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Major deficiencies shown in 39% of benefit plan audits

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published May 29, 2015 - 9:12am CST

Some accountants auditing employee benefit plans have a quality problem, said a study published Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Massachusetts comp bill would assist lowest-paid workers

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published May 27, 2015 - 1:55pm CST

A Massachusetts bill that would improve access to medical care and increase benefits for injured workers in the state has been heard by the state's Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.

Nevada Assembly OKs retirement benefit changes

By: Rob Kozlowski, Pensions & Investments

Published May 27, 2015 - 10:52am CST

The Nevada State Assembly passed a bill that would make changes to retirement ages and cost-of-living adjustments for certain participants in the $34.8 billion Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System, Carson City.

Air Canada to redeploy capital as pension funding gap evaporates

Published May 27, 2015 - 9:20am CST

(Reuters) — Air Canada on Tuesday said it plans to redeploy capital toward share buybacks, debt repayment and increased investment in new aircraft, as its once-huge pension fund deficit has now been wiped out much earlier than expected.

Congress could revive Health Coverage Tax Credit

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 27, 2015 - 9:17am CST

Lawmakers are moving to renew a tax break that provided federal health insurance premium subsidies to workers who lost their jobs due to foreign competition or were enrolled in pension plans that failed.

Illinois governor pushes workers comp reform

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published May 26, 2015 - 2:19pm CST

Workers compensation reform bills to advance Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's fiscal turnaround plan for the state have been filed in the state House of Representatives and Senate.

Health Coverage Tax Credit could be revived

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 26, 2015 - 12:14pm CST

Employees who lose their jobs due to foreign competition, as well as retirees in failed pension plans, again would be eligible for generous federal health insurance premium subsidies under legislation approved by the U.S. Senate.

Firefighters' pension contribution hike dies in Texas Assembly

By: Meaghan Kilroy, Pensions & Investments

Published May 22, 2015 - 1:33pm CST

A bill to increase Houston firefighters' pension contributions and save the city more than $70 million in pension payments over the next three years fell apart after failing to reach a full vote of the Texas General Assembly before the legislative session ended.

Treasury benefits regulator to be nominated as next PBGC chief

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 21, 2015 - 8:36am CST

President Barack Obama said he intends to nominate W. Thomas Reeder, health care counsel at the Internal Revenue Service, to be director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Employer, benefits groups lobby IRS for changes to Cadillac tax

By: Matt Dunning

Published May 20, 2015 - 1:21pm CST

Employer advocates and benefits consultants this week asked the Internal Revenue Service to delay implementation of the federal health care reform law's so-called “Cadillac tax” on high cost health care plans, due to take effect in 2018.

South Carolina considers workers comp opt-out system

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published May 20, 2015 - 10:04am CST

South Carolina legislators have introduced a bill that would allow employers to create alternative benefit plans for injured workers rather than providing traditional workers compensation insurance coverage for employees.

Supreme Court investment monitoring ruling opens questions

By: Shelby Livingston

Published May 19, 2015 - 3:52pm CST

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision that retirement plan fiduciaries have a duty to continually monitor investments leaves a key issue of what exactly they have to do unresolved, industry observers say.

Employer advocacy group calls for Cadillac tax leniency

By: Matt Dunning

Published May 18, 2015 - 2:55pm CST

The ERISA Industry Committee has asked federal regulators to take into consideration the “unfortunate” and “unnecessary” frustrations it says employers will face as a result of the 40% excise tax on high-value group health care plans, due to take effect in 2018 under the health care reform law.

Benefit consultant urges Cadillac tax delay

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 18, 2015 - 1:18pm CST

The effective date of a health care reform law provision that will impose, starting in 2018, a 40% excise tax on group health care premiums that exceed $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for family coverage should be delayed, a benefit consultant is recommending.

Guidance sought for multiemployer pension plan cuts

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 18, 2015 - 12:27pm CST

A group of Senate Democrats is asking the U.S. Treasury Department to develop guidance on a 2014 federal law that allows trustees of financially troubled multiemployer pension plans to cut participants' benefits.

First responders, employee definition top workers comp legislation

Published May 15, 2015 - 10:55am CST

ORLANDO, Fla. — A large number of workers compensation bills proposed during the first quarter of 2015 involve first responders and the definition of an employee, speakers said at the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc.'s 2015 Issues Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

GM wins dismissal of UAW retiree benefit suit appeal

Published May 14, 2015 - 10:54am CST

(Reuters) — A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by the United Auto Workers union claiming that General Motors Co. was required to pay $450 million to cover medical benefits for an affiliate’s retirees.

Workers comp opt-out plan challenged in Oklahoma

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published May 14, 2015 - 8:54am CST

Forty-five employers have opted out of Oklahoma's workers compensation system since the state began allowing them to do so in February 2014, but critics continue to challenge the constitutionality of the opt-out plan.

Hormel gets tentative OK to fund benefits through captive

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 13, 2015 - 3:12pm CST

Hormel Foods Corp. has received tentative authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund several benefit risks through its Vermont captive insurer.

California bill aims for fairness in women's disability claims

By: Sheena Harrison

Published May 12, 2015 - 11:34am CST

A California bill would prevent medical conditions that primarily affect women from being considered preexisting conditions when determining workers compensation permanent disability benefits.

Time, successes boosting health law's popularity

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 12, 2015 - 11:07am CST

When it comes to public support of the health care reform law, the passage of time and favorable developments can make a big difference.

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down pension reform law

By: Meaghan Kilroy, Pensions & Investments

Published May 08, 2015 - 11:34am CST

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Friday the Illinois pension reform law passed in 2013 is unconstitutional, affirming the decision reached in a Sangamon County Circuit Court in November.

Legislators reveal fallback plans from Supreme Court's premium subsidy ruling

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 06, 2015 - 10:26am CST

Elected state and federal lawmakers already are drawing up contingency plans in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns rules allowing premium subsidies to eligible individuals obtaining coverage in the federal health insurance exchange.

Oregon pension ruling will hurt state, city budgets, Moody's says

Published May 05, 2015 - 3:37pm CST

(Reuters) — A recent decision by the Oregon Supreme Court overturning cuts to public pensions is a "credit negative" that will hurt the budgets of both the state and its cities, Moody's Investors Service Inc. said in a report Tuesday.

IRS sets 2016 health savings account contribution limits

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 05, 2015 - 10:10am CST

The maximum contributions that can be made to health savings accounts in 2016 will increase $100 for families, but remain unchanged for individuals.

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