Category: Benefits

From 401(k) plans to vacation policy, this topic gives HR and Compensation professionals specific strategies on how to handle benefit plans. Articles also provide guidance to brokers, advisers and consultants.

Indemnity Plan’s Recovery Provision Does Not Bind Providers, So Lawsuit to Force Pay-back Is Dismissed

ERISA can be the key to upholding benefit decisions based on plan language before money is paid, but it may be far less helpful once overpaid money goes out the door, particularly when the plan is indemnity-based with no provider contracts. This situation became evident in Int’l Longshore & Warehouse Union v. Sharp Surgery Center, […]

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IRS Further Explains Reform Rules on Health FSAs

Employers and plan administrators that offer health flexible spending accounts have been bracing themselves for Jan. 1, 2013. That’s when the $2,500 limit on health FSA salary reduction contributions provided for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kicks in. The IRS on May 30 issued Notice 2012-40, which provides guidance on the limit, […]

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Federal DOMA Unconstitutional, First Circuit Says, But Doesn’t Disturb State Laws

Employers and plan administrators hoping clarity will soon dispel the confusing tangle of divergent laws governing same-sex marriage and how they must address it in their benefit plans and HR policies have longer to wait. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 31 issued a ruling in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department […]

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Pay less for FLSA liability coverage by updating policies and monitoring workers

A relatively new form of insurance, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) became popular in the 1990s after the 1991 Civil Rights Act amendments increased the frequency of discrimination claims in the workplace. EPLI typically covers defense costs, judgments and settlements of employment issues ranging from sexual harassment to wrongful termination. While many employers do not […]

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Plan’s Network Policy Was Clear Enough to Ward Off ERISA Claims (in spite of poor call center performance)

Rejecting a plan participant’s claims that plan documents should specifically list in-network providers, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that a plan clearly providing information on how to check for provider status was sufficient to escape benefits-denial and fiduciary-breach claims. In affirming a lower court decision, the court also rejected an argument that […]

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Rhode Island Recognizes Other States’ Same-sex Marriages

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Rhode Island, but employers there must make provision for employees’ same-sex spouses nonetheless. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) on May 14 signed an executive order announcing that Rhode Island will recognize the validity of same-sex marriages entered into in states where it is legal. The executive order went into effect […]

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EBSA Loosens Health Reform Rules for SBC Delivery, Stays Enforcement

A set of safe harbors related to the enforcement of summaries of benefits and coverage (SBCs), which insurers and plan sponsors must distribute as part of health care reform, was issued May 11 by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Employee Benefits Security Administration. The DOL/EBSA guidance creates regulatory exceptions for situations where insurers […]

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DOL Debuts MHPAEA Web Page, Adds FAQs

The U.S. Department of Labor has collected its rules, guidance and other materials on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act into a new MHPAEA Web page. The materials on this page include a new set of frequently asked questions on “understanding implementation” of MHPAEA, which when enacted in 2008 substantially beefed up HIPAA’s […]

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Obama’s Same-sex Marriage Statement Doesn’t Change Employer Plans’ Status Quo

Employers likely will need to continue to pay close attention to how their individual states’ approach to same-sex marriage will affect their employee benefit plans, regardless of President Obama’s newly articulated support for it. The president on May 9 said that he supports same-sex marriage, but also that the states should be able to decide […]

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N.C. Voters Nix Same-sex Marriage: Implications for Employers

Employers in North Carolina will not face the complications their counterparts in states where same-sex marriage is legal or recognized do, but local and municipal governments that provide domestic partner benefits may have to change their policies. Tar Heel State voters on May 8 approved an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as […]

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