Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Class Action Claiming Insurer Violated MHPAEA and ERISA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a class action lawsuit in which group health plan participants alleged that the insurer violated the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case is Ryan S. v. UnitedHealth Grp., Inc., 2024 WL 1561668 (9th Cir. 2024). The plan Read More

Dismissal Rulings Expected Soon in Multiple 401(k) Forfeiture Proposed Class Action Lawsuits

At least nine pending proposed class action lawsuits challenging how companies use 401(k) forfeitures are facing rulings on motions to dismiss in the coming weeks. 401(k) forfeitures occur when a worker leaves their employment before the employer’s matching contributions are fully vested. The 401(k) plan participants in these suits claim that their employers misused forfeited funds by reducing their expenses on Read More

Biden’s Proposed FFY 2025 Budget Seeks Mental Health Access Expansion

The Biden administration unveiled its FFY 2025 budget, which calls for $7.3 trillion in spending. In the proposed budget, Biden maintains his pledge to focus on expanding and transforming the nation’s mental health system. He cited the need for ensuring access to mental health care amidst a nationwide unprecedented mental health crisis affecting people of all ages. Biden also mentioned his intention to invest in the Read More

Defense Contractor L3Harris to Pay $650K to Settle 401(k) Class Action

Aerospace and defense technology company L3Harris has agreed to settle an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class action lawsuit for $650,000. Plan participants in the company’s $5.2 million 401(k) plan claimed that the defense contractor violated ERISA by charging excessive fees and retaining expensive investment options. The case is Stengl et al. v. L3Harris Technologies, Inc. et al., case number Read More

5th Circuit Appears Open to Upholding Nationwide Bar on ACA Preventive Care Requirements

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently heard arguments in the federal government’s appeal of a lower court’s decision to vacate various Affordable Care Act (ACA) preventive care requirements. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Conner also issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Biden administration from enforcing the ACA preventive care requirements. The court based its Read More

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

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

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

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