IRS Guidance Clarifies COVID-19 Extensions to COBRA Election and Payment Deadlines

The IRS issued guidance on the application of the COVID-19 Outbreak Period extensions to COBRA election and premium payment deadlines. The guidance was released as a coordinated effort with the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In 2020, these agencies specified that taxpayers should disregard the COVID-19 Outbreak Period when calculating COBRA election and payment Read More

Biden’s Plan for Shipping Industry to Clear the Supply Chain Isn’t the Perfect Plan

The Biden administration recently announced initiatives for an expedited 90-day schedule to counteract supply shortages caused by gridlock stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions represent efforts to enlist business enterprises to increase staffing and work around the clock to get goods off the ships, into warehouse distribution centers, and onto trucks and trains so that they reach consumers more Read More

ERISA’s New Impact on Rollover Advice to IRA Owners

If you’re a wealth manager who offers investment advice to IRA owners, you must be aware of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2020-02 (the “Investment Advice PTE”). According to the PTE, ERISA considers most recommendations to roll over an IRA as fiduciary investment advice, effective as of February 16, 2021. The PTE lists several inherent conflicts of interest that investment Read More

FAQS About Enforcement of The Affordable Care Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act

The Transparency in Coverage Final Rules (the TiC Final Rules) require non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers to disclose certain billing information for covered items and services on a public website. This includes in-network provider rates, allowed amounts for out-of-network services, billed charges, and negotiated rates and historical net prices for covered prescription drugs in three Read More

Billing Practices That Don’t Comply with The Terms of a Health Plan May Be a Fiduciary Breach

In Peters v. Aetna Inc., (2021, CA4) 2021 WL 2546412), Peters sued on behalf of herself and other plan participants in her employer’s self-insured ERISA group health plan. She alleged that the billing practices used by the plan’s claims administrator and a subcontractor violated the plan’s terms and that these wrongful billing practices constituted a breach of fiduciary duties under the plan. Peters alleged that the Read More

Fired Professor Claims Navy Employees Have No Immunity for Harassment

A University of Idaho professor and former national defense analyst continued her fight against members of the United States Navy after they claimed sovereign immunity in a lawsuit that she filed in Maryland District Court in May 2020. Lilian Alessa sued five individuals, including Todd Boone and Edward Westfall, for harassment and retaliation. Alessa claimed that members of the Navy engaged in sexist conduct and Read More

Employers Not Required to File 2020 Return for Retroactively Adopted Retirement Plan

In the early fall of 2021, the IRS emailed employers a newsletter reminding them that they are not required to file a 2020 Form 5500 series return for retirement plans retroactively adopted in 2021.  Section 201 of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (“SECURE Act”) permits employers to adopt a retirement plan after the close of its tax year and elect to treat that plan as having Read More

Court Limits Defendants in Fiduciary Breach Lawsuit

In Luense v. Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc., 2021 WL 2103231 (D. N.J. 2021), a federal trial court dismissed certain allegations of a putative class action lawsuit brought by 401(k) plan participants, because they failed to prove that the defendants were fiduciaries when acting as alleged in the complaint. The lawsuit claimed that various parties violated their fiduciary duties based on the way that Read More

October 2021 Newsletter | HBL October Newsletter – No Tricks Just Treats

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New Lifetime Income Illustration Disclosures Now In Effect

An Interim Final Rule (IFR) published by the Department of Labor (DOL) took effect September 18, 2021. The IFR pertains to the information required by § 105 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) to be provided on pension benefit statements. This regulation reflects amendments made by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (“SECURE Act”) to ERISA § Read More