollment
Bolton Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"Employers can take steps now to help their employees better understand their benefits options and make more informed decisions.... [1] Communicate with employees about benefits early.... [2] Use multiple communication channels.... [3] Employ clear language and personalized messaging.... [4] Highlight the services that come with coverage."

Tags: Health Plan Administration

De-Risking Opportunities in a Rising Interest Rate Environment
Milliman Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"An increase of 100 basis points (bps) in interest rates reduces pension liabilities on average by 12% to 15%.... Looking at year-to-date movements through July 31, 2022 ... pension liabilities are down nearly 20%.... This article explores some strategies that plan sponsors should consider now, even if a plan's funding situation is not ideal, to avoid missing out on what might be a 'golden' opportunity."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans

Amending a Governmental Employer's 457(b) Plan for SECURE and CARES
VOYA Financial Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"Best practices: [1] Assess state/local law to conform to SECURE and CARES provisions. [2] Coordinate with your plan document provider on required and optional plan design features. [3] Authorize an individual to be responsible for timely adopting plan amendments to the 457(b) plan and ensure that the plan amendment is timely signed. [4] Maintain the plan document, including amendments, in a secure location."

Tags: 457 Plans

IRS Disaster Relief Announcement FL-2022-19, for Victims of Hurricane Ian in Florida
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 30, 2022

"Victims of Hurricane Ian that began September 23 in Florida now have until February 15, 2023, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.... Individuals and households affected by Hurricane Ian that reside or have a business anywhere in the state of Florida qualify for tax relief."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Amid Economic Uncertainty, Nonprofits Enhancing 403(b) Retirement Plans for Employees
Principal Financial Group Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"[E]mployer contribution rates to 403(b) plans rose almost 24% year-over-year from 4.6% in 2020 to 5.7% of gross annual pay in 2021 ... An average of 79.4% of eligible employees made contributions to their plans in 2021, an increase from 77.2% in 2020."

Tags: 403(b) Plans and Annuities

Protecting and Expanding Retirement Options for America's Workers
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Blog Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 30, 2022

"More than 1 in 3 of plan participants withdraw part or all of their retirement plan assets following a job change, with lost savings amounting to between $60 billion and $105 billion per year. Decoupling retirement plans from individual employers could alleviate job-change-induced retirement savings loss.... State automatic individual retirement account programs can help workers save even when they don't have a workplace savings plan.... Workers should be able to easily take their retirement savings as they move from one job to another."

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy

Senate Confirms Lisa Gomez as EBSA Leader
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"More than 14 months after her nomination, the Senate on [September 29] confirmed Lisa M. Gomez as assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA] in a 49-36 vote."

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

AHA, AMA Dismiss Surprise Billing Rule Lawsuit, Plan Further Legal Action
aequum Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"The American Hospital Association (AHA) and American Medical Association (AMA) filed a motion to dismiss their lawsuit challenging the federal government's final rule on surprise billing released last year, but cautioned more litigation is pending. The health care lobbying groups say the August 2022 final rule on arbitration still poses concerns for providers."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Costs

Year-End Amendment Deadlines Extended: CARES and 2020 Relief Act
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 29, 2022

"While perhaps unexpected, these additional extensions allow the adoption of SECURE Act, Miners Act, CARES Act, and 2020 Relief Act changes with a single amendment. As a result, most plans will not be required to adopt IRS required changes this year. But, of course, plan sponsors who want to amend their plans now to reflect the CARES Act and 2020 Relief Act provisions, while still somewhat fresh in their mind, can proceed with little concern."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Retirement Plan Amendments

Target Date Retirement Funds in 4 Charts
Morningstar Link to more items from this source
Sept. 29, 2022

"While the typical target-date retirement fund devotes about 30% of assets to equity, the highest is about one-and-a-half times that level at 44%, while the lowest is about one third that level, at roughly 10%.... From 2018 to 2021, funds with higher equity weightings posted higher total returns on average. Those with 33% to 43% equity averaged 7.7% annualized; funds with 30% to 33% equity averaged 6.5%; funds with 25% to 30% equity averaged 6.3%; and funds with 11% to 21% averaged 4.9%."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

More Save More, Sooner in 403(b) Plans
American Retirement Association [ARA] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 29, 2022

"While not yet back to pre-COVID levels, average deferral rates are up, more participants are contributing, more plans are permitting immediate eligibility, and employer contribution rates to 403(b) plans rose almost 24% year-over-year[.]"

Tags: 403(b) Plans and Annuities

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