DOL Approves PBGC Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released Field Assistance Bulletin 2021-01 that authorizes, as a matter of enforcement policy, plan fiduciaries of terminating defined contribution plans to use the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) missing participant program for missing or nonresponsive participant’s account balances.  Following the termination of a defined contribution plan, current DOL Read More

DOL Proffers Guidance on Missing Participants

It’s hard to believe people would leave retirement funds behind when they move to a new job, but it happens. In fact, many people fail to roll over retirement plans when they leave a job and move to a new employer. Plan administrators and sponsors are then faced with a dilemma – and sometimes unclear or evolving guidance from government agencies that oversee employee retirement plans. Now the Department of Labor Read More

DOL Reinstates Five-Part Test for Determination of ERISA Fiduciary Status

On December 18, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) published in the Federal Register a final prohibited transaction exemption for investment advice fiduciaries that effectively reinstates the DOL’s “five-part test” as set forth in its 1975 regulation defining investment advice fiduciaries under the Code and ERISA. For advice to constitute “fiduciary investment advice” under the five-part test, a financial Read More

Consolidated Appropriations Act Adds Mental Health Parity Compliance Requirement for Group Health Plans

Section 203 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), which became law on December 27, 2020, requires group health plans to evaluate compliance with the existing rules governing nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs) under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).  The MHPAEA requires group health plans that apply NQTLs to mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits Read More

Policies & Procedures: The Key to Avoiding Retirement Plan Excessive Fee Litigation

The recent increase in litigation over retirement plans and, specifically, the fees those plans are being charged for administration and management, has many companies concerned about what they need to do to protect the plans they manage. Two recent federal district court rulings illustrate the necessity for plan sponsors to have a prudent decision-making process in place to successfully defend against excessive fee Read More

DOL and PBGC Announce Increased 2021 Retirement Plan Penalties

Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) are required to make annual inflation adjustments to ERISA violation penalties by January 15 of each year. The recently released retirement plan penalties for 2021 are as follows: DOL Penalties The increased penalties apply to violations where a penalty is Read More

CMS Provides for COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period

In accordance with an executive order issued by President Biden on January 28, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is opening a COVID-19-related special enrollment period (SEP) for uninsured consumers to obtain health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new COVID-19-related SEP is in effect from February 15 - May 15, 2021, for the 36 states that use the Read More

Group Health Plans and COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations

In general, employers are permitted to require that their employees be vaccinated if no disability or religious exemption applies. With two COVID-19 vaccines already authorized by the FDA for emergency use and more on the horizon, employers need to be aware of how this will affect their group health plans.  In October 2020, the Trump administration released an interim final regulation (IFR) governing coverage of Read More

2020 Appropriations Bill Includes Myriad of Retirement Plan-Related Provisions

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This major funding bill included the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 (COVIDTRA) and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (TCDTR), which contained the following provisions affecting retirement plans: Money Purchase Pension Plan Distributions May Qualify as Coronavirus-Related Distributions The CAA Read More

Plaintiffs Face Setback in New Second Circuit PBM-Favorable Decision

Plaintiffs in an ERISA lawsuit against pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) received another setback recently when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court ruling that defendants Anthem, Inc., and Express Scripts, Inc., did not violate ERISA’s fiduciary obligations because neither defendant acted as an ERISA fiduciary when entering into a contractual agreement that led to higher prescription costs for Read More