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<< Older News Items  |  October 21, 2018

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 Broker-Dealers as Fiduciaries After the DOL Rule Vacatur (PDF)
Groom Law Group, via The Investment Lawyer
Oct. 19, 2018
14 pages. "[T]his article [explains] a broker-dealer's obligations when it provides recommendations to accounts subject to ERISA and the Code post-vacatur ... [It also considers] where broker-dealer activities may be headed in light of the SEC's proposed Regulation Best Interest and compare[s] that to what is required under ERISA and the Code. Many broker-dealers, particularly if they provide investment advice, will find complying with an SEC 'best interest' standard and the fiduciary and prohibited transactions of ERISA and the Code quite challenging."
Editor's Pick American Benefits Legacy: The Unique Value of Employer Sponsorship
American Benefits Council
Oct. 18, 2018
80 pages. "This report considers the value of employer-sponsored benefits and provides an overview of some of the data and analysis that illustrate the important contribution these benefits make to the economy and security of American workers and their families.... Section I provides a brief summary of the characteristics and development of employer sponsorship of benefits, and presents estimates of what the effect might be on the health benefits coverage and retirement security of workers if employers did not provide these benefits. Section II presents more in-depth analysis of several selected topics germane to understanding how employer-sponsored benefits provide value to workers and the broader economy. Section III highlights innovative programs and behavioral economics strategies implemented by employers in order to help employees achieve health and financial security."
Editor's Pick 2018 Welfare Plan Participant Disclosure Checklist (PDF)
Bass, Berry & Sims
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 16, 2018
6 pages. Designed for use during open enrollment as well as during the plan year.
Editor's Pick A Better Nest-Egg-to-Lifetime-Income Translator
Ken Steiner, FSA Retired
Oct. 16, 2018
"[The Actuarial Lifetime Retirement Income Estimator (ALRIE) Excel workbook] provides answers to ... [1] How much real dollar monthly lifetime income commencing X years from now will my current nest egg of $Y support? [2] How much real dollar lifetime income commencing X years from now will my projected future nest egg of $Z support? [3] What percentage of my future wages will I need to save over the next X years to increase my nest egg from $Y to $Z?"
Editor's Pick Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, Part 3
Ogletree Deakins
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 11, 2018
"What happens to unused sick leave at termination? ... How does the law apply to employees who are transferred to another division or employed by a successor employer?.... Can an employer designate leave taken as PSL under the law even if an employee does not request use of PSL? ... Are employers still required to comply with local paid sick leave laws? ... Are employers required to post and distribute any notices?.... What are the penalties for violating the law? ... Can employees sue their employers for violations of the law?"
Editor's Pick Worksite Medical Clinics: 2018 Survey Results (PDF)
Oct. 11, 2018
30 pages. "One-third of all organizations with 5,000 or more employees provide a general medical clinic at or near the worksite.... Two-thirds (67%) of survey respondents with general medical clinics allow members to select the clinic as their primary care provider ... Among respondents that have invested the time and resources to measure ROI ... over half ... reported a return of 1.5 or higher ... Only 28% of respondents manage their clinic with in-house resources."
Editor's Pick Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, Part 2
Ogletree Deakins
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 10, 2018
"How much are employees paid when using sick leave? ... Can employers require advance notice and documentation from employees? ... Can an employer impose any limits on the use of sick time? ... What happens to unused sick leave at the end of the benefit year?"
Editor's Pick Employee Contributions to Public Pension Plans (PDF)
National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA]
Oct. 10, 2018
12 pages, Oct. 2018. "[N]early all employees of state and local government are required to share in the cost of their retirement benefit. Employee contributions typically are set as a percentage of salary by statute or by the retirement board.... Reforms made in the wake of the 2008‑09 market decline included higher employee contribution rates in many states. This issue brief examines employee contribution plan designs, policies and recent trends."
Editor's Pick Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, Part 1
Ogletree Deakins
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 9, 2018
"Which employers are covered? ... Which employees are covered? ... Are independent contractors entitled to sick leave? ... How much sick leave do employees receive? ... Can employers impose a waiting period before employees can use accrued sick leave? ... Do part-time employees receive only a prorated amount of sick leave? ... How do temporary employees working for a temp agency earn sick leave? ... What are an employer's obligations during the 'gap' between the effective date of the law (October 29, 2018) and the start of the new benefit year (January 1, 2019, for many employers)? ... For what purposes can employees use sick leave?"
Editor's Pick A Broad Explanation of ERISA Fiduciary Insurance (PDF)
Oct. 8, 2018
15 pages. "[M]ost D&O policies do not protect against ERISA claims due to a common ERISA exclusion.... [E]mployee benefits liability insurance covers claims involving administrative errors that are not treated as breaches of fiduciary duty.... Civil penalties, like audit CAP monetary sanctions, are not covered under a standard fiduciary or employee benefits liability policy.... [E]xisting fiduciary liability insurance coverage [generally] will not cover risks relating to liability related from state law causes of action (that are not preempted), for data breaches as opposed to liability resulting from a breach of an ERISA fiduciary duty relating to a privacy or security breach."
Editor's Pick Tax-Efficient Charitable Giving of Savings or Retirement Benefits
Albert Feuer, via SSRN
Oct. 8, 2018
"This article discusses how savings or retirement lifetime and survivor benefits may be used to fund charitable contributions in a tax-efficient manner. These tax advantages may be offset by other considerations, tax and otherwise.... The most favorable tax consequences arise from special or demonstrative (pecuniary) bequests, which are treated like plan designations. General (pecuniary) bequests, unlike residuary bequests, may cause a mismatch between income and charitable deductions."
Editor's Pick Health Plan Trends (PDF)
Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC
Oct. 5, 2018
11 pages. "[This report] compares the results of MMA-MI's 2018 Southeast Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey to our national benchmark, Mercer's 2017 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. Mercer reflects large employer data (500 or more employees). Both sources provide specific data on what employers are currently doing to keep health plan costs in check."
Editor's Pick Employee Benefits in the Supreme Court: October 2018 Update (PDF)
Eversheds Sutherland
Oct. 2, 2018
32 pages. "[T]he Court has been concerned with who can bring claims involving employee benefits, what kind of claims can they bring, what kind of remedies can they seek -- issues uniquely in the purview of courts, as distinguished from plan sponsors, administrators, fiduciaries or regulators -- and whether State laws implicating employee benefits will be enforced, as frequently as it has considered substantive issues affecting employee benefits. Of the 129 cases, 69 involved retirement arrangements, 33 involved health plans, 19 involved disability benefits, and 15 involved life insurance, leave or fringe benefit arrangements."
Editor's Pick A Retirement Security Retrospective: 2007 Versus 2017 (PDF)
Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies
Oct. 2, 2018
40 pages. "The Great Recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009 but its after effects continue to linger today. Questions continue to be asked about the status of the recovery among employers and workers. How has retirement security changed? What are areas in need of improvement? TCRS prepared this report based on findings from its annual retirement survey of workers and employers to help answer these questions."
Editor's Pick Multiemployer Defined Benefit Pension Plans: A Primer (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS]
Sept. 28, 2018
"Multiemployer DB plans are of current concern to Congress for several reasons ... Possible solutions to plan underfunding could involve some combination of increased contributions from the employers that sponsor pension plans, cuts in future benefits to plan participants who are currently working, cuts in current benefits to retired participants, or financial assistance from the U.S. government." [Report R43305, Sept. 24, 2018]
Editor's Pick State Public Pension Funds' Investment Practices and Performance: 2016 Data Update
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Sept. 28, 2018
"61 percent of plan portfolios in 2006 were made up primarily of equities, with only 11 percent allocated to alternative investments. A decade later, allocations to alternative investments had more than doubled to 26 percent of the average plan portfolio.... Ten-year total investment returns for the 44 funds in our study that report performance net of fees as of June 30, 2016, ranged from 3.8 percent to 6.8 percent, with an average yield of 5.5 percent. Given that the average target return for these plans was 7.5 percent, the long-term variability is significant."
Editor's Pick The Health Care Assister's Guide to Tax Rules (PDF)
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Sept. 26, 2018
34 pages. "Unlike the standard application of tax rules, which are applied based on actual income and household composition for the previous tax year, applicants for the premium tax credit must apply these rules prospectively to estimate their income and household size in the coming year. This projection is unique to the administration of the premium tax credit.... This guide is designed to familiarize people who are assisting consumers with the health care affordability program application with the tax rules that are applied in determining eligibility for these programs."
Editor's Pick LGBTQ Retirement Savings Risk Study (PDF)
Sept. 26, 2018
35 pages. "LGBTQ respondents worry most about health care costs and not having enough money to enjoy themselves in retirement.... Seven in ten ... believe that they will have enough retirement income to last as long as they live.... [O]nly about a third ... believe they need 75% or more of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement.... Eight in ten ... are comfortable with at least some investment risk."
Editor's Pick How to Successfully De-Risk and Transfer Pension Obligations (PDF)
Sept. 25, 2018
16 pages. "The relative health of a company's pension funding ratio is an important starting point for any [pension risk transfer (PRT)] evaluation ... Sponsors must [also] weigh ... the quality of their assets, the makeup of their employee and retiree populations, the quality of their participant data, and longer-term goals before pursuing a PRT.... Management of pension risks is inherently a long-term proposition ... With an eye towards managing mortality risks that often stretch a half century or more, life insurers are best positioned to manage long-term obligations such as pension payments."
Editor's Pick A Hidden Hazard of Plan Administration: The Mishandled Power of Attorney
Sept. 24, 2018
"After determining the governing state law and the date of the POA, the plan administrator needs to determine if the state law's requirement for a valid POA have been met. These requirements may include, for example, notarization or witnesses.... Even where notarization is not required, a notarization of the POA should be reviewed to determine its validity, as the POA was apparently intended to be notarized. Once the POA's form has been determined to be valid, the more difficult task comes with determining if the agent's act is authorized by the POA."
Editor's Pick Employers, Why Don't You Require That Employees Call Two Phone Numbers to Request FMLA Leave?
FMLA Insights
Sept. 21, 2018
"[T]his approach is perfectly legal and makes complete sense if you have the resources to pull it off. If an employee calls off work, they already are required to call their supervisor so that the shift can be covered. However, if they also want the FMLA to apply to this absence, they are required to call a second number. This second call can be required to another employer intake line or a third-party administrator handling calls on the employer's behalf."
Editor's Pick Retirement in America: Out of Reach for Working Americans? (PDF)
National Institute on Retirement Security [NIRS]
Sept. 21, 2018
32 pages. "Over 100 million working age individuals (59.3%) do not own any retirement account assets, whether in an employer-sponsored 401(k) type plan or an IRA, nor are they covered by defined benefit (DB) pensions.... Even after counting an individual's entire net worth -- a generous measure of retirement savings -- three-fourths (76.7%) of Americans fall short of conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 67."
Editor's Pick The Changing Landscape of Out-of-Network Reimbursement (PDF)
Sept. 20, 2018
"Payers relying on older OON reimbursement methodologies are likely overpaying, considering the persistent increases in billed charge trends, while those that have adopted a much more aggressive strategy may face backlash from members or providers seeking legal action as well as unfavorable media attention. To avoid these unfavorable outcomes, it is important to evaluate the methodology used for setting OON reimbursement levels and to identify savings opportunities."
Editor's Pick IRS Provides Guidance for Avoiding Incomplete VCP Submissions
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
Sept. 19, 2018
"[The IRS Employee Plans Voluntary Compliance area has listed frequent mistakes for VCP filings.] [1] Form 8950, Application for Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) Submission ... [2] Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representation ... [3] Form 14568, Model VCP Compliance Statement ... [4] User fee ... [5] Narrative attachments describing failures and correction methods ... [6] Submissions involving participant loans and IRC 72(p) ... [7] Other important items missing from VCP Submissions."
Editor's Pick Behind Your Rising Health Care Bills: Secret Hospital Deals That Squelch Competition
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required
Sept. 18, 2018
"Dominant hospital systems use an array of secret contract terms to protect their turf and block efforts to curb health-care costs. As part of these deals, hospitals can demand insurers include them in every plan and discourage use of less-expensive rivals. Other terms allow hospitals to mask prices from consumers, limit audits of claims, add extra fees and block efforts to exclude health-care providers based on quality or cost."

<< Older News Items  |  October 21, 2018

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