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<< Older News  |  May 30, 2020


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Tracking Telehealth Changes State-By-State in Response to COVID-19
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"All 50 states plus Washington, D.C., have introduced licensure flexibilities ... 40 states plus Washington, D.C., offer behavioral health services through telehealth. 32 states plus Washington, D.C., offer occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy services through telehealth.... 11 states have issued telehealth guidance for Child Well-care ... 13 states have issued guidance to providers to allow for telehealth or remote care delivery for early childhood intervention services."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Design

Retiree Health Cost Estimates for 2020
Milliman's Healthcare Town Hall Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2020 is projected to spend approximately $351,000 in today's dollars ($535,000 in future dollars) on healthcare over their lifetime. Expenses at age 85 are estimated to be 234% higher than that at age 65.... A healthy 45-year-old couple is projected to spend approximately $505,000 in today's dollars ($1.4 million in future dollars) on healthcare over their lifetime."

Tags: Health Plan Costs  •  Medicare  •  Retiree Health Plans

An Answer to Local Taxation of Non-Qualified SERP Benefits in Ohio
Findley Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"Ohio House Bill 166 ... clarifies the definitions of 'pension' and 'retirement benefit plan'. This prevents cities from defining such terms in their tax ordinances to require taxation of non-qualified pensions and retirement benefits. All pensions and benefits paid out of a retirement benefit plan are exempt from local taxes if the benefits meet [certain] criteria ... [W]hether paid by a qualified or non-qualified plan, if these criteria are met, the benefits are retirement plan benefits exempt from local taxes in Ohio."

Tags: Nonqualified Plans

DOL Greenlights Electronic Delivery of ERISA Documents
Nixon Peabody LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 29, 2020

"Plan sponsors and administrators who wish to use the new safe harbor would need to send paper notices to all individuals they wish to cover by it. The DOL provided no exception for individuals who have been receiving information electronically. Thus, every sponsor and administrator would be affected by this new requirement, unless they want to stick with the pre-existing safe harbor or expensive and burdensome paper notification. After the initial push, however, it should be smooth sailing."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

DOL's Long-Awaited Electronic Disclosure Rule for ERISA Retirement Plans Is Finally Here!
Ballard Spahr LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 29, 2020

"[T]he new E-Disclosure Final Rule does not apply to documents within the jurisdiction of the IRS such as 401(k) plan safe harbor notices, ERISA 204(h) notices, special tax notices relating to plan distributions and notices to interested parties required in connection with IRS determination letter filings. The IRS has indicated that it intends to issue additional guidance regarding the electronic delivery of participant notices required under the Internal Revenue Code, thus plan sponsors should keep an eye out for this new guidance."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

New COVID-19 Section 125 Plan Guidance: The Possible and the Impossible
MZQ Consulting, LLC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 29, 2020

"This guidance is OPTIONAL. Employers don't have to do any of it unless they want to! If they do want to take advantage of it, it's not an all or nothing proposition.... The Health FSA carry-over relief in Notice 2020-29 isn't all that extensive, and it is a bit confusing. When you layer it with the claim's deadline extension ... the relief becomes more meaningful. It also gets trickier to explain and calculate."

Tags: Cafeteria Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Dependent Care  •  Health Plan Administration

IRS Offers Relief to Cafeteria Plans, HDHPs, Individual-Coverage HRAs (PDF)
Mercer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 29, 2020

"Employers adopting any of the pandemic relief's options should be mindful of the nondiscrimination rules for cafeteria plans and watch for unintended compliance failures that could result.... To reduce the possibility of adverse selection, employers may decide to limit the election changes allowed or not to offer any of new options under the relief. Any limitations, however, need to comply with the [HIPAA] rules that prohibit discriminating on the basis of health status."

Tags: Cafeteria Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Dependent Care  •  HRAs  •  HSAs

Don't Want to Make Safe Harbor Contributions for Your HCEs After All? Here's a Fix (or Two)
DWC Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"Although Joe and Carole are both HCEs (as well as key employees) who could be excluded from safe harbor contributions, the plan document must specifically provide for their exclusion. Since the current document does not exclude them, the company is required to fund the contribution for them the same as any other eligible participant.... Are there any options or reprieve available when it comes to contributions for HCEs and key employees? Can't they just retroactively amend their plan to eliminate the contribution requirement for themselves? They can 'discriminate' against themselves, right? Short answer(s) -- not officially."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Survey Results: DC Plan Response to CARES Act Varies by Industry and Recordkeeper
Callan Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"21% of the DC plan respondents had taken some type of workforce action, including salary reductions, layoffs, or furloughs. A third of recordkeepers added the capability for coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) across all the plans they served, and required sponsors to opt out if they did not want to offer this option.... 53% of recordkeepers automatically waived minimum required distributions ... 64% of recordkeepers had already instituted DC plan loan deferment provisions ... The vast majority of sponsors said they had no plans to suspend or reduce their matching contribution."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration

District Court Allows Fiduciary Duty and Mental Health Parity Claims Against TPA
Thomson Reuters / EBIA Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"Following the denial of residential mental health treatment benefits for a self-insured health plan participant's child, the child's parents sued the plan and the third-party administrator (TPA) that processed the plan's claims.... [T]he TPA argued that even if it was a fiduciary, it could not be held liable for a monetary award representing the recovery of unpaid benefits. Acknowledging this general principle, the court nevertheless pointed out that while recovery of unpaid benefits may be the parents' primary goal, other forms of relief may be available." [Daniel R. v. UMR, No. 19-069 (D. Utah Mar. 12, 2020)]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Health Plan Administration

Arizona Sends Legislation to Governor to Adopt NAIC Annuity Sales Model Regulation
Insured Retirement Institute [IRI] Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"The Arizona House of Representatives voted 36-24 to approve the measure ... The alignment of federal and state regulation mitigates against conflicting rules for financial professionals who provide important advice and products to consumers. Arizona's new regulation,like the NAIC model and Reg BI, preserves consumers' choice of the financial professional and products that best meets their needs."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

Editor's Pick Public Retirement Systems and the Pandemic: A Coming Wave of COLA Litigation?
Fox Rothschild LLP Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"Reducing COLAs after 2008 led to widespread litigation. Another round of COLA reductions is likely to lead to further litigation.... What is the central claim being raised in COLA litigation? ... What is the key consideration involving Contract Clause claims? ... What happens in states where courts have not adopted the three-part U.S. Trust test? ... What happens in states with a pension clause in the state constitution? ... What COLA litigation may arise as a result of COVID-19? ... What other lessons emerged from prior COLA litigation?"

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  State and Local Government Plans

Philadelphia Councilmembers Propose Expansion of Emergency Sick Leave
ReedSmith Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"This proposed bill for public health emergency leave will cover any employees (including health care providers, emergency workers, caregivers, gig economy workers, and undocumented workers) during a declared public health emergency who perform work for an employer and are physically present at the workplace for at least 40 hours per year.... This bill would essentially increase the number of paid sick days an employee would receive from five to 14 days, and would allow workers to use the days immediately rather than waiting for them to accrue."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FFCRA  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

April 15, 1981: A Snapshot in Retirement Policy History
Elizabeth Bauer, in Forbes Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"It's no surprise that politicians and number-crunchers were worried about Social Security in 1981, and state and local governments have been kicking the can with respect to their pension funds for far longer than these 39 years. But it's startling that even on a wholly arbitrary day, there's so much material to illustrate this. And it's still important to bear in mind how very longstanding these issues are when debating them now."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  State and Local Government Plans

BlackRock's New ESG Priority May Be About Collecting More Fees
Institute for Pension Fund Integrity [IPFI] Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"BlackRock has been moving to redefine its identity from a firm focused on index investing to a firm that emphasizes ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) investing. However, one organization argues that this move is less about doing something good for investors and more about enabling BlackRock to charge more in management fees."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investment Costs  •  Retirement Plan Investments  •  Retirement Plan Investments - ESGs

Low-Income Workers' Eligibility for Emergency Paid Family Leave
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] Link to more items from this source
May 29, 2020

"This brief estimates eligibility for the emergency paid family leave program under different participation scenarios, providing information to human services organizations and others about the potential benefits of outreach to lower income parents and their employers about the program. It focuses in particular on poor and low-income working parents and small businesses."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave

Text of IRS Notice 2020-35: Relief with Respect to Deadlines Applicable to Employment Taxes, Employee Benefits, and Exempt Organizations Affected by the Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
May 29, 2020

"[T]he revised deadline for an Affected Taxpayer to perform a Time-Sensitive Action ... is July 15, 2020, unless a different revised deadline is specified ...

"The Time-Sensitive Actions [include] ...

  • Application for a funding waiver under section 412(c) for a defined benefit pension plan that is not a multiemployer plan....
  • With respect to a multiemployer defined benefit pension plan, actions due to be performed on or before the dates described in: 
    • Section 432(b)(3) for the certification of funded status and the notice to interested parties of that certification.
    • Sections 432(c)(1) and 432(e)(1) for the adoption of, and the notification to the bargaining parties of the schedules under, a funding improvement plan or rehabilitation plan.
    • Sections 432(c)(6) and 432(e)(3) for the annual update of a funding improvement plan and its contribution schedules, or rehabilitation plan and its contribution schedules, and the filing of those updates with the Form 5500 annual return....
  •     Filing of Form 5330 and payment of the associated excise taxes....
  • With respect to the remedial amendment period and plan amendment rules for section 403(b) plans described in Rev. Proc. 2017-18 and Rev. Proc. 2019-39, actions that are otherwise required to be performed on or before March 31, 2020, with respect to form defects or plan amendments. The deadline for those actions is postponed to June 30, 2020 ...
  • With respect to pre-approved defined benefit plans, the deadline for the following actions is postponed until July 31, 2020:
    • Adoption of a pre-approved defined benefit plan that was approved based on the 2012 Cumulative List; 
    • Submission of a determination letter application under the second six-year remedial amendment cycle; and
    • Actions that are otherwise required to be performed with respect to disqualifying provisions during the remedial amendment period that would otherwise end on April 30, 2020....
  • With respect to a compliance statement issued under VCP, implementation of all corrective actions, including adoption of corrective amendments, required by the compliance statement....
  • Request for approval of a substitute mortality table in accordance with section 430(h)(3)(C)....
  • With respect to the Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information, Form 5498-ESA, Coverdell ESA Contribution Information, and the Form 5498-SA, HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA Information, the due date for filing and furnishing the forms is postponed to August 31, 2020."

Tags: 403(b) Plans and Annuities  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  HSAs  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)  •  Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)  •  Reporting to Government Agencies  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Amendments

DOL eDisclosure Regs Provide Reduction in Paper and Mailing Costs -- But No Guarantee That Documents Have Been Read per Intel Decision
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 28, 2020

"[T]hese new eDisclosure Regs don't replace the original eDisclosure Regs issued on April 9, 2002, but rather provide additional options for plan sponsors. This FlashPoint will review the new final rules, and will also discuss how eDisclosure meets (or doesn't meet) the 'actual knowledge' standard set up by the Supreme Court in the Intel Case for purposes of starting the statute of limitations on lawsuits for fiduciary breach."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Administration

COVID-19 Relief for Retirement Benefits: Open Issues
Albert Feuer, via SSRN Link to more items from this source
May 28, 2020

"[D]espite recent IRS and DOL guidance there are still major outstanding issues preventing Covid-19 victims from obtaining better access to their own accrued benefits, when they are most in need of such access, and may impose undue compliance costs or risks on plan sponsors and administrators."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration

How to Plan for a Virtual Benefits Open Enrollment
Tango Health Link to more items from this source
May 28, 2020

"Provide an on-demand HR experience via technology.... Execute a quality virtual benefits fair.... Invest in quality decision support and educational tools.... Proactively personalize communications based on history."

Tags: Health Plan Administration

Health Insurers Don't Need Federal 'Risk Corridors'
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Link to more items from this source
May 28, 2020

"The 'risk corridor' provisions that were added at the last minute to the House-passed Heroes Act would provide an unnecessary benefit for health insurers and do not merit inclusion in the next COVID-19 relief bill. With no indication that health insurers' net costs are rising due to the pandemic, even well-designed risk corridors should be a low priority for federal legislation compared to other, far more urgent needs. But features of the House bill provisions provide a subsidy to insurers, with minimal benefit to consumers."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Costs  •  Health Plan Policy

COBRA, HIPAA, and Claim Deadline Extensions are Optional for State and Local Governmental Group Health Plans
Miller Johnson Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 28, 2020

"Some governmental entities may choose not to extend any of these deadlines due to administrative challenges that may arise from allowing participants and beneficiaries a significantly longer time to request enrollment following a HIPAA special enrollment event, provide the required COBRA notifications, pay COBRA premiums, or submit benefit claims and appeals. Governmental entities that do voluntarily extend some or all of these deadlines should confirm that its carrier (if fully insured) or stop-loss carrier (if self-funded) will honor these extensions, especially since these deadline extensions are optional."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  State and Local Government Plans

DOL and IRS Extend Deadlines for Employee Benefit Plans and Plan Participants
Slevin & Hart, P.C. Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 28, 2020

"Notwithstanding the relief provided to plan fiduciaries in the guidance, the Notice reiterates that plan fiduciaries have an ongoing fiduciary duty to act reasonably, prudently, and in the interest of participants. The DOL notes that plans should make reasonable accommodations to prevent the loss of benefits or undue delay in benefits payments, and particularly reduce the risk of participants losing benefits because of the plan's failure to comply with pre-established timeframes."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

COVID-19 Effects on Executive Compensation in Private Companies: Deferred Compensation
Murphy Austin Link to more items from this source
May 28, 2020

"[U]nlike hardship distributions from 401(k) plans, there are no safe harbor rules that an employer may rely on, when determining whether an Executive experienced an unforeseeable emergency... [To] permit a distribution, the deferred compensation must be needed because the Executive has no other resources to use such as savings or ceasing elective deferrals into the deferred compensation plan or a 401(k) plan. Therefore, it will likely be difficult for an Executive to meet this burden, and get a distribution, especially if there is money available under a 401(k) plan or the emergency can be met by ceasing deferrals to the 401(k) plan and the deferred compensation plan."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Nonqualified Plans

IRS Proposed Regs Address Tax Withholding on Certain Periodic Retirement and Annuity Payments
Holland & Knight Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 28, 2020

"The proposed regulations are intended to provide a flexible and administrable rule that leaves the communication of the default rate of withholding on periodic payments to be determined by the IRS in applicable forms, instructions, publications and other guidance. The proposed rule would apply to periodic payments made after Dec. 31, 2020, but taxpayers may rely on these rules until the date of publication of a Treasury Decision adopting this proposed rule as a final regulation. Public comments may be submitted to the IRS electronically by July 27, 2020."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

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