Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
June 29th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
ACA Affordability Percentage Increased for 2019
Generally, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires coverage under a group health plan sponsored by an “applicable large employer” (at least 50 full-time equivalent employees) to be “affordable,” as determined under the ACA, in order to avoid certain penalties. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has increased the affordability percentage for 2019 to 9.86%, up from 9.56% in 2018, the law firm Haynes and Boone announced. “Affordability” is based on whether the premium for employee-only coverage is less than a certain percentage of an employee’s household income or a designated safe harbor amount. Because employers generally will not know an employee’s household income, the regulations provided certain safe harbors that employers may use to measure affordability.Read more >
2018 Health Savings Account Buyer’s Guide
The continued adoption of HSAs reflects how many employees have taken on greater decisionmaking roles in how their health care dollars are spent.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
Transamerica launches Stable Value account for retirement plans; Fidelity offers third ESG investing option; Vanguard ESG ETFs to commence trading in September; and more. Read more >
2022 Plan Sponsor of the Year
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
The Growing Interest in Guaranteed Income Options
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
Economic Events

In the week ending June 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 227,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 218,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 222,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 221,000.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.55%, down from 4.57% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.04%, the same as one week ago.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow increased 98.46 points (0.41%) to 24,216.05, the NASDAQ climbed 58.60 points (0.79%) to 7,503.68, and the S&P 500 gained 16.68 points (0.62%) to finish at 2,716.31. The Russell 2000 was up 4.56 points (0.28%) at 1,645.02, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 157.10 points (0.56%) higher at 28,370.08.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 5/32, bringing its yield up to 2.844%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond down 1/32, increasing its yield to 2.968%.

Xerox HR Solutions Wins Another Dismissal in ERISA Challenge
The text of the new decision says the second amended complaint has failed because “it is an attempt to replead dismissed counts,” and because it includes an entirely new cause of action, violation of the Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organizations Act.Read more >
R.I. Governor Signs Bill to Facilitate Settlement of Church Plan Suits
A newly filed challenge to St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island’s retirement plan claims the plan at some point failed to be a church plan, and entities administering or associated with the plan hid this to keep from adhering to funding rules as defined by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).Read more >
GWU Tells Court 403(b)s Cannot Be Compared to 401(k)s
In a brief supporting a motion to dismiss a case against George Washington University related to the management of its 403(b) plan, the defendants note that 403(b)s have always looked differently and were set up for a different purpose than 401(k) plans.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1652, Massachusetts declared itself an independent commonwealth. In 1767, the British Parliament approved the Townshend Revenue Acts. The acts imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea shipped to America. In 1776, the Virginia constitution was adopted and Patrick Henry was made governor. In 1888, Professor Frederick Treves performed the first appendectomy in England. In 1941, Joe DiMaggio got a base hit in his 42nd consecutive game. He broke George Sisler’s record from 1922. In 1950, President Harry S. Truman authorized a sea blockade of Korea. In 1953, the Federal Highway Act authorized the construction of 42,500 miles of freeway from coast to coast. In 1966, the U.S. bombed fuel storage facilities near the North Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Haiphong. In 1995, the shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir docked, forming the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth. In 2000, in Santa Rosa, California, the official groundbreaking ceremony took place for the Charles M. Schulz Museum. In 2011, the state of Nevada passed the first law that permitted the operation of autonomous cars on public roads. The law went into effect on March 1, 2012 and did not permit the use of the cars to the general public.

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

I truly enjoyed this mother and son dancing to top songs of several decades.Read more >
Brigham Young University’s mascot Cosmo the Cougar has some great dance moves.Read more >
In Chicopee, Massachusetts, a driver is not learning his lesson about what size of a load he can carry in his pickup truck. State police initially pulled the man over off Interstate 91 on June 20 in Springfield for carrying an uncovered array of chairs and shelves, according to the Associated Press. He was stopped again earlier this week for an overload of branches. Chicopee police say the man was stopped for an unsecured load, obstructed tail lights and obstructed plate, and labeled the photo on Facebook, “from the files of some just do not get it.” [pics]Read more >

In Tinsukia, India, an unusual robber was discovered when technicians arrived to fix a State Bank of India cash machine. Inside the ATM was one dead rat amid a bunch of Indian currency in 500-rupee and 2,000-rupee bills (worth $19,000) that had been chewed to shreds. Police Superintendent Jyoti Mahantato told reporters that the rat had entered the ATM through a small hole for cables. An investigation is underway to determine if the rat or rats were really responsible, according to CTV.

In Russia, a 32-year-old woman first noticed strange nodules below her left eye that later moved above her eye and then down to her upper lip. She told doctors the nodules appeared after she visited a rural area outside Moscow, where she was bitten repeatedly by mosquitoes, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Doctors quickly identified the suspect―a long, parasitic roundworm called Dirofilaria typically spread by mosquitoes and hosted by dogs and other carnivores. They removed the squirming lump from the woman’s face using local anesthetic and a pair of forceps. It could have been worse, according to Natalia Pshenichnaya, a physician who studies infectious diseases at Rostov State Medical University in Rostov, Russia. She told NPR that in 20% of cases, the worms can “move considerable distances,” , and the worm can live up to two years in the human body if it isn’t removed.

In Hancock, New York, a man trying to jump-start his car was greeted by an unusual sound coming from his engine—the rattle of a venomous timber rattlesnake. According to the Associated Press, the man says the snake slithered across the engine block and curled up on the battery as he opened the hood of the car. State environmental conservation police officers were called out to remove the reptile. They released it nearby, next to several large boulders.

In Columbus, Ohio, police say a quick-thinking bank teller convinced a suspected robber to hand over his own driver’s license. According to the Associated Press, authorities say the man walked into a Huntington Bank in Columbus and gave the teller a note saying he was armed and demanding money. The teller gave the man a stack of cash, but then he demanded more money from the electronic cash recycle machine in the bank’s lobby. The teller told the man the machine needed a driver’s license to dispense cash, so he handed his own license over. The license led police to the man who was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery and threatening with a deadly weapon.

In Vienna, Austria, Igor Ashurbeyli was inaugurated as leader of the nation of Asgardia, an attempt to colonize the moon. According to Reuters, Asgardia was founded just 20 months ago, and it already has about 200,000 citizens, a constitution and an elected parliament. It wants to build up a population of 150 million within 10 years. It plans to set up “space arks” with artificial gravity in outer space where humans could live permanently. “We have thus established all branches of government. I can therefore declare with confidence that Asgardia—the first space nation of the united humankind—has been born,” said Ashurbeyli, a Russian engineer, computer scientist and businessman.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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