Employee Benefits Employer Group Health Plans

News & Analysis as of

Religious Institutions Update: October 2016

Timely Topics - The final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on May...more

AARP Files Suit to Block the EEOC’s Final Rules on Employee Wellness Programs

As we have previously discussed in detail in several blogs (New EEOC Regulations Provide Roadmap for Wellness Programs; EEOC Issues Final Rules On Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program Compliance Under the ADA and GINA; and...more

Reminder: Employers Must Use Extreme Caution When Considering Reimbursing an Employee’s Individual Health Insurance Premium

In follow up to IRS Notices 2013-54 and 2015-17, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel has issued 4 information letters thus far in 2016 regarding employer reimbursement of employee individual health insurance premiums and related...more

Navigating the Winding Highway of Wellness Program Compliance - Part I: A GPS for the EEOC’s Wellness Program Rules

The road to health plan compliance has never been straight and narrow, but it has become more winding over the years, due in large part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The road to compliance just became even more difficult...more

The Road to Higher Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs is Paved with Good Intentions: The Unintended Consequences of High Deductible...

High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are among the fastest growing health plans in both the individual and group markets. For calendar year 2017, the IRS defines an HDHP as any health plan with a minimum deductible of $1300...more

The Latest Win for Wellness Programs May Be More of a Win for the EEOC

Although the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin held that the employer wellness program at issue in EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems did not violate the ADA, the EEOC may find much it likes in this court’s...more

[Webinar] 28th Annual Employee Benefits Seminar - September 21st, 8:20am Central / 9:20am Eastern

Program Highlights Please join the Locke Lord Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group for our 28th annual employee benefits seminar via webinar.  Our attorneys will provide an overview of current developments...more

Cybersecurity and the Role of ERISA Fiduciaries

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), protects plan participant benefits and account balances by imposing high standards of care on the plan’s fiduciaries. Fiduciaries who do not follow...more

[Webinar] Hot Topics in Welfare Benefits - September 20th, 12:00pm CST

Ever since the passage of health care reform, the applicable government agencies (IRS, DOL, EEOC and HHS) have been actively working to provide new and updated regulations and other guidance governing various aspects of...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - August 2016

Editor's Overview - This month’s newsletter features an article on the DOL’s recently published interim final rule that increases penalties for notice and disclosure violations, which generally became effective on...more

ERISA Preempts State Law Requiring Insurer “Prompt Payment”

Alaska’s prompt pay statute—which requires insurers to pay benefit claims within 30 days of submission—is preempted by federal laws governing employer-provided benefits and benefits for government workers, a federal judge...more

Penalties Increased for Employee Benefit Plan Violations

Recently-enacted legislation has increased many penalty amounts for certain employee benefit plan violations. The new penalties – some of which are more than double previous amounts – were adjusted to catch up with inflation...more

IRS Proposes Adjustments in Individual Mandate Reporting

The IRS has issued proposed regulations on the individual mandate reporting requirements under section 6055 of the Internal Revenue Code. To a significant degree, the new regulations reflect guidance previously published by...more

Proposed Changes to Form 5500 Would Significantly Increase Reporting Obligations for Health and Welfare Plan Sponsors

Summary - On July 11, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a proposal to implement significant changes to the forms and regulations that govern annual employee benefit plan...more

ERISA: 2nd Circuit — Mental Health Provider Lacks Standing to Challenge ERISA Benefit Denial

Who can challenge an ERISA benefit denial? Does a physician have standing to challenge the denial of a patient’s coverage? It depends....more

Employee Benefits Developments - July 2016

Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code (“Section 409A”) generally provides that, if a plan providing for deferred compensation fails to comply with Section 409A, either in form or in operation, then all amounts deferred...more

The EEOC's View of Wellness Programs

The EEOC’s regulations allayed many concerns over the permissible level of incentives/penalties, as well as the challenge of dealing with inconsistent requirements under the various laws. Originally published in The HR...more

Proposed Form 5500 Changes & the new Schedule J: Big Changes for Small Group Health Plans

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed changes to the Form 5500 and schedules that will affect ERISA Title I group health plans of all sizes, but small group health plans should be especially aware of the changes....more

Best in Law: Beware of In-Lieu-Of Payments to Employees

Employers who allow their employees to opt for taxable cash payments in lieu of health benefits must consider the value of the payments when calculating overtime rates, a federal appellate court has ruled. Originally...more

Waves of Guidance and Benefit Plan Developments Worth Watching

Notices on Second Round of Privacy and Security Audits are Out, Expat Plans, OON Surgery Center Billing Issues, and New Nondiscrimination Rules for Federal Contractors, New ERISA Civil Monetary Penalties, COBRA Notices and...more

Time for a Wellness Check on your Wellness Program? New EEOC Regulations Could Diagnose Need for Change

In light of new rules from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers should examine their wellness programs now (and during open enrollment for next year) to determine the potential impact of the final...more

More Clarity on Expatriate Health Plans and the ACA

Expatriate health plans have been surprisingly difficult to reconcile with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Proposed regulations set to take effect in 2017 provide some useful guidance to U.S. employers that sponsor expatriate...more

DOL Rule Imposes Significant Increases in Penalties for Employee Benefit Plan Violations

On June 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an interim final rule that significantly increases various penalties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). The interim rule is the...more

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Health Plan Opt-Out Payments

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has issued proposed regulations that include additional guidance on the treatment of employer-provided opt-out payments for purposes of affordability under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”)....more

House Passes Small Business Healthcare Relief Act

Despite repeated guidance from the IRS that employer payment plans violate insurance reforms under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”), many small employers continue this arrangement of reimbursing employees for their cost of...more

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