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

An SPD Can be a Plan Document

By Angela Bohmann | February 13, 2014

Health Plan, Uncategorized In Cigna v. Amara, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the plan document is the governing document for an ERISA plan and that in a conflict between the plan document and the summary plan description (SPD), the plan document must be enforced. A participant misled by an SPD may be able to bring various claims based on the...

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Former Employee Cannot Recover Penalties for COBRA Notice Violation

By Angela Bohmann | February 11, 2014

Health Plan Terminating employees who lose coverage under an employer’s group health plan are frequently entitled to continue that coverage under the federal law commonly known as COBRA. Employers are required to provide a former employee with a notice at the time of termination of employment describing the employee’s rights...

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More About HRAs and Some About EAPs

By Angela Bohmann | October 11, 2013

Health Care Reform, Health Plan I blogged recently about IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) guidance restricting the ability of employers to subsidize individual health insurance premiums for their employees after December 31, 2013. That IRS and DOL guidance also addressed a few other issues. The guidance provides that HRA amounts credited to an...

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No More Pre-Tax Premiums for Individual Insurance Policies?

By Angela Bohmann | October 10, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, Compensation Questions, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Payroll, Welfare Plans Over the years we have seen some employers, particularly small employers, choose to provide health coverage to their employees by paying all or part of the premium for individual insurance policies that the employees have obtained. Under an old IRS revenue ruling, Rev. Rul. 61-146, that type of premium subsidy could...

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Federal Agencies Issue Guidance that Valid Same Sex Marriages Recognized for All Federal Tax Purposes

By Jeffrey Cairns | September 19, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, Health Plan, Retirement Plans On August 29, 2013, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued a public announcement and released Revenue Ruling 2013-17 wherein it answered a number of open questions concerning the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court Decision, United States v. Windsor. This is the case that overturned the federal...

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Maintaining Poor COBRA Procedures Can Be Expensive

By Angela Bohmann | August 16, 2013

Health Plan I blogged a few months ago about an employer who had to pay more than $83,000 in penalty, attorneys’ fees and costs for failure to give a proper COBRA notice for a dental plan. I warned employers that failure to maintain adequate procedures for COBRA compliance can be costly. That amount pales in relation to a...

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Defense of Marriage Act – Open Questions for Benefit Plan Sponsors

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 16, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Payroll, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans On June 26, 2013, in a 5-4 vote the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1993 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional as a violation of Fifth Amendment guarantees of equal protection and equal liberty. The case, United States v. Windsor No.12-307(US June 26, 2013) ...

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The White House Blog: Employer Mandate Under the Affordable Care Act Delayed for One Year

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 3, 2013

Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Payroll, Welfare Plans On July 2 the White House announced that it is delaying the enforcement of the employer mandate that it provide health care coverage to employees or pay a penalty (the “play or pay” provisions) until 2015. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/07/02/we-re-listening-businesses-about-health-care-law. According to...

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Health Insurance Carriers Must Also be Careful in What They Tell Plan Participants

By Angela Bohmann | June 26, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan I blogged recently warning employers to be careful when enrolling employees in plan benefits because the employer could be responsible to pay life insurance or disability benefits if an employee who is improperly enrolled incurs a claim. The increased liability comes from the recent Supreme Court decision, Cigna v....

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Final Regulations Issued on Incentives for Nondiscriminatory Wellness Programs in Group Health Plans

By Benefits Notes Team | June 21, 2013

Health Plan, Welfare Plans HIPAA nondiscrimination provisions prohibit group health plans and health insurance issuers from discriminating against individual participants and beneficiaries in eligibility, benefits, or premiums based on a health factor.  Wellness programs offered in conjunction with group health plans must also be...

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