Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

Two Important Deadlines Approaching for Self-Insured Group Health Plans

If you sponsor a self-insured group health plan, then November includes two important deadlines: (1) you must obtain a health plan identifier for your plan, and (2) you must report the number of participants for whom a...more

PBGC Publishes Final Regulations on the Phase-In Period for Guarantee of Benefits for an Unpredictable Contingent Event

The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (“PBGC”) recently published final regulations related to the phase-in period for its guarantee of benefits that are contingent upon the occurrence of an “unpredictable contingent...more

Can Unlimited Vacation Policies be Awesome for California Employers and Employees?

High tech companies continue to change our world and how we work. Netflix, Ask.com, Best Buy, Zynga, Evernote, Hubspot and others recently have re-imagined vacation benefits for their own employees by shifting from...more

Fourth Circuit Adds Even More Complexity to Benefit Plan Fiduciaries' Role

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Dudenhoeffer decision demonstrated that benefit plan fiduciaries are definitely in the litigation spotlight, and that they should exercise caution to avoid fiduciary liability in garden-variety...more

Final Rules Adopted Clarifying Employers’ Obligations under the New York City Earned Sick Time Act

The New York City Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA or the Act) went into effect on April 1, 2014, giving many New York City employees up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Since March, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)...more

Governments May Be Exempt From ERISA, But They Are Not Exempt From Securities Laws

ERISA lawyers know that employee benefit plans offered by state and local governments to their employees are not subject to ERISA, the federal law that generally governs benefit plans of private employers. However, other...more

New Guidance on Locating Missing Participants for Terminated Defined Contribution Plans

On August 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided new guidance to plan fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution plans for locating missing and unresponsive participants in order to distribute their...more

District Court in Fourth Circuit Rejects Extension of Amara-like Remedies to Benefit Cases

The Honorable Martin Reidinger, sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, declined Plaintiff’s invitation to extend the applicability of Cigna v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011), to...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 19: Changes in Employment Status under the Look-Back...

An earlier post explained the two principle methods—the “monthly measurement method” and the “look-back measurement method”—available to applicable large employers to identify full-time employees for purposes of determining...more

Federal Contractors See Hike in SCA Health & Welfare Rates

On July 22, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its annual memorandum announcing that, pursuant to 29 C.F.R. Section 4.52, the prevailing hourly health and welfare fringe benefit rates under the McNamara-O'Hara...more

EEOC Sues Employer for Requiring Medical Details as Part of Sick Leave Approval

Employers that provide paid sick leave benefits often require doctors’ notes confirming the employee’s need to be out of work. Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against a Pennsylvania employer...more

Prune those 401(k) Plan Investment Lineups

We are a nation of over abundance and we should be grateful for that. The problem is that over abundance can lead to a life of excess. We are often told that more is more and the problem is that there are many times where...more

Are Your Beneficiary Designations Heir Tight?

An often-neglected area in the world of benefit plan administration is the beneficiary designation form. Many participants complete their beneficiary designations incorrectly because they don’t read the instructions carefully...more

Health Care Reform 2.0 Part 1

In this issue: - Health Care Reform – Overview - 2014 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines – 48 Contiguous States* - Health Care Reform – Affected Benefits - Health Care Reform – Excepted...more

The Small Things that Create the Biggest Problems for 401(k) Plan Sponsors

“For Want of a Nail” is a proverbial rhyme that shows that the smallest of action can have huge consequences later down the line, just like a snowball effect “For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse...more

San Francisco Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program Debuts

Beginning September 30, 2014, employers in the San Francisco Bay Area that have a minimum of 50 full-time employees must offer commuter benefits, such as payments for commuter passes, to any employee who works 20 or more...more

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Important Decision Affecting Fiduciaries of ESOPs

In a recent decision, Fifth Third Bankcorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 189 L.Ed. 2d 457 (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the “presumption of prudence” previously given to fiduciaries of employee-owned stock ownership plans (ESOPs)...more

Hobby Lobby ripples still being measured

How can the controversial decision in the Hobby Lobby contraception coverage case impact employers? The U.S. Supreme Court in June decided the controversial case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. The court ruled...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 20: 9.5% ? 9.56% (And Why It Matters to Applicable Large...

While employers sometimes view the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility (or “pay-or-play”) rules in isolation, they don’t operate that way. Instead, they exist side-by-side with other provisions of the Act. In...more

How Good the Advisor is often based on how well they play with other plan providers

What makes a good retirement plan financial advisor? Well it takes an attention to detail, an understanding of what the role to entails, and a dedication to the client. In addition, what I find is the way a good financial...more

Bundled Payments under the Affordable Care Act Continue to Gain Influence

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it will add roughly 4,100 providers to the 2,400 existing providers testing the possible use of Medicare bundled payment contracts. Providers must...more

MyCare Ohio Transition Continues

Ohio’s transition to Medicaid managed care continues. The Ohio Department of Medicaid, the contracting agency with the 5 managed care companies now providing services to Ohio’s dual eligible population is [providing more...more

An Education Policy Statement is not Magic

Any type of item that keeps you in health is a good thing as long as you use it. So the floss I bought after my last checkup and the exercise equipment that I bought my wife a few years ago that is collecting dust are...more

Health Care Providers to Get Greater Ability to Care for Veterans Under the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of...

Last Thursday, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (the “Act”). The Act will enable eligible veterans to obtain their health care from non-VA providers on an expanded...more

HHS Delays ICD-10 Implementation Requirements

On August 4, 2014, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule delaying the compliance date for health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses to transition to the...more

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