Understanding Employee Benefits

Business As Usual: Supreme Court Upholds ACA Subsidies

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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, the decision has little direct effect on employer-sponsored... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans

Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

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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 this ruling. For those employers who already provide... Read More

Topics: Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans

Some Wellness Benefits are Taxable

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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 reiterated that compliance... Read More

Topics: Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Payroll

EEOC Challenges Honeywell’s Wellness Program

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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 the first case where the agency seems... Read More

Topics: Health Care Reform, Health Plan

IRS ANNOUNCES 2015 BENEFIT PLAN LIMITS

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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 following chart summarizes 2015 retirement plan limits and other benefit plan limits. The 2014 limits are also listed for reference purposes.   2014 2015  ... Read More

Topics: Health Plan, Retirement Plans

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

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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 of therapy weekly. Insurance... Read More

Topics: Health Plan

Oral COBRA Notice OK?

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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... Read More

Topics: Health Plan