Employee benefits news & notes: PCORI fee due July 31; employers contributed more to retirement plans last year

Here is a rundown of employee benefits news you can use from The Plexus Groupe: Survey: Employers contributed more to retirement plans in 2016

Defined-contribution plans such as 401(k)s have become employee benefit staples, and a recent survey found employers were more generous with their plan contributions in 2016.

In a study of 1,500 clients offering retirement plans to a total of 4.4 million people, leading financial services firm Vanguard found the average employer contribution into a defined-contribution plan increased to 4.7 percent in 2016, up from 3.9 percent in 2015. However, the average employee contribution rate declined from 6.9 percent in 2015 to 6.2 percent in 2016, per Vanguard data.

A 2017 survey of more than 3,000 HR professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found 76 percent of firms polled offered an employer-match program for 401(k) plans and other defined-contribution plans. Of the firms surveyed, 90 percent offered a defined-contribution retirement savings plan for employees.

Senate health care bill falls apart

The Senate's attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act suffered a major setback this week when it became clear Republicans did not have the support to pass their own health care bill. Also, a last-ditch plan to simply repeal ACA does not appear to have the necessary support to pass, though it could still come up for a vote.

What does this mean for employers and employees? Quite simply, it is business as usual. The Affordable Care Act remains in effect, as do ACA compliance regulations, including the filing of IRS Forms 1094-1095. Plexus will continue to keep tabs on the latest legislative and regulatory health care developments.

PCORI fee due Monday, July 31

As a reminder, fully insured and self-insured health plans need to pay the Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute Trust Fund (PCORI) fee by Monday, July 31. To pay the fee, use IRS Form 720 (Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return).

The PCORI fee is an ACA tax funding patient-focused medical research. For plans ending December 31, 2016, the PCORI fee due July 31 is $2.26 per life covered; please refer to the IRS’s official fee chart for more information. The fee is set to end in 2019.

Let Plexus lend a hand

Have questions regarding our newsletter or other employee benefits matters? Contact a Plexus client service team member in Deer Park, Ill. (847-307-6100), Chicago (312-606-4800), Dallas (972-770-5010) or Oklahoma City (405-840-3033). We're here to help -- and we're happy to help.