Benefits Notes |

Employee benefits are an important part of every employees' total compensation package. The continuously evolving landscape in the areas of health care reform, retirement plan design, and executive compensation makes it difficult for employee benefits professionals to keep up with relevant developments. The employee benefits attorneys at Stinson Leonard Street provide human resources professionals, plan fiduciaries, actuaries, accountants, and others in the industry with practical and cost-effective assistance as they navigate through the complex laws, regulations and guidance that govern employee benefits plans. This blog highlights key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. Our Bloggers →

Latest Benefits Notes Posts

Using Your IRA to Buy a Business: Still a Risky Strategy

By Angela Bohmann | June 16, 2015

IRAs I blogged in the past (here and here)about decisions in which taxpayers have used assets in their IRA to finance a new business. This structure is sometimes known as a ROBS or rollover for business startups. In 2013, the tax court held that an IRA engaged in a prohibited transaction, thereby subjecting the value of...

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Retiree Medical Plans can Impose Lifetime Limits

By Angela Bohmann | June 9, 2015

Health Care Reform, Health Plan Employers who sponsor medical plans know that those plans can no longer impose lifetime limits on essential health benefits. One exception is for medical plans that cover fewer than two active employees. Retiree medical plans that are separate from the plan for active employees can meet that exception. A recent...

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Standard of Review is Important – Again

By Angela Bohmann | June 4, 2015

Welfare Plans I recently blogged about the importance the standard of review can make when a court decides whether a claims decision made under an employer plan will be upheld. My recent blog post dealt with the standard of review under a top-hat plan, a plan for executives. Another recent case makes the same point in a long-term...

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Internet Posting of SPD is Insufficient

By Angela Bohmann | May 22, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans Employers know that they must prepare and distribute a summary plan description (SPD) for their ERISA benefit plans, including retirement benefits, health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. Because of the length of such documents, employers may prefer to distribute the documents electronically. Some...

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Supreme Court: 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries Have an Ongoing Duty to Monitor

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation In April 2013 I reported on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Tibble v. Edison International, which involved an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan committee selecting six retail mutual funds when institutional share classes were available. In the 2013 decision, the 9th...

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Are Top Hat Plans Entitled to a Discretionary Standard of Review?

Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation Many years ago the Supreme Court decided that qualified retirement plans that gave their fiduciaries discretion to determine plan benefits were entitled to have their decisions, reviewed by a court under a generous “abuse of discretion” standard. Although that standard may be limited in situations in which the...

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Some Wellness Benefits are Taxable

By Angela Bohmann | May 15, 2015

Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Payroll My colleagues blogged on recent wellness guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the three agencies charged with enforcing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Department of Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The guidance from the EEOC...

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Wellness Programs – EEOC Proposed Regulations

By Laura Phelps | May 14, 2015

Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans My colleague Molly Walsh and I have written an Alert for our clients about the recently issued EEOC proposed regulations for wellness programs. The EEOC has been attacking employers' wellness programs for failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Our Alert is a good summary of the EEOC proposed...

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A Bad Deed is Not Entirely Unpunished

By Angela Bohmann | May 13, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans Richard Thomas embezzled nearly $20,000,000 from his employer. The employer then kept Thomas’s profit sharing account of about $21,000 as an offset against the embezzled amount. Of course, this violated ERISA’s anti-alienation provisions. Thomas sued his former employer for the money and won. To add to the...

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Ameriprise Avoids Trial On Class Action Suit By Current and Former Employees With $27.5 Million Payment

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 31, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In 2011, a group of current and former employees filed a class action lawsuit in the District Court of Minnesota claiming that Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and members of its 401(k) Plan fiduciary committee had breached their fiduciary duty to the Plan participants and engaged in self-dealing. The specific actions...

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