Understanding Employee Benefits

Department of Labor Withdraws Controversial Guidance On Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts in 401(k) Plans

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On May 7, 2012 the Department of Labor issued a set of questions and answers via Field Assistance Bulletin FAB No. 2012-02 (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2012-2.html) concerning the new fiduciary fee disclosures in Labor Regulations §2550.408(b)-2 and participant fee disclosure requirements outlined in Labor Regulations §2550.404(a)-5. Q&A 30 of the May 7th FAB... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

IRS Clarifies Medicare Premium Deductions for Sole Proprietors, Partners and S Corporation Shareholder-Employees

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Sole proprietors, partners (including LLC members) and two percent shareholders in an S corporation are not treated as “employees” for purposes of certain benefits. Among those benefits is employer provided health insurance coverage. While employer subsidies for health coverage are generally excluded from the income of employees, that is not... Read More

Topics: Cafeteria Plans, Health Plan, Payroll

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