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Category Archives: Plan Administration

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April is a Busy Month: IRS Releases Guidance on Same Sex Marriage and Retirement Plan Rollovers

Posted in Plan Administration, Retirement Plans

We are less than halfway into April and already the IRS has issued two notices that provide some long awaited guidance related to retirement plan administration.  One addresses treatment of same-sex marriages post-Windsor and the other deals with rollovers by qualified retirement plans. Notice 2014-19 clears up some of the issues related to the timing … Continue Reading

Why It’s Not Too Late for Your Employees to Get on the Exchange—Special Enrollment Periods

Posted in Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

Now that we’ve passed the important deadline of March 31, 2014 for signing up on the Health Care Exchange/Marketplace (“the Exchange”), employers are asking questions about options for employees who did not get into the exchange, like is it too late for them to get coverage.  Most of the time this question comes from employers … Continue Reading

DOL Hopes Proposed Amendment to Fee Disclosure Rules Will be Useful Roadmap in Difficult Terrain

Posted in Plan Administration, Retirement Plans

Perhaps after reading too many voluminous, jargon-filled fee disclosure agreements, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) became fed up and decided to take action. Last week, the DOL issued a proposed rule (“the Proposed Rule”) that would amend its final service provider fee disclosure regulation (“the Final Rule”) under ERISA Section 408(b)(2). The Proposed Rule will require … Continue Reading

Are You Doing What Your Plan Says You Are Doing? Consistent Plan Administration

Posted in Plan Administration, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans

Recently a client brought me in to review a defined contribution plan document given to them by a service provider to create their new plan.  In the document, it makes reference to regular investment committee meetings, a benefit committee and an appeals committee.  When I asked my client about who would serve on those committees, … Continue Reading

Funding Status Does Not Preclude Withdrawal: Remember Honerkamp

Posted in Court Cases, Plan Administration, Retirement Plans

More and more employers are looking to withdraw from multiemployer pension funds.  Employers cannot unilaterally withdraw from the fund as the obligation to contribute is established through collective bargaining with the union.  Lately, several employers have contacted me about representations from the union (or the fund) that claim that employers cannot legally withdraw from the … Continue Reading

What the EBSA Will Ask For In A 401(k) Plan Audit: Documentation You Need

Posted in Plan Administration, Retirement Plans

When clients get an audit request letter from the EBSA, they usually call me surprised at the amount of information being requested.  It is not just the shock of being audited that impacts them, but the amount of information they need to provide.  Sometimes, the requested documentation may not be available, which creates its own … Continue Reading

Be Careful About Appeals: Deny them Completely the First Time

Posted in Court Cases, Plan Administration, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans

Appeals for denial of benefits can create a real quagmire for plan administrators.  The appeal process creates an administrative record, and sometimes the administrative record is not complete.  It is important for plan administrators to consider each appeal completely, and address all issues related to claims processing, even ones not necessarily raised by the participant, … Continue Reading

Be Careful About Paying Claims: Health Plan Denied Reimbursement for Mistakenly Paid Claim

Posted in Court Cases, Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

Previously I had written about instances where a retirement plan was able to recoup overpayments from a pensioner when the payments were made as a result of a mistaken calculation.  As I said then, plan administrators should be wary about relying on ERISA as a guarantee that they could recoup overpayments.  Sure enough, the 7th … Continue Reading

More PPACA Delays, Some Fine Tuning, and even Some Clarification

Posted in Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

Well, Treasury issued the “final” regulations on the employer mandate under PPACA.  The “pay or play” rules got a little delay and some revision that will be debated for weeks to come.  But the nuts and bolts of the “high points” of the regulations are as follows: 1.         Employers that have between 50 and 99 … Continue Reading

Will Your Plan Cover Spouses? Decisions Under PPACA

Posted in Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

I happened upon two interesting articles today about spousal coverage under employer sponsored benefit plans.  The first was an article about UPS eliminating spousal coverage and blaming PPACA.  The second was a study conducted by the Employee Benefits research Institute that concluded that, on average, spouses cost more to insure than employees, but elimination of … Continue Reading

Fiduciaries Can Sometimes Rely on Legal Advice (or Why ERISA Counsel is a Good Thing to Have)

Posted in Court Cases, Plan Administration, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans

One of the hallmarks of the fiduciary obligation is to make decisions on an informed basis and to be reasonably diligent when making decisions related to the plan and its administration.  Fiduciaries can reasonably relay on experts, like plan counsel, when making decisions related to plan administration.  In Clark v. Feder Semo and Bard, P.C., … Continue Reading

White House Delays Non-Discrimination Rules Under PPACA (or At Least Said It Would)

Posted in Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

Employers may recall that one of the key provisions of PPACA was to apply the Section 105 non-discrimination rules to insured health plans.  Starting in 2014, employers could not discriminate in favor of highly-compensated individuals when offering health insurance coverage.  However, the rules relating to non-discrimination have yet to be written and IRS Notice 2011-1 … Continue Reading

Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders To Be Excluded Under the ACA (At Least When Counting to 50)

Posted in Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

On January 10, the Department of Treasury issued a statement regarding the treatment of volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel in regards to ACA compliance.  There has been a growing concern about treatment of “volunteers” in these fields mostly because the ACA employer responsibility rules would appear to require that employers count volunteer hours of nominally … Continue Reading

No Windfalls Under ERISA: Court Approves $725,000 Pension Plan Reimbursement Claim

Posted in Court Cases, Plan Administration, Retirement Plans

Often time it happens that a pension plan participant is paid more from a pension plan than they should be getting.  Sometimes this administrative error can be as a result of mistakes regarding hire dates, termination dates or years of service.  Sometimes they can be a result of mistakes over reported wages to the plan … Continue Reading

HIPAA Failure Results In Penalties: Lack of Compliance the Key

Posted in Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

Often, when I am discussing HIPAA privacy compliance, I am asked about possible penalties for privacy breaches.  Plan sponsors sometimes overlook the fact that failing to have a privacy compliance package in place is itself a violation and can lead to some hefty penalties.   Such was the case for Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C., a … Continue Reading

The Plan Says What it Says: Plan Statute of Limitations Applies

Posted in Court Cases, Plan Administration, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans

For the purposes of figuring out when a claim has to be brought, plans can, in some instances, dictate when the “statute of limitations” runs for bringing a lawsuit.  Part of this is for consistent administration and part of it may be to avoid untimely litigation.  This was the issue in the Supreme Court’s recent decision … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Punishes Insurer: Not Just Benefits Due But Profits As Well

Posted in Court Cases, Plan Administration

In the ongoing effort to determine what constitutes appropriate remedies under ERISA, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has gone further than any court before it, by affirming a judgment directing a disability insurer to pay not just benefits due, but also and additional amount representing disgorgement of profits it allegedly made on the benefits.  … Continue Reading

PPACA and Deductibles: What the Plans Look Like

Posted in Plan Administration, Welfare Plans

I happened upon an article today where an insurance comparison website by a company called HealthPocket has compiled averages concerning the various metal plans available through the exchanges.  I thought I would share some of the details simply because I think it is important for employers planning their compliance package to be aware of what … Continue Reading