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Consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) have surpassed health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to become the second most common plan design offered by U.S. employers, according to research from human resource consultant Aon Hewitt. The 2012 Health Care Survey found that in 2011, 58 percent of employers offered a CDHP and 38 percent offered an HMO. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) continue to be the most widely offered plans, with 79 percent of employers offering these plans in 2011. The survey contains responses from nearly 2,000 employers representing over 20 million U.S. employees and dependents…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has announced that plan sponsors seeking fiduciary relief for a service provider’s failure to comply with the fiduciary-level fee disclosure regulations will be able to use a new online filing system, replacing the option of electronically sending notices to a previously established email address…(Read Intelliconnect) »
As companies with large populations of part-time employees determine how they will proceed in response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement to provide health insurance benefits to employees working at least 30 hours per week, they should consider the effect of their employment decisions not just on human resources costs but also on worker productivity and business results. This was a major recommendation from John Derse, a senior partner in the Chicago office of Mercer, during a Mercer-webcast on Hourly Workforces and Health Care Reform: Angst Or Opportunity? in mid-September…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The recession has severely impacted the retirement outlook on displaced American workers who are unemployed or underemployed, according to a recent survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. The study, part of the 13th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey, found that only 10 percent of displaced workers were “very confident” in their ability to retire comfortably…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The absence of particular information in a notice of termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits did not cause a beneficiary to fail to exhaust her administrative remedies, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in Schorsch v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co. (No. 1:09-cv-03740). As such, the district court did not abuse its discretion in requiring exhaustion, and, thus, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in the LTD plan’s favor…(Read Intelliconnect) »
Human resource consultant Mercer has issued some early results from a survey still in the field. Responses so far suggest that the average per-employee cost of health coverage will rise about 6.5 percent in 2013, which is a rate of increase similar to the actual increase in 2011 of 6.1 percent, and slightly higher than the 5.7 percent increase predicted for 2012, the company noted. In another recently-released survey, Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Educational & Research Trust found a lower cost increase for 2012 (4 percent for family coverage) than the Mercer prediction…(Read Intelliconnect) »
IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven T. Miller told House lawmakers on September 11 that the IRS will be ready in 2014 to implement the advance premium tax credits and health care exchanges required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Speaking before the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, Miller said the IRS has already begun implementation of the small business health care tax credits, expanded adoption credits, and other tax provisions focused on therapeutic projects and indoor tanning…(Read Intelliconnect) »
A company owner and a supervisor were not ERISA fiduciaries and therefore could not be personally liable for unpaid contributions to a union’s pension and welfare funds, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled in Sheet Metal Local 98 Pension Fund v. Airtab, Inc…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance, in a question and answer format, on the special rules related to pension funding stabilization for single-employer defined benefit pension plans that were enacted by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141). Notice 2012-61 addresses the application of MAP-21 segment rates generally, as well as measurements for which MAP-21 interest rates do not apply, statutory hybrid plans, transition issues, MAP-21 elections, and Schedule SB reporting…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued a technical update providing guidance on the effect of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141) on annual financial and actuarial reporting under ERISA Sec. 4010. The Technical Update supersedes any inconsistent guidance in PBGC’s 4010 filing instructions…(Read Intelliconnect) »
For single-employer pension plans terminating October through December 2012, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 3.07 percent, up from the 2.95 percent rate that applied in July through September 2012. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in October 2012 is .75 percent, the same rate that applied in September 2012…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), the federal temporary high-risk health insurance pool established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), is fulfilling its mission as a bridge program, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Currently, the PCIP is providing a coverage option for people with pre-existing health conditions until they are eligible to purchase insurance through the new state exchanges in 2014, with much of their costs subsidized. However, the report, The Affordable Care Act’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan: Enrollment, Costs, and Lessons for Health Reform , noted that the program’s high costs and relatively low enrollment numbers indicate that high-risk pools, which are designed to cover people excluded from the individual insurance market because of a health problem, are not a tenable long-term solution…(Read Intelliconnect) »
Employer-provided benefits costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local governments in June 2012 averaged $9.39 per hour worked, accounting for 30.7 percent of total compensation costs, which averaged $30.61 per hour worked. The cost of benefits as a percentage of compensation has risen in the past three years from 27.4 percent of total compensation, although that percentage has been relatively stable over the last two years. These are among the findings of the June 2012 Employer Costs for Employee Compensation report, produced quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)…(Read Intelliconnect) »
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