News & Analysis as of

DOL Proposes to Amend FMLA Definition of “Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed amending the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act to expressly include individuals in same-sex marriages....more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 24: Can Offers of Group Health Plan Coverage Under Code...

The Employer Shared Responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) generally require “applicable large employers” (i.e., employers who employed at least 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees on...more

DOL Wants FMLA to Cover Same-Sex Couples

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking to extend coverage of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to same-sex couples following a Supreme Court ruling that federal benefits cannot be limited based on a...more

Employee Benefits: Important Wellness Plan and Mental Health/Substance Use Disorder Parity Effective Dates Have Arrived!

Employers and insurers offering medical plans: take note! Two important final regulations issued jointly by the IRS, DOL and HHS (the “Departments”) apply to plan years (or, in the individual market, policy years) beginning...more

Monthly Benefits Update

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court held that regulations under the Affordable Care Act that require employer group health plans to provide contraceptive coverage violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)....more

Employee Benefits: ERISA Fiduciary Guidance - Fairness for Defined Contribution Fees (6/14)

There has been a tremendous amount of focus on participant-assessed fees in 401(k) and 403(b) plans over the last couple of years. This has come about, in part, because of lawsuits and the Department of Labor (DOL)...more

Limited Time Offer! IRS Announces "Amnesty Program" for Flawed Correction of Late Annual Reports

Both the Department of Labor ("DOL") and the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") can assess significant penalties if annual reports are not timely filed for certain retirement and health and welfare plans. However, years ago the...more

The Federal Court for the Southern District of New York Rules that Employers with Self-Insured Health Plans Need Not Offer Medical...

The issue of same-sex spousal rights is now largely resolved for qualified retirement plans. However, substantial questions about same-sex spouse health benefits remain unanswered. In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield,...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

View From McDermott: What Private Equity and Hedge Funds (and Their Benefit Plan Investors) Should Know About ERISA

ERISA imposes numerous obligations on fiduciaries holding assets of employee benefit plans. In addition to discharging its duties prudently and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to benefit plan participants and...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

ERISA = Every Ridiculous Idea Since Adam

It is rumored that President Reagan once referred to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as Every Ridiculous Idea Since Adam. ERISA serves important purposes in our society, but it also presents...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

No Country for Lousy Retirement Plans

In the movie, No Country for Old Men, the hit man Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem) confronts Carson Wells (who was also trying to recover the same money Chigurh was after) in his hotel room. Before killing...more

This is What a TPA Does and Why a Retirement Plan Sponsor Should Hire a Good One

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Deer Hunter. It’s a story about the Vietnam War and the post-traumatic stress disorder a group of friends from Western Pennsylvania who were drafted together and fought alongside...more

Employee Benefits Developments - March 2014

On January 9, 2014, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) issued additional health care reform guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions...more

Watch Out Employers: Changing Benefits During a Union Election Carries Risks

In Woodcrest Health Care Center and 119 SEIU, United Healthcare Workers Eastt, the NLRB ruled that an employer violated federal labor laws by improving health care benefits for some employees while declining to extend such...more

Legal Alert: DOL Proposes 408(b)(2) Disclosure Guide

On March 12, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) published in the Federal Register a proposed amendment to its disclosure requirements for “covered service providers” to retirement plans under ERISA § 408(b)(2) that would...more

Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services Issue Final and Proposed Regulations Implementing the 90-day Limit...

The Affordable Care Act (the “Act”) generally prevents an otherwise eligible employee (or dependent) from having to wait more than 90 days before coverage becomes effective under a group health plan. The regulation of waiting...more

The Wild Wild West of non-ERISA 403(b) Plans

I always say that as bad as 401(k) plans may be, 403(b) plans are in much worse shape. It didn’t help that the Internal Revenue Service only issued regulations that governed them only 30 years too late, back in 2008. It also...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - February 2014

The employee benefits issues to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court continue to be of great significance to plan sponsors and fiduciaries. This month we review the Court's employee benefit decisions from 2013 and also...more

Mistakes a Plan Sponsor Should Correct Before an IRS/DOL Audit

I have been in the retirement plan business for over 15 years and I have met too many plan sponsors who don’t care that their plan isn’t being run correctly. What makes them eventually care is when they are audited by the...more

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