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Treasury Department Notice of Multiemployer Pension Plan Application to Reduce Benefits: American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension Fund, Second Application
U.S. Department of the Treasury Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Jan. 21, 2021

"The Board of Trustees of the American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension Fund, a multiemployer pension plan, has submitted an application to reduce benefits under the plan in accordance with [MPRA]. The purpose of this notice is to announce that the application ... has been published on the website of the Department of the Treasury, and to request public comments on the application[.]"

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans

Editor's Pick Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021: Understanding the Health & Welfare and Retirement Provisions (PDF)
Trucker Huss Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

110 presentation slides. Topics: [1] Permitted changes to health FSAs and dependent care FSAs. [2] No Surprises Act. [3] Transparency. [4] Qualified disaster-related relief provisions. [5] New COVID-19 pandemic-related relief provisions.

Tags: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design

Editor's Pick Unlocking the Process: Guide to ERISA Individual Prohibited Transaction Exemptions (PDF)
Eversheds Sutherland Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

132 pages. "[This] guide to individual prohibited transaction exemptions collects and indexes more than 1,200 individual exemptions ... The guide has been updated to account for 2020 activity.... It categorizes the exemptions first by counter-party then transaction-type, allowing readers to easily identify individual exemptions relevant to their situation. Included in the guide is an overview of the individual exemption process, as well as an examination of individual exemption statistics, such as historical data and most frequent categories of exemptions."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Investments

EEOC Proposes New Rules for Permissible Level of Incentives in Health-Contingent Workplace Wellness Programs
Epstein Becker Green Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"[T]he EEOC's Proposed Rules, with limited exception discussed below, permit employers that wish to incentivize participation in health-contingent wellness programs to use only an exceedingly small carrot.... Employers will still need to consider whether the de minimis incentives they offer for wellness program participation fall within the tax exclusion for de minimis fringe benefits, or other tax exclusion."

Tags: Health Plan Design

Summary of Select Provisions of HHS' Final 2022 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (PDF)
Wakely Consulting Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"HHS finalized allowing states to end state-sponsored online enrollment portals (e.g., opt out of Healthcare.gov) and allow for enrollees to only have the ability to enroll into an on-Exchange plan through direct enrollment (DE) entities.... HHS lowered user fees to issuers to 2.25% for issuers in the Federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFE) and 1.75% in State-based Exchanged that utilize the Federal Platform (SBE-FPs).... HHS incorporated its 2018 guidance on 1332 Waiver into regulation."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Health Plan Policy

Where Have You Gone, Joe Participant? Best Practices and Warnings from the DOL
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"Although the focus of the Release was on defined benefit plans, the red flags that the DOL highlighted apply to all plans ... Warning flags include: [1] More than a small number of missing or nonresponsive participants; [2] Systemic errors that cause missed pay status due to required minimum distributions or death benefits; [3] Inadequate procedures for identifying and locating missing participants and beneficiaries; [4] Inadequate procedures for notifying terminated vested participants nearing normal retirement age of the right to commence payment of benefits; [5] Inadequate procedures for contacting terminated vested participants who are approaching the start of required minimum distributions; [6] Inadequate procedures for addressing uncashed distribution checks; and [7] Absence of procedures for handling undeliverable mail and/or emails."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

Editor's Pick IRS Provides SECURE Act Guidance on Traditional and QACA Safe Harbor Plans
Ascensus Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"While more than half of [Notice 2020-86] deals with a variety of specific notice issues, the following items are the most relevant. [1] The 15 percent cap on QACA default deferrals ... [2] Notice requirements ... [3] Amendment requirements ... [4] Contribution deductibility."

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

Oakland, California Retroactively Extends Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
Littler Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"The extension is effective retroactively from December 31, 2020 -- the law's original sunset date -- through the end of the city's COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, unless the city council further extends the law. As an emergency ordinance, the amendment takes effect immediately."

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

California Issues APL on Implementing Senate Bill 855
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"SB 855 ... expand[s] state coverage requirements for mental health and substance use disorder services, and it requires health plans and insurers to adopt a standardized definition of 'medical necessity' for those treatments. [All Plan Letter 21-002] provides an overview of SB 855, identifies clinical criteria and guidelines that health plans must apply when determining the medical necessity of behavioral health treatments under the new law, and outlines compliance filing requirements."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Local Regulation

PBGC Finalizes Rules for Simplified Withdrawal Liability Calculations
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"The final regulations [1] codify the simplified approach for excluding adjustable benefit cuts from withdrawal liability assessments that is contained in Technical Update 10-3.... [2] provide a simplified framework for excluding benefit suspensions from withdrawal liability assessments during the 10-year period following the implementation of the suspensions.... [3] provide simplified methods that ... disregard contribution increases required by funding improvement or rehabilitation plans that go into effect after December 31, 2014 for the purpose of calculating withdrawal liability."

Tags: Multiemployer Plans  •  PBGC

DOL Regs Confirm Fiduciaries Need Not Vote on Every Proxy Proposal But Must Limit Voting Decisions to Economic Interests
The Wagner Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"In deciding whether and how to vote proxies or exercise other shareholder rights, the fiduciary must: [1] Act solely in the economic interest of the plan and its participants and beneficiaries.... [2] Consider the costs involved.... [3] Not subordinate participants' and beneficiaries' interests in retirement income or financial benefits to any non-pecuniary objective, nor promote non-pecuniary benefits or goals.... [4] Evaluate material facts that form the basis for any particular proxy vote or exercise of rights.... [5] Maintain records.... [6] Exercise prudence and diligence in selecting and monitoring advisors and service providers who assist with proxy voting or exercising other shareholder rights."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

New Jersey Requires Reporting by Any Employer That Provides Health Insurance to State Residents
OneDigital Health and Benefits Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 21, 2021

"New Jersey will require all businesses that provided both fully-insured and self-funded health coverage to New Jersey residents in 2020 to file detailed coverage information with the state to help enforce it by March 31, 2021. They also need to send coverage documentation statements to covered state residents by March 2, 2021."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Local Regulation

Employer Onsite Clinics Willing and Able to Do Vaccinations, See Increase in Behavioral Health and Telehealth Services (PDF)
National Association of Worksite Health Centers [NAWHC] Link to more items from this source
Jan. 21, 2021

"When compared from March to November, 30% of centers have higher utilization ... Telephonic COVID-19 screening has remained high with 83% in November and 86% in March supporting this service.... 97% intend to either offer onsite vaccinations or will work with vendors and local health departments in getting their employees protected against COVID-19. Over 60% see their centers expanding telehealth and other services in the future."

Tags: Health Plan Design

Measuring Financial Wellness Programs (PDF)
Retirement Advisor Council Link to more items from this source
Jan. 21, 2021

"Employee surveys and internal information gathered prior to launch establish a baseline. To fully assess the return on investment metrics tailored to the goals of the Financial Wellness program must be established and performance against those metrics measured periodically. The baseline metrics of employee engagement can help employers determine if the program is appropriately delivered and which features of the program are most widely used by the various employee demographics."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design

Upcoming Incentive Stock Options and Employee Stock Purchase Plan Reporting and Disclosure Requirements
Sidley Austin LLP Link to more items from this source
Jan. 21, 2021

"For the exercise of the ISO or the transfer of ESPP shares that occurred in 2020, companies must provide written information statements to participants (which may include the actual Form 3921 or 3922) not later than February 1, and they must file the Form 3921 or 3922 with the IRS not later than March 1, or, if the information returns are being filed electronically, not later than March 31. Failure to provide an information statement or file an information return will result in penalties assessed by the IRS."

Tags: Nonqualified Plans  •  Stock Options

EBSA Report on MHPAEA Investigations for Fiscal Year 2020 (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
Jan. 21, 2021

"This enforcement fact sheet summarizes EBSA's and CMS's investigations and public inquiries related to MHPAEA during FY 2020.... EBSA and CMS investigated MHPAEA violations in the following categories: [1] Annual dollar limits ... [2] Aggregate lifetime dollar limits ... [3] Benefits in all classifications ... [4] Financial requirements ... [5] Treatment limitations ... [6] Cumulative financial requirements and QTLs."

Tags: Health Plan Design

Text of First Circuit Opinion: Wife Not Entitled to Portion of Husband's 401(k) Plan That Government Had Garnished (PDF)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Link to more items from this source
Jan. 20, 2021

"Shilo Abell does not challenge the government's authority to garnish her husband's account in this appeal. Rather, she renews her claim that Massachusetts law gives her a vested legal interest in Edward Abell's 401(k) account. She also argues for the first time on appeal that the contingent death benefit in the plan gives her some current interest in the account. Her remaining arguments rely on this initial premise that she has a current vested legal interest in the 401(k) account under Massachusetts divorce law and/or under the terms of the 401(k) plan itself. Because we reject both of these arguments we do not reach her other claims. Nor do we reach any broader argument as to [ERISA], the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (MVRA), or preemption." [U.S. v. Abell, No. 20-1120 (1st Cir. Jan. 15, 2021)]

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  ERISA Preemption  •  QDROs

2020 Unprecedented, Yet More of the Same for DB Plans
The Principal Blog Link to more items from this source
Jan. 20, 2021

"High quality corporate bond rates used to value pension liabilities dropped about 70 basis points for the year, which increases the liabilities of a typical pension plan by seven to 12 percent. Combined with growth due to interest, the return on liabilities for many pension plans exceeded 15 percent for the year, easily keeping pace with the asset side of the ledger. The overall result is oddly familiar for such an unprecedented year. It turned out to be just an extension of The Decade That Was as DB investors struggled to keep pace as dropping rate tailwinds pushed their liabilities down the track."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans

Some California Localities Continue to Maintain Local COVID-19 Sick Leave Requirements
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 20, 2021

"In California, the requirement to provide statewide supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons also expired on December 31, 2020. However, many localities continue to maintain COVID-19 sick leave requirements. These local laws were enacted to cover employers with 500 or more employees that were not required to provide paid sick leave benefits under the FFCRA and to provide up to 80 hours of sick leave for covered employees."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Missing Retirement Plan Participants? DOL Says You Should Follow These Best Practices
Bradley Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 20, 2021

"[T]he DOL expects that plan administrators will track participants with stale contact information, keep a record of mail that has been returned, and account for checks that are uncashed.... As further suggested by the DOL, when a plan (or just its assets) is acquired in connection with a corporate transaction, the buyer should require the seller to provide records of missing participants and any search efforts that have been taken.... Plan administrators should update any applicable policies and, in some cases, plan documents to include these additional search steps."

Tags: Lost/Missing Participants  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Editor's Pick DOL Guidance on Missing Participants Is No Longer Missing
Morgan Lewis Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 20, 2021

"This is an area that has been the subject of a focused DOL enforcement program over the last few years, but plan fiduciaries have long sought clearer guidance on the obligations in this area. While the new guidance lacks the force of regulation, it provides guideposts and clarity (at least as to the DOL's position) in some particularly vexing areas."

Tags: Lost/Missing Participants  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Text of CMS Extension of Non-Enforcement of ACA-Compliance with Respect to Certain Policies (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Jan. 20, 2021

"This bulletin extends the [CMS] policy under which CMS will not take enforcement action against certain non-grandfathered health insurance coverage in the individual and small group market that is out of compliance with certain specified market reforms. The extended non-enforcement policy in this bulletin applies for policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2022, provided that all such coverage comes into compliance with the specified requirements by January 1, 2023."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Design

Legislation Repeals Federal Antitrust Immunity for the Health Insurance Business
Fox Rothschild LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 20, 2021

"The goal of federal antitrust laws is to promote and protect competition in the marketplace for the benefit of the public. However, the insurance industry has been immunized from antitrust scrutiny for more than three-quarters of a century pursuant to a World War II-era statute. Signed into law by President Trump on January 13, 2021, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2020 constitutes a major change by removing that immunity for the health insurance business."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Health Plan Policy

Retirement Plan Provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
Ice Miller LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 20, 2021

"[1] Provides for qualified disaster distributions, increased loan limits, and delayed loan repayments for those individuals in qualified disaster areas, but specifically excludes from these provisions disaster declarations that are only COVID-19-related. [2] Does not extend the coronavirus related distributions and loan relief provided under the CARES Act."

Tags: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design

PBGC Final Rule Allows Simplified Withdrawal Liability Calculations Applicable to Benefit Reductions, Benefit Suspensions and Contributions
Faegre Drinker Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 20, 2021

"[T]he methods are simpler ways for plans to: [1] Disregard reductions of adjustable benefits and suspensions of nonforfeitable benefits in determining the plan's unfunded vested benefits for purposes of calculating withdrawal liability; [2] Disregard certain contribution increases if the plan is using the presumptive, modified presumptive, or rolling-5 method for purposes of determining the allocation of unfunded vested benefits to an employer; and [3] Disregard certain contribution increases for purposes of determining an employer's annual withdrawal liability payment."

Tags: Multiemployer Plans  •  PBGC


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