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Tenth Circuit: Hartford Fulfilled Its Obligation to Investigate the Existence of Beneficiaries in ERISA Life Insurance Dispute
Roberts Disability Law Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

"The decedent was shot and killed by an unknown person. He was survived by his parents, his ex-wife, and his children.... The decedent's father submitted an executed Preference Beneficiary Affidavit (PBA) stating that the decedent had no children.... The Tenth Circuit ... held that Hartford did not fail to adequately investigate whether there were other potential beneficiaries when it paid the parents the supplemental life and AD&D benefits.... The court rejected the children's argument that the PBA was not a plan document, and as such, it was unreasonable for Hartford to rely on it. " [Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co. v. Jones-Atchison, No. 20-6135 (10th Cir. Sep. 20, 2021)]

Tags: Death Benefits & Life Insurance

Withdrawal Liability Disclosures: Do They Turn Multiemployer Plans Into Hotel California?
Belfint Lyons Shuman Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

"[FASB] amended Accounting Standards Codification 715-80 (Disclosures About an Employer's Participation in Multiemployer Plans) with the same goal of timely and continued transparency. The resulting additional disclosures allow financial statement users to assess the potential future cash flow implications relating to an employer's participation in multiemployer pension plans, and also indicate the financial health of all of the significant plans in which the employer participates."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans

Employee Contributions to Public Pension Plans (PDF)
National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA] Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 22, 2021

13 pages. "[By] providing a consistent and predictable stream of revenue to public pension funds, contributions from employees fill a vital role in financing pension benefits. Reforms made in the wake of the 2008-09 market decline included higher employee contribution rates for many public pension plans. This issue brief examines employee contribution plan designs, policies and recent trends."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  State and Local Government Plans

Editor's Pick CRS Report: Social Security: Revisiting Benefits for Spouses and Survivors (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

35 pages. "This report presents the current-law structure of auxiliary benefits for spouses, divorced spouses, and surviving spouses. It makes note of adequacy and equity concerns of current-law spousal and widow(er)'s benefits, particularly with respect to female beneficiaries, and discusses the role of demographics, the labor market, and current-law provisions on adequacy and equity. The report concludes with a discussion of proposed changes to spousal and widow(er) benefits to address these concerns." [R41479, updated Sep. 17, 2021]

Tags: Social Security

Deploying Contribution Tools to Boost HSA Balances
Voya Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

"[W]hereas matching and default contributions are generally accepted as effective tools to help workers increase retirement savings, few employers use the same strategies to help the same workers build a medical emergency fund to pay for qualified medical, dental, vision, and certain premium expenses in the near- or long-term future."

Tags: HSAs  •  Health Plan Design

Employers: Check Your Severance Arrangements Now!
Faegre Drinker Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

"[W]ise employers will make certain that their severance arrangements clearly state whether their COVID-19 Policies are or are not considered a work policy for purposes of the employer's severance arrangements.... [E]mployers that amended their severance arrangements to reflect the ARPA [COBRA] subsidy requirements may need to make additional updates at this time."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Severance Pay

Editor's Pick CRS Report: Social Security: The Trust Funds (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

21 pages. "This report covers how the Social Security program is financed and how the Social Security trust funds work. The report also covers the projected financial operations of the trust funds using data from the 2021 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees." [RL33028, updated Sep. 21, 2021]

Tags: Social Security

Using Psychometric Tests to Gain Insight Into Client Values
Nerd's Eye View Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

"[W]hen chosen carefully and used correctly, well-designed psychometric assessments can give advisors valuable information about their clients that cannot be obtained by a simple form, survey, or interview. With insight into their clients' inherent psychological traits -- which are often hidden beneath layers of personality -- advisors can better position themselves to deliver financial plans that will more effectively 'stick' with their clients!"

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

ACA Marketplaces to See More Choices, Competition in 2022
Morning Consult Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

"The number of health insurers offering Obamacare plans is expected to increase in 2022 for the fourth year in a row. Analysts said uncertainty around future legislative action and the pandemic will be top-of-mind as insurers begin determining rates for 2023 coverage early next year. About 3 in 10 registered voters say the ACA should be expanded[.]"

Tags: Health Plan Design

Prepare Your Business to Comply With the OSHA Vaccine Mandate
Foley & Lardner LLP Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2021

"Once released, it is not clear when the mandate will take effect, but employers may be left with a very tight timeframe to come into compliance.... [A]ction items that employers with one hundred (100) or more employees should consider taking now: [1] Create a vaccination policy.... [2] Prepare to collect vaccination information.... [3] Prepare to roll out mandatory testing.... [4] Consider a mandatory vaccine policy.... [5] Prepare to receive accommodation requests."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration

Text of Hacienda Internal Income Circular Letter No. 21-20 : Qualified Plan Distributions in the United States and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Departamento De Hacienda Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 21, 2021

"[T]he Department issues this Circular Letter with the purpose of establishing the procedure to be followed by an individual who is not a resident of Puerto Rico to demonstrate that the distributions of his retirement plan qualified under the Federal Code and whose trust was created in a US state are not subject to tax in Puerto Rico."

Tags: Misc. Distribution Issues

Text of IRS Notice 2021-54: Weighted Average Interest Rates, Yield Curves, and Segment Rates for September 2021 (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 21, 2021

"This notice provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates ... and the 24-month average segment rates ... [as well as] the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities ... as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008 and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate[.]"

Tags: ARPA  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Retirement Plan Administration

IRS Again Tweaks Preapproved Plan Amendment Timing Rules
Mercer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 21, 2021

"Rev. Proc. 2021-38 simplifies the deadline for adopting interim amendments to reflect statutory or regulatory changes in plan qualification requirements. The new guidance sets the deadline as the end of the second calendar year after the calendar year in which the change in qualification requirements took effect."

Tags: Retirement Plan Amendments

EPCRS Update Offers New Tools to Correct Retirement Plan Errors
Proskauer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 21, 2021

"[T]he updated version of EPCRS provides useful tools to correct well-funded defined benefit plan overpayments.... The threshold for small retirement plan overpayments for which no correction is required is increased from $100 to $250.... Plan sponsors ... may now permit the recipient to make repayment through an installment agreement."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

Small Retirement Accounts: Issues and Options (PDF)
The Brookings Institution Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

24 pages. "In this paper, [the authors] address issues raised by the presence of small accounts and present ... solutions: [1] extensive reform of rollover and account consolidation rules; [2] enhancement of the saver's credit; [3] creation of a national dashboard and/or a default account consolidator; and [4] developing a system where each worker has only a single account over the course of their career."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

The Impact of Small Amount Cash-Outs on Retirement Income (PDF)
Alight Solutions Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

"Auto portability is the routine, automated transfer of small accounts from a former employer's plan to a current employer's plan. This creates a new default option for employees to provide an easy path to keep assets earmarked for retirement. This also benefits plan sponsors as auto portability will help reduce uncashed checks and missing participants while ultimately driving higher account balance averages."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  Rollovers

Collective Defined Contribution Plans: Cash Balance Plans and Other Hybrid Designs (PDF)
The Brookings Institution Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

16 pages. "Collective defined contribution (CDC) plans ... permit employers to avoid the funding cost and volatility of guaranteed DB benefits while providing savers and retirees DB-like professional investment management and pooling, longevity risk pooling, and lifetime income.... [They] offer a way to rethink risk sharing between employers and individuals and among savers and retirees. CDCs and other hybrid retirement plan formats combine DB and DC elements in different ways. Variants already exist in several countries ... and have counterparts and close parallels in the United States."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design

Trends in Retirement and Retirement Income Choices by TIAA Participants: 2000–2018
TIAA Institute Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

"Participants are retiring at later ages. Between 2000 and 2018, average retirement ages rose from 64.6 to 65.9 for women and from 65.5 to 67.5 for men. Many new retirees delay drawing down assets, with only 40% starting income within four years of retirement.... The proportion of retirees taking a life annuity as first income fell from 61% in 2000 to 18% in 2018. By comparison, the fraction of retirees taking an RMD as first income rose from 10% to 52%."

Tags: Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Retirement Plan Design

Luis Aguilar on SEC/DOL Harmonization and Continuing Fiduciary Confusion
Fiduciary News; free registration required Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 21, 2021

"Many firms are both covered by the SEC and DOL's jurisdiction and they and, very importantly, their clients, should not have to parse through words to see if the standards are different. The standards should be the same -- put the client's interest first. Having different words and explanations as to what the standards are is a recipe to continue the investor confusion over what it means to be a fiduciary."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Price Transparency Tools Require Benefits Literacy
Corporate Synergies Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

"Price transparency is essential to changing behavior and lowering costs, but if the consumer doesn't understand deductibles, networks, copays, coinsurance, etc., any extra data just adds to the confusion.... Thanks to innovation in the industry, there are a variety of tools available to fill those knowledge gaps and ease the stress."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Costs

Hospital Groups Push Back Against Stiffer Penalties for Failing to Publish Prices
FierceHealthcare Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

"The agency proposed back in July to keep the $300 a day penalty for smaller hospitals with 30 or fewer beds. However, it would also apply a penalty of $10 per bed a day for hospitals that have more than 30 beds, and the penalty cannot exceed $5,500 a day.... But hospitals charge that they are facing an unprecedented financial strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that has likely shifted facilities' attention."

Tags: Health Plan Costs

State Health Care Purchasers Can Push Hospitals to Comply with Federal Transparency Requirements
Health Affairs Blog Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

"State governments, as one of the largest purchasers of health care services, can leverage their negotiating power to help CMS fully enforce the requirements of the hospital price transparency rule."

Tags: Health Plan Costs

New North Carolina Law Increases Regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Managers
Johnson City Press Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

"Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 257 ... [which] requires pharmacy benefit managers to get a license to do business in the state. It also protects consumers from surprise fees and overpayments."

Tags: Health Plan Costs  •  Local Regulation  •  Prescription Drug Costs

Editor's Pick Agencies Propose Extensive Form 5500 Amendments
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 21, 2021

"The Proposed Rules are primarily intended to implement provisions of the [SECURE Act]. However, the agencies went much further, proposing changes affecting defined benefit plans, multiple employer plans (MEPs), pooled employer plans (PEPs), and multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs)."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Reporting to Government Agencies  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Impact of Various Legislative Proposals on Retirement Income Adequacy (PDF)
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2021

47 presentation slides. "The combination of [automatic contribution plan/arrangement (ACPA)] and enhanced savers credits are projected to have a huge impact on reducing retirement deficits ... The addition of employer matches on student loans or the 'skinny 401(k)' for ACPA can add up to another 4 percent reduction in retirement deficits whereas auto portability can add 11 to 14 percent ... QLAC modifications can also be beneficial for those in the highest wage quartile who utilize them."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy


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