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Sears reaches agreement with PBGC

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published September 04, 2015 - 8:39pm CST

Sears Holdings Corp. reached a five-year agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to protect pension fund assets following a REIT joint venture with Seritage Growth Properties, the company announced Friday.

Business group lobbies against health care out-of-pocket rule change

By: Jerry Geisel

Published September 04, 2015 - 2:58pm CST

An employer coalition is asking federal regulators to withdraw, or at least delay, a new health care reform law rule that places limits on how much in out-of-pocket expenses employers with high-deductible plans can require employees to pay.

HHS targets discrimination based on sex, gender identity

By: Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare

Published September 04, 2015 - 9:30am CST

HHS proposed on Thursday to ban discrimination against transgender people throughout the health care system, carrying out anti-bias provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

DOL preps state retirement program rules for private-sector employees

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published September 04, 2015 - 9:05am CST

Proposed rules for states to set up auto-enrollment IRA savings programs for private-sector employees were submitted for interagency review by the Department of Labor on Wednesday.

Older IRS mortality tables predicted to save sponsors $18 billion next year

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published September 02, 2015 - 4:40pm CST

The IRS’ decision to stick with 15-year-old mortality assumptions will save corporate defined benefit plan sponsors at least $18 billion in contributions in 2016 and be a credit positive for them, said a report from Moody’s Investors Service.

Hospital group pushes back on Aetna-Humana merger

By: Matt Dunning

Published September 02, 2015 - 3:33pm CST

The American Hospital Association says the proposed $37 billion merger between rival health insurers Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. would pose a substantial threat to competition within the health insurance marketplace.

IRS outlines procedures for benefit cuts by troubled multiemployer pension plans

By: Jerry Geisel

Published September 02, 2015 - 2:50pm CST

Newly released regulations the IRS lay out the steps financially troubled multiemployer pension plans must follow when they need to cut participants’ benefits in order to survive.

'Contraceptive mandate' ruling favors anti-abortion group

By: Matt Dunning

Published September 01, 2015 - 3:06pm CST

A court ruling that a nonreligious anti-abortion group is exempt from the so-called contraceptive mandate in the health care reform law adds a new layer of complexity to disputes over the controversial rule.

Illinois standoff highlights growing benefit costs

Published August 31, 2015 - 4:22pm CST

(Reuters) — Illinois’ ability to manage growing retiree benefit costs will determine future action on the state’s relatively low A3 credit rating, Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday.

Full agenda awaits Congress

Published August 30, 2015 - 6:00am CST

When federal lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week, we hope they take quick action on several key employee benefit and risk management issues. On the employee benefits side, it is time that legislators address widely identified problems with the health care reform law.

States taking the lead in laws to curb drug costs

By: Shannon Muchmore, Modern Healthcare

Published August 28, 2015 - 8:27am CST

Several states are tackling high prescription drug prices, an issue that's important to the public but has not yet been aggressively addressed by Congress.

NLRB ruling to put hefty burden on businesses, subcontractors

By: Mark Hofmann

Published August 27, 2015 - 3:44pm CST

An NLRB ruling in a case involving Browning Ferris and a temp agency has wide employment implications for businesses, contractors and beyond.

Aetna hires more lobbyists to ensure Humana deal

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published August 20, 2015 - 9:39am CST

Aetna Inc. is determined to nab government approval of its $37 billion acquisition of Humana Inc. And the health insurance titan has bulked up its roster of hired guns to meet that goal.

Contraceptive coverage battles

Published August 19, 2015 - 12:17pm CST

In June 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that family-owned for-profit employers cannot be forced by the federal health care reform law to provide coverage for prescription contraceptives. Since then, numerous religious colleges and charities have sought to earn the same exemption, but have had limited success. A history of these ongoing court battles is documented in this photo gallery. ...

Maximum FSA contributions expected to stay the same for 2016

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 19, 2015 - 11:36am CST

With inflation running low, the maximum contribution employees will be able to make to their flexible spending accounts in 2016 is expected to remain unchanged, according to the latest government statistics.

College football players' union efforts likely sacked for good

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 19, 2015 - 9:52am CST

The National Labor Relations Board's decision to dismiss a petition by Northwestern University football players to unionize and sidestep the issue of whether they are employees thwarts the potential for similar action by other private school scholarship athletes, legal experts say.

GOP candidate Walker offers few details on replacement for health care reform

By: Shannon Muchmore, Modern Healthcare

Published August 19, 2015 - 8:25am CST

The health care reform replacement plan announced Tuesday by Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker would offer premium tax credits based on age rather than income to help people without employer coverage buy health insurance.

Growing chorus warns of perils in hospital, insurer mergers

By: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare

Published August 18, 2015 - 9:27am CST

There’s a growing chorus among those who fear giants created by merging hospitals and insurers will squash innovation and boost prices.

Pharmacy benefit managers sue over first-of-its kind Arkansas law

By: Lisa Schencker, Modern Healthcare

Published August 18, 2015 - 9:27am CST

The national association representing pharmacy benefit managers is suing the state of Arkansas over a first-of-its kind law governing payments to pharmacies for generic drugs.

DOL moving forward on retirement investment advice fiduciary rule

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published August 17, 2015 - 10:19am CST

Labor Department officials are determined to produce a new standard of fiduciary duty for anyone giving retirement investment advice, once they process concerns raised in thousands of comment letters and four days of hearings on their proposal.

'Cadillac' tax repeal gains momentum

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published August 17, 2015 - 8:43am CST

Momentum is building in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act's tax on high-cost employer health plans — a move that would undo policymakers' previous goal of restructuring a tax exclusion that insulates all employees from experiencing most of the pain of rising health care costs.

Employers cut costs through benefits captives

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 16, 2015 - 6:00am CST

BURLINGTON, Vt. — An integral part of the corporate culture of Sealed Air Corp. is to look for better ways of doing things, says Howard Edelstein , director of risk management in the packing goods manufacturer's Elmwood Park, New Jersey, office.

IRS draws road map for Cadillac tax

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 16, 2015 - 6:00am CST

While the IRS has laid out its latest thinking on the health care reform law's controversial excise tax on costly health plans and who has to pay that tax, formal regulations are unlikely until well into next year.

Religious employers weigh gay marriage dilemma

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 16, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Employers with religious objections to same-sex marriage face difficult decisions on whether to extend spousal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples.

San Francisco boosts employer health care spending mandate for 2016

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 14, 2015 - 10:04am CST

Employers with workers in San Francisco will have to pay more next year to comply with the city’s health care spending law.

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