Understanding Employee Benefits

It is Always Good to Follow the Plan’s Claims Procedure in Denying a Claim

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A recent Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involved high ranking executives who participated in a company’s long-term incentive plan. Under the plan agreements, executives who did not continue employment for a three year performance period forfeited benefits under the plan unless they qualified for a pro-rated award. A pro-rated... Read More

Topics: Compensation Questions, Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation

Participants Are Entitled to Specific Information About Their Service Credit Even Before They Are Entitled to Their Pensions

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In a recent federal district court case, Whirlpool Corporation closed a factory and notified a number of former employees about the status of their pensions, including their years of credited service. The corporation’s records differed from the service records maintained by the union. Approximately five years after the factory closed,... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans

Self-Compliance Tool for HIPAA and Other Health Care Related Provisions

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The Department of Labor recently updated its self-compliance tool for plan sponsors and plan administrators of group health plans. The self-compliance tool contains questions relating to requirements on issues such as limitations on preexisting conditions, certificates of creditable coverage, special enrollment rights, HIPAA nondiscrimination rules, wellness programs, Mental Health Parity... Read More

Topics: Health Care Reform, Health Plan

President Signs Highway Funding Bill

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On June 29, 2012, Congress passed a highway funding bill (H.R. 4348) which includes as a funding source, certain pension funding stabilization provisions. The impact of the pension changes would be to increase the segment rates used to calculate liability and normal costs for purposes of determining minimum required contributions and... Read More

Topics: Retirement Plans

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

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            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. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf While the Administration argued that the Act was... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans

Stuck Between the IRS and the NLRB

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Employers who sponsor 401(k) plans know that distributions from those plans can be made only on certain allowable events, such as separation from service. While an employee is still employed, distributions can be made after age 59½ or as a result of financial hardship. Defined benefit pension plans face similar... Read More

Topics: Retirement Plans

If the Tax Withholding is Wrong, Don’t Rely on the Employer to Fix it

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Verizon Communications, Inc. sponsored a number of plans for its foreign employees. These employees were citizens of foreign countries who never worked in the United States. Because these employees never worked or resided in the United States, their employment income and the benefits from their retirement plans were foreign source... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Payroll, Retirement Plans