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Most Recent Benefits Management News

California sees health exchange surge as open enrollment ends for 2014

Published April 18, 2014 - 9:50am CST

(Reuters) — Thanks to a final April surge, California's health care exchange marketplace enrolled a total of 1.4 million people in private health insurance plans, state officials announced Thursday.

Mercer projects health reform law's 2015 penalties, HSA and HDHP tax limits

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 18, 2014 - 9:00am CST

Mercer L.L.C. has projected the amounts employers can expect to pay in 2015 for failing to comply with the health care reform law's “play or pay” provisions in a report released on Tuesday.

PPACA enrollment tops 8 million, Obama says

By: Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare

Published April 17, 2014 - 4:44pm CST

Enrollment in health plans sold on Obamacare's insurance exchanges has reached 8 million, and 35% of those who signed up through are under the age of 35, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

Misdiagnosis could affect 12 million U.S. adults annually: Study

By: Sabriya Rice, Modern Healthcare

Published April 17, 2014 - 11:15am CST

An estimated 1 in 20 U.S. adults could be misdiagnosed during outpatient visits, and about half of those errors could prove to be harmful for the patient, finds a new study in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety.

PBGC reaches settlement with Saint-Gobain to prevent pension plan takeover

By: Rob Kozlowski, Pensions & Investments

Published April 16, 2014 - 2:51pm CST

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has reached a settlement that will allow Saint-Gobain Containers Inc., Muncie, Ind., to continue as the sponsor of its pension plan following threats by the agency to take possession of the plan.

Funding of large employers' pension plans fell $5B in March: Milliman

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 16, 2014 - 11:19am CST

The funding levels of pension plans sponsored by large publicly held U.S. employers fell nearly $5 billion in March, primarily due to asset underperformance and interest rate decreases, according to a new report by Milliman Inc.

U.S. health care usage, spending resume rise in 2013: Report

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:22am CST

(Reuters) — Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a new report.

CBO predicts 6% annual premium hikes for Obamacare plans this decade

Published April 14, 2014 - 3:14pm CST

(Reuters) — The average premium for an Obamacare benchmark plan will rise slightly in 2015 and increase about 6% a year during the rest of this decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.

U.S. CBO estimates slightly lower deficits as health subsidies fall

Published April 14, 2014 - 2:31pm CST

(Reuters) — U.S. budget deficits over the next decade will be $286 billion less than previously estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said, attributing the decline to lower estimates of subsidy costs under the health care reform law.

Flexible spending accounts' future uncertain as health care rules evolve

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Internal Revenue Service guidance resolves how to integrate health savings accounts with carry-over flexible spending accounts, but employer interest in carry-over FSAs appears limited.

Coordinated medical delivery supports employers' health care cost-cutting efforts

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — There may be a silver lining to employers' move to high-deductible health plans: It is making medical providers more conscious of the need to control costs.

OPINION: Public health exchanges reach enrollment goal

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

We'd be remiss if we didn't take note of a positive health care reform law development: the surge in enrollment in public health insurance exchanges. The Obama administration's announcement this month that more than 7 million individuals have enrolled in the 51 exchanges administered by the states and the federal government is a huge achievement.

Employers switch to high-deductible plans and private exchanges to cut costs

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Benefit managers who are looking to control rising health care costs have converging trends that can aid them in that effort.

Focusing on chronic illness management reduces overall health costs over time

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A still-unsettled issue in health care cost containment is the potential of wellness and case management programs to reduce costs overall or over time.

Katy Spangler joins American Benefits Council as health policy lead

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 11, 2014 - 2:25pm CST

Katy Spangler, a former congressional health policy staffer, will join the American Benefits Council next month as its senior vice president of health policy, the Washington-based employer benefits lobbying organization announced Wednesday.

Obama taps budget director as new health secretary after Sebelius resigns

Published April 11, 2014 - 11:42am CST

(Reuters) — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after overseeing the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms.

Take politics out of health care delivery, Oregon governor urges

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 10, 2014 - 4:55pm CST

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — At a time when bipartisan cooperation on making changes to the nation's health care delivery system is virtually nonexistent, it is time to take politics out of it, one governor says.

Health insurance exchanges top 7.5 million as late sign-ups continue

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 10, 2014 - 2:17pm CST

Even with the formal registration period ended, enrollment in public health insurance exchanges continues to grow and now tops 7.5 million, federal health officials said Thursday.

Vanguard discontinues defined benefit administration services

By: Rob Kozlowski | Pensions & Investments

Published April 10, 2014 - 9:34am CST

Vanguard Group announced on Tuesday it will no longer offer administration services for defined benefit plans in order to expand services to defined contribution plan clients.

No new pensions at top 100 U.K. public companies: Towers Watson

By: Sophie Baker | Pensions & investments

Published April 10, 2014 - 9:24am CST

There are no companies left in the London Stock Exchange's FTSE 100 that offer a final salary pension plan as their primary retirement plan for new employees, according to research by consultant Towers Watson & Co.

Intel OK'd to fund benefits through captive insurer

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 09, 2014 - 4:03pm CST

The U.S. Labor Department has given final authorization for Intel Corp. to use its Hawaii captive insurer to fund benefit risks.

Chicago pension reform measure passes Illinois Legislature

By: Rob Kozlowski, Pensions & Investments

Published April 09, 2014 - 3:25pm CST

The Illinois Senate passed a pension reform bill aimed at improving the funding of two Chicago retirement funds for laborers and municipal workers.

Senate approves PBGC premium prepayment measure

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 08, 2014 - 10:10am CST

Employers would be allowed to prepay up to five years of insurance premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. under legislation approved Monday by the Senate.

Maryland budget reduces pension catch-up contributions

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published April 08, 2014 - 9:01am CST

Maryland lawmakers approved a fiscal 2015 budget that trims pension contributions aimed at improving the funded status of the $44 billion Maryland State Retirement & Pension System, Baltimore.

Same-sex retirement benefits retroactive to June 2013, IRS rules

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 07, 2014 - 3:44pm CST

Employers are not required to retroactively offer qualified retirement benefits to married same-sex couples for plan years predating the U.S. Supreme Court's partial overturn of DOMA.