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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 1, 2023

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[Guidance Overview]

The Impact of the (Official) End of the COVID-19 National Emergency

"Prior to July 10, 2023, plan sponsors should begin to review and revise their health plan design and related documents with their plan administrators and legal counsel. To the extent that plan documents and participant communications were modified to reflect the temporary National Emergency deadlines, plan sponsors should evaluate whether the documents need to be revised to reflect the end of the National Emergency."  MORE >>

Bond, Schoeneck & King

[Guidance Overview]

Can the HIPAA Privacy and Security Official Position Be Held by a Third Party?

"Although there is language in the preamble to the privacy rule that seems to assume that the privacy official will be an employee of the covered entity, there is no explicit requirement to that effect. And because some covered entities (e.g., most group health plans) will not have employees, the privacy official's duties will have to be performed by a third party (for a group health plan, usually an employee of the plan sponsor)."  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

[Guidance Overview]

Minnesota Enacts Paid Family and Medical Leave Statute

"Workers may begin to take PFML on January 1, 2026, at which time workers and employers also begin paying into the fund. Certain portions of the statute will be implemented before this date so the state can build the necessary infrastructure to administer it by the official start date."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

The Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act: Some Questions Remain, But Employers Should Start Considering Options

"[C]overed employers must allow all employees (full-time, part-time, and seasonal) to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid leave each year, which employees can use for any purpose.... [E]very employer will need [to] determine the best way for their organization to satisfy the Act's requirements, draft any new policies that are needed, carefully review and revise any existing paid time off policies to ensure compliance with the Act, post the required notice, and set up a system to comply with the Act's record-keeping requirements. Employees may begin using paid leave under the Act on March 31, 2024, or after the first 90 days of their employment (whichever is later)."  MORE >>

Michael Best

Sixth Circuit Describes Plaintiffs' High Burden of Proof to Establish 'Continuous' Disability During the Elimination Period

"This new Sixth Circuit case explains: the very high burden of proof a Plaintiff must meet to establish 'continuous' disability during the Elimination Period; and when medical evidence obtained after the Elimination Period cannot satisfy the Plaintiff's burden to prove disability during the Elimination Period." [Tranbarger v. Lincoln Life & Annuity Co. of New York, No. 22-3369 (6th Cir. May 18, 2023)]  MORE >>

Lane Powell PC

Fiduciary Breach Claim Stemming from Elimination of Retiree Health Benefits May Proceed

"The court concluded that the retirees' arguments, along with their claims that they had made specific decisions in reliance on the employer's statements, were enough to allow the case to proceed and for the retirees to pursue the equitable remedies of reformation or surcharge." [Baker v. Save Mart Supermarkets, No. 22-4645 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 7, 2023)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Can Your Plan Clear Mental Health Parity Compliance Hurdles?

"Hidden Hurdle 1: Equality does not equal parity ... Hidden hurdle 2: When you don't (and can't) know how your plan is run ... Hidden hurdle 3: Didn't we exclude that?"  MORE >>

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

64% of Women Want Menopause-Specific Benefits

"[H]alf of peri- and post-menopausal women (51%) report menopause has negatively impacted their work life, yet only 14% believe their employers recognize the need for menopause-specific benefits. The underrecognized need for menopause-specific benefits comes as 20% of the workforce is in some phase of menopause transition and the number of post-menopausal women is expected to reach 1.1 billion by 2025 globally."  MORE >>

Merrill Lynch


Using ERISA as a Transparency Sword, Not a Shield: Part 2

"The private-sector self-help approach would build on ERISA's disclosure requirements under section 1024(b)(4) of the law. As properly read, they should compel self-insured employer-plan fiduciaries to disclose all prices, rates, and plan terms 'upfront' for participants in the plan. That would include obtaining negotiated rate information from insurance companies that help administer the plan, to ensure that its assets are being utilized prudently and in the best interests of its employee participants."  MORE >>

American Enterprise Institute

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Selected New Discussions

PCORI - Form 720 for 2023 Filing

"I was reviewing the Form 720 the IRS revised in March 2023 and noticed in IRS no. 133 has last year's data listed (date and fees). Has anyone else noticed this, too? Or am I missing something? If I am not losing it does anyone know when the IRS plans to send out an updated version?"

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Press Releases

Groom Ranked for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Health, and ERISA Litigation by Chambers USA 2023

Groom Law Group

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Beware of FSA Substantiation Shortcuts

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

The Role of Third-Party Administrators in Self-Funded Plans

Corporate Wellness Magazine

A Closer Look at Fringe Benefits for Faculty

Pension Research Council, The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania

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

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