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Benefits in the News

Older News | July 2, 2015

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Text of CMS Quick Start Guide: Request for Reconsideration Form for Risk Adjustment and Reinsurance (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
7/1/2015 [Guidance Overview]

Dated June 30, 2015; version 1.6. "There is a three-level Administrative Appeals process for Risk Adjustment (RA) and Reinsurance (RI): [1] Request for Reconsideration; [2] Informal Hearing before the [CMS] Hearing Officer; [3] Review by CMS Administrator (or delegate)." [Available online: Request for Reconsideration (Risk Adjustment and Reinsurance).]
Supreme Court Decision Provides New Financial Planning Opportunities
Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View
7/1/2015

"The Supreme Court's decision creates several immediate new planning opportunities for same-sex married couples, particularly those who were previously married in another state but have been recently living in a state that did not recognize (or one of the 13 that outright banned) their marriage. Those couples will now be able to do everything from filing joint income tax returns, to benefit from the marital deduction for state estate and inheritance tax purposes, to get divorced if the couple decides to separate. In fact, for many such couples, a major planning issue will simply be unwinding the strategies previously in place to handle the fact that their marriage wasn't recognized, but are no longer necessary!"
State Court Considers Fiduciary-Like Liability for 403(b) Non-ERISA Plans
Business of Benefits
7/1/2015

"What school districts had never paid close attention to was their potential liability under non-ERISA, state-law-based legal claims, such as breach of contract, negligence, and other similar duties.... Though these discussions ... had always taken the nature of a nerdish argument between lawyers who really needed to get a life, a Wisconsin court has shown us that this could be a matter of very real concern to public schools.... What the [Wisconsin Court of Appeals] found was that an action alleging a failure to exercise ordinary care in the administration of a 403(b) plan, if proven, may entitle the Retirees to relief in state court."
It's Time to Bust the Myth That Assumptions Drive Pension Costs
Pensions & Investments
7/1/2015 [Opinion]

"The woefully misguided -- and dangerous -- idea that assumptions drive costs leads decision-makers down a perilous path. Cost management is not achieved by 'managing' actuarial assumptions. Costs are determined by what actually happens, not by what we assume or predict will happen.... The cost of a pension plan, paid by making contributions over time, is a function of the pensions paid out and of the investment earnings of the fund. Period. Costs are not a function of assumptions."
First-Year Results from Reinsurance and Risk Adjustment Programs
Health Affairs
7/1/2015

"Nationally, many of the new cooperative plans received risk adjustment programs, but others paid into the risk adjustment program. The Blue plans, traditionally the insurer of last resort in many states, generally did well in the reinsurance programs but had mixed results in the risk adjustment program. Certainly insurers that have to pay in to the program will not be pleased, and we can expect to hear from them. There may also be mistakes in the data. Insurers can appeal results they believe to be incorrect."
Updated PCORI Fees Due by July 31
Cheiron
7/1/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"This fee will continue to be adjusted in the future until it is no longer payable. For self-insured plans, the return must be filed by July 31 of the calendar year immediately following the last day of the plan year. For plan years ending on and after January 1, 2014 and before October 1, 2014, the fee, payable by July 31, 2015 is $2.00 multiplied by the average number of covered lives. For plan years ending on and after October 1, 2014 and before January 1, 2015, the fee, payable by July 31, 2015, is $2.08 multiplied by the average number of covered lives. The $2.08 fee amount also applies for plan years ending on and after January 1, 2015 and before October 1, 2015, payable by July 31, 2016."
Part-Time Private Industry Workers Less Likely to Have Access to Benefits in 2013
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]
7/1/2015

"In March 2013, nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of full-time private industry workers had access to retirement benefits, compared with just 37 percent of part-time workers. Similarly, 85 percent of full-time workers had access to health insurance through their employers, compared with only 24 percent of part-time workers. Full-time workers were also much more likely than part-time workers to have access to paid holidays, sick leave, and vacations."
CMS Posts Full Year of 2014 'Open Payments' Financial Data
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
7/1/2015

"[CMS has] published 2014 Open Payments data about transfers of value by drug and medical device makers to health care providers. The data includes information about 11.4 million financial transactions attributed to over 600,000 physicians and more than 1,100 teaching hospitals, totaling $6.49 billion.... The Open Payments program, created by the [ACA], requires drug and device manufacturers to report transfers of value (i.e., payments, honoraria or research grants) to health care providers, as well as other industry-related investments providers may have. The program relies on voluntary participation by physicians and teaching hospitals to review the information submitted by these companies."
CMS Summary Report on Transitional Reinsurance Payments and Permanent Risk Adjustment Transfers for the 2014 Benefit Year (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
7/1/2015

49 pages. "99.7 percent of issuers who set up EDGE servers successfully submitted the data necessary to calculate reinsurance payments and risk adjustment transfer.... [F]or the 2014 benefit year, reinsurance contributions exceeded the requests for reinsurance payments; therefore we have increased the coinsurance rate to 100 percent. For the 2014 benefit year, over $7.9 billion in reinsurance payments will be made to 437 issuers nationwide."
Description of Health Benefits for Members of Congress and Designated Congressional Staff (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS]
7/1/2015

"[B]eginning January 1, 2014, Members and designated congressional staff are no longer able to purchase FEHB plans as active employees; however, if they enroll in a health plan offered through a small business health options program (SHOP) exchange, they remain eligible for an employer contribution toward coverage ... This report summarizes the provisions of the final rule and describes how it affects current and retired Members and congressional staff. OPM has indicated that Members and congressional staff are still eligible for other health benefits related to federal employment, and these additional health benefits are outlined in this report." [Report No. R43194, dated June 17, 2015]
CBO: Because of Our Massive Uncertainty on the ACA's Myriad of Impacts, We Have No Clue What a Repeal Would to Do the Deficit
Benefit Revolution
7/1/2015 [Opinion]

"[T]he government's report concludes that it cannot accurately project whether a repeal of PPACA would increase, reduce or have no impact on federal deficits. But, when compelled to give one answer, their best guess is that it would increase the deficit by 1.9%. Stated alternatively it would increase our national debt by 0.75% -- well within their margin of error.... A reading of [recent] headlines leads one to believe that a repeal would clearly and decisively be a horror.... [In] reality the actual impact is not something the CBO was nearly so certain of[.]"
Supreme Court to Consider ERISA Preemption of State Health Care Reporting Requirements
Mayer Brown LLP via Lexology
7/1/2015

"This issue is important to the business community because of its potential to subject plan administrators to a multiplicity of burdensome state reporting requirements ... Even on its own, Vermont's reporting scheme imposes a litany of complex requirements on ERISA plans, including rules governing the content, timing, coding, and encryption of the reports. And as explained in the petition for certiorari, a ruling in this case could potentially impact the reporting requirements of at least sixteen states -- plus others that are considering similar legislation." [Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. (2d Cir. Feb. 4, 2014, cert. pet. granted June 29, 2015)]
What All Employers Need to Know About the Upcoming 'Cadillac' Excise Tax
InsideCounsel
7/1/2015

"While most employers have not focused on the Excise Tax, a few have been forward looking and creative in seeking to reduce its potential impact on them.... [P]opulation health strategies look to bend the cost curve by making employees healthier.... Some employer plans are changing the paradigm and contracting directly with the providers who are willing to go at risk for the cost and quality of services they provide or provide flat fee pricing for a suite of services needed to treat a particular condition."
Text of GASB Fact Sheet on Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans, and Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions (PDF)
Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB]
7/1/2015 [Guidance Overview]

3 pages. Topics include: [1] What types of OPEB are covered by the Statements? [2] What are the main provisions of the Statements? [3] What makes OPEB a liability? [4] Does the GASB require governments to fund OPEB? [5] When do the new OPEB Statements take effect?
Text of GASB Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans
Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB]
7/1/2015 [Official Guidance]

122 pages. "The scope of this Statement includes OPEB plans -- defined benefit and defined contribution -- administered through trusts that meet the following criteria: [1] Contributions from employers and nonemployer contributing entities to the OPEB plan and earnings on those contributions are irrevocable. [2] OPEB plan assets are dedicated to providing OPEB to plan members in accordance with the benefit terms. [3] OPEB plan assets are legally protected from the creditors of employers, nonemployer contributing entities, and the OPEB plan administrator. If the plan is a defined benefit OPEB plan, plan assets also are legally protected from creditors of the plan members."
Text of GASB Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions
Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB]
7/1/2015 [Official Guidance]

310 pages. "This Statement establishes standards for recognizing and measuring liabilities, deferred outflows of resources, deferred inflows of resources, and expense/expenditures. For defined benefit OPEB, this Statement identifies the methods and assumptions that are required to be used to project benefit payments, discount projected benefit payments to their actuarial present value, and attribute that present value to periods of employee service.... In addition, this Statement details the recognition and disclosure requirements for employers with payables to defined benefit OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria and for employers whose employees are provided with defined contribution OPEB."
Penalties Increase for Distribution Reporting Failures
Ascensus
7/1/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"The [Trade Preferences Extension Act] increases the tiered penalties associated with failure to timely file information returns and payee statements required under IRC Sec. 6721 and 6722. This applies to failures for reporting distributions from retirement plans and IRAs on Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., and distributions of income to certain foreign persons on Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding. The penalties apply to IRS filing failures and failures to furnish the correct statements (Copy B) to distribution recipients (payees)."
Prior-Period Adjustment in Transitioning to GASB Statement No. 68 (PDF)
Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company
7/1/2015 [Guidance Overview]

5 pages. "[GASB] Statement No. 68 became effective for employer fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2014 ... Incorporating the requirements of Statement No. 68 will be a significant change to pension accounting and reporting by state and local governments. The purpose of this memo is to assist governmental employers that sponsor or contribute to a pension plan by providing an overview of the prior-period adjustment necessary to transition their financial statements from Statement No. 27 to Statement No. 68."
PBGC Partition Rules Give Clear Guidance, Will Help Preserve Plans (PDF)
Bloomberg BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, via Pension Rights Center
7/1/2015

"The rules aren't burdensome and let endangered plans understand the procedures they must follow before the PBGC can use its authority to approve partitions, [said W. Andrew Douglass, of Polsinelli PC].... Thomas C. Nyhan, [Central States Pension Fund's] executive director, said the plan's trustees are currently reviewing the guidance and 'will be working expeditiously to develop a fair rescue plan. Once that has been completed, we will be filing that rescue plan with Treasury and notifying all of our pension fund participants. We expect for that to happen sometime this summer.' "
FASB to Address Net Pension Costs on Income Statements
Pensions & Investments
7/1/2015

"FASB members considered three modified alternatives for presenting net pension cost, with additional components such as service cost, interest cost and expected return on assets. The project will add service cost to the employer compensation costs already included in income statements. Cost components that are eligible to be capitalized would be limited to service cost. Companies would also have to disclose which other components are included, following guidelines that FASB officials are working on as part of a separate project on disclosure frameworks for defined benefit plans."
Three Retirement Loopholes That Are Likely to Close
TIME
7/1/2015

"President Obama's 2016 budget proposal suggests that future Roth conversions be limited to pre-tax money only, effectively killing most back-door Roths.... Most recent tax-related bills have included a provision to kill the stretch IRA and replace it with a law requiring beneficiaries other than spouses to withdraw the money within five years.... Obama's budget also proposed to eliminate 'aggressive' Social Security claiming strategies[.]"
CMS Publication: Explanation of Data Elements in the Issuer Risk Adjustment Transfer Report (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
7/1/2015 [Official Guidance]

Dated June 30, 2015. "This document provides a description of each data element provided in the Issuer Risk Adjustment (RA) Transfer Report. Data included in this report reflect amounts calculated based on the risk adjustment formulas outlined in regulation and is provided for informational purposes (78 FR 15410 and 45 CFR Part 153). They do not constitute specific obligations of Federal funds to any particular plan or issuer."
Summary of the Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions: Q1 2015 (PDF)
U.S. Census Bureau
7/1/2015

"For the 100 largest public-employee pension systems in the country, cash and security holdings totaled $3,397.8 billion in the first quarter of 2015, surpassing the all-time high of $3,365.4 billion set in the second quarter of 2014. Compared to the same quarter in 2014, assets for these major public pension systems increased 5.0 percent from $3,237.5 billion."
What Fiduciary Advocates Can Learn from SCOTUS Ruling on Marriage
Institute for the Fiduciary Standard
7/1/2015 [Opinion]

"The Administration's case for strengthening ERISA via the [DOL's] proposed conflict of interest rule is compelling. It quantifies the macro level harms in billions of dollars to millions of retirement account holders. Yet there is too little candid personal discussion from individual investors about their concerns. This silence is not because investors are unconcerned.... Deeply held views discourage open and personal discussion about personal finance just as discussion of sexual orientation was once considered taboo. Yet new attitudes have started to undermine old taboos."
Text of CMS Reinsurance Payment Report Job Aid (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
7/1/2015 [Official Guidance]

Dated June 30, 2015. "This document provides a description of each data element provided in the Issuer Reinsurance (RI) Report. Data included in this report reflect amounts calculated based on the risk adjustment formulas outlined in regulation and is provided for informational purposes ... They do not constitute specific obligations of Federal funds to any particular plan or issuer."
Text of SEC Memo: Extended Analysis of Potential Effect on Pay Ratio Disclosure of the Exclusion of Different Percentages of Employees (PDF)
Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]
7/1/2015

"In [Table 1 of] the original analysis, Staff considered the exclusion of different percentages of employees.... [This report extends that analysis] to show the effects of excluding percentages greater than 20%, and up to 95% (in 5% increments).... In the original analysis, Staff considered the exclusion of different percentages of employees under two scenarios: Scenario I (all excluded observations are below the median) and Scenario II (all excluded observations are above the median). [This report extends] Table 1 to show the effects of excluding percentages of employees under three intermediate scenarios[.]"
Law Expands Exemptions from Early Distribution Tax to Certain Federal Employees
Ascensus
7/1/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"President Barack Obama has signed into law the Defending Public Safety Employees' Retirement Act (H.R. 2146), which broadens the definition of 'qualified public safety employee' for purposes of exemption from the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from retirement plans, and adds federal defined contribution (DC) plans to this exemption."
Prompt Correction of Elective Deferral Errors Is Now Less Expensive
Pension Consultants, Inc.
7/1/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"The previous correction method for these types of errors was for the plan sponsor to make a contribution to each affected participant's account equal to 50% of the missed deferral opportunity plus any missed employer matching contribution plus earnings. The new method eliminates or reduces the required contribution for the missed deferral opportunity when the error is caught and corrected quickly."
Text of GASB Statement No. 73, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions and Related Assets That Are Not within the Scope of GASB Statement 68, and Amendments to Certain Provisions of GASB Statements 67 and 68
Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB]
7/1/2015 [Official Guidance]

140 pages. "This Statement establishes requirements for defined benefit pensions that are not within the scope of Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions, as well as for the assets accumulated for purposes of providing those pensions. In addition, it establishes requirements for defined contribution pensions that are not within the scope of Statement 68. It also amends certain provisions of Statement No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans, and Statement 68 for pension plans and pensions that are within their respective scopes. The requirements of this Statement extend the approach to accounting and financial reporting established in Statement 68 to all pensions, with modifications as necessary to reflect that for accounting and financial reporting purposes, any assets accumulated for pensions that are provided through pension plans that are not administered through trusts that meet the criteria specified in Statement 68 should not be considered pension plan assets."
Text of IRS Notice 2015-43: Interim Guidance under the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014 (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
6/30/2015 [Official Guidance]

9 pages. "This notice provides interim guidance on the application of certain provisions of the [ACA] to expatriate health insurance issuers, expatriate health plans, and employers in their capacity as plan sponsors of expatriate health plans, as defined in the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014 (EHCCA).... [T]he Departments have determined that issuers, employers, and plan sponsors need additional time and guidance to modify their current arrangements to comply with the EHCCA's requirements. Until the issuance of further guidance and except as otherwise provided in this notice, taxpayers are generally permitted to apply the requirements of the EHCCA using a reasonable good faith interpretation of the EHCCA. In particular, until the issuance of further guidance, treatment of an expatriate health plan, as defined in [ACA] Implementation FAQs Part XIII, Q&A-1, and FAQs XVIII, Q&A-6 and Q&A-7, as an expatriate health plan for purposes of the EHCCA is generally a reasonable good faith interpretation. However, these good faith rules do not apply with respect to the PCORI fee and the [ACA] section 9010 fee."
A Close Look at the Universe of ERISA-Regulated 403(b) Based on Their Form 5500 Audit Reports (PDF)
Investment Company Institute [ICI]
6/30/2015

54 pages. "In 2012, the average ERISA 403(b) plan offered 23 core investment options -- of those, about 10 were equity funds, three were bond funds, and seven were target date funds. Nearly all plans offered at least one equity and bond fund, about 70 percent of plans offered a suite of target date funds, and 84 percent offered fixed annuities.... [If] all investments in ERISA 403(b) plans are counted (no matter how small), ERISA 403(b) plans have an average of 41 investment options.... Mutual funds held 47 percent of ERISA 403(b) plan assets in 2012. Variable annuities held 27 percent of assets, and fixed annuities were 26 percent."
ACA and Narrow Networks
Healthcare Economist
6/30/2015

"[A]lthough only 36% of networks are narrow with respect to primary care physicians, for oncologists 59% of networks are narrow. Thus, access to high cost oncology services is more limited. It is not clear whether narrow networks are moving patients towards oncology specialist or simply reducing patient access to care."
Montgomery County, Maryland Passes Earned Sick and Safe Leave Bill
Proskauer's Law and the Workplace
6/30/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"All employees based or working in the County are entitled to accrue safe and sick leave at a rate of one [1] hour for every thirty [30] hours worked, subject to caps. The Bill provides that employers with five [5] or more employees must provide up to 56 hours per year of paid sick and safe leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five [5] employees are only required to provide up to 32 hours of paid sick and safe leave and twenty-four [24] hours of unpaid sick and safe leave per year.... Employers are permitted to decide whether to provide the entire balance of sick leave to employees at the beginning of the year or whether to provide the leave as it accrues throughout the year."
Should the 15-Year 403(b) Catch-Up Election Be Eliminated?
PLANSPONSOR
6/30/2015

"[T]he election is among the most difficult to calculate in the defined contribution arena, requiring contribution data for the entire working career of an individual employee.... 15-year catch-up calculations are one of the primary issues identified in IRS audits, and lack of compliance appears to be widespread; and ... legitimate utilization of the election is often low ... [M]ore and more plan sponsors who previously permitted the 15-year catch-up election have simply decided to eliminate it ... [It] is indeed an elective, and not a mandatory, plan provision, so it may be eliminated via plan amendment[.]"
Voya Restricts Variable Annuity Sales Under Regulatory Pressure
Investment News
6/30/2015

"As of Monday, Voya's 2,200 registered representatives are no longer allowed to sell a type of variable-annuity contract known as an 'L share' if the annuity contract includes riders ... L-shares typically charge higher ongoing fees in exchange for a shorter-than-normal period of time before clients can withdraw their premium payments or exchange their contracts without paying a surrender charge. They also can come with a rich compensation stream for broker-dealers and their affiliated financial advisers."
Interim Web Notice on Cross-Reference Changes to Parts 2560, 2570 and 2571 of DOL Regs
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]
6/30/2015 [Official Guidance]

"ERISA authorizes the Secretary of Labor to assess civil monetary penalties for certain statutory violations and to make certain other determinations. EBSA regulations specify the Department's procedures for such actions.... EBSA intends to amend its procedural regulations to update the cross-references. In the meantime, the chart below indicates the correct section of the OALJ rules that should be used in applying EBSA's procedural regulations. With the exception of the outdated cross-references, the EBSA rules cited above remain in effect."
Optimal Equity Glidepaths in Retirement
Christopher J. Rook, via SSRN
6/30/2015

"The optimal static retirement glidepath would be the one that performs better than all others with respect to some metric. When systematic withdrawals are made from a retirement portfolio, glidepaths are often assessed via the probability of ruin (or success). Our goal here is to derive the optimal static glidepath with respect to this metric. It is a result new to the literature and the shape will be of special interest to retirees, financial advisors, retirement researchers, and target-date fund providers."
The Uncertain Effect of Obamacare on Employer Sponsorship of Health Plans
National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog
6/30/2015 [Opinion]

"Before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, many experts anticipated that it would lead to a hemorrhaging of employer-based benefits, as businesses and their employees figured out that going into ObamaCare's exchanges would reduce their net tax burden. Unfortunately, the data so far are inconsistent and even contradictory."
Text of SEC Guidance on Definition of the Terms 'Spouse' and 'Marriage' After Windsor
Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]
6/30/2015 [Official Guidance]

"[T]he Commission will read the terms 'spouse' and 'marriage,' where they appear in the federal securities statutes administered by the Commission, the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, releases, orders, and any guidance issued by the staff or the Commission, to include, respectively, [1] an individual married to a person of the same sex if the couple is lawfully married under state law, regardless of the individual's domicile, and [2] such a marriage between individuals of the same sex. This guidance is consistent with Windsor[.]"
The Hows, Whys, and Right and Wrong Way to Use Asset Allocation
Fiduciary News
6/30/2015

"Perhaps asset allocation isn't what we think it is. Perhaps asset allocation is, and always has been, something more subtle, more instinctual, then we have imagined in these past few decades. Maybe there's a reason to keep asset allocation around that has nothing to do with the way it's thought of today, but harks back to an earlier era."
Five Lingering Threats to Obamacare
The Hill
6/30/2015

"[1] Repeal ... [2] Marketplaces failing ... [3] Rising costs ... [4] Enrollment challenges ... [5] Another lawsuit."
Supreme Court to Consider ERISA Implications of Vermont Health Care Claims Database
Bloomberg BNA
6/30/2015

"Vermont argued that these types of databases -- which several states use to collect information from medical providers and insurance companies -- are useful in shaping health-care policy, evaluating existing health-care programs and improving the quality and affordability of patient care. VHCURES hit a roadblock in 2014, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a split ruling striking the program down as preempted by ERISA. According to the two-judge majority, VHCURES placed a significant burden on reporting, which the majority called a 'core ERISA function'." [Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. (2d Cir. Feb. 4, 2014, cert. pet. granted June 29, 2015)]
Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave: Final Regs Issued
Proskauer's Law and the Workplace
6/30/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"The ballot measure originally required employees only to make a good faith effort to give advance notice of foreseeable use of paid sick leave. However, the regulations now clarify that employees must give notice, except in particular situations in which advance notice might be infeasible. For unforeseeable absences, the employee must give notice that is reasonable under the circumstances."
Public Workers' Reliance on DC Plans Grows (PDF)
PIMCO
6/30/2015

"[S]tates and localities are beginning to place more emphasis on supplemental DC plans or hybrid plans as a complement or replacement to DB, while a few states have made the full switch to primary DC plans.... [M]ore public plan sponsors are considering automatic enrollment and other design improvements. While state and local DC plans are commonly referred to as 'supplemental savings' programs, their role is increasing as they are called to cover a growing share of retirement financing and medical costs."
Restating Your Preapproved Plan Document: Opportunities and Pitfalls
Verrill Dana LLP
6/30/2015

"[T]he restatement of a preapproved plan document presents opportunities both to identify existing administrative problems and avoid future problems.... Preserve the Plan Design.... Do Not Ignore Administrative Terms ... Cross Check Payroll and Other Operations.... 'Preapproved' does not mean 'guaranteed to work.' So invest the time now to make sure the documents say what they should."
U.S. Supreme Court Says 'Regular Review' of ERISA Investments Required
Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center
6/30/2015

"Although the [Tibble v. Edison Int'l] Court did not elaborate on what it viewed to be the scope of an ERISA plan fiduciary's duty to monitor, the plaintiffs' bar is already seizing on the ruling as a potential basis for asserting new claims based on a failure to monitor prudently plan investments and other plan functions. Thus, plan fiduciaries are advised to establish a thoughtful and appropriate procedure for monitoring plan investment options, to diligently follow that procedure when monitoring plan investment options, and to make and preserve a written record reflecting that they followed their procedure in every regard."
Same-Sex Marriage: A Practical Guide for Employers
Goldberg Segalla
6/30/2015

"While issues will continue to arise, here are a number of things all employers should consider: Employee handbooks ... Taxes ... Health insurance ... Other benefits ... COBRA ... FMLA ... Pensions, qualified retirement accounts, and IRAs."
The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: Key Employee Benefits Take-Aways
Ogletree Deakins
6/30/2015

"State insurance laws may require insurance carriers to offer same-sex spouses the same coverage and benefits that they offer to opposite-sex spouses.... A self-funded medical plan that is not subject to state insurance laws, but is subject to non-discrimination laws, may be required to cover same-sex spouses if the plan covers opposite-sex spouses.... Same-sex spouses would ... be able to obtain Qualified Domestic Relations Orders assigning portions of retirement plan accounts to current or former spouses or to the children of the same-sex marriage.... Same-sex couples will be able to adopt children as couples ... so benefit plans that provide coverage to adopted children of an employee will cover the children of the family.... Children of a same-sex spouse probably will be step-children of the employee and entitled to benefits offered to step-children."
PBGC Prescribes Program for Mulltiemployer Plan Partitions to Promote Preservation (PDF)
Buck Consultants at Xerox
6/30/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"PBGC sets out the application process and notice requirement for partitioning multiemployer plans. PBGC intends to provide guidance on facilitated mergers in a separate rulemaking. PBGC expects that fewer than 20 plans will be approved for partition over the next three years and that the total financial assistance they will provide will be less than $60 million per year."
Multiemployer Plan Benefit Suspension Guidance Is Here (PDF)
Buck Consultants at Xerox
6/30/2015 [Guidance Overview]

"Plans with 10,000 or more participants must select a retiree representative -- a plan participant in pay status ... [who] advocates for the interests of the retired and deferred vested participants and beneficiaries of the plan throughout the suspension approval process.... Notice of proposed suspension must be provided, via written or electronic delivery, to all participants, beneficiaries, alternate payees, each employer with an obligation to contribute, and each employee organization representing plan participants for collective bargaining purposes[.]"

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