Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
August 13th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Preparing for Health Plan Open Enrollment
Now is the time for health plan sponsors to consider how they will confront the excise tax programmed into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to Mercer experts. The firm hosted a webcast about preparing for employee health plan open enrollment for the 2016 plan year.Read more >
Like many employers, hospitals are also feeling the effects of new health care benefit rules. With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) “Cadillac” excise tax looming, many hospitals feel increasing pressure to rein in health benefit costs. The annual Cammack Health Benefits Survey of Hospitals found the tax could affect as many as two-thirds of health systems if no changes are made. Forty-six percent of respondents plan to make changes over the next few years—22% have changed the medical plan to lower the value of the plan.Read more >
Recent TDF Performance Lawsuits Raise Insurer Ire
Microsoft Latest Target of Lawsuits Over TDF Suite
Florida's DeSantis Joins Other GOP Pols in Opposing ‘Woke Capital’
Employer Actions Keeping Health Cost Increases Down
Employers project their health care benefits costs will increase 6.0% in 2016, the same increase employers would have experienced this year had they made no changes to their plan design. However, many employers expect to keep increases to 5% for the third consecutive year by making plan changes, such as increasing cost-sharing provisions, adopting consumer-directed health plans, and expanding wellness initiatives, according to an annual survey released by the National Business Group on Health.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
FIS, a provider of banking and payments technology solutions, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SunGard, a provider of financial software, including retirement plan recordkeeping systems.Read more >
TIAA-CREF launched the TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund, a passively managed, short-duration fixed income mutual fund. In addition, the company has launched the TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund and TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund, mutual funds that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria as part of their security selection process.Read more >
Market Mirror

Another weakening of China’s currency sent U.S. markets sharply lower during Wednesday’s trading, but indexes recovered nearly all the ground they lost by the end of the day, according to the Associated Press. The Dow was virtually unchanged at 17,402.51, the NASDAQ closed 7.60 points (0.15%) higher at 5,044.39, and the S&P 500 increased by 1.98 points (0.10%) to 2,086.05. The Russell 2000 slipped 2.16 points (0.18%) to 1,208.98, and the Wilshire 5000 ticked up 17.65 points (0.08%) to 21,946.15.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, nearly 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with 1.3 declining issues for every advancing issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note slipped 2/32, increasing its yield to 2.148%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 19/32, bringing its yield up to 2.839%.

DOL Stands Firm on Fiduciary Rule Change
Department of Labor (DOL) officials have heard plenty of reasons why the fiduciary rulemaking effort is flawed in the eyes of the investment service providers it’s meant to regulate—but that doesn’t mean the DOL is about to capitulate on its long-running plan to strengthen the fiduciary standard. Despite a torrent of negative comments about the proposed rule changes aired during the first three days of public hearings called in Washington, D.C., Labor Secretary Thomas Perez seemed to double down on the rulemaking effort this week. A letter from Perez surfaced online that appears to reject outright an earlier call from a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers to halt or slow the new fiduciary rule’s adoption. The DOL remains fully committed to an updated fiduciary standard, Perez explains.Read more >
The American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund, or AFM Pension Fund, says it is suing Atlantic Recording Corporation, Hollywood Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings and Warner Brothers Records for failure to meet pension fund contribution obligations.Read more >
Form 5500 Extension Extended
The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 extends the maximum extension deadline for the returns of employee benefit plans filing Form 5500. Also extended is a provision in prior pension reform allowing over-funded pensions to use their excesses to fund retiree health and life insurance benefits.Read more >
From the Magazine
Transitioning from a DB to a DC Plan
Over the past decade or so, falling funded levels, increased reporting and accounting regulations, and greater costs have led many defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors to close, freeze or terminate their plans and move to a defined contribution (DC)-only retirement offering. Plan sponsors may have good business reasons for doing so, but unfortunately participants often fail to see that change as positive. The best approach is one that manages participant expectations.Read more >
The Meaning of Tibble
What is the meaning of Tibble v. Edison International for plan sponsors? To answer that, we need to ask, which Tibble decision are we talking about? There are decisions from three different courts—the Supreme Court, the trial court and the court of appeals.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1889, a patent for a coin-operated telephone was issued to William Gray. In 1931, the first community hospital in the U.S. was dedicated in Elk City, Oklahoma. In 1934, Al Capp’s comic strip “L’il Abner” made its debut in newspapers. In 1942, Walt Disney’s “Bambi” opened at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
SURVEY SAYS: I know a person who is stuck in the 80s. You may know someone like this—clothes, hairstyle and music all from a prior decade, and no clue about current popular shows or artists and current slang. This week, I’d like to know, are you stuck in a prior decade? I’m also wondering how many of you feel younger than you are. You may respond to this week’s survey by 6 p.m. Pacific time today.Read more >
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the Dash along – and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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