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 Benefits Notes Posts

New Disability Claims Procedures May Apply to Qualified and Nonqualified Retirement Plans, Too

By Audrey Fenske | March 9, 2018

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans As mentioned in our recent blog, the date for complying with the new disability claims procedures (April 2, 2018) is rapidly approaching.  In addition to making sure disability plans comply with the new rules, employers should also be reviewing other ERISA plans, such as qualified retirement plans and nonqualified...

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Thanks for Noticing: Disability Claims Procedure Regulations Change Notice Requirement Next Month, Impose Strict Compliance Standard

By Abigail Clark | March 8, 2018

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans 29 C.F.R. §2560.503-1 The DOL's revised ERISA disability claims procedures regulations will be taking effect early next month, and plan sponsors should take a hard look at plan processes over the next few weeks to ensure compliance. The new requirements apply to disability benefit claims filed after April 1, 2018,...

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Department of Labor Issues Proposed Rules Expanding Access to Association Health Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns | January 5, 2018

Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans On October 12, 2017 President Trump issued an Executive Order concerning a number of health plan market initiatives. One of the items included in the Executive Order was a directive to the Secretary of Labor to issue proposed regulations or guidance within 60 days from the date of the Order, “to expand access to...

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Social Security Administration Corrects and Updates Wage Base for 2018

By Mark Wilkins | December 1, 2017

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans On November 27, 2017, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it is adjusting the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security tax for 2018 to $128,400.  As we have previously posted, the SSA had announced that it would increase the maximum earnings to $128,700.  The SSA made the adjustment after...

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IRS Begins Issuing ACA Employer Mandate Penalty Notices

By Tom Dowling | November 27, 2017

Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Uncategorized, Welfare Plans Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) indicated that it would begin enforcing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Employer Shared Responsibility provisions (commonly known as the "Employer Mandate"). Last week, the IRS followed through on its promise and began mailing notices informing employers of potential...

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IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans for 2018

By Mark Wilkins | October 23, 2017

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans On October 19, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service released the 2018 cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions for qualified retirement plans. The Notice providing the cost-of-living adjustments is available here.  The Service also announced various other inflation adjustments in...

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Tibble and Class Action Plaintiffs Win Round Two versus Edison International and Its 401(k) Investment Committees

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 22, 2017

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In past articles in this Blog I reported on decisions of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with a class action for breach of fiduciary duty for selecting retail mutual funds in 1999 for which lower costs institutional funds were available....

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No Additional Delay on Effective Date of New Fiduciary Standards – DOL

By Jeffrey Cairns | May 25, 2017

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans This week, new U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Acosta announced that the final fiduciary regulations would go into effect on June 9, 2017. The Department also issued two pieces of guidance with regard to the regulations also referred to as the “Conflicted Advice Rules”.  The guidance consists of a set of FAQs...

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Back to Basics – Costly Consequences of Ignoring Process in Benefits Administration

By Audrey Fenske and Sam Butler | May 18, 2017

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation The stories of an employer and a long-term disability insurer and claims fiduciary for an ERISA plan, defendants in two recent cases, ring so true. In the first case, the insurer was designated as claims fiduciary for an employer's long-term disability plan, and ended up in litigation with the least friendly standard...

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