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

Plan Administrators Have Discretion to Round

By Angela Bohmann | December 17, 2014

Retirement Plans Cash balance plans often provide a pay credit and an interest credit in determining a participant’s accrued benefit. The pay credit is often a percentage of compensation. The interest credit is established in the plan and can be a fixed rate or a formula. Recently the Duke Energy Retirement Cash Balance Plan was...

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND AICPA COMMENT ON DEFICIENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN AUDITS

By Jeffrey Cairns | December 9, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Form 5500s, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans At a recent American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (”AICPA”) conference, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration reportedly commented that the ERISA benefit plan audits are deficient in over 1/3 of the audits they receive according to their...

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Undocumented Worker Can Cause Health Plan Problems

By Angela Bohmann | December 8, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan Employers know that since the 1980s they have been required to check the lawful work status of employees that they hire through the I-9 process. Employers also know that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can audit their workplaces, as can the Department of Labor, and impose fines and other sanctions for...

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EEOC Challenges Honeywell’s Wellness Program

By Angela Bohmann | December 3, 2014

Health Care Reform, Health Plan The EEOC recently sued Honeywell International, Inc., claiming that Honeywell’s wellness program violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Although the EEOC sued two other employers for wellness program violations before it sued Honeywell, this is...

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Attention All You Procrastinators!

By Angela Bohmann | November 17, 2014

Health Care Reform The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has postponed to 11:59 pm on December 5, 2014, the deadline for health insurance issuers and self funded plans to submit their annual enrollment count for the transitional reinsurance program. The deadline was otherwise November 15, 2014. The payment deadlines of...

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IRS ANNOUNCES 2015 BENEFIT PLAN LIMITS

By Jewelie Grape | October 24, 2014

Health Plan, Retirement Plans The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2015 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Announces-2015-Pension-Plan-Limitations;-Taxpayers-May-Contribute-up-to-$18,000-to-their-401(k)-plans-in-2015 The...

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Pruitt v. Burwell Ruling Unlikely to have Major Impact on Employers in Near Term

By Sam Butler and Tom Dowling | October 1, 2014

Health Care Reform On Tuesday, September 30, federal Judge Ronald White of the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled in Pruitt v. Burwell that the plain text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA") does not allow for the provision of subsidies to individuals purchasing health coverage through a federally-facilitated...

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Penalty for Employer Missed COBRA Notice Affirmed

By Angela Bohmann | September 17, 2014

Health Plan Almost two years ago I blogged about a federal district court decision from Alabama that imposed a penalty of $37,950 ($75 a day) on an employer that failed to provide a COBRA notice for a dental plan to a former employee. With attorneys’ fees and costs, the employer owed a total of $83,063.45. That case has now...

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Employers Should Monitor Closely Group Term Life Insurance Enrollments

By Angela Bohmann | August 27, 2014

Welfare Plans Many employers offer group term life insurance, including supplemental life. Often an employee who wants to buy coverage above a particular level after an initial open enrollment period must show evidence of insurability. This requirement is present to protect the plan from adverse selection so that employees do not...

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Failure to Cover Applied Behavior Analysis for Autism Spectrum Disorder Violates Federal Mental Health Parity Law

By Angela Bohmann | August 22, 2014

Health Plan Parents have searched for effective therapies for children with autism spectrum disorder. One therapy that has shown promise, at least for some children, is applied behavior analysis (“ABA”), which is an intensive behavioral interaction health service. However, ABA is expensive, in some cases requiring many hours...

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