Welfare Benefit Plan ERISA News
September 2013

 
What to Do if the DOL Comes Calling
"Thousands of times each year, fiduciaries of plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and service providers receive an unexpected letter or phone call from the Department of Labor noticing an investigation ''to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate'' any provision of Title I of ERISA. Knowing how the DOL investigation process works and what to expect if you are investigated can greatly ease the strain and lower the cost of having the federal government take particular interest in your ERISA plans. Thinking about the process the DOL might use, and the likely areas of focus during an investigation can also help identify areas of legal and operational compliance where additional effort might be warranted. After all, the time to identify and fix problems is before the DOL comes calling." Bloomberg BNA
Many Post DOMA Questions Answered
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the section of DOMA stating that under federal law, only marriages between a man and a woman will be recognized. Currently, same-gender marriages are recognized in California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. In these states people in same-gender marriages are now entitled to receive both state and federal benefits available to spouses or married individuals. However, the Court did not strike down the part of DOMA stating that individual states can refuse to recognize same-gender marriages performed under the laws of other states.
On August 29, the Treasury Department and IRS ruled that same-sex couples that were legally married in states that recognize same-sex marriages will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a state that recognizes or does not recognize same-sex marriage. The effective date is September 16, 2013, and the ruling will generally be applied prospectively for all tax purposes, including employee benefits. The ruling does not recognize or apply to "registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships" under state law. IRS News Release Revenue Ruling Same-Sex Marriage FAQs Domestic Partner FAQs
WellPoint pays HHS $1.7 million for HIPAA Breach
WellPoint Inc. has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $1.7 million to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. WellPoint did not: adequately implement policies and procedures for authorizing access to the on-line application database; perform an appropriate technical evaluation in response to a software upgrade to its information systems; or have technical safeguards in place to verify the person or entity seeking access to electronic protected health information maintained in its application database. WellPoint impermissibly disclosed the ePHI of 612,402 individuals by allowing access to the ePHI of such individuals maintained in its database. (Source)
ERISA Trivia

My company only had 22 participants in our health plan at the beginning of its plan year. Am I required to file Form 5500 even though we don't have an SPD? Send your answer.

 

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© 2017 ERISAPros, LLC, All rights reserved. Information on ERISAPros' website, its newsletter, “News & Views,” and its blog, “ERISA Wonk,” is published as a general informational source. Information and articles are general in nature and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice in any particular matter. Blog posts and comments reflect the personal views of their respective authors - not those of ERISAPros. Transmission of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. ERISAPros, LLC is not a law firm and is not giving legal or tax advice. It does not warrant and is not responsible for errors or omissions in the content on its website or in its newsletters. ERISA is a complicated and confusing law. Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs), Wrap Plan Documents, and Form 5500s require review and updating by qualified ERISA compliance professionals.

 

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