ARTICLES 2017-12-21T17:54:10+00:00

ARTICLES    

 

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING HEALTH AND WELFARE PLANS (OTHER THAN HEALTH CARE REFORM) 2015 YEAR-END UPDATE

January 2016|

  1. Federal law does not expressly require that ERISA health plans cover same-sex spouses . However, in 2015 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") took the position that sexual orientation is protected under federal anti-discrimination law (Title VII). Therefore, health plans that do not cover same-sex spouses may be targets for discrimination lawsuits. Also, insured plans may need to cover same-sex spouses in order to comply with state insurance law. 2. The Third Circuit [...]

HHS CLARIFIES PPACA’S COST-SHARING LIMITS

July 2015|

  For plan years beginning in 2014 or later, PPACA requires that non-grandfathered group health plans impose annual out-of-pocket maximums with respect to "self-only" coverage and family coverage, and the maximums cannot exceed certain dollar amounts. Generally, all deductibles, copays and coinsurance for essential health benefits incurred in-network will count toward the out-of-pocket maximums. However, for the 2014 plan year, HHS provided a special exception for plans that have to coordinate multiple service [...]

FINAL EXCEPTED BENEFITS REGULATIONS ISSUED

April 2015|

  On October 1, 2014, the IRS, DOL and HHS (the "Departments") issued final regulations on "excepted benefits," which are generally exempt from HIPAA's portability rules and Health Care Reform's benefit mandates.79 FR 59130. These regulations were published in proposed form in December 2013. For more information about the proposed regulations, see our December 2013 bulletin.  Like the proposed regulations, the final regulations make it easier for dental and vision coverage to [...]

JANUARY 2015: LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING RETIREMENT PLANS 2014 YEAR END UPDATE

January 2015|

  1. In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer eliminated the "Moench" presumption that employer stock is a prudent investment under ERISA.Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 134 S. Ct. 2459 (2014).   And so ESOP fiduciaries must now review employer stock in the same manner as other plan investments, and must invest plan assets in employer stock with care, skill, prudence, and diligence. As a result of the decision, several cases [...]

JANUARY 2015: HEALTH CARE REFORM (“PPACA”) LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS 2014 YEAR END UPDATE

January 2015|

  1. Non-grandfathered plans must provide certain preventive care benefits without cost-sharing.All of the USPSTF's recommendation statements are available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/‌‌Page/Name/uspstf-a-and-b-recommendations/.  Plans must comply with new and revised recommendations starting with the first plan year that begins one or after the date that is one year after the new or revised recommendation is first published.   These requirements received considerable attention in 2014, both from the federal courts and the IRS, DOL, and HHS. Key [...]

JANUARY 2015: LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING HEALTH AND WELFARE PLANS (OTHER THAN HEALTH CARE REFORM (“PPACA”)) 2014 YEAR END UPDATE

January 2015|

  1. In June 2013 the Supreme Court issued its decision in U.S. v. Windsor, invalidating a section of DOMA, the law which limited federal recognition of marriages to opposite-sex couples.U.S. v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013).   On June 5, 2014, the Washington State Attorney General, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, and Human Rights Commission (the "Washington Agencies") jointly issued an announcement clarifying that under Washington State law (which recognizes same-sex marriages and [...]

DOL FAB ON APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING PLANS

December 2014|

  The DOL recently issued a Field Assistance BulletinFAB 2014-02.  on using apprenticeship and training plan assets to pay for skills competitions and related expenses. This 2014 Bulletin was a follow-on to their 2012 BulletinFAB 2012-01.  on using plan assets to pay for graduation ceremonies and advertising. Required for all expenditures Fiduciaries must ensure the reasonableness of plan expenses in light of the education objectives of the training program, be able to justify [...]

DECEMBER 2014 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

December 2014|

  In December 2014, President Obama signed into law two pieces of legislation impacting employee benefit plans: the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 ("Appropriations Act") and the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 ("TIPA").P.L. 113-235 and P.L. 113-295, respectively.   This bulletin briefly highlights some of the key provisions of these Acts impacting employee benefit plans. Provisions of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 Special Rule for Determining Normal [...]

RECENT CASE LAW REGARDING RETIREMENT PLAN INVESTMENTS IN EMPLOYER STOCK: THE PRESUMPTION OF PRUDENCE

September 2014|

  Background Congress created a statutory framework that encourages employee ownership of company stock through retirement plans-- including tax incentives, special dividend and loan provisions, and an exemption from ERISA’s duty to diversify plan assets. Beginning in 1995 with the Third Circuit, several courts applied a presumption that employer stock is a "prudent" investment under ERISA.Moench v. Robertson, 62 F. 3d 553 (3rd Cir. 1995). Before 2014, the Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh, and [...]

RECENT CASE LAW REGARDING RETIREMENT PLAN INVESTMENTS IN EMPLOYER STOCK: INCORPORATION OF SECURITIES LAW FILINGS INTO SPDs

September 2014|

  Background It is not uncommon for retirement plans holding employer stock to incorporate in summary plan descriptions, by reference, stock filings made under securities law. This practice satisfies certain securities law disclosure requirements. Recent case law suggests that incorporation of securities law filings by reference into an SPD is a fiduciary act, and so may lead to ERISA §404 fiduciary liability if the filings include false or misleading information. Recent Case Law [...]