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.

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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Is My Local Salary Survey an Anti-Trust Violation?

If I call colleagues in other companies to see what they are paying, am I creating a Sherman Anti-Trust Act violation? It’s likely, but there are safe harbor provisions, says Bottos, Vice President of Compensation at data provider Kenexa. Her suggestions came at a recent webinar sponsored by the company. What’s the Practice in the […]

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Top 5 Health Reform Issues Employers Should Focus on Today

It has now been almost a year since health care reform was first enacted. The first year involved many compliance challenges, not the least of which was keeping up with the many pieces of guidance issued by DOL, IRS and HHS. Plans had to expand coverage (more dependents, fewer dollar limits, no more questions about […]

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‘Out of Control’ Employee Screaming Profanities Loses out on COBRA Due to Gross Misconduct

Although the COBRA statute never defined gross misconduct — leaving it up to the courts — no dictionary is needed when an “out-of-control” employee screams profanities at and makes seemingly threatening hand gestures toward another employee, saying she would “get” hers. This behavior was “so manifestly so outrageous and extreme as to constitute gross misconduct,” […]

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A Shorter Commute Can Be Very Accommodating under the ADA, 2nd Circuit Says

Perhaps employers have been mistaken in assuming they never have to worry about a worker’s commute when accommodating a sickness or disability. In certain circumstances, an employer may be required to assist with an employee’s commute, the 2nd Circuit says in a recent opinion (Nixon-Tinkelman v. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene). […]

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