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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 29, 2022

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Sixth Circuit: Employers Act as Fiduciaries When Managing Premium Payments for Benefit Plan

"[This] case serves as an important reminder to employers that they may be held liable where their employees experience a loss in coverage under their welfare benefit plans from the mishandling of premium payments." [Chelf v. Prudential Ins. Co., No. 20-6097 (6th Cir. Apr. 12, 2022)]  MORE >>

The Wagner Law Group

Airline Tickets for Retired Pilot's Adult Relatives Were Not an Excludable Fringe Benefit

"Program records listed the tickets for two adult relatives as taxable, and the airline issued a Form 1099-MISC to the pilot for the value of those tickets, but the pilot did not include the value as gross income on his federal tax return. The IRS did not challenge the exclusion of tickets provided to the pilot, the pilot's spouse, and the pilot's daughter, but it determined that the value of the tickets for the other adult relatives was income and issued a notice of deficiency." [Mihalik v. Comm'r, T.C. Memo. 2022-36 (Apr. 13, 2022)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Employers Cautioned as Lawsuits Over COBRA Notices Add Up

"Earlier this year, Home Depot settled a case for $815,000, Fiat Chrysler settled for $600,000, and Costco agreed to pay $750,000. And, there's a trend toward defendants asking courts to rule rather than settling the cases ... Most of the cases are based on the allegation that the COBRA notices don't contain required information, that they are too complicated for people to understand, or that they are designed to scare people from filing for COBRA by warning against filing false information[.]"  MORE >>

Bloomberg Law

Employer Considerations When Responding to Employee Requests for a Mid-Year Enrollment Exception Outside of a Permitted Election Change Event

"The overriding concerns are [1] the Section 125 cafeteria plan irrevocable election rules, [2] insurance carrier or stop-loss provider limitations prohibiting the enrollment, and [3] the scope of the ERISA plan precedent created by permitting the enrollment."  MORE >>


Employers May Use a Private Investigator to Validate an Employee's Use of FMLA Leave

"With regard to her FMLA claim, the employee ... [argued] that the employer initiated surveillance without a reasonable suspicion that she had abused FMLA! ... [T]he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit treated that argument with the skepticism it deserves, flatly stating 'nothing in the FMLA prevents employers from monitoring employees' activities while on FMLA leave to ensure that they do not abuse their leave.' " [VanHook v. The Cooper Health System, No. 21-2213 (3d Cir. Mar. 31, 2022)]  MORE >>

Shawe Rosenthal LLP

Leave Management 101

"Offering leave management isn't optional for most companies with 50 or more employees. It is no longer as simple as understanding and administering the federal [FMLA] ... Multiple jurisdictions may require leave programs ... Leave requests are infrequent ... Laws change frequently ... Virtual workforces create new challenges ... Most employers lack medical expertise ... Leave programs and employees with disabilities."  MORE >>


Benefits in General

Sixth Circuit: Arbitration of Fiduciary Breach Claim Cannot Be Compelled by Relying on Individual Employment Agreements

"The arbitration agreements -- to which only plaintiffs are bound -- did not compel arbitration of the Section 502(a)(2) fiduciary breach claims because the claims belong to the plan.... Plan participants cannot unilaterally bind the plan to an arbitration in the absence of an arbitration provision in the plan or some other manifestation of the plan's consent to arbitrate. In this case, nothing indicated that the plan consented to arbitration. The court rejected the employer's argument that it, being the plan sponsor, could consent to arbitration on its behalf." [Hawkins v. Cintas Corp., No. 21-3156 (6th Cir. Apr. 27, 2022)]  MORE >>

Miller Canfield

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Press Releases

Ascensus Appoints Three New Regional Vice Presidents


Tedone Joins Strategic to Lead Retirement Plan Division and Rochester Office

Strategic Financial Services, Inc.

MDsave Expands Footprint Into Colorado with Boulder Community Health


Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

2022 Employee Health & Well-Being Congress

July 18, 2022 in MA

BRI Network

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Prescription Drug Reporting Rules Present Challenges (PDF)


Health Plan Sponsors Must Obtain Fee Disclosures from Consultants and Brokers (PDF)

Ice Miller LLP, via Employee Benefit Plan Review

HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2023 Final Rule: Fact Sheet

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587.

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