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.

What Do These Protesters Augur for Jobs and Benefits?

Last week I caught wind that some protesters were causing a street closure at the corner of 16th and I Streets, N.W., in Washington, D.C., a block from the White House and, as luck would have it, a block — in the other direction — from the editorial offices of Thompson Publishing Group. I grabbed […]

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Are your retirement plan’s fees excessive? Failed participant suits may inform plan sponsors

Federal courts on numerous occasions in the last two years have dismissed plan participant allegations that their employers charged excessive retirement plan fees. The rulings taken together say: If a plan is not enriching itself at participants’ expense — or operating with a conflict of interest in relation to its investment company — then it’s […]

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COBRA Coverage—Qualifying Event Determines Length

Length of COBRA coverage varies according to the type of qualifying event. The following events qualify an individual for COBRA continuation coverage if the event causes loss of coverage for a qualified beneficiary: Termination or reduction of hours of a covered employee other than because of the employee’s gross misconduct Death of a covered employee […]

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Not Again: SIIA Refutes ‘Misinformation’ About Self-funding

It’s like the Hollywood movie Groundhog Day all over again. The Self Insurance Institute of America (SIIA) wakes up and has to face the same “anti-self-funding” arguments about adverse selection, insolvency and inferior benefits that it refuted last year … the year before … and the year before that. Again in damage-control mode, this time the […]

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Small Employer Self-funding Must ‘Stop’: NAIC Adviser Touts Stop-loss Limits

Employers that want to self-fund their health benefits (and the vendors and attorneys who want to serve them) have yet another (as they see it) unreasonable opponent to self-insuring health benefits. An adviser to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has told NAIC that it should amend its model stop-loss coverage law to prohibit the […]

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TRICARE Suffers Texas-sized Data Breach

Stop me if you’ve heard this one — a car is burglarized, and hardware goes missing that turns out to have sensitive personal data on thousands of beneficiaries, employees, patients and customers. Same old story — but in the millions this time. Medical information on nearly 5 million military clinic and hospital patients was on backup […]

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Gross Misconduct—Can You Deny COBRA?

Gross Misconduct Means No COBRA, But … Termination for gross misconduct is not a qualifying event under COBRA, so COBRA continuation coverage does not have to be offered to an employee and his or her spouse and dependent children if the employee was terminated for gross misconduct. Unfortunately, the term “gross misconduct” is not defined […]

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Trouble Choosing the Right Form 5500 Version and Schedule? DOL to the Rescue

Employers and plan administrators that have a hard time choosing the version of the Form 5500 to file for earlier plan years, and which schedules to file, now have some help. That assistance comes from none other than the Department of Labor (DOL) — one of the agencies that imposes the filing requirement in the first […]

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Special Foods? Hearing Aid Repairs? Now They’re Deductible

If a plan participant needs a special diet that costs more than an ordinary, everyday diet, or had to have a hearing aid repaired, he or she can deduct those expenses. Specially Prepared Foods In Information Letter 2011-0035, the IRS said that if an individual consumes a special diet for medical reasons, the amount by […]

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DOL Clarifies E-Delivery of Participant Fee Disclosures

It’s important to disclose information through ERISA-required documents properly: it can be a plan administrator’s last line of defense if participants allege that they suffered losses because they didn’t know their rights or important plan terms. That obligation has  grown in response to the financial scandals of the last decade (Enron, WorldCom, mortgage-leveraged bonds, etc.). […]

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