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

Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

By Angela Bohmann | July 2, 2015

Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The United States Supreme Court recently held in Obergefell v. Hodges http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf that all states must recognize and allow marriages between same sex partners. Depending on an employer's current employee benefits plan, certain provisions may need to be changed in light of...

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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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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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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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Be Careful What You Promise Employees Who Leave Your Employment

By Angela Bohmann | March 5, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans Clients sometimes like to ease the transition for employees who are retiring or whom the client would like to encourage to leave. One strategy is to continue the employee “on payroll” for a period of time with the expectation that all benefits will remain in place. However, the practice makes benefits lawyers...

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Make Sure Participants Know When Their Plan Benefits Have Been Transferred

By Angela Bohmann | February 25, 2015

Retirement Plans Employers need to make sure that their employees know when benefits shift from one plan to another as illustrated by this case from Utah: Martin Marietta Corporation (Martin) operated a cement plant that it later decided to lease to Southwestern Portland Cement Company (Southwestern). The employees operating the...

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