News & Analysis as of

Recent Employee Benefits Developments

Amending Retirement Plans to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Plan sponsors need to review retirement plan documents and operations to determine whether changes are needed in response to last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S....more

Updated Model COBRA and CHIPRA Notices

Since January 1, 2014, individuals and employees have been able to purchase medical health insurance coverage through federal and state exchanges (the “Exchanges”). Questions have remained, however, as to how health coverage...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 27: COBRA, Marketplace Coverage, Stability Periods, and...

Recent developments under the Affordable Care Act and COBRA, and existing rules governing mid-year election changes under cafeteria plans, have combined to make it challenging for certain terminating employees and those...more

Key Take-Aways from the "Impact of Mergers & Acquisitions on California Employers" Presentation

As a follow up to the April 29, 2014 audiocast presented by lawyers from the California HR team on the “Impact of Mergers & Acquisitions on California Employers,” the presenters have shared their most important “take-away”...more

What Everyone Needs to Know About the Coordination of Severance Benefits, COBRA, and the ACA

In a common occurrence throughout corporate America, an employee terminates employment and as a result will lose company-provided health care coverage. To obtain health care coverage, the employee has two options: 1) elect...more

COBRA Meets ACA – Time to Update COBRA Notices

The Affordable Care Act created a new option to obtain health insurance for employees who are losing job-based coverage—the Health Insurance Marketplace (commonly referred to as the “Exchange”). Because this new coverage...more

Monthly Benefits Update

Health & Welfare Plans - July 1 Deadline to Begin Measuring Employee Hours for ACA Employer Mandate/“Pay or Play” - As we have discussed in many previous alerts, the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared...more

The Affordable Care Act – What You Need to Know Checklist

In This Presentation: - Review Employer Information - Fees - Mandates - Additional Points - Communications - Excerpt from Review Employer Information. Employer’s Health Plans - 1. Identify the...more

New COBRA Notices Are Now Available on the Department of Labor Website

Just a note to let you know that the updated COBRA model General and Election Notices can now be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa/compliance_assistance.html. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985...more

Quick! Do Employers Need To Update Their COBRA Notices?

On May 2, 2014, the Department of Labor ("DOL") issued new model COBRA notices in conjunction with a proposed rule that would shift the role of the DOL's model COBRA notices from a helpful example to an indicator of required...more

A Snake in the Grass No More? DOL Proposes New COBRA Forms

As part of its continuing efforts to update the sleepier corners of the employee benefits world to conform to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently proposed new...more

New Guidance on COBRA and ACA Marketplace Coverage: The Gap in Coverage is (Not Quite) Filled

There has been much confusion and concern about the interplay between the COBRA continuation coverage rules and the new Health Insurance Marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (the “Marketplace”). One important...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 36: Hacking the Affordable Care Act’s $100/Day Penalties for...

Particularly with the issuance of final regulations under the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility rules, employers have been concerned—justifiably—with the pay-or-play penalties. ...more

ACA, HIPAA, COBRA and HSA Penalties: What Do They Mean?

What do all of these acronyms stand for and why do employers and human resource professionals care? These acronyms stand for statutory requirements which apply to employer-provided health plans and stiff penalties can apply...more

“We have to offer COBRA, When?” The “In Anticipation of Divorce” Rule

Most plan administrators know that the recipe for a group health plan’s COBRA obligation includes three ingredients – a qualifying event that occurs while the individual is covered by the plan that triggers a loss of such...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

Employee Benefits Update: 2013 Year End Plan Tasks

As we approach the end of the year, employers and plan sponsors of qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans should take time to meet various upcoming deadlines. Failure to comply with the deadlines may result...more

Illinois Set To Legalize Same-Sex Marriages; Employers Must Take Numerous Steps To Comply With The Law By June 2014

On November 20, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will sign the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which the Illinois General Assembly passed last week and which will make Illinois either the 15th or 16th state to...more

Windsor & DOMA: Issues for Cross-Border Employers

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which defined “marriage” as strictly between opposite-sex couples and “spouse” as referring only to a...more

How to Handle Employee Benefits with Same-Sex Marriages: BB&K's John Wahlin Looks at What Changes Should be Made in Light of the...

With this summer’s Supreme Court rulings on DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, and Prop. 8 allowing same-sex marriages to be recognized in states that allow them, private sector and public agency employers in California...more

The Modern Workplace: Focus on Benefits

Health Exchange Notice Due to Employees by October 1 - We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Obama Administration announced that the employer mandate under health care reform would be postponed until 2015. ...more

IRS Provides Much Needed Clarification for Employee Benefit Plans After U.S. Supreme Court Case Strikes Down Defense of Marriage...

On August 29, 2013, IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 which clarified that for federal income tax purposes, the marital status of a same-sex couple is based on the state law or foreign law (e.g. Canada) where the marriage was...more

Employment Law Advisory for September 10, 2013: Same-Sex Spouses—What Does the Supreme Court's Ruling on DOMA Mean for Employers?

On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court found unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). Section 3 of DOMA prohibited the federal government from acknowledging...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

Complying with the Affordable Care Act’s Exchange Notice Requirement

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “Act”) amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers of all sizes to provide their employees a notice of the availability of coverage through public...more

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