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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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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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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Governments May Be Exempt From ERISA, But They Are Not Exempt From Securities Laws

By Angela Bohmann | August 21, 2014

Retirement Plans ERISA lawyers know that employee benefit plans offered by state and local governments to their employees are not subject to ERISA, the federal law that generally governs benefit plans of private employers. However, other federal laws can reach government plans. For example, the Securities & Exchange Commission...

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Oral COBRA Notice OK?

Health Plan In a recent District Court opinion, a judge dismissed a COBRA claim against an employer based on the oral notice the employer gave a former employee of her right to continue coverage under COBRA. The court said that the statute does not specify the form the notice must take and the employer’s oral notification was...

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What Should the Trustee of a Private ESOP Do?

By Angela Bohmann | July 16, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans The Department of Labor (DOL) recently entered into an agreement with GreatBanc Trust Company settling claims relating to its service as trustee of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) holding stock of a private company. The DOL had claimed that the stock of the company had been overvalued in a sale transaction....

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