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What Marriage Equality Means for Your Employee Benefits

A frequent headline in the news as of late has been “Federal Judge in State X finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional” and then shortly thereafter “Hundreds of couples marry in State X” complete with a picture of a...more

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...more

Exclusion of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Did Not Interfere with Protected Rights under ERISA

In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, a federal district court addressed the issue of whether a self-funded health plan could include language that denied dependent coverage to same-sex spouses without violating Section...more

Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or...more

HHS Extends Medicare Coverage to Same-Sex Couples

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) announced last week that same-sex married couples can now qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B special enrollment periods and reductions in late enrollment penalties....more

HHS Guidance Clarifies that Insurance Companies Must Make Available Health Insurance Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

On March 14, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance clarifying the final regulations implementing Section 2702 of the Public Health Service Act...more

Same-Gender Marriage Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

In the summer of 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and eliminating the requirement that federal law recognize only marriages...more

IRS Releases FAQs on Cafeteria Plan Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses Post-DOMA

The Internal Revenue Service has released a series of FAQs to answer several outstanding questions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor, which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The most...more

More Post-Windsor Guidance from the IRS Relating to Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses: Cafeteria Plan Changes, Flexible Spending...

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision that repealed Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex spouses were not recognized as spouses for federal tax and benefits purposes. In the immediate...more

IRS Issues Additional Guidance on the Application of Windsor to Cafeteria Plans, FSAs, and HSAs

On Monday, IRS issued Notice 2014-1, providing additional guidance on the effects of the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision on (1) cafeteria plans; (2) medical flexible spending accounts (Medical FSAs); (3) health savings...more

Latest Post-Windsor Guidance from IRS Addresses Issues for Cafeteria Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, and Health Savings...

In its latest addition to guidance concerning the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") has issued Notice 2014-1 to address certain issues relating to...more

IRS Issues Welfare Plan Guidance for Same-Sex Spouses in View of DOMA Ruling

The Internal Revenue Service has published a new notice that addresses specific questions on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, recognizing same-sex marriage, affects elections and contributions under...more

IRS Publishes Post-Windsor Guidance in Notice 2014-1

A significant amount of confusion remains for employee benefit plan sponsors regarding the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor and its holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act...more

Federal District Court (In Its Capacity As An Employer) Must Reimburse Employee for the Cost of Health Benefits for her Same-Sex...

The Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, an administrative body that reviews decisions of the court’s chief judge, recently weighed in on an issue involving same-sex domestic partner health benefits in the post-Windsor world. The...more

IRS Answers Some Outstanding Questions For Same Sex Spouses

Since the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor holding the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") to be unconstitutional, and the related guidance issued thereafter by the Internal Revenue Service certain questions...more

New IRS Guidance on Same-Sex Spouses and Cafeteria Plans

Action by December 31st Required for Safe Harbor - Yesterday, the IRS issued specific guidance on how employers can address issues arising from the change in tax treatment for same-sex spouses under cafeteria plans. ...more

Beneficiary Designations and Spouse Definitions Need to be Updated - 16th State Approves Same Sex Marriage While 3rd Circuit...

Yesterday Hawaii adopted the Hawaii Marriage Equity Act of 2013 recognizing same sex marriages as of December 2, 2013 and permitting persons in civil unions in Hawaii to apply to be married without first requiring dissolution...more

Update – Administering Benefits in a Post-DOMA World

Here is a brief update to our September 24, 2013 alert, which addressed the administration of employee benefits as well as federal income taxes and FMLA leave following this summer’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in United...more

Benefits Update, No. 4, November 2013: The World Post-Windsor: Rethinking Benefit And Leave Policies For Same-Sex Spouses

Following a highly-publicized U.S. Supreme Court decision and subsequent guidance from both the Labor Department (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), employers need to rethink how they treat same-sex spouses under...more

Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

With same-sex marriages to begin in the state of Illinois next year, employers should expect an increase in requests for spousal benefit coverage from employees who have legally married their same-sex partners. The new law...more

eBenefits Alert - Post DOMA ERISA Guidance for treatment of Same Sex Marriage: Goin' to the Chapel... wherever it may be

Last week, the Department of Labor issued Technical Release 2013-04 stating its position on recognition of same-sex marriage for ERISA purposes. The IRS issued a Revenue Ruling a few weeks ago stating that for federal tax...more

How to Administer Benefits, Leave, and Taxes in a “Post-DOMA” World

Well, our title is a bit provocative in that not all of your “post-DOMA” questions have yet been answered by the IRS (who defines “spouse” for purposes of employee benefits under ERISA as well as taxation under the Internal...more

IRS state-of-celebration rule for same-sex marriages – how it works, practicalities for employers

The Internal Revenue Service has adopted a state-of-celebration rule that, for federal tax purposes, recognizes the validity of a same-sex marriage that was valid in the state where it was entered into, regardless of the...more

What DOMA’s Demise Means for New York Employers and Benefit Plan Sponsors

On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), the United States Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (“DOMA”) violated the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection...more

The Impact of IRS Recognition of All Legal Same-Sex Marriages on Employee Benefit Plans

On August 29, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17, which answers many questions raised by the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor earlier this summer. In Windsor, the Court...more

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