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ERISA & Employee Benefit Plans

MONDRESS MONACO PARR LOCKWOOD PLLC

 

MMPL is a Seattle, Washington law firm of highly skilled attorneys representing ERISA and employee benefit plans and trust funds, their sponsors, fiduciaries and trustees, and institutional service providers throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationwide. Since the firm’s entire practice is concentrated on employee benefits law, we offer comprehensive and experienced tax, fiduciary and trust, ERISA compliance, and litigation counseling. Learn more.

INFORMAL IRS GUIDANCE ON SUBSTANTIATION OF HARDSHIP DISTRIBUTIONS

Earlier this year, the IRS issued new guidance on the substantiation of hardship distributions. Substantiation Guidelines for Safe-Harbor Distributions from Section 401(k) Plans (February 23, 2017), available at https://www.irs.gov/pub/foia/ig/spder/tege-04-0217-0008.pdf.  As background, 401(k) plans may allow employees to receive a distribution that is necessary to satisfy an immediate and heavy financial need. The regulations include a safe harbor for certain kinds of expenses that are automatically deemed to be in the nature of a heavy and financial need, such as tuition [...]

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING HEALTH AND WELFARE PLANS (OTHER THAN HEALTH CARE REFORM) 2016 YEAR-END UPDATE

1.   In 2016, the IRS, DOL and HHS (the "Agencies") issued additional guidance on the federal mental health parity law. They confirmed plans cannot impose different "non-quantitative treatment limitations" (such as preauthorization requirements) on mental health and substance abuse benefits, unless the limits resulted from the same "processes and strategies" used to determine limits on the plan's medical benefits. Also in 2016, three federal district courts considered whether mental health parity requires covering treatment received at residential treatment centers, such as rehab [...]

HEALTH CARE REFORM (“PPACA”) LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS 2016 YEAR-END UPDATE

1.   Under PPACA, non-grandfathered plans must provide in-network preventive care benefitswithout cost-sharing. In 2016, the IRS, DOL and HHS (the "Agencies") published FAQs clarifying preventive care requirements for colonoscopies and contraceptives. Also, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued multiple new and/or updated preventive care recommendations, for example: (1) statin use to prevent heart disease; (2) tuberculosis screening; (3) skin cancer screening; (4) tobacco use counseling and interventions for non-pregnant adults; and (5) women's preventive care.Details about the new/updated preventive [...]