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401(k) Features That Need Tweaking
Fiduciary News; free registration required Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"[1] Clearer fee disclosure.... [2] Make it easier and less costly to access cash.... [3] Remove brokerage options.... [4] Replace employer-centric accounts with employee-centric accounts.... [5] Non-retirement plan integration.... [6] Clarify scope of ERISA preemption."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design

SECURE 2.0 Provides New Optional In-Service Withdrawal Right for Domestic Abuse Victims
Bricker Graydon Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 6, 2023

"Plan participants who self-certify as a victim of domestic abuse may make an eligible distribution within a one-year period beginning on any date on which the individual is a victim of abuse by a spouse or domestic partner.... Amounts withdrawn may be paid back into the plan within a three-year period, beginning on the day following the distribution. If the amount is repaid within that three-year period, the income tax will be refunded on the repaid money."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Misc. Distribution Issues

Court Allows Breach of Contract Claims Involving Alleged HIPAA Business Associate Agreement Violations to Proceed
Thomson Reuters Practical Law Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"The litigation resulted after the covered entity's confidential data, which included protected health information (PHI), maintained on a service provider's obsolete server was impermissibly accessed by a third party." [Aspen Am. Ins. Co. v. Blackbaud, Inc., No. 22-0044 (N.D. Ind. May 31, 2023)]

Tags: HIPAA

Captive Health Insurance and Prescription Drug Costs
Assured Partners Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"Employers and consultants must [1] engage in conversation about prescription drugs, hold proactive and meaningful conversations with Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) concerning the goals of health plans, and then measure performance to those goals.... [2] Use an aggressive quantity-fill program for specialty medications ... [3] Implement plan language to take advantage of manufacturer and foundation financial support ... [4] Implement a program tied to your refill process that manages the members' adherence to the prescribed drug."

Tags: Prescription Drug Costs

How Accurately Do People Perceive Their Retirement Preparedness?
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"Most households in the National Retirement Risk Index have a good sense of whether they are on track for retirement: 40 percent are in good shape and know it. 20 percent are in trouble and know it. The rest are either 'not worried enough' or 'too worried.' Those 'not worried enough' are more likely to have higher incomes and may misjudge how much their assets can provide. While this group is in the most danger of saving too little, even those who do recognize they are in trouble may not act unless prodded."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design

NLRB General Counsel Memo: Non-Competes Violate the National Labor Relations Act
National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 6, 2023

"[Memorandum GC 23-08] explains that overbroad non-compete agreements are unlawful because they chill employees from exercising their rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects employees' rights to take collective action to improve their working conditions.... General Counsel Abruzzo explains that in some cases, noncompete agreements could be lawful if the provisions clearly restrict only individuals' managerial or ownership interests in a competing business, or true independent-contractor relationships."

Tags: Executive comp

How Employers Can Help Employees Who Are Delaying Necessary or Preventive Care
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"Ask why employees are delaying care.... Acknowledge the impact of mental health.  ... Improve access to care where barriers exist.  ... Create a culture that encourages receiving care.  ... Address the lack of available appointments."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Design

An Early Look at What Drove 2022's Health Care Spending Slowdown
Health Affairs Forefront Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"[This article uses Altarum's monthly Health Sector Economic Indicators (HSEI)] data to analyze 2022 health spending, break down trends by payer and by price/utilization components, and compare the health spending totals to what health spending was forecasted to be based on prior CMS projections."

Tags: Health Plan Costs

Things to Know About Employer-Provided Coverage (PDF)
America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP] Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"[1] Over 180 million Americans served ... [2] Americans like their employer-provided coverage ... [3] Affordable and accessible care ... [4] Access to mental health support ... [5] Increased access to care through telehealth ... [6] Health & financial security through supplemental coverage ... [7] Protecting employer-provided coverage."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Health Plan Policy

Long Term Part Time Employees Impact Retirement Plans Beginning in 2024
Watkins Ross Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 6, 2023

"Participants solely eligible due to the LTPT rules may be excluded from the nondiscrimination and coverage testing.... If as a Plan Sponsor you choose to include this group for any Employer contribution, their vesting is based on a service year of 500 hours, including years prior to 2021.... Once a LTPT employee enters the plan, they continue to be eligible even if their hours drop in future years."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  SECURE 2.0

Justice Department to District Court: DOL ESG Rule Is 'Product of Reasoned Decision Making'
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"The rule ... 'falls comfortably within the department's statutory authority,' the Justice Department said in [a] June 2 filing ... [In] promulgating the new rule, 'DOL reaffirmed, consistent with ERISA's statutory text, that fiduciaries' exclusive purpose must be to secure financial benefits for plan participants and beneficiaries, and that this purpose may never be subordinated to unrelated goals,' the Justice Department added." [Utah v. Su, No. 23-00016, (N.D. Tex. defendant's memorandum filed Jun. 2, 2023)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments - ESG  •  Retirement Plan Policy

CRS In Focus: The Federal Employee Paid Parental Leave Benefit
Congressional Research Service [CRS] Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 6, 2023

"This In Focus provides an overview of the federal employee paid parental leave benefit created by the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) ... The benefit is available to most civilian federal employees and allows for the substitution of up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) for unpaid leave guaranteed by the [FMLA], which can be used for the arrival of the employee's new child by birth, adoption, or foster care placement and for bonding with that child." [IF12420 Jun. 5, 2023]

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Federal Government Plans

District Court Denies Employer's 'Injury-In-Fact' Challenge to Withdrawal Liability
Proskauer Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"The defendants argued that, as a result of the financial support provided under [the Bipartisan American Miners Act ], the plan was in fact fully funded and therefore did not suffer the injury-in-fact necessary to collect any additional amounts from withdrawing employers or their controlled group members. The court rejected this argument ... [T]his decision does not bode well for employers that may seek to assert a similar argument to challenge the plan's standing to collect some or all of its share of the plan's withdrawal liability after having received [special financial assistance under ARPA]." [Holland v. Murray, No. 21-567 (D.D.C. Mar. 27, 2023)]

Tags: Multiemployer Plans

Massachusetts Division of Insurance Provides Special Enrollment Period for Loss of COBRA Coverage
The Wagner Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 6, 2023

"In response to the anticipated ending of the outbreak period on July 10, 2023, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, on April 10, 2023, issued Special Bulletin 2023-09 to ... commercial health insurers, to address the implications of the ending of the National Emergency with respect to COBRA.... This Bulletin does not apply to self-insured group health plans, and it is still too early to determine the extent to which regulators in other jurisdictions will take similar action."

Tags: COBRA  •  COVID-19  •  Local Regulation

What Employers Need to Know About Illinois' New Paid Leave Laws
McDonald Hopkins Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 6, 2023

"Illinois has enacted or effectuated two new paid leave requirements ... [1] the Illinois Family Bereavement Leave Act (IFBLA), which provides leave in connection with the death of a family member, including time off following miscarriages, unsuccessful rounds of fertility treatments, a failed fertility treatments and stillbirths; and the [2] Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLAWA), which provides paid leave for any reason. IFBLA went into effect on January 1, 2023, while PLAWA does not go into effect until January 1, 2024."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Americans Have to Plan for a New Retirement Reality (PDF)
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"Many Americans now say that their retirement strategy is derailed, and they aren't sure when or how they will get it back on track. More than half of Americans say they consider 'financial crises' a permanent part of their retirement planning."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design

Is Now the Time for Plan Fiduciaries to Think About Bitcoin?
Ryan P. Moulder Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"Even if a plan fiduciary is not ready to make bitcoin available to plan participants or place [it] on a pension fund's balance sheet, it is time for all plan fiduciaries to have a deep understanding of Bitcoin's fundamental properties. One question that plan fiduciaries should ponder is: If this market cycle is not the right time for plan participants and plans to invest in bitcoin, how many more successful market cycles are needed?"

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

Colorado Expands Reasons Employees Can Use Paid Sick Leave
Littler Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 6, 2023

"[E]mployees may now access paid leave for qualifying bereavement and natural disaster-related reasons.... When the new law takes effect on August 7, 2023, employees will be able to use accrued sick pay for these additional reasons. Colorado employers must also notify employees of their right to take paid leave under the HFWA, including the reasons for which employees can take such leave."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Employers' New Decision Point: Whether to Cover Expensive Weight Loss Drugs
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"Drugs such as Ozempic are extremely pricey, on average costing more than $1,000 per month.... [A] significant number of employees may want to use the drug -- which would substantially hike drug costs for employers. Plus, the drugs are not designed for short-term use. Studies show the weight will stay off only on continuation of the drugs, pointing to a long-term commitment for employers -- and a much higher price tag."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Prescription Drug Costs

The First ESG Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuits
Euclid Specialty Managers Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
June 6, 2023

"[T]hese activist crusades are all flawed from a fiduciary perspective, revealing that there is an ulterior and improper political motive at work here.... There is no merit to any of the litigation or the corporate resolutions. But unfortunately, the retirement plan fiduciaries are pawns in culture wars being waged by activists."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments - ESG

NTSA Spikes Ball on 457(b) Legislative 'Win'
403bwise Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
June 6, 2023

"The NTSA hails the legislation for allowing teachers access to a 'trusted advisor'.... [T]hey are not referring to ... a fiduciary one who must pledge to put the interests of their client first. They are referring to the same salesperson trawling school district staff lounges, and educator email in-boxes which have made the K-12 403(b) a cesspool of high fees and surrender charges.... Teacher advocates still have time to express their displeasure at this anti-competitive legislation."

Tags: 403(b) Plans and Annuities  •  Retirement Plan Policy

The High Cost of Low Employee Benefits Engagement (And What You Can Do About It)
bswift Link to more items from this source
June 6, 2023

"Shifting to tactical steps to improve EX and retention  ... The importance of benefits education and awareness ... Examples of successful employee benefits communication tactics ... Boosting employee benefits engagement improves EX and retention."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Interpreting a Recent DOL Amicus Brief and Its Potential Impact on the Future of 401(k) Litigation
The Prudent Investment Adviser Rules Link to more items from this source
June 5, 2023

"The need for plans to address these fiduciary prudence and cost-inefficiency issues has become even more important in light of a recent amicus brief filed by the DOL addressing the issue of which party has the burden of proof with regard to the issue of causation of damages in 401(k)/403(b) litigation. While there is a split within the federal courts on this issue, the DOL's brief provides a persuasive argument that the burden of proof belongs to plan sponsors, not plan participants." [Pizarro v. Home Depot, Inc., No. 22-13643 (11th cir. amicus brief filed Feb. 10, 2023]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investment Costs

Colorado Sick Leave Requirements Expanded to Cover Absences for Bereavement and Inclement Weather
Ogletree Deakins Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 5, 2023

"[An] employer in Colorado [must] allow an employee to take protected leave to: [1] 'grieve, attend funeral services or a memorial' ... [2] 'care for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to inclement weather, loss of power, loss of heating, loss of water, or other unexpected occurrence or event that results in the closure of the family member's school or place of care'; or [3] 'evacuate the employee's residence due to inclement weather, loss of power, loss of heating, loss of water, or other unexpected occurrence or event that results in the need to evacuate the employee's residence.' SB 23-017 is expected to take effect on August 7, 2023."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Text of EBSA Meeting Notice for ERISA Advisory Council
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
June 5, 2023

"[T]he 216th open meeting of the [ERISA Advisory Council] will be held on July 17-19, 2023 ... [in] Washington, DC ... The meeting will also be accessible via teleconference and some participants, as well as members of the public, may elect to attend virtually.... On July 17 and July 19, the purpose of the open meeting is for Advisory Council members to hear testimony from invited witnesses on ... [1] Long-Term Disability Benefits and Mental Health Disparity, and [2] Recordkeeping in the Electronic Age.... On July 18, the purpose of the open meeting is for the [DOL] to consult with the Advisory Council on section 2509.95-1 of title 29, Code of Federal Regulations (relating to the fiduciary standards under [ERISA] when selecting an annuity provider for a defined benefit pension plan), as required by Section 321 of the SECURE 2.0 Act[.]"

Tags: Cybersecurity  •  Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

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