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<< Older News Items  |  December 8, 2019

News Items

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.

Editor's Pick Default Electronic Delivery Works: Evidence of Improved Participant Outcomes from Electronic Delivery of Retirement Plan Documents (PDF)
The SPARK Institute
[Opinion]
Dec. 5, 2019

50 pages. "Estimates indicate that plan participants could increase their final account balance by 63 percent with modest increases in their deferral rate which provider data indicates can be accomplished with electronic communication nudges and engagement with online tools.... [S]witching to an electronic delivery default would produce $250 to $450 million in aggregate savings annually that would accrue directly to individual retirement plan participants."

Editor's Pick Implementing a Statewide Healthcare Cost Benchmark: How Oregon and Other States Can Build on the Massachusetts Model (PDF)
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Dec. 5, 2019

48 pages. "[This white paper] examines the four state benchmarking programs and offers guidance for other states considering similar programs... [1] An overview of the [Massachusetts] program ... [2] A summary of the 2019 law authorizing the [Oregon] benchmarking program ... [3] An overview of the Delaware and Rhode Island benchmarking programs.... [4] An analysis of seven areas that all benchmarking programs must address based on state goals, local market dynamics, and state resources."

Editor's Pick Navigating the Government Pension Offset Rule for Social Security Spousal Benefits
Nerd's Eye View
Dec. 4, 2019

"While there are stirrings of legislative proposals to eliminate the [Government Pension Offset (GPO)] rule, the population actually affected by these rules is relatively small (approximately 1% of all Social Security beneficiaries in 2018 were affected by the GPO).... [A]dvisors can help their clients by understanding when the GPO needs to be factored into a client’s financial plan, especially given that it the GPO can heavily or fully eliminate Social Security spousal or survivor benefits that they might have otherwise anticipated receiving!"

Editor's Pick A Clear Roadmap to Navigating Your Plan's LDI Challenges
Institutional Investor
Dec. 4, 2019

"In this environment, corporate defined benefit pension plan sponsors pursuing LDI generally turn to the U.S. long bond market to hedge long-term liabilities. A detailed understanding of this $3.5 trillion market is critical for crafting an effective investment strategy.... [1] An active approach to LDI ... [2] Charting the LDI opportunity set ... [3] Questions all plan sponsors should ask."

Editor's Pick 50-State Survey of Telehealth Commercial Payer Statutes (PDF)
Foley & Lardner LLP
Dec. 4, 2019

150 pages. "[C]urrently 42 states and DC maintain some sort of telehealth commercial payer statute.... [T]he quality and efficacy of these laws varies significantly from state to state.... And while telehealth coverage has widely expanded, the same cannot be said for reimbursement/payment parity.... This survey contains pinpoint citations to the governing statutes or rules, but includes only commercial health insurance laws and does not include Medicaid fee for service rules or Medicaid managed care organization laws and rules, which also vary on a state-by-state basis. "

Editor's Pick Retirement Plan Cybersecurity: Don't Assume Outsourced Administration Is Duty-Free
Morgan Lewis
Dec. 3, 2019

"[F]iduciaries could consider utilizing the standard addendum or attachment for data security/processing that the plan sponsor uses for its vendor arrangements. Introducing this addendum or attachment at the request for proposal (RFP) stage would help [1] ensure that service providers are chosen based on more than just price and [2] avoid difficult negotiations later in the contracting process.... [P]lan fiduciaries that already have recordkeeping and other outsourcing agreements in place may consider reviewing and, as practical, renegotiating those agreements to update or add data security requirements."

Editor's Pick Transamerica Annual U.S. Employer Health Care Survey: Employer-Based Health Coverage Strong, With Affordability Concerns
Transamerica Center for Health Studies
Dec. 3, 2019

119 presentation slides. "More companies report providing benefits to part-time employees than ever before.... A majority of companies that provide healthcare benefits (55%) offer at least three health plans, most commonly a PPO and increasingly an HMO.... More than three in four employers (76%) made no changes to healthcare benefits in the past 12 months.... Three in five (62%) employers expect positive changes to health benefits in the next 1-2 years."

Editor's Pick 2019 Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans Not Subject to ERISA (PDF)
Prudential
Dec. 2, 2019

"This information applies to defined contribution plans, such as qualified governmental plans (including 'grandfathered' 401(k) plans), qualified church plans that do not elect to be covered by ERISA ('non-electing church plans'), 403(b) plans, and section 457 plans that are not subject to Title I of ERISA."

Editor's Pick 2019 Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans Subject to ERISA (PDF)
Prudential
Dec. 2, 2019

"This information applies to qualified defined contribution plans and 403(b) plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA. Every year, plan sponsors must make sure their plans meet certain compliance requirements ... This publication identifies the materials you need to review and will help you prepare for year-end."

Editor's Pick New Health Coverage Responsibilities for Employers of Immigrants
Employee Benefits Report
Dec. 2, 2019

"Prior to the new requirement, immigrants who wanted to qualify for an employer-sponsored health plan had to be able to show that they had a green card, permanent resident or citizenship status. ... All refugees, asylum seekers or people on temporary visitor visas now must prove they can obtain health insurance before they receive a visa.... If you hire an employee who is in the process of obtaining a visa, you will need to ensure they comply. "

Editor's Pick Using Online Calculators to Choose Between Traditional and Roth IRAs
The CPA Journal
Dec. 2, 2019

"Many investment planning websites offer calculators that show investors how much they can save for retirement with each type of IRA -- but how useful are they at helping investors choose between them? The authors provide an overview of the different factors that affect this decision and an analysis of how well various online calculators weigh these factors."

Editor's Pick Auto-Enrollment's Long-Term Effect on Retirement Saving (PDF)
T. Rowe Price
Nov. 27, 2019

"401(k) savings plans are increasingly offering auto-enrollment coupled with higher employee default deferral rates. Auto-enrollment almost doubles plan participation and successfully gets participants who might not have otherwise saved, saving. However, it can also result in participants saving less than those who voluntarily opt in and set their own deferral rate. Auto-enrollment combined with auto escalation creates better participation and savings outcomes."

Editor's Pick Compensation Considerations for the Upcoming 2020 Proxy Season
Hunton Andrews Kurth
Nov. 27, 2019

"[1] Adopt an annual grant policy ... [2] Consider a stock-price forfeiture provision to avoid the drag of underwater stock options ... [3] Separate non-employee director equity plan [with] 5% minimum 1 year vesting carve-out ... [4] Separate non-employee director equity plan [with] stockholder approved director compensation ... [5] Director compensation ... [6] Consider increasing the deductibility of compensation ... [7] Increase net withholding."

Editor's Pick 2019 End of Year Plan Sponsor 'To Do' List, Part 3: Qualified Retirement Plans
Snell & Wilmer
Nov. 26, 2019

"[T]his Part 3 covers qualified plan issues ... [and] provides you with a 'To Do' List of items on which you may want to take action before the end of 2019 or in early 2020."

Editor's Pick 2020 Retirement Plan Compliance Calendars Now Available
Mercer
Nov. 25, 2019

"For defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) plan years starting Jan. 1, these retirement plan compliance calendars list key IRS, PBGC, and [DOL] reporting and disclosure deadlines. Two calendars are available: A DB plan calendar provides key 2020 dates for plan years starting Jan. 1. A separate DC plan calendar supplies 2020 deadlines for plan years starting Jan. 1."

Editor's Pick Analysis of DOL's Proposed Notice and Access Electronic Disclosure Safe Harbor
Morgan Lewis
[Guidance Overview]
Nov. 22, 2019

"The proposed rule presents a number of practical challenges ... [which] include ensuring the continued accuracy of electronic addresses, the accuracy of the webpage, and any links to relevant documents; the need to present documents in a widely available format suitable for reading, printing, and permanent storage across all electronic devices; and the requirement that documents be searchable by word.... Another question is whether the requirement to properly maintain a website will create an additional burden when it comes to administrators' fiduciary duty because the proposal states that administrators must prudently select and monitor any website providers. "

Editor's Pick IRS Proposes Update to Minimum Required Distribution Rules
Groom Law Group
[Guidance Overview]
Nov. 21, 2019

"[T]he annual required distribution amounts will typically decline by an average of 3% to 10%, depending on the age of the individual, and if applicable, the age of the beneficiary.... The proposed effective date of the regulations is January 1, 2021."

Editor's Pick Navigating the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision with a Government Pension
Nerd's Eye View
Nov. 20, 2019

"[W]hile WEP can significantly alter an individual's total retirement income, there are several strategies that an advisor can employ to minimize that impact, including increasing the number of years with 'substantial' earnings from a 'covered' employer, or taking a lump-sum distribution of a non-covered pension before becoming eligible for the benefit (thus reducing the length of time the WEP penalty is applied to the Social Security benefit)."

Editor's Pick 2020 Key Administrative Dates and Deadlines for Calendar-Year Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plans (PDF)
Milliman
Nov. 20, 2019

A 5-page chart describes important administrative dates and deadlines for single-employer defined benefit plans that are subject to ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.

Editor's Pick HHS Proposals Would Impose Extensive Cost-Sharing Disclosures on Health Plans and Insurers
Thomson Reuters Practical Law
[Guidance Overview]
Nov. 19, 2019

"[G]roup health plans and health insurers would be required to provide participants, beneficiaries, or enrollees (or their authorized representatives), upon request, cost-sharing information for a covered item or service from a particular provider or providers. These disclosures would be made using a self-service tool made available by the plan or insurer on an internet website. The required disclosures would: [1] Include estimates of participants' cost-sharing liability for covered items or services furnished by specific health providers. [2] Need to be available in paper form in some cases."

Editor's Pick Examining Medicare for All, Comparing International Health Care Models
Manhattan Institute
Nov. 19, 2019

"[A]cross these eight countries, the ability of citizens to obtain expensive medical procedures tends to increase in proportion to their ability to purchase insurance for medical care beyond what public entitlements cover. Single-payer systems, which restrict the ability of individuals to purchase private insurance, deliver consistently worse access to specialty care or surgical procedures -- without reducing individuals' overall out-of-pocket health-care costs."

Editor's Pick Is Mandatory Individual Arbitration Another Tool for the Plan Design Toolbox?
Morgan Lewis
Nov. 19, 2019

"[A]rbitrators are likely to be less familiar with ERISA's nuances and an errant arbitration decision could raise a number of difficult compliance questions for the plan's fiduciaries.... [It] is not clear whether prior arbitration decisions would have any preclusive or precedential effect on the plan's fiduciaries or its participants ... [W]hile federal courts may bind federal agencies, ... an arbitration decision may not have the same binding effect on an agency auditing the plan."

Editor's Pick Michigan's Automobile Insurance Reforms May Mean Additional Costs for Group Health Plans
Mercer
[Guidance Overview]
Nov. 15, 2019

"Employers with employees residing in Michigan may want to revisit their health plans' coordination-of-benefits (COB) provisions for motor vehicle accident-related medical expenses. Beginning July 1, 2020, legislation revises the state's no-fault automobile insurance law in a way that could increase health plans' exposure to costs resulting from motor vehicle accidents."

Editor's Pick Benefits Renewal 2020: Questions to Ask
CBIZ
Nov. 15, 2019

"[1] Will the return of the [ACA] premium tax affect your plan renewal? ... [2] Does your renewal timeline include all vendor decision deadlines? ... [3] Is your group life plan in compliance with the Section 79 nondiscrimination rules? ... [4] Is your group life maximum benefit higher than the guaranteed issue amount? ... [5] Is there any chance you've unintentionally disqualified participant HSAs? ... [6] Have you reviewed your existing Wrap Document and Wrap Summary Plan Description and made any necessary amendments? "

Editor's Pick Florida Class Actions Show Why Correct COBRA Notices Matter (PDF)
McDermott Will & Emery
Nov. 14, 2019

"Each [of the dozen lawsuits] asserts that the COBRA election notice did not comply with one or more of the notice requirements, i.e., that the notice 'partially adhered to' portions of the nonmandatory model notice in the COBRA regulations but that 'critical parts are omitted or altered in violation' of the regulations... Plan sponsor employers are not insulated from these suits even if there is a separate third-party COBRA administrator."


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