The Self-Funded Plan’s Guide To Gender-Affirming Coverage

By Tim Kennedy and Anne Tyler Hall (October 31, 2023) In recent years, the U.S. has seen an increase in the number of individuals identifying as transgender.[1] With this development, there also has been increased attention on transgender rights and protections, as well as an increase in the demand for employer-sponsored group health plans, or GHPs, to cover gender-affirmation benefits. Whether or how a GHP Read More

Ninth Circuit Decision in AT&T Case May Expose Retirement Plan Fiduciaries to New Attacks

The U.S. Court of Appeals recently revived a lawsuit against AT&T Services Inc. and its retirement plan fiduciaries after a district court had granted summary judgment in favor of the telecommunications giant. The published decision, binding in the Ninth Circuit, focused on indirect fees received by service plan providers. This issue potentially subjects retirement plan fiduciaries to legal attacks they have not Read More

Secure an Employee Plan’s Future by Proactively Self-Correcting

By Grant Shuman and Anne Tyler Hall, Hall Benefits Law SECURE 2.0 provides retirement plan sponsors an avenue to control the narrative in resolving any compliance issues under EPCRS, say Grant Shuman and Anne Tyler Hall of Hall Benefits Law. Retirement plan sponsors can take advantage of new and expanded self-correction remedies under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System even before the IRS releases Read More

Common Mistakes in 457 Plans of Tax-Exempt Organizations

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 457 details tax consequences for deferred compensation retirement plans for tax-exempt organizations (EOs) and state and local government entities (S&L plans). Plans that meet certain eligibility requirements under Section 457(b) have deferred tax benefits, and those that fail to meet these requirements are subject to tax consequences under Section 457(f). Here are some common Read More

IRS Warns Plan Sponsors of ESOP Compliance Risks

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued IR-2023-144 (“IRS Notice”) on August 29, 2023, which concerns Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). These plans allow employees to accrue ownership of company stock over time. The IRS Notice warns employers who sponsor ESOPs to be wary of the many compliance rules that these plans involve. In particular, the IRS expresses concern in its Notice that some ESOP transactions Read More

The Meaning of ‘Woke’

In the three years since George Floyd’s death, systemic oppression, police brutality, racism, and workplace discrimination have come to the forefront of our collective consciousness. This era of heightened awareness has given rise to social movements, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) programs in the workplace, and the concept of “wokeness” – or awareness of systemic issues related to race, gender, and Read More

Proposed Regulations for Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Issued

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published proposed rules to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) on August 11, 2023. The EEOC will accept public comments on the rules through October 10, 2023, and it is specifically seeking comments on other possible accommodations and the costs of accommodations. The PWFA, which went into effect on June 27, 2023, expands protections for Read More

10th Circuit’s PBM Ruling Could Erode Similar State Laws

A recent Tenth Circuit decision invalidating portions of an Oklahoma law regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) based on preemption could negatively affect similar laws in other states. The appellate court found that the Employee Retirement Income Security Administration (ERISA) and Medicare Part D preempted the challenged provisions of the PBM law. In its decision, the Tenth Circuit also explicitly acknowledged Read More

NLRB Shifts Balance Toward Employee Rights When Assessing Lawfulness of Employer Rules

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced a decision in Stericycle Inc., in which it adopted a new standard for evaluating the legality of employer policies under Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In its ruling, the NLRB overruled its previous decisions in Boeing Co. (2017) and LA Specialty Produce Co. (2019), in which it had articulated a different standard. The NLRB Read More

10th Circuit Invalidates OK PBM Law on Basis of ERISA, Medicare Preemption

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently overturned portions of Oklahoma’s Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act, a state law regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), who serve as intermediaries between pharmacies, insurance companies, and drug companies. A three-judge panel reversed a federal district court judge’s April 2022 ruling in finding that the Act’s restrictions on network access and Read More