Updated SBC Templates Apply for 2018 Open Enrollment

“Given the current House and Senate ‘repeal and replace’ ACA legislation, many employers are wondering if they need to take the time to revise their SBCs to comply with the new template and requirements. The short answer is use of the new SBC templates is still required. Both the House-passed legislation and the current legislation […]

By | 2017-08-14T07:08:10+00:00 August 14th, 2017|2017 News, News|

Premiums the Big Factor in Health Plan Enrollment

“After eliminating employee premiums for all coverage tiers, HSA-eligible health plan enrollment increased from 4 percent to 25 percent among individuals with employee-only coverage and from 2 percent to 31 percent among individuals with family coverage…. Offering coverage with no payroll deduction attracted individual enrollees who were marginally healthier than those who would have enrolled […]

By | 2017-08-14T07:04:57+00:00 August 8th, 2017|2017 News, News|

Economy Needs Workers, but Drug Tests Take a Toll

“Just a few miles from where President Trump addressed his blue-collar base last Tuesday night, exactly the kind of middle-class factory jobs he has vowed to bring back from overseas are going begging.

It’s not that local workers lack the skills for these positions, many of which do not even require a high school diploma but […]

By | 2017-08-14T07:03:04+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|2017 News, News|

Two HHS Settlements for HIPAA Violations Include Penalties Totaling over $5 Million

“HHS has announced two major settlements it has reached with covered entities to resolve alleged violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.  The terms of each settlement agreement require the covered entity to pay a multimillion dollar penalty to HHS and implement a corrective action plan.”  Read the details: [The […]

By | 2017-07-03T07:32:20+00:00 July 6th, 2017|2017 News, News|

SPD Was Enforceable Despite Referencing a Nonexistent Plan Document

In litigation involving a health plan reimbursement claim, the Fifth Circuit ruled that a plan’s summary plan description (SPD) could serve as the plan’s “written instrument” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) (that is, the plan document) in the absence of a separate written instrument. The court concluded that the plan […]

By | 2017-07-03T07:29:11+00:00 July 3rd, 2017|2017 News, News|

Back to Basics – Costly Consequences of Ignoring Process in Benefits Administration

“The stories of an employer and a long-term disability insurer and claims fiduciary for an ERISA plan, defendants in two recent cases, ring so true. In the first case the insurer was designated as claims fiduciary for an employer’s long-term disability plan, and ended up in litigation with the least friendly standard of review – […]

By | 2017-06-12T07:53:24+00:00 June 21st, 2017|2017 News, News|

COBRA and Second Qualifying Events – When Does the Clock Start?

“If the initial qualifying event that triggers an individual’s COBRA rights is terminating employment or reducing hours of employment, subsequent qualifying events may result in an extension of the maximum COBRA coverage period for certain qualified beneficiaries…. Note that a covered employee is not a qualified beneficiary with respect to any 36-month qualifying event. Therefore, […]

By | 2017-06-12T07:34:04+00:00 June 14th, 2017|2017 News, News|

Could Your Incentive Plan Be Subject to ERISA?

“Many incentive or bonus plans make payments or deliver stock within 2-1/2 months after the end of the year the participant became vested in order comply with the short-term deferral exception of Code Section 409A. However, some incentive plans provide for accumulations, multi-year periods, and mandatory deferrals. These plans may unwittingly become subject to ERISA’s […]

By | 2017-06-12T07:32:48+00:00 June 7th, 2017|2017 News, News|

When Close Is Not Close Enough: A Shift Towards Strict Compliance for ERISA Claim Procedures

“A string of cases in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is putting ERISA claims administrators on notice that falling short of strict compliance with the DOL’s claims and appeal regulations may cost administrators a deferential standard of review…. Under the DOL’s final regulations governing disability benefit claims, if a plan fails to strictly comply […]

By | 2017-06-12T07:21:28+00:00 May 21st, 2017|2017 News, News|