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<< Older News  |  April 10, 2021


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Is Participant Data a Plan Asset? Another Court Says No
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"The Court noted that ... courts otherwise look to 'ordinary notions of property rights under non-ERISA law' in considering plan assets questions. Applying [that] standard, the Court indicated it was unable to conclude that participant data amounted to an ERISA plan asset." [Harmon v. Shell Oil Co., No. 20-021 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2021)]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Administration

COBRA Subsidy Effects on Severance Programs and Employee Separations
Frost Brown Todd LLC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 9, 2021

"Employers that pay for a terminated employee's COBRA premiums as part of a severance program should understand that in most cases, during the next six months, this will no longer be a benefit which can serve as adequate consideration for a release of claims.... Employers should review recent and current severance and separation issues and implement [certain] changes."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What's the Impact of Recordkeeper Consolidation?
American Retirement Association [ARA] Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"Roughly two-thirds [of] respondents had worked with recordkeepers undergoing consolidation as the consolidate ... 47% -- Some clients converted, others looked for/found a new provider. 19% -- Clients converted without incident. 17% -- Clients considered alternatives, but converted. 11% -- Clients converted -- but it was rough. 6% -- Clients moved to another provider."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

Text of EBSA Notice of the Availability of the Model Health Care Continuation Coverage Notices Required by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Apr. 9, 2021

"These model documents include an ARP General Notice, a Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods, an Alternative Notice, and a Notice of Expiration of Period of Premium Assistance.... [T]he Department also developed a Summary of ARP requirements to include the following supplemental disclosures, which should be included with the ARP General Notice, the Alternative Notice, and the Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods: [1] A summary of the ARP's premium assistance provisions. [2] A form to request the premium assistance under the ARP. [3] A form for an individual to use to satisfy the ARP's requirement to notify the plan (or issuer) that the individual is eligible for other group health plan coverage (other than coverage consisting of only excepted benefits, coverage under a health FSA, or coverage under a QSEHRA) or that the individual is eligible for Medicare.

'Each model notice is designed for a particular group of qualified beneficiaries. When provided in combination with these supplemental disclosures, these model documents contain all of the information needed to satisfy the content requirements for the ARP's notice provisions."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Immediate Employer Action Required as DOL Issues Guidance, Model Notices for ARPA COBRA Subsidies
McAfee & Taft Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 9, 2021

"[1] You should notify affected individuals of the one-year COBRA extension ... [2] For those [who lost] coverage between April 1, 2021 [and] September 30, 2021, you need to give them a notice regarding the free COBRA ... [3] You need to send a notice by May 31, 2021 to qualifying individuals who had a COBRA event before April 1, 2021 -- including expired COBRA participants ... [4] Free COBRA reimbursed directly to the employer ... [5] No one-year extension of deadline to elect free COBRA."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA

Employer Gets Whacked on Workers' Comp, FMLA Overlap
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"FMLA leave can run concurrently with a workers' compensation leave, or with paid sick leave.... It's a good idea to get the FMLA clock running right away. Although you are not required to let FMLA and other leaves run concurrently, it is to your advantage to do so." [Ramji v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC, No. 19-13461 (11th Cir. Apr. 6, 2021)]

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave

District Court Holds Montana's Slayer Statute Is Not Preempted by ERISA
Roberts Disability Law Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"The court noted that this issue has not been addressed by Montana's Supreme Court nor the 9th Circuit. It also noted, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court ... explained that the underlying principle of slayer statutes and their uniformity across jurisdictions, leaned toward a finding that ERISA does not preempt such laws." [Hartford Life Ins. Co. v. LeCou, No. 19-017 (D. Mont. Apr. 8, 2021)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Pennsylvania Pension System Officials Disclose Federal Probe
WHYY Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"Officials atop Pennsylvania's largest public pension system have received subpoenas from federal investigators, although the $64 billion Public School Employees' Retirement System has yet to publicly discuss the nature or scope of the newly disclosed inquiry."

Tags: State and Local Government Plans

Updated IRS Publication 590-B Provides Insights on Post-Death RMD Rules After the SECURE Act
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 9, 2021

"While we await proposed regulations ... to reflect the significant changes made to the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules under the SECURE Act, the 2020 IRS Publication 590-B for IRA distributions gives us a look into the current IRS thinking. It also has a nice summary of the disaster relief provisions that apply to IRAs."

Tags: Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)  •  SECURE Act

DOL Urged to Give Retirement Plans Cybersecurity Guidance
Mercer Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"GAO recommends DOL formally state that plan fiduciaries are legally responsible for mitigating cybersecurity risks. GAO also calls on DOL to issue cybersecurity guidance detailing specific steps for plans to protect participant accounts and personally identifiable information (PII)."

Tags: Cybersecurity  •  Retirement Plan Administration

DOL Takes First Bite at COBRA Subsidy Guidance
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 9, 2021

"The guidance does not specifically address the deadline to send updated COBRA election notices describing the subsidies for individuals with qualifying events on or after April 1, 2021 ... The election of subsidized COBRA coverage does not cut off an individual's pre-existing COBRA election right if it was extended under the Joint Relief and EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA

Millions Speed Up Retirement in Pandemic
Treasury & Risk; free registration required Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"More than 3.1 million Americans age 55 or older plan to apply for Social Security benefits earlier than they once thought because of the pandemic ... 1.4 million people in the same age group [anticipate] working longer ... The upshot is a net 1.7 million early retirements ... The shift may prove especially significant for some regions."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design

Retirees in Profile: Evaluating Five Distinct Lifestyles in Retirement
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"Factors such as available assets and income in retirement, debt, health status, marital status, and even gender impact retirement needs and outcomes. What are the common profiles of retirees, and what can we learn from them?"

Tags: Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Retirement Plan Design

DOL Issues FAQs, Model Notices for ARPA COBRA Premium Assistance
Ballard Spahr LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 9, 2021

"[T]he FAQs offer no specific guidance on the coordination of the COBRA subsidy with severance plans ... Similarly, the guidance is silent as to what constitutes an involuntary termination of employment."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA

Agencies Release FAQs Implementing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Requirements Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act
Faegre Drinker Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 9, 2021

"[The FAQs] provide a detailed list of information that, at a minimum, must be included in the comparative analysis for each NQTL. The Departments note that the list of minimum required content 'closely aligns' with guidance that the DOL has previously provided in the form of the Self-Compliance Tool for the MHPAEA[.]"

Tags: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Health Plan Administration

Alaska Supreme Court Grants Access for Some to Shuttered DB Plans
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"The court's decision found that the state violated the Alaska Constitution when it repealed the statutes of the $22.1 billion Alaska Public Employees' Retirement System and $10.4 billion Alaska Teachers' Retirement System, allowing for reinstatement in those plans." [Metcalfe v. State of Alaska, No. 7512 (Alaska Apr. 2, 2021)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  State and Local Government Plans

Virginia Enacts New Paid Sick Leave Law for Home Health Workers
Littler Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 9, 2021

"The new law requires all employers that employ a 'home health worker' to provide such employees with paid sick leave.... [P]aid sick leave begins to accrue when employment begins, at a rate of at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Denial of Autism Care Coverage Can Breach ERISA Duty
DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C. Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"[T]he court found: 'On its face, the ABA/IBT exclusion creates a separate treatment limitation applicable only to services for a mental health condition (Autism).' ... Although UnitedHealth's final argument was that the Parity Act addresses limitations rather than exclusions, the court rejected UnitedHealth's position, deeming it a distinction without a difference. " [Doe v. United Behavioral Health, No. 19-7316 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2021)]

Tags: Health Plan Design

Eleventh Circuit: One Party's Attorney Can't Be Held Personally Liable for the Other Party's Attorney Fees under ERISA
Thomson Reuters Practical Law Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"The [district] court directed the claimant's attorney, rather than the claimant herself, to pay the fees to the insurer, because the attorney was responsible for prolonging the litigation of moot arguments despite having 30 years of ERISA experience.... [T]he Eleventh Circuit [overturned, stating] that interpreting ERISA's attorney's fee provision to allow an award of fees against a lawyer would circumvent existing procedures for sanctioning attorney misconduct." [Peer v. Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, No. 19-13974 (11th Cir. Apr. 6, 2021)]

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

A Policy Anniversary Is Not a Renewal Date for Purposes of Triggering Statutory Ban on Discretionary Clauses
Kantor & Kantor Link to more items from this source
Apr. 8, 2021

"[T]he Eighth Circuit [held] that [1] a policy anniversary is not a renewal and thus is insufficient to trigger a State ban on discretion and [2] absent evidence of insufficient training or experience, an opinion from a nurse constitutes a full and fair review." [Roebuck v. USAble Life, No. 19-1855 (8th Cir. Apr. 1, 2021)]

Tags: Health Plan Administration

New Wisconsin Law Regulates PBM and Other Stakeholders Involved in Drug Pricing
Quarles & Brady LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 8, 2021

"The Act requires a PBM to obtain a license from OCI under the licensure framework that currently applies to employee benefit plan administrators ... The Act specifies that a PBM must submit an annual report to OCI that contains the aggregate rebate amount that the PBM received from all pharmaceutical manufacturers but retained and did not pass through to health benefit plan sponsors and the percentage of the aggregate rebate amount that is retained rebates."

Tags: Local Regulation  •  Prescription Drug Costs

ARPA to the Rescue: Direct Assistance Available for Multiemployer and Single-Employer Pension Plans
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 8, 2021

"For multiemployer plans, ARPA provides for direct financial assistance without a repayment obligation. It also provides opportunities to extend funding zone status, retain funding improvement and rehabilitation plans, and modify existing liability amortization requirements. For single-employer plans, ARPA also provides some limited funding relief."

Tags: ARPA  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans

DOL Offers Guidance on How to Keep Track of Your Plan Participants, Part 1 (PDF)
Boutwell Fay LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 8, 2021

"Some of the suggestions on the DOL's list ... can be quite effective. While this guidance does not create a safe harbor for plan fiduciaries, a showing that the plan followed the DOL's best practices would certainly be helpful if a question about missing participants is raised on examination."

Tags: Lost/Missing Participants  •  Retirement Plan Administration

DOL Issues Guidance on COBRA Subsidy
Graydon Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 8, 2021

"One of the most important questions answered by the new FAQs helped address how the subsidy interacts with the previous guidance providing extensions to elect COBRA or pay for COBRA coverage.... The FAQs further clarified that the subsidy election period does not cut off an individual's pre-existing right to elect COBRA continuation coverage, including under the extended time frames provided under the Joint Notice and [EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01]."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Model ARPA COBRA Notices Have Arrived!
Jackson Lewis P.C. Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 8, 2021

"While this guidance answers important questions on the administration of the subsidies, it does not ... cover important nuances such as what is an 'involuntary termination' in order to qualify for subsidized coverage, how existing separation agreement commitments to subsidize COBRA should be viewed, or details on how the corresponding payroll tax credit will work."

Tags: ARPA  •  COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)

<< Older News  |  April 10, 2021

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