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

FAQs Issued on Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

By Angela Bohmann | June 1, 2012

Health Plan The Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services have the responsibility to administer and enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The Departments recently issued two sets of FAQs, describing the guidance issued under the Act and restating some of that guidance in an...


FAQs Issued on the Summary of Benefits in Coverage

Health Care Reform, Health Plan The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury have jointly issued another set of FAQs on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the health care reform law. These are part nine of FAQs issued on different PPACA topics. This particular set discusses the Summary of Benefits and...


IRS Issues Guidance on W-2 Reporting of Health Care Coverage

By Angela Bohmann | May 30, 2012

Health Care Reform, Payroll The IRS issued recently FAQs relating to W-2 reporting of employer-provided health care coverage, a health care reform requirement that employers must first meet for the 2012 calendar year. We have previously discussed these requirements [Link to earlier health care reform posts]. These FAQs largely restate prior...


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...


Texting Can Cause HIPAA Violations

Health Plan The Office for Civil Rights, which is the arm of the Department of Health and Human Services that enforces HIPAA privacy and security rules, recently announced the settlement of an enforcement action against a small cardiothoracic surgery practice. The practice reportedly posted protected health information (PHI) on...


What is a Trade or Business and Why Does It Matter?

Multi-employer Plans, Retirement Plans If an employer withdraws from a multiemployer plan and is assessed withdrawal liability, all members of the employer’s controlled group are liable for that assessment. The controlled group rules look at the extent of common ownership among various trades or businesses, whether or not incorporated. The determination...


Bad Things Can Happen to Employers Who Do Not Follow the Terms of Their Group Health Insurance Policies

Health Plan, Welfare Plans Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (“Blue Cross”) insured New Life Homecare, Inc. (“New Life”) under a group health insurance contract. The insurance contract required New Life to enroll at least 75% of its eligible participants in the plan and provided that no more than 15% of the eligible employees...


Withdrawal Liability – Seller Beware

By Angela Bohmann | May 15, 2012

Multi-employer Plans, Retirement Plans I previously blogged on a case where a purchaser who did not try to assume withdrawal liability in a purchase transaction learned that it could nevertheless be responsible for that liability as a successor employer. In another recent case, a seller who tried to structure a transaction so that the buyer assumed the...


Agreement With Single Employee is Not an ERISA Plan

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation If an arrangement is subject to ERISA, state law claims relating to that arrangement are preempted. In some situations, therefore, employers try to argue that a particular arrangement is subject to ERISA. In a recent decision involving a state law breach of contract claim, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals...


Labor Issues Q&As on Required Fee Disclosures to Participants

By Jeffrey Cairns | May 9, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans             Once the ERISA Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosures are made from covered service providers to plan fiduciaries, plan fiduciaries are required to relay fee information relating to designated investment alternatives to plan participants.  The Department of Labor issued final regulations in 2010...