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More Ways to be Tagged with Withdrawal Liability

I have written a number of posts, on employers and business owners who have been held responsible for the multiemployer plan withdrawal liability of a different employer. In some cases, the liability comes from common...more

Could your Oil and Gas Interest Cause You to Be Responsible for Multiemployer Plan Withdrawal Liability?

I noticed an interesting case from the Tenth Circuit which found that a two to three percent working interest in an oil and gas venture could generate self-employment income for the owner of that interest. The individual in...more

Employers Who Self Administer Life Insurance Plans Had Better Do So Correctly

Many employers self-administer welfare benefit plans such as life insurance or disability insurance plans. This self administration requires the employer to determine eligibility for coverage, remit proper premiums and notify...more

What You Say in Your SPD About Claims Processing Makes a Difference

Employers who self fund their medical plans often have contracts with their third party administrators about claims processing. Some of those contracts provide that the claims processor has discretion to decide claims; others...more

Bad COBRA Notices Can Cost You

Sun Trust Bank was sued in a class action challenging its COBRA notice. The plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit claimed that the COBRA notice was materially deficient in that it failed to provide the name and address of the...more

Beware the Retroactive QDRO

Employers know that they must honor qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) that assign a portion of a retirement benefit to a participant’s former spouse, known as an alternate payee, when the participant and alternate...more

Time to Review Plan Subrogation Procedures, Part 2

I blogged a few days ago about the U.S. Supreme Court decision making it harder for plans to recover from a third-party settlement fund for the amount the plan paid when a participant is injured by that third-party. A recent...more

Time to Review Plan Subrogation Procedures

Most self-funded ERISA medical plans provide that participants who have been injured by other people (think car accidents) must reimburse the plan if the participant recovers from the other person for those injuries. In order...more

EEOC Loses Another Wellness Case, Part 2 – Beware the ACA Penalties

In my last blog post, I discussed a recent loss by the EEOC in its efforts to limit the ability of employers to require employees to complete health risk assessments (HRAs) or biometric screenings in order to enroll in the...more

EEOC Loses Another Wellness Case, Part 1

The EEOC has been bringing lawsuits against employers challenging wellness programs. A recent case involved a company that had previously provided a credit to employees enrolled in the health plan who participated in a health...more

New Reportable Events Filing May Affect Borrowers with Defined Benefit Pension Plans

This article is for employers who sponsor defined benefit plans that are subject to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) coverage. Those employers pay premiums to the PBGC and also are required to report certain events...more

What Does the Trust Requirement of ERISA Mean?

ERISA requires that plan assets be held in trust so that they are protected from claims of the employer. With pension plans, it is generally easy to determine when assets become plan assets and when they should be held in...more

Claims Administrators can be Liable for Violations of the Mental Health Parity Act

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPA) requires health plans to treat mental health and physical health benefits in much the same manner and precludes restrictions on mental health benefits that are not also...more

Not all Plans can Establish a Shortened Limitations Period for Filing Lawsuit

I recently blogged about a case in which a plan had established a shorter period of time (one year deadline) for filing a lawsuit, rather than relying on the state statute of limitation (six years) which would otherwise have...more

Is Your Severance Policy an ERISA Plan?

Severance plans are generally covered under ERISA, but it is not always easy to distinguish an ERISA-covered severance plan from a non-ERISA severance policy. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an ERISA-covered...more

More Withdrawal Liability for Unsuspecting Business Owners

I recently blogged about a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision that tagged a buyer of the assets of a company contributing to a multiemployer plan with withdrawal liability that the seller had not paid. A recent Ninth...more

Participants in Top Hat Plans Must Exhaust Administrative Remedies

So-called “Top Hat” plans are nonqualified deferred compensation plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees. These executive compensation arrangements are exempt from many ERISA provisions, but are...more

Don’t Play Hide the Ball with Your Claims Procedure

ERISA does not have a statute of limitations for lawsuits brought by participants to check claim benefits under the plan. Instead, courts borrow from similar state statutes of limitations. In a decision two years ago, the US...more

A Summary Plan Description Can be a Plan Document

In a decision issued a couple of years ago, the United States Supreme Court held that a summary plan description that differed from the plan document could not be enforced as the plan document. The Court said that the summary...more

More Ways to be Hit With Withdrawal Liability

I have blogged in the past about situations where employers unexpectedly found themselves liable for withdrawal liability imposed by a multiemployer plan. We can add a recent case from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to...more

Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

The United States Supreme Court recently held in Obergefell v. Hodges http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf that all states must recognize and allow marriages between same sex partners. Depending on an...more

Using Your IRA to Buy a Business: Still a Risky Strategy

I blogged in the past about decisions in which taxpayers have used assets in their IRA to finance a new business. This structure is sometimes known as a ROBS or rollover for business startups. In 2013, the tax court held that...more

Retiree Medical Plans can Impose Lifetime Limits

Employers who sponsor medical plans know that those plans can no longer impose lifetime limits on essential health benefits. One exception is for medical plans that cover fewer than two active employees. Retiree medical plans...more

Standard of Review is Important – Again

I recently blogged about the importance the standard of review can make when a court decides whether a claims decision made under an employer plan will be upheld. My recent blog post dealt with the standard of review under a...more

Are Top Hat Plans Entitled to a Discretionary Standard of Review?

Many years ago the Supreme Court decided that qualified retirement plans that gave their fiduciaries discretion to determine plan benefits were entitled to have their decisions, reviewed by a court under a generous “abuse of...more

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