Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

Being a long term Plan Provider can be a bad thing too

Being a long time plan provider for a client can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. While having a long time base of clients is great for business and indicative of client satisfaction, it can be a bad thing too....more

OCR Issues Guidance on Application of HIPAA Privacy Rule after Windsor

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor prompted many businesses to review and revise their employee benefit plans. However, the...more

Eggs in the workplace

Eggs – human eggs, aka ova – have been in the news this week. First, it was announced that Facebook and Apple will begin offering insurance coverage for female employees to freeze their eggs for later fertilization and...more

IRS Issues Final and Proposed Hybrid Plan Regulations

On September 19, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") released additional final regulations clarifying the rules regarding hybrid defined benefit pension plans. At the same time, the IRS also issued proposed regulations...more

Reasonable Fee Issues for Fiduciaries on the Horizon

The Supreme Court is poised to address whether fiduciaries' decisions—especially in using fee sharing arrangements—are subject to deference when challenged. The Eighth and Ninth Circuit courts recently decided these issues,...more

The Unhealthy Side Effects of Employer Wellness Programs

I love wellness programs. I am a sucker for discounts of any sort, and I especially like the idea of rewarding healthy behavior. My bicycle has a tag that logs my work commute when I pass the electronic stations throughout...more

IRS Announces Impending Tighter Enforcement of Employer-Provided Meals, Fringe Benefits

Internal Revenue Code § 119 allows employers to deduct 100% of the value of meals provided to employees when they are for the convenience of the employer, and they are furnished on the business premises of the employer. Meals...more

EEOC Files Two Recent Lawsuits Challenging Employer Wellness Programs

The Affordable Care Act creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs. However, employers should not rush to establish such programs without first considering the implications of the Americans with...more

CMS Cost Sharing Reduction Reconciliation Reporting for QHPs

Qualified Health Plans (“QHPs”) and other stakeholders have until October 27, 2014, to comment on CMS’s proposed cost sharing reduction payment reconciliation reporting process. On Friday, September 26, 2014, CMS released...more

A Court’s Review of a Disability Benefit Claim May Hinge on the Meaning “Satisfactory to Us”

Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that courts should review an ERISA participant’s claim for benefits under a de novo standard of review unless the plan gives the plan fiduciary discretionary authority to...more

Excepted Benefits Under the ACA - The Government Agencies Overseeing Enforcement of the ACA Have Provided Relief for Employers...

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes numerous requirements on health plans, including group plans maintained by employer sponsors. An enhanced claims process, coverage for dependent children until age...more

The Supreme Court’s 'Non-Decision' On Same-Sex Marriage: The Impact On Employee Benefits After 'Windsor'

This is a rally call for employers to evaluate employee benefit plan documents for compliance....more

401(k) Plans and the Free Market: Is Your Vendor Ever a Fiduciary?

The Department of Labor and plaintiffs class action lawyers have been urging the courts to find that 401(k) vendors are fiduciaries when they design investment platforms or have contract provisions permitting them to adjust...more

Monthly Benefits Update - September 2014

IRS Issues Guidance on How to Deal With a Change to an Employee’s Measurement Period Under ACA Employer Mandate - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2014-49, which proposes an approach for dealing with...more

Missing Participants in Your Terminated Defined Contribution Retirement Plan? The DOL Has Issued Guidance to Help You

Background - The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2014-01 (the "FAB"), which provides guidance about how fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution retirement plans can...more

Workers' Compensation: Advantages of Self-Insurance

Employers in Pennsylvania can often benefit from self-insuring their workers' compensation plan, rather than simply opting for carrier based coverage year after year. The advantages of self-insurance include the following...more

Does your Company’s Retirement Plan Need to be Restated?

Between May 1, 2014 and April 30, 2016, all pre-approved defined contribution plans (e.g. most 401(k), profit sharing, money purchase and other qualified plans) must be restated to reflect the provisions of the Pension...more

IRS Reminds Employers Value of “Free” Parking May Be Taxable Fringe Benefit

A recent Information Letter issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the taxation of employer-provided parking, although noncontroversial, serves as a useful reminder that “free” parking for employees may result in...more

Supreme Court Urged to Consider Excessive Fee Case

The Supreme Court will soon announce whether it will address the scope of ERISA’s six-year statute of repose when applied to a claim that investments selected more than six years before suit commenced were imprudent due to...more

Employee Benefits Developments - September 2014

CASES - Post-Retirement Medical Benefits Under Siege. A recent spike in retiree benefit litigation is evidence of a growing interest among employers in strategies designed to contain, reduce, and eliminate the current...more

Post-Retirement Medical Benefits Under Siege

A recent spike in retiree benefit litigation is evidence of a growing interest among employers in strategies designed to contain, reduce, and eliminate the current costs and balance sheet liabilities associated with...more

The Rosenbaum Law Firm Review

Keep those Plan documents and amendments. You will always need them. Plan sponsors aren't the greatest keeper of plan records because as a plan fiduciary, they think they get too many reports, prospectuses,...more

Is Your Company Ready for the Millennial Shift?

With Boomers exiting and Millennials entering, significant shifts in the work environment are coming—along with shifting concerns for employers. Are you ready?...more

IRS Expands Permissible Mid-Year Cafeteria Plan Elections

On September 18, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-55, which expands permissible mid-year election changes under “cafeteria plans” to address two specific situations that have arisen in connection with the implementation of...more

Supreme Court Establishes New Standard for Fiduciaries of ESOP Plans

The Supreme Court, in Fifth Third Bancorp v. John Dudenhoeffer (Dudenhoeffer), recently established new standards for determining when fiduciaries of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) act prudently regarding a company’s...more

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