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

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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IRS Issues Guidance on Qualified Plan Amendments Regarding Same Sex Spouses

By Angela Bohmann | June 11, 2014

Retirement Plans [This article also appears in our Employment and Labor Law/Employee Benefits Executive Briefing: May 2014.] Employers have been considering the impact on benefit programs, including the qualified retirement plans, of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision recognizing the validity of same sex marriages. In September,...

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It is Always Good to Follow the Plan’s Claims Procedure in Denying a Claim – Part 2

By Angela Bohmann | June 9, 2014

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation Some months ago I blogged about an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving high ranking executives participating in a company’s long term incentive plan where the executives won their suit under the plan, at least in part, because the employer had not properly followed the plan’s claims procedure. By...

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Welfare Benefit Plan Might not be Required to Cover Same Sex Spouses

By Angela Bohmann | May 16, 2014

Health Plan, Welfare Plans Much has been written about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision last term declaring unconstitutional the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required federal law not to recognize same sex marriages. Since then, more states have recognized same sex marriages either by court order or...

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Can a Failure to Hire Violate ERISA?

By Angela Bohmann | May 13, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan A recent decision of the federal district court for the southern district of Ohio raises interesting questions under Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) that might also affect employer liability under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case involved a challenge by a former employee who was...

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