Benefit Plan Sponsors

News & Analysis as of

Benefits Litigation Update – Spring 2017

Welcome to the Spring edition of Benefits Litigation Update, brought to you by The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) and the law firm Epstein Becker & Green. As a new Congress, and a new executive branch, work on major...more

Getting Fit at Work: The Ongoing Battle Over Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

The History of Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs - With the Affordable Care Act’s explicit encouragement, it is no surprise that employer-sponsored wellness programs have been on the rise. However, they have come up...more

Health Care Reform Update – American Health Care Act Shelved

The American Health Care Act (“AHCA”), the legislation intended to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), was shelved on Friday, March 24, 2017, ending for now efforts to repeal the ACA. The AHCA, described in...more

The RFP Process has to be real

Years ago, as a naïve associate at a semi-prestigious law firm, I got the short end of the stick to attend a quarterly Taft-Hartley meeting in Staten Island. If you ever have to drive from Long Island to Staten Island, you...more

Pension May be Collapsed in the Face of an Admitted Fraud

In the recent decision of Alberta Motor Association v. Gladden, 2017 ABQB 174, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench clarified the limits to which employer-sponsored pension benefits will be immunized from enforcement...more

Worried About the Fiduciary Rule? Don’t Be…Yet!

The Department of Labor (DOL) released Field Assistance Bulletin 2017-01 on March 10, 2017, which outlines a temporary enforcement policy related to its final fiduciary rule. Background - On February 3, 2017,...more

ACA Brief: Path to Repeal—The American Health Care Act Unveiled

This ACA Brief is the fourth in a series of installments that will closely track congressional and administrative actions relating to ACA provisions that affect large employer-sponsored plans. On March 6, 2017, the U.S....more

IRS Views on Self-Certification of Financial Hardship

In today’s virtual world, we suspect most plan sponsors rely upon the self-certification process to document and process 401(k) distributions made on account of financial hardship. The IRS has recently issued examination...more

Don’t hire relatives as your plan providers

I have some simple rules to live by. I never bet on the Mets, eat at a place called Mom’s, play cards with a guy named Doc, or do business with family. Yet I have come across so many financial advisors who bemoan to me...more

DOL Proposes to Delay Fiduciary Advice Rule, Requests Comments on Delay and on Costs, Benefits of the Rule

On March 2, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published a proposed extension (the "Proposal") of the effective date of what is commonly referred to as the "fiduciary rule" or the "fiduciary advice rule" (the "Rule"). The Rule...more

Labor Department Boosts Disability Claimant Protections

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) recently issued a final rule addressing disability benefit claims and appeals (see 81 FR 92316). The rule adds new procedural protections and safeguards meant to ensure disability...more

American Health Care Act – Key Takeaways for Employers and Plan Sponsors

On March 6, 2017, the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee released budget reconciliation recommendations that will, after mark-up beginning on March 8th, form the American...more

Does the Fiduciary Exception Apply to Legal Advice Received By Insurers During the Claims Process

Seyfarth Synopsis: Adding to the body of conflicting authority on the scope of the attorney-client privilege in ERISA lawsuits, a district court has found that the fiduciary exception to attorney-client privilege applies to...more

Final Disability Claims and Appeals Regulations – Be Prepared to Comply

In December 2016, the Department of Labor issued final regulations under ERISA governing claims procedures for group disability plans, which will become effective January 1, 2018. Generally, these regulations were drafted to...more

Cybersecurity Threats: What Retirement Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries Need to Know – and Do

What is the Risk? The loss of employee personal information due to a cyber breach is an ever-increasing concern to all employers. After years of work to put into place protocols to comply with HIPAA’s requirements on...more

Advisors Advantage - February 2017

How You Can Stand Out From The Crowd As A Retirement Plan Advisor. It would be a detriment to focus only on this stuff. There are lots of financial advisors who claim they handle retirement plans, but there are...more

Proposed Regulations Update Mortality Tables, Minimum Present Value Requirements for Defined Benefit Pension Plans

Near the end of 2016, the US Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service published two significant sets of proposed regulations on issues pertaining to defined benefit pension plans, including mortality table...more

New IRS Memorandum Is a Hardship Act to Follow

In an internal memorandum to its examination agents dated February 23, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance regarding the types of documentation that agents should request in verifying hardship withdrawals...more

Guidance to IRS Examiners on 401(k)/403(b) Hardship Withdrawals

Substantiation Requirement Clarified for Examination Purposes - Over the past few years, employers and plan administrators have frequently asked how hardship withdrawal requests can/should be substantiated from 401(k)...more

CASE ALERT: 8th Circuit Rules Against Anheuser-Busch Plan Finding That ERISA-Plan Language Must Be Interpreted According to its...

Case: Knowlton, et al. v. Anheuser-Busch Companies Pension Plan — Eighth Circuit Issue Presented: Whether a plan administrator’s interpretation of ERISA-subject plan language that resulted in a denial of pension...more

Do You Have a Gap in Your Benefit Eligibility Procedures? Issues Raised by Non-FMLA Reduced Schedules and Leaves of Absence

Most employers have procedures in place to ensure that an employee who takes leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), whether as a reduced schedule or an extended leave of absence, retains his or her eligibility...more

401(k) Plan Design and its Effect on Employees’ Retirement Readiness

Most American adults are concerned that they will not be able to retire or will outlive their retirement income. In fact, research shows that Americans are not saving enough for retirement. This retirement crisis is, in part,...more

QSEHRA Notice Requirement Deadline Suspended

In an effort to provide small employers with additional time to furnish the required QSEHRA initial written notice, Treasury and IRS have suspended the deadline until further guidance has been issued that will include a...more

Referrals are about helping, not making you $$$$

The retirement plan industry is very close knit. Everyone knows who does great work and the few that don’t. Word travels fast about the good, the bad, and the ugly in this business....more

Pensions Alert: Green Paper on Defined Benefit Schemes

Last week the DWP published its much-anticipated Green Paper on security and sustainability in Defined Benefit (DB) pension schemes (Paper) which considers various issues and ideas about the regulation of private sector DB...more

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