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Editor's Note: This page is an archive of news items that appear in our daily email newsletters. To automatically receive the latest news items -- plus links to the latest jobs, press releases, webcasts and events -- subscribe to our daily email newsletters.

Court Challenges to DB Plan Actuarial Assumptions - One Year Later
Groom Law Group
Feb. 19, 2020

"Eleven cases have been filed against defined benefit pension plan sponsors and certain fiduciaries alleging that the plan's [actuarial] assumptions ... for converting a single-life annuity (the default form of benefit under ERISA) to an optional form of benefit, such as a joint-and-survivor annuity or a certain-and-life annuity, are unreasonable, result in lower benefits than what plaintiffs are entitled to, and therefore violate ERISA. In some cases, the plaintiffs have similarly claimed that the plan's early retirement reduction factors are unreasonable."

Many Public Sector Workers Fear Their Retirement Will Not Include the Employer-Sponsored Health Care Benefits They Were Promised
Willis Towers Watson
Feb. 19, 2020

"Almost two-thirds (64%) of public sector workers said their financial security in retirement depends on the promise of employer-sponsored health care coverage. However, retiree health care is becoming an unsustainable financial burden on public sector organizations, with state unfunded retiree health care liabilities nationwide reaching $700 billion."

CMS Proposes Penalty Rules for Group Health Plan Reporting of Medicare Secondary Payer Requirements
Thomson Reuters Practical Law
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 19, 2020

"[C]ivil money penalties would be imposed with respect to [responsible reporting entities (RREs)] for group health plans in the following three situations: [1] An RRE fails to register and report as required under the MSP reporting rules. [2] The RRE reports as required, but the information reported exceeds certain error tolerances established by HHS in any four out of eight consecutive reporting periods. [3] The RRE contradicts information it previously reported, in response to CMS efforts to recover payments from the RRE."

Preparing for Waves of Retiring Employees
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article
Feb. 19, 2020

"As aging Baby Boomers retire in large numbers, employers are seeing decades -- if not centuries -- of cumulative knowledge and skills walk out the door. If they have not prepared for those departures, organizations could end up with critical gaps in their talent and knowledge bases.... [E]mployers need to monitor the state of the workforce and predict when workers may retire, both those who may retire soon and those whose retirements are farther in the future."

Eighth Circuit Delivers Guidance on Whether Rate Setting Amounts to Fiduciary Conduct
The Wagner Law Group
Feb. 19, 2020

"[T]he Eighth Circuit ... determined that a plan service provider -- in setting a fixed rate of return for a defined contribution plan -- was a fiduciary; however, less than a year earlier, the Tenth Circuit, under very similar facts ... applied the same test, but came to the opposite conclusion.... Plaintiff lawyers will surely try to extend Rozo and application of the Teets test to circumstances beyond service providers setting fixed rate of investment returns to participants, but their success in doing so might be limited. " [Rozo v. Principal Life Ins. Co., No. 18-3310 (8th Cir. Feb. 3, 2020); Teets v. Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co., No. 18-1019 (10th Cir. Mar. 27, 2019; cert. denied Nov. 25, 2019)]

Achieving Retirement Equality for Women
Aegon
Feb. 19, 2020

52 pages. "[This] report looks at steps women can take to improve their retirement preparedness. This report also sets forward recommendations for employers and governments globally to take an active approach in reducing the retirement preparedness gender gap, paving the way to a more equal future retirement landscape."

Who Profits from Steep Medical Bills?
Kaiser Health News
[Opinion]
Feb. 19, 2020

"As the battle for revenue has heated up, each side has added weapons to capture more: Hospitals added facility fees and infusion charges. Insurers levied ever-rising copayments and deductibles. Most important, they limited the networks of providers to those that would accept the rates they were willing to pay.... [As] the scope and the scale of surprise bills have grown in the past five years, more people have experienced these costly, unpleasant surprises.... But no one in the health care sector wants to unilaterally make the type of big concessions that would change them."

Managing the SECURE Act's Elimination of the Stretch IRA
Nerd's Eye View
Feb. 19, 2020

"[A]dvisors can use several strategies to help clients minimize the tax impact of distributions from [inherited retirement] accounts. Some can be implemented for the beneficiary after they inherit the account, while others can be used by the account owner themselves during their lifetime before the account transfers to the beneficiary.,,, [In] some cases, the best strategy may be simply to accept the 10-year rule as is, leave the account alone for as long as possible, and liquidate the inherited retirement account as required at the end of the 10-year window!"

Instructions for IRS Form 2848: Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 19, 2020

Rev. Feb. 2020. "Use Form 2848 to authorize an individual to represent you before the IRS.... Except as specified below or in other IRS guidance, this power of attorney authorizes the listed representative(s) to inspect and/or receive confidential tax information and to perform all acts (that is, sign agreements, consents, waivers, or other documents) that you can perform with respect to matters described in the power of attorney." [Also available: Form 2828 (Rev. Feb. 2020)]

Getting Into the Weeds: IRS Proposed Regs Under Section 162(m)
Alvarez & Marsal
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 19, 2020

"[A]reas where companies will be impacted the most include the definition of a covered employee, specifically that once an employee becomes a covered employee, they maintain that status for life and the company must keep track of such status. Additionally, the IRS has provided guidance on the complicated issue of compensation paid by a partnership to a covered employee who provides services to the partnership."

Fidelity Wins Dismissal of Revenue Sharing Challenge
planadviser
Feb. 19, 2020

"The firm has successfully argued that it is entitled to negotiate and collect revenue-sharing fees from mutual fund companies in exchange for representation on its FundsNetwork platform." [In re Fidelity ERISA Fee Litigation, No. 19-10335 (D. Mass. Feb. 14, 2020)]

Annuity Purchase Update: February 2020 Interest Rates
October Three Consulting
Feb. 19, 2020

"The strong equity market returns of 2019 were set back by a poor performance in January. The average duration 7 annuity purchase interest rates and average duration 15 rates have both decreased by roughly 35 basis points since last month. This decrease in rates led to a corresponding increase in annuity purchase prices of approximately 2% for Annuity Plan 1 and 6% for Annuity Plan 2."

2020 ACA Compliance Checklist
Benefit Revolution
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 19, 2020

The following percentages and dollar amounts have changed for 2020: [1] Cost-sharing limits; [2] Coverage affordability percentages; [3] Maximum penalties for ACA reporting violations; [4] Dollar amounts for calculating employer shared responsibility penalties; [5] Health flexible spending account (FSA) salary contribution limits.

Best HSA Accounts for 2020
Investor's Business Daily
Feb. 19, 2020

"[The authors] judged dozens of HSA account providers to pinpoint ones likely to best fit your health savings goals. HSA accounts were evaluated on ... investment quality and options, ... with special attention to fees."

Healthcare Law and Policy Outlook for 2020 (PDF)
Mercer
Feb. 19, 2020

49 pages. "\This article summarizes expected 2020 compliance and policy developments affecting health and leave benefits and suggests action steps for employers. Topics include: [1] Regulatory outlook Prescription drug reforms, Transparency for group health plans, Other healthcare regulations; [2] Legislative outlook: Federal and state health and leave proposals; [3] Litigation and enforcement; [4] Behavioral health trends and wellness strategies]

Why Companies Don't Care About MEPs (or PEPs or even 401(k) Plans)
Pete Swisher, in Fiduciary News
[Opinion]
Feb. 19, 2020

"Business owners and executives don't care about MEPs or PEPs or 401k plans of any kind -- not really. They care about what work they have to do, what responsibilities they have to accept, and how much they have to pay.... MEPs are genuinely a superior structure for creating a best-in-class retirement program with minimal effort on the part of participating employers, so the factors are not complicated: is the package of services right for my people, and is it right for my organization?"

HSAs and Last-Minute 2019 Tax Deductions
HealthEquity
Feb. 19, 2020

"You can still contribute to your health savings account for 2019 before April 15, 2020 (or before you file your taxes, whichever comes first) and count the contribution as a last-minute tax deduction toward your 2019 income tax filing."

Despite Improvement in Their Financial Wellbeing, U.S. Workers Remain Worried
Willis Towers Watson
Feb. 19, 2020

"38% of employees live paycheck to paycheck. 39% of employees could not come up with $3,000 if an unexpected need arose within the next month.... 70% of employees are saving less for retirement than they think they should.... Seven in 10 employees (69%) who were given the most access to several tools and resources (four or more) said their finances are heading in the right direction versus just 51% who had no access to tools. Similarly, two-thirds (66%) of workers with the most access to financial management resources said these resources met their needs, compared to 39% with less access to resources."

Accounting and Financial Reporting Updated for Governments
Moss Adams LLP
Feb. 19, 2020

"On February 5, 2020, [GASB] issued Statement No. 92, Omnibus 2020 ...  Statement No. 84, 'Fiduciary Activities,' requires a government to recognize a liability to the beneficiaries of a fiduciary activity when an event has occurred that compels the government to disburse fiduciary resources. The amendments clarify that this requirement also applies to assets that are accumulated for purposes of providing pensions or OPEB through defined benefit pension plans or defined benefit OPEB plans that aren't administered through trusts that meet the scope criteria of [GASB] Statement No. 73 ... and Statement No. 74 ... This amendment is effective for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2020."

What 'Rothifying' 401(k)s Would Mean for Retirees
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required
Feb. 18, 2020

"One idea ... is to repeal the current structure of pretax contributions to retirement accounts in favor of a system where contributions would come only from after-tax income -- as contributions to Roth IRAs do now.... Rothification ... could be given new life by the government's current enormous need for revenue to plug budget gaps and rein in the nation's debt.... How would such a system affect workers saving for retirement? The short answer: poorly."

An Introduction to Police and Fire Pensions
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
Feb. 18, 2020

"[1] Pension and retiree health benefits for public safety workers are more expensive than those of other local government workers, largely due to earlier retirement ages. [2] Perhaps surprisingly, though, their retirement benefits make up only a very small share of total local government spending. [3] Some evidence suggests that public safety workers could work longer, which may have implications for plans' retirement age. [4] However, raising retirement ages would have little impact on government finances, particularly since it might involve higher wages to maintain a quality workforce."

Another Lawsuit Challenges Use of Participant Data (PDF)
Experiential Wealth
Feb. 18, 2020

"[The complaint includes claims that] 'Defendants allowed the Fidelity Defendants to use Plan participants' highly confidential data, including social security numbers, financial assets, investment choices, and years of investment history to aggressively market lucrative non-Plan retail financial products and services, which enriched Fidelity Defendants at the expense of participants' retirement security.' [The] Complaint alleges that Fidelity is a party-in-interest and owes a fiduciary duty to the Plan participants and beneficiaries[.]" [Harmon v. Shell Oil Co., No. 20-021 (S.D. Tex. complaint filed Jan. 24, 2020)]

Deadline Fast Approaching for Self-Funded Plans to Comply with San Francisco Health Care Expenditure Requirements
HUB International
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 18, 2020

"Most employers with self-funded health plans (medical, dental, vision, or pharmacy) have until February 29, 2020 to make sure their plans meet the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance [HCSO] health care spending requirements.... The required expenditure varies based on the size and type of the employer.... [It] only applies to employees who are covered by a self-funded plan that pays claims as they are incurred.... [It] does not apply to employees covered by insured plans, employees that decline coverage, or employees that are not eligible for the plan."

Why Employers Should Care About Their Employee Caregivers (PDF)
Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS]
Feb. 18, 2020

"Millions of people in the United States provide un-paid caregiving to their parents, siblings, children and others. A large percentage of those caregivers are employed full-time.... [M]ore than 80% of employees with caregiving responsibilities admitted that caregiving affects their pro- ductivity at work. This article provides insight on how caregiving affects the workplace and offers practical solutions for employers to consider."

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors, Part 25
FredReish.com
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 18, 2020

"Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) and the Interpretation Regarding Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers (RIA Interpretation) require that broker-dealers and investment advisers evaluate the account types their firms offer -- in light of the investor's investment profile -- to make a best interest recommendation. In other words, both types of firms, and their advisors, must first consider the account type that is appropriate for the investor. That raises the obvious question of 'What is an account type?' "


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