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<< Older News  |  September 23, 2020


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Text of PBGC Technical Update 20-2: Extended Due Date for Inclusion of Prior Year Contributions
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 23, 2020

"This Technical Update provides [PBGC] guidance and relief related to the timing of contribution receipts includable in the asset value used to determine variable rate premiums due in 2020. The CARES Act extended the due date for certain pension contributions. The relief in this Technical Update will generally enable plan sponsors to take advantage of the CARES Act extension and still ultimately pay the same variable-rate premium they would have owed had the plan received all prior year contributions by the regular contribution due date....

"For premium filings due on or after March 1, 2020 and before January 1, 2021, the date by which prior year contributions must be received by the plan to be included in plan assets under Section  4006.4(c) of PBGC's premium rates regulation is extended to January 1, 2021.

"Because of this relief, the discounted value of a 'prior year contribution' received after the premium is filed and on or before January 1, 2021, may be included in the asset value used to determine the variable-rate premium. Thus, if such a contribution is made, the premium filing may be amended to revise the originally reported asset value and resulting variable-rate premium.

"This relief has no effect on premium due dates (e.g., for calendar year plans, the 2020 premium is due October 15, 2020) and does not permit a premium filing to reflect a contribution that has not yet been made....

"Plan administrators that want to take advantage of this relief must amend their premium filing by February 1, 2021, to revise the variable-rate premium data accordingly after eligible prior year contributions are received by the plan."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  PBGC

Telehealth Should Be Expanded -- If It Can Address Today's Health Care Challenges
Shantanu Agrawal and Tejal Gandhi, via Health Affairs Blog Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"Uptake of telehealth is likely to persist to some degree. The main question is how to integrate this modality into the health care system such that it achieves promised goals and improvements. [The authors] argue that policies supporting continued adoption and integration must be deliberate and focus on measurable improvements to clear, systemic shortcomings in health care."

Tags: Health Plan Design

Editor's Pick Potential Impact of California v. Texas Decision on Key Provisions of the ACA
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"[A] table summarizes the major provisions of the ACA, illustrating the breadth of its changes to the health care system, and public attitudes towards those changes. If all or most of the ACA is struck down, many of these provisions could be eliminated. Due to differences in populations and policies across states, the potential repeal of the ACA would play out differently from state to state."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Health Plan Policy

Long-Term Part-Time Employee 401(k) Elective Deferrals
Kushner & Company Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"[Notice 2020-68] clarifies that all years of service, even years before 2021, must be considered for determining a long-term part-time employee's vesting in any employer contributions allocated to that participant's account.... Many employers were counting on only having to track part-time employee service on a going-forward basis after Jan. 1, 2021. However, this vesting service requirement likely adds a significant administrative burden on employers."

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

IRS Issues Guidance on SECURE and Bipartisan American Miners Acts
Mercer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"The SECURE Act generally provides that amendments for its changes aren't due before the last day of the first plan year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2022 (or a later date prescribed by IRS). For governmental and certain collectively bargained plans, amendments aren't due before the last day of the first plan year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024. [Notice 2020-68] clarifies that the same deadlines apply to both discretionary and required SECURE Act amendments and to amendments for the Miners Act."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  SECURE Act

DOL Creates Path for 401(k) Plans to Offer Private Equity Investment Options
McDermott Will & Emery, via Lexology; free registration required Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"The DOL's guidance is subject to several limitations that plan sponsors and firms should consider when evaluating and selecting investment options for 401(k) plans. [Information Letter 2020-06-03] does not allow 401(k) plan participants to directly invest in private equity funds on a stand-alone basis.... Plan sponsors must also provide participants with sufficient information to make informed investment decisions with regard to investment options available under the plan, which may be more difficult to do for private equity investments."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

New FFCRA Paid Leave Rule -- Big Deal or No Big Deal?
MZQ Consulting, LLC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"The new rule clarifies that to be eligible to take any FFCRA paid sick or family/medical leave, a person must be an active employee. Not only that, but the employee's FFCRA qualifying event must be the ONLY reason why the person cannot work.... On the off chance an employer is currently letting furloughed or reduced hour employees take FFCRA leave for hours that they would not usually be at work, they will have to stop (or not get reimbursed). "

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

PBGC Takes a U-Turn on CARES Act Contribution Delay
Mercer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"The agency will now let sponsors amend their 2020 PBGC premium filings to reflect all contributions made by the CARES Act's extended contribution deadline -- even contributions made after the premium filing due date -- and request a refund of any excess variable-rate premium."

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

Rehiring Employees by End of 2020 Could Prevent Partial Plan Terminations
Faegre Drinker Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"The IRS's response provides some reassurance for employers who rehire employees by the end of 2020 that they will decrease their risk of incurring a partial termination. However, employers should be aware that rehiring employees in 2020 will not preclude a future IRS determination of a partial termination. The IRS does not address the possibility that the applicable period may extend past 2020, particularly if the employer has a series of COVID-19 terminations of employment, which would affect the calculation of the turnover rate."

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

Almost Paradise: Health Coverage in Hawaii
HUB International Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"Hawaii requires that plans covering individuals in the state be approved for issue in the state.... [E]mployees in Hawaii may need to be subject to different eligibility terms than employees in the continental US.... [The Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act (PHC)] requires that employee-only coverage cannot cost the employee more than 1.5% of the employee's monthly wages.... [T]he PHC also requires employers to contribute at least 50% towards the cost of coverage."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Local Regulation

California Expands Family and Medical Leave Entitlements
Morgan Lewis Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"The new law requires California employers with as few as five employees to provide family and medical leave to their employees effective January 1, 2021. SB 1383 also expands the scope of 'family members' for whom employees can take leave and the protected reasons for taking leave."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Leasing Healthcare Employees? Don't Overlook the Benefits Traps, Part 2
Bradley Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"In the context of employee leasing, a self-funded group health plan is most likely to be deemed a MEWA if the employees are not respected as common law employees of the lessor. While the facts and circumstances of the arrangement are most likely to drive the determination on this point, the parties to the arrangement should ensure that the agreement clearly reflects the intent that the lessor be treated as the common law employer of the leased employees."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  MEWAs

DOL Guidance on Lifetime Income Illustrations: Coloring Within the Lines
Frost Brown Todd LLC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"[P]roviding a lifetime income illustration to a younger person based on their current account balance and assuming that they are age 67 at the time they receive the disclosure is a very challenging prospect and may not provide much useful information. Providing lifetime income illustrations based upon both a current and a projected account balance may collectively provide more useful information, particularly for younger participants. As a result, some commenters are likely to press the DOL for changes that include a lifetime income stream based upon a projected account balance."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

Editor's Pick New 401(k) Coverage Rules for Long-Term, Part-Time Workers
E is for ERISA Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 23, 2020

"The new rules under the SECURE Act ... ramp up between 2021 and 2024. However, some employer action is already required ... [This article] walks you through the new rules, including those contained in IRS Notice 2020-68 ... If inclusion of your long-term, part-time workers will push your existing plan over the 100 participant threshold, you might give thought to separating them out in a separate plan, such that both of your plans will be under the audit threshold."

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

October 14 Is the Last Day to Provide Medicare Part D Notice of Creditable (or Non-Creditable) Coverage
Fraser Trebilcock Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"[E]mployers offering group health plans with prescription drug coverage are required to disclose to all Part D-eligible individuals who are enrolled in or were seeking to enroll in the group health plan coverage whether such coverage was 'actuarially equivalent,' i.e., creditable.... This notice is required to be provided to all Part D eligible persons, including active employees over age 65."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Medicare

Mutual of Omaha to Settle ERISA Case for $6.7 Million
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. has agreed to pay $6.7 million to settle ERISA complaints by participants in two company 401(k) plans that fiduciaries favored some proprietary products over other investment options and charged extra fees for non-proprietary funds in the investment lineups.... The preliminary settlement agreement said more than 7,000 participants had account balances at the end of 2018."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Impact of COVID-19 on Pension Plan Actuarial Experience and Assumptions, Including Mortality (PDF)
American Academy of Actuaries Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"The effects of the pandemic on the economy, on workforce patterns, and on plan sponsors’ budgets are likely to be far more financially significant to most pension plans, at least in the near term, than the effect on mortality. There is expected to be wide variance among the plans themselves, regardless of whether they are private sector, multiemployer, or public plans."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Funding of DB Plans

Editor's Pick Possible Options for Participant Relief Under Section 409A Plans in the Time of Coronavirus
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"In general, Code section 409A provides participants with a limited ability to access deferred compensation in the event of an unforeseeable emergency, and also offers employers (but not participants) some discretion to cancel future deferral elections (but not distribute benefits) in certain circumstances. However, it is important that employers understand the limits of these rules before taking action."

Tags: 409A Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Nonqualified Plans

IRS Announces Tax Relief for Hurricane Sally Victims
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 23, 2020

"Victims of Hurricane Sally that took place on Sept. 14 now have until Jan. 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments ... Individuals and households who reside or have a business in Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile counties qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 14, 2020, and before Jan. 15, 2021, are postponed through Jan. 15, 2021."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Reporting to Government Agencies  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Judge Rejects Petition to Throw Out AutoZone ERISA Lawsuit
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Sept. 23, 2020

"The participants ... [argued] that AutoZone fiduciaries violated ERISA by retaining GoalMaker, an asset allocation service ... which allegedly steered participants' investments into high-cost investment options.... The judge ruled that plaintiffs had provided enough information to allow the complaint to go to trial regarding the use of GoalMaker; the retention of a stable value fund; the use of actively managed mutual funds and separate accounts; the fiduciaries' methodology for selecting investment share classes; and the comparing of record keeping fees to benchmarks." [Miller v. AutoZone, Inc., No. 19-2779 (W.D. Tenn. Sep. 18, 2020)]

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

DOL Takes Much-Needed Steps Toward Ensuring Fiduciary Obligations
Institute for Pension Fund Integrity [IPFI] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2020

"Prioritizing issues other than pure financial returns may be an acceptable strategy for individuals managing their own money or for corporate board rooms contemplating the future of their company, but for fiduciaries, prioritizing any kind of self-interest or ulterior motive over maximizing returns is a dereliction of duty.... While more work is needed, it appears that the [DOL] is finally in a position to implement much-needed reforms to a pension system that has for too long neglected the underlying financial security of its beneficiaries."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Hacker Group's Impermissible Access to ePHI Leads to $1.5 Million HIPAA Settlement
Thomson Reuters Practical Law Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2020

"HHS's investigation revealed that the CE failed to: [1] Prevent the unauthorized disclosure of electronic protected health information (ePHI) of more than 208,500 individuals. [2] Maintain copies of its HIPAA policies and procedures. [3] Implement certain technical safeguards. [4] Enter into business associate (BA) agreements with three of its BAs. [4] Provide HIPAA training to all workforce members. [5] Conduct an accurate and thorough risk analysis concerning the ePHI in its possession. [6] Implement sufficient security measures to reduce risks and vulnerabilities to the ePHI in its possession."


Overpaying and Undersaving: Correlated Mistakes in Retirement Saving and Health Insurance Choices (PDF)
TIAA Institute Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2020

10 pages. "A large majority picks one of two more expensive plans, even when, for all possible spending realizations, lower costs are more likely in the cheapest plan. Employees who do not choose the low-cost plan overpay for health insurance by nearly $1,700 in expectation.... About one-third of employees forgo matching contributions, and a large majority saves below reasonable benchmarks.... People who spend too much on health insurance are 23% more likely to forgo matching contributions than are people who choose the low-cost plan."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Design

Adding a Safe Harbor Provision While Maintaining Flexibility in Contribution Costs
DWC Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2020

"Because the safe harbor rules are meant to ensure a certain minimum level of contribution for the non-HCEs, you can design your plan so that contributions are required for the non-HCEs but optional for the HCEs. Presto! You have a safe harbor plan with the flexibility to reduce your contribution cost by more than 70% in any given year should you need to do so."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Design

Ohio Teamsters Pension Fund Seeks Benefits Reduction
Chief Investment Officer [CIO] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 22, 2020

"The Teamsters' Building Material Drivers Local 436 Pension Fund of Valley View, Ohio, has applied to the Treasury Department for a reduction in benefits under [MPRA]. The pension's trustees say that without the cuts, the fund will run of money to pay benefits by 2023. Under the ... proposed reduction plan, the benefits of all plan participants would be reduced to 110% of the [PBGC] guarantee, which is the maximum reduction in benefits allowable by law."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans

<< Older News  |  September 23, 2020

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