Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

2015 COLAs for Employee Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2015 cost of living adjustments to various limits on employee benefit plans. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2015. Some of the adjusted amounts,...more

Ohio Supreme Court Rules On Applicability of Dual Intent Doctrine When Determining Eligibility For Workers’ Compensation Benefits

On October 21, 2014, the Supreme Court of Ohio in Friebel v. Visiting Nurse Assn. of Mid-Ohio addressed whether the doctrine of dual intent or dual purpose is applicable when determining eligibility for workers’ compensation...more

Proposed Bankruptcy Fairness and Employee Benefits Protection Act of 2014 would place significant restrictions on employers in...

Legislation recently introduced in the Senate would place many restrictions on the ability of a corporation navigating bankruptcy to change the compensation and benefits of employees and retirees. The bill would also create a...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - October 2014

Editor's Overview - The first article in this month's newsletter focuses on whether specific language in ERISA employer-provided disability insurance plans confer discretionary authority to plan administrators to...more

Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Know Their Role as Plan Fiduciaries

I love professional wrestling and I’m not afraid to admit. Yes, I know it’s not real just like I know the Ewings don’t live on Southfork Ranch. Maybe it’s in my blood since both of my grandfathers watch it, but I find the...more

Blog: Business Forward Hosts HHS’s Director of Private Sector Engagement for a Discussion on Health Care for Small Businesses

On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, Business Forward hosted a discussion with Rhett Buttle, the Director of Private Sector Engagement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Mr. Buttle began by providing...more

IRS Permits Puerto Rico-Qualified Plans in U.S. Group Trusts, Extends Deadline for Certain Puerto Rico Spin-Offs

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Revenue Ruling 2014-24, which expressly permits retirement plans that are tax qualified only in Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico-only plans) to continue to pool assets with...more

New Hybrid Pension Plan Guidance

The IRS recently issued new final and proposed regulations that provide welcome guidance to sponsors of hybrid pension plans. Hybrid pension plans, such as cash balance plans and pension equity plans, are defined benefit...more

Being a long term Plan Provider can be a bad thing too

Being a long time plan provider for a client can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. While having a long time base of clients is great for business and indicative of client satisfaction, it can be a bad thing too....more

OCR Issues Guidance on Application of HIPAA Privacy Rule after Windsor

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor prompted many businesses to review and revise their employee benefit plans. However, the...more

Eggs in the workplace

Eggs – human eggs, aka ova – have been in the news this week. First, it was announced that Facebook and Apple will begin offering insurance coverage for female employees to freeze their eggs for later fertilization and...more

IRS Issues Final and Proposed Hybrid Plan Regulations

On September 19, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") released additional final regulations clarifying the rules regarding hybrid defined benefit pension plans. At the same time, the IRS also issued proposed regulations...more

Reasonable Fee Issues for Fiduciaries on the Horizon

The Supreme Court is poised to address whether fiduciaries' decisions—especially in using fee sharing arrangements—are subject to deference when challenged. The Eighth and Ninth Circuit courts recently decided these issues,...more

The Unhealthy Side Effects of Employer Wellness Programs

I love wellness programs. I am a sucker for discounts of any sort, and I especially like the idea of rewarding healthy behavior. My bicycle has a tag that logs my work commute when I pass the electronic stations throughout...more

IRS Announces Impending Tighter Enforcement of Employer-Provided Meals, Fringe Benefits

Internal Revenue Code § 119 allows employers to deduct 100% of the value of meals provided to employees when they are for the convenience of the employer, and they are furnished on the business premises of the employer. Meals...more

EEOC Files Two Recent Lawsuits Challenging Employer Wellness Programs

The Affordable Care Act creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs. However, employers should not rush to establish such programs without first considering the implications of the Americans with...more

CMS Cost Sharing Reduction Reconciliation Reporting for QHPs

Qualified Health Plans (“QHPs”) and other stakeholders have until October 27, 2014, to comment on CMS’s proposed cost sharing reduction payment reconciliation reporting process. On Friday, September 26, 2014, CMS released...more

A Court’s Review of a Disability Benefit Claim May Hinge on the Meaning “Satisfactory to Us”

Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that courts should review an ERISA participant’s claim for benefits under a de novo standard of review unless the plan gives the plan fiduciary discretionary authority to...more

Excepted Benefits Under the ACA - The Government Agencies Overseeing Enforcement of the ACA Have Provided Relief for Employers...

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes numerous requirements on health plans, including group plans maintained by employer sponsors. An enhanced claims process, coverage for dependent children until age...more

The Supreme Court’s 'Non-Decision' On Same-Sex Marriage: The Impact On Employee Benefits After 'Windsor'

This is a rally call for employers to evaluate employee benefit plan documents for compliance....more

401(k) Plans and the Free Market: Is Your Vendor Ever a Fiduciary?

The Department of Labor and plaintiffs class action lawyers have been urging the courts to find that 401(k) vendors are fiduciaries when they design investment platforms or have contract provisions permitting them to adjust...more

Monthly Benefits Update - September 2014

IRS Issues Guidance on How to Deal With a Change to an Employee’s Measurement Period Under ACA Employer Mandate - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2014-49, which proposes an approach for dealing with...more

Missing Participants in Your Terminated Defined Contribution Retirement Plan? The DOL Has Issued Guidance to Help You

Background - The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2014-01 (the "FAB"), which provides guidance about how fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution retirement plans can...more

Workers' Compensation: Advantages of Self-Insurance

Employers in Pennsylvania can often benefit from self-insuring their workers' compensation plan, rather than simply opting for carrier based coverage year after year. The advantages of self-insurance include the following...more

Does your Company’s Retirement Plan Need to be Restated?

Between May 1, 2014 and April 30, 2016, all pre-approved defined contribution plans (e.g. most 401(k), profit sharing, money purchase and other qualified plans) must be restated to reflect the provisions of the Pension...more

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