IRS Releases Decreased ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Penalties for 2025

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued Rev. Proc. 2024-14, which contains the 2025 indexing adjustments to the dollar amount used to calculate employer shared responsibility payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA provides that applicable large employers (ALEs) can be responsible for an employer shared responsibility penalty under Code § 4980H(a) in some circumstances. More specifically, if Read More

Remote Workers May Face Greater Risk of Being Laid Off

Some large employers have recently announced significant layoffs and the question is whether remote workers are more likely to be on the chopping block than those who work in the office. UPS is laying off 12,000 workers, and both PayPal and eBay are cutting about nine percent of their respective workforces. Wayfair also laid off about 13% of its employees, and executives at the online furniture retailer admitted that Read More

Cigna Insurance Plan Participants Urge Court to Certify Class on Allegedly Underpaid Claims

Insurance plan participants urged a California federal court to certify a class of 8,000 members in their lawsuit against Cigna, claiming that class certification is the only efficient and cost-effective remedy. The plan participants claim that Cigna colluded with Multiplan, its third-party billing contractor, and Multiplan’s subsidiary, Viant, to underpay out-of-network claims for substance use disorder treatments. Read More

Terminating Workers in the Private Sector for Their Political Affiliations and Activities

As this year’s political campaigns heat up and elections draw closer, heated discussions in hallways, postings on social media platforms, and expressing support for candidates tend to become all too common in the workplace. When these activities begin to affect workplace productivity and morale, private employers may wonder if they can fire employees based on their political affiliation and activities. In many cases, Read More

The Genesis of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

Before the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA), health insurance plans were not required to cover mental health care, which made treatment expensive and difficult to access. The MHPA was the first piece of legislation that attempted to resolve this issue. It provided that large group health insurance plans could not impose annual or lifetime caps on mental health benefits that are less favorable than caps on Read More

The Potential Impact of Insurance Carrier and TPA Legal Battles on Self-Funded Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently filed suit against the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSM), alleging various violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The outcome of this case is likely to be significant, as it raises issues concerning legal authority and fiduciary responsibility in the context of third-party administrators (TPAs) of self-funded employee welfare Read More

Court Allows Nurse Educator’s Whistleblower Retaliation Claim to Move Forward Against Hospital

A California appeals court recently allowed a nurse educator’s retaliation lawsuit against her former employer to go forward. The court found that the hospital’s stated reason for the plaintiff’s termination was a pretext for its retaliatory motive, and, as a result, her case should proceed to trial. The case is Johnson v. Pasadena Hospital Assn., Calif. Ct. App., No. B321794 (Dec. 28, 2023). On January 8, 2018, Read More

The DOL’s New “Economic Realities” Test to Determine Employee Status: ERISA Considerations for Benefit Plan Sponsors

By Bonita Hatchett-Bodle (April, 2024) The Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division issued final regulations, effective March 11, 2024, which are intended to serve as a practical guide to employers on how the DOL determines whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) [29 CFR part 795]. This new guidance may impact employee classification under the Read More

Reasons to Avoid SECURE 2.0 Emergency Savings Accounts

SECURE 2.0 established various options for individuals to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts without penalties. One such option allows plan sponsors to place funds in a separate emergency savings account for employees making less than $155,000 annually. Plan advisors often refer to these pension-linked emergency savings accounts (PLESAs) as “sidecar” accounts. The Employee Benefits Security Read More

Penalties for Failing to Timely File 2023 Forms 1094/1095

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires some employers to file annual information returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by certain deadlines. These employers also must provide their employees with certain forms related to insurance coverage by a deadline. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in double penalties – one for failure to file an information return and one for failing to provide employees Read More