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 Welfare Plans 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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What Does the Trust Requirement of ERISA Mean?

By Angela Bohmann | October 29, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Welfare Plans ERISA requires that plan assets be held in trust so that they are protected from claims of the employer. With pension plans, it is generally easy to determine when assets become plan assets and when they should be held in trust. For welfare benefit plans, such as health plans, the situation is more complicated....

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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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Is Your Severance Policy an ERISA Plan?

By Angela Bohmann | October 2, 2015

Welfare Plans I wrote an Insight article for firm clients on distinguishing an ERISA severance plan from a non-ERISA severance policy. For those of you not on that distribution list, the article is here.

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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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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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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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