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 Health Plan Posts

Federal Court Determines that Employer Use of Employee Health Insurance Premium Payments Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duties

By Jeffrey Cairns | November 17, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Payroll, Welfare Plans On November 9, 2015, Minnesota Federal District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled that the president and CEO of Faribault Woolen Mills Company breached his fiduciary duties under ERISA by diverting Employee health insurance premiums toward corporate and personal use. The lawsuit was brought by the U.S. Department of...

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IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 22, 2015

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2016 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts, which are largely unchanged from the 2015 numbers. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/IR-15-118.pdf.  The following chart...

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Claims Administrators can be Liable for Violations of the Mental Health Parity Act

By Angela Bohmann | October 13, 2015

Health Plan The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPA) requires health plans to treat mental health and physical health benefits in much the same manner and precludes restrictions on mental health benefits that are not also found to apply to physical health benefits. The regulations enforcing those provisions are...

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A Summary Plan Description Can be a Plan Document

By Angela Bohmann | September 21, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans In a decision issued a couple of years ago, the United States Supreme Court held that a summary plan description that differed from the plan document could not be enforced as the plan document. The Court said that the summary plan description was supposed to describe the plan and it was the plan that should be...

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Business As Usual: Supreme Court Upholds ACA Subsidies

By Tom Dowling | July 6, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans The United States Supreme Court recently held in King v. Burwell that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits individuals to receive health insurance premium subsidies through federally-facilitated exchanges (in addition to state-based exchanges). Because this decision is consistent with existing agency interpretation,...

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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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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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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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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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