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

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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Another Health Insurance/Disability Insurance Coverage Issue

By Angela Bohmann | September 11, 2012

Health Plan, Welfare Plans I recently blogged about an employer who continued health insurance coverage for an employee on short term disability in contravention of the health plan document. The employer lost its stop-loss coverage for health claims incurred by the disabled employee because the health plan document did not specifically allow...

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Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 2, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans             Last Thursday, June 28, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “Affordable Care Act” or “Act”) is constitutional paving the way for final implementation of its provisions....

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Health Care Reform – What if it is Struck Down?

By Jeffrey Cairns | June 12, 2012

Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans             There has been much discussion and blogging about different possible outcomes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, it is only recently that we are starting to see articles analyzing the effect that a complete repeal might have. If the Supreme Court...

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Short Term Disability Plan as a Payroll Practice

By Angela Bohmann | May 16, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans I blogged recently about an Eighth Circuit decision where the court concluded that a deferred compensation agreement with a single employee did not constitute an ERISA plan. I warned employers that courts do not always accept an employer’s characterization of a plan or program as being covered by ERISA. Another...

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