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

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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Be Careful With Your Life Insurance Enrollments

By Angela Bohmann | June 25, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans Over the years there have been a number of cases that have involved employers improperly enrolling employees in group life or disability insurance benefits. If the employee who should not have been enrolled dies or becomes disabled, the insurance carrier will deny coverage on the grounds that the employee should never...

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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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IRS Issues Q&As on Affordable Care Act Research Trust Fund Fees – First Filings Due July 31, 2013

By Jeffrey Cairns | June 14, 2013

Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a number of new taxes and fees to be assessed to pay for many of the new federal health care mandates. One of such fees is called the Patient- Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee (“PCORI fee”), which is to be remitted to a new Patient-Centered Outcome Research...

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Effect on Employers of Same Sex Marriage in Minnesota

By Angela Bohmann | May 20, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans As many of our readers know, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Minnesota became the twelfth state to recognize same sex marriages.  The effective date of the change is August 1, 2013, which gives employers some time to react to the change and analyze its effect on their employment policies and benefits.  We sent an Alert to...

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The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Plan Sponsor’s Recovery of Participant Damages Award

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 17, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans On April 16, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-1285_i4dk.pdf finding in favor of U.S. Airways in its quest to recover $66,866 in medical expenses incurred by its employee as a result of a traffic accident. McCutchen was a...

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It Pays to Add a Statute of Limitations to Your Plan’s Claims Procedure

By Angela Bohmann | March 12, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans ERISA requires that plans contain a reasonable claims procedure. Courts have generally required claimants to exhaust that claims procedure before filing a lawsuit. In addition, if the plan gives the plan administrator discretion to interpret the plan and decide claims, a court will often give deference to the plan...

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A Wrap Plan Can Be Helpful

By Angela Bohmann | November 29, 2012

Welfare Plans Many employers know that one benefit to an ERISA plan is the standard of review available when the participant brings a lawsuit for benefits under the plan. If the plan documents give the plan administrator discretion to decide claims, then the court will review the exercise of the plan administrator’s discretion...

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Can I Add a No Compete Provision to a Severance Agreement?

By Angela Bohmann | November 20, 2012

Welfare Plans Pactiv Corporation sponsored a severance plan subject to ERISA. The plan required an employee to sign a separation agreement and release in a “form acceptable to the company” in order for the employee to be entitled to a payment under the plan. The severance plan itself did not contain a no compete provision. When...

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