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

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

By Angela Bohmann | May 16, 2012

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...


HSA/HDHP Limits for 2013

By Angela Bohmann | April 30, 2012

Cafeteria Plans, Health Plan The IRS has released the 2013 limits for Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions. The annual contribution limit for 2013 increases to $3,250 for an individual with self only coverage and $6,450 for an individual with family coverage from $3,100 and $6,250, respectively for 2012. The minimum annual deductible for a...


How to Pay the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee

By Angela Bohmann | April 25, 2012

Health Care Reform, Health Plan In previous blogs here, here and here, I discussed generally the recently published proposed regulations on which taxpayers may rely regarding the new fee imposed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund. The fee is considered an excise tax...


Counting Average Number of Participants for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee

Health Care Reform, Health Plan As noted in my two earlier blogs here and here, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) imposes a new fee to fund a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute that will research effective medical treatments. The fee is paid by insurance companies for fully insured plans and by plan sponsors for...


408(b) (2) Disclosures – That Wasn’t So Bad Was It?

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 24, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans Last week I received copies of the first new fiduciary fee disclosures required by final Department of Labor Regulations under ERISA Section 408(b) (2).  Fee disclosures were received from Fidelity Investments and Prudential Financial, providers to two client retirement plans.  The details of the required...


Which Employer Plans are Required to Pay the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee?

Health Care Reform, Health Plan This is the second blog post discussing the recently proposed regulations (on which taxpayers can rely) on the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund fee. The first post is here. This new fee, required to fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, is imposed under the Patient Protection and...


After 20 Years the IRS Issues COBRA Examination Guidelines

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans             In 1993, the IRS assembled a task force to develop guidelines for field agents to conduct COBRA examinations and compliance checks.  However, these guidelines were not released to the general public.  More recently, the IRS updated those guidelines to reflect certain changes in the laws that...