Fiduciary Lawsuits Highlight Importance of Service Provider Agreement Legal Reviews

When entering into a Service Provider Agreement for your 401(k) plan, legal review of the document itself is important to ensure that vendor fees are reasonable. Investment advisors, recordkeepers, and other service providers who help with your benefit plans are under increasing scrutiny due to a string of lawsuits and the Department of Labor’s fee disclosure rules. With increased transparency of fees came increased Read More

Plan Sponsors Take Note! IRS Stipulates that ACA Employer Penalties Cannot be Waived or Reduced

A recent Information Letter issued by the IRS discusses the employer mandate, also known as the employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) and questions regarding waiver and hardship payments. In short, the IRS letter clearly stipulates that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate penalties will not be waived or reduced. Applicable Large Employers (ALE) IRS Code Section 4980H lists penalties for ALEs that Read More

Medicare Secondary Payer Reporting Required for Prescription Drug Coverage Beginning in 2020

Beginning next year, group health plans (GHPs), including Medicare Secondary Payers, are required to follow the Substance Use – Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT Act) rules on reporting on prescription drugs and coverage. Current group health plan (GHP) reporting requirements are focused on exchanging drug coverage information in order to coordinate Read More

Time to Review Your Plan’s Hardship Distributions: Understanding 2020 Hardship Changes

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (“BBA”) included several changes to retirement plans, specifically changes to 401(k) and 403(b) plan hardship distributions. In response to the BBA, the IRS released proposed new regulations giving benefit plan administrators guidance on how they are likely to view hardship distributions in light of the new law. Regulatory Changes for Hardship Distributions as of January 1, Read More

Employer’s Failure to Respond to Claims Appeal Within ERISA-Prescribed Time Period Proves Costly

ERISA regulations include timelines for many of the different procedures performed under the rules, including the issuance of long-term disability decisions. Plans have 45 days to issue decisions on long-term disabilities and 60 days for other types of decisions. There are also certain circumstances where the plan administrator has the flexibility to extend the timeframe for benefit decisions. However, failure to Read More

DOL Provides Insight on Whether Arrangement Satisfies “Bona Fide Association” Status Required for a MEWA

A recent Advisory Opinion from the Department of Labor (DOL) provides additional insight on the question posed by ACE hardware of whether their multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) would qualify as an employee welfare benefit plan maintained by a “bona fide association” of employers. ACE Hardware Corporation is a cooperative formed of members who are the owners of hardware stores across the country. Each Read More

Time to Review Your Plan’s Hardship Distributions: Understanding 2020 Hardship Changes

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (“BBA”) included several changes to retirement plans, specifically changes to 401(k) and 403(b) plan hardship distributions. In response to the BBA, the IRS released proposed new regulations giving benefit plan administrators guidance on how they are likely to view hardship distributions in light of the new law. Regulatory Changes for Hardship Distributions as of January 1, Read More

Fiduciary Legal Compliance: Avoiding Costly Fiduciary Breach Lawsuits

This blog is an excerpt of Anne Tyler Hall’s book “Case Studies in ERISA: Why It Matters And How It Benefits You, A Plan Sponsor’s Guide To Employee Benefits Legal Compliance”  request your free digital copy of the book here. More than 6,300 class-action lawsuits were filed under ERISA in 2018. For 2016 and 2017, the top ten ERISA settlements were $807.4 million and $927.8 million, respectively, and the top Read More

Recent Court Decision Highlights Benefits of ERISA Application to Deferred Compensation Plan

Many bonus plans, including nonqualified deferred compensation plans (NQDC), are subject to ERISA rules and regulations. Even for plans that are not subject to ERISA, including ERISA-compliant procedures can be a benefit, as courts will see this as a good-faith attempt to provide the best claims procedures, dispute resolution procedures, and other best practices to plan participants. A recent case from the Sixth Read More

Recent Cases Highlight the Importance of Service Provider Agreement Legal Review

According to Section 104(b)(4) of ERISA, your benefits administrator may receive periodic written requests for “a copy of the bargaining agreement, trust agreement, contract, or other instrument under which the plan is established or operated.” Service provider agreements are typically long and complicated documents. They can be confidential in nature. These documents are critical in disputes over the plan’s Read More