05/24/2010 - Health Reform: 2011 Design Considerations
Many employers are already planning revisions to their medical plans for 2011. However, under health reform, if “grandfathered plans” (generally plans with at least one participant on March 23, 2010) make changes in their benefit structure, they may lose “grandfathered” status. This article answers some of employers' most pressing questions.
05/06/2010 - Employers May Offer Coverage of Children up to Age 26 Now
Although healthcare reform does not require group health plans to provide coverage for children up to age 26, without regard to marital or student status, until the first plan year beginning on or after September 23, 2010, many insurers are now offering employers with fully insured plans the opportunity to continue the health coverage of children who would otherwise lose coverage this year. This alert describes how employers with self-insured plans also may provide such coverage to children up to age 26 before it is otherwise legally required.
04/08/2010 - Healthcare Reform: What You Need to Do Now and in the Future
This alert summarizes the major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (together with the PPACA, the “Act”) that will impact employers and their group health plans (“GHPs”).
03/19/2010 - New Model Notices Reflect Latest Extension of COBRA Subsidy
The Department of Labor issued new model notices that reflect the most recent extension of the COBRA subsidy, which covers involuntary terminations that occur through March 31, 2010. The updated model notices are summarized in this alert.
03/12/2010 - COBRA Subsidy Extension - Déjà vu, but much more…
Once again, Congress has extended the period during which an individual must be involuntarily terminated (as defined for purposes of the COBRA subsidy, an “Invol Term”) to be eligible for the COBRA subsidy. Invol Terms occurring through March 31, 2010 will be eligible for the COBRA subsidy. This change is effective retroactively, so that those persons with an Invol Term on March 1, 2010 are still eligible for the COBRA Subsidy.
02/04/2010 - Deadline for Compliance with the HITECH Act Approaching
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the “HITECH Act”) makes significant changes to the privacy and security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended (“HIPAA”). Group health plans and other covered entities must comply with the HITECH Act by February 17, 2010.
01/29/2010 - DOL Issues Final Safe Harbor Rules for Timely Deposits of Participant Contributions and Loan Repayments
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued final regulations, effective January 14, 2010, that (1) clarify that the contribution timing rules apply to plan loan repayments, and (2) provide a safe harbor for depositing participant contributions (including loan repayments) to employee benefit plans with fewer than 100 participants on the first day of the plan year.
01/28/2010 - IRS Issues 409A Document Correction Program: The Six Month Payment Delay for Key Employees (second in a series)
As described in an earlier alert
, the IRS has announced a document correction program covering certain failures to comply with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code (“Section 409A”), which contains tax rules for nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements.
01/19/2010 - Model Notices and Additional Guidance Issued on COBRA Subsidy Extension
The Department of Labor recently issued model notices for employers to use under the COBRA subsidy extension, and the Internal Revenue Service issued additional guidance for an employer claiming on its federal employment tax return (Form 941) the credit for 2009 retroactive coverage arising from the subsidy extension for those individuals who had otherwise exhausted the subsidy period.
01/13/2010 - IRS Issues 409A Document Correction Program: Immediate Action May Be Needed
The IRS has issued a Notice that describes a document correction program covering certain failures to comply with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code (“409A”). 409A contains tax rules for nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements. While this IRS program offers employers welcome relief from inadvertent drafting mistakes and other failures to conform applicable documents to the requirements of 409A, it also raises some additional concerns.
12/29/2009 - COBRA Subsidy Extended - Prompt Action Required (Updated)
On December 19, 2009, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 (the “Act”) extended the COBRA continuation coverage subsidy, which originally was due to expire at the end of 2009. While the mechanics of the COBRA subsidy generally remain unchanged, the Act expands the coverage previously provided under the COBRA subsidy.
12/08/2009 - Year-End Changes Needed for Some 162(m) Performance-Based Compensation Plans
Publicly held corporations may need to adopt an amendment by December 31, 2009
for certain performance-based compensation plans and agreements, including incentive compensation and equity plans and executive employment agreements.
12/07/2009 - There's Still Time! Correct Code Section 409A Violations By December 31, 2009
Employers have until December 31, 2009 to take advantage of opportunities to avoid the 20% and other penalty taxes that otherwise would be imposed by Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. We recommend employers review all their plans and agreements that are subject to Section 409A, including nonqualified deferred compensation, severance, change of control plans and agreements, and employment agreements.
10/28/2009 - IRS Provides Guidance on Waiving 2009 Required Minimum Distributions
In Notice 2009-82, the IRS announced that plan sponsors must make decisions relating to the waiver of 2009 required minimum distributions (“RMDs”) for defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, by November 30, 2009
10/13/2009 - IRS Issues Final Regulations on Defined Benefit Plan Funding Requirements and Benefit Restrictions
Last week the IRS released final regulations covering most aspects of the minimum funding requirements and funding-based benefit restrictions imposed on single-employer defined benefit plans by the Pension Protection Act of 2006. These regulations generally apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2010, but can be relied upon before that date. Some plan sponsors may need to take immediate action in light of the regulations.
09/18/2009 - New Health Plan Privacy Notice Requirements Under HITECH Act
The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently issued an interim final rule (the “Rule”) under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act explaining the notification requirements for breaches of protected health information that has not been encrypted or destroyed (“Unsecured PHI”). Employer-sponsored health plans should immediately review and revise their HIPAA privacy policies and procedures to ensure that they adequately address the Rule’s requirements for investigating and reporting breaches of Unsecured PHI. The new requirements are effective for breaches occurring on or after September 23, 2009.
08/14/2009 - Employers Should Be on the Lookout for Common Retirement Plan Errors
The Internal Revenue Service recently published a list of common recurring mistakes it sees in large case audits of qualified retirement plans and in submissions under its Voluntary Correction Program. This list provides employers with a useful checklist for reviewing the operations of their qualified retirement plans.
05/20/2009 - Deadline for Complying with Medicare Secondary Payer Reporting Rules Approaching
This alert outlines new reporting requirements under the Medicare Secondary Payer rules that apply to all liability insurance plans (including self-insurance), no-fault insurance plans, and workers' compensation plans, including non-subscribers to the Texas Workers' Compensation Act beginning on July 1, 2009.
05/06/2009 - Restructuring Compensation During Economic Challenges
Employers are facing a number of economic and financial challenges. Some employers have considered restructuring their compensation arrangements with employees as an alternative to avoid a reduction in force or layoffs. Restructuring of compensation packages raises a number of issues.
04/16/2009 - Proceed with Caution - New COBRA Subsidy Notices Pose Risks to Employers
Employers are working frantically to comply with the new COBRA subsidy requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Act”). However, the rush to compliance poses significant dangers if employers rely on the guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor without careful review and use the Department of Labor sample notices without modification.
03/27/2009 - Significant Changes in the Health Data Privacy for Group Health Plans and their Business Associates
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Act”) broadens the HIPAA privacy and security protections that apply to protected health information (“PHI”) and imposes new requirements on group health plans and their business associates. Under the Act, certain HIPAA privacy and security requirements now directly apply to business associates as if they were covered entities.
02/19/2009 - Stimulus Bill Expands COBRA Benefits
The “Stimulus Bill,” signed Tuesday February 17, 2009, lowered the cost of COBRA continuation coverage for employees whose employment was or is involuntarily terminated on or after September 1, 2008 and before January 1, 2010, and their eligible dependents (together referred to as “Assistance Eligible Individuals”). In addition, those Assistance Eligible Individuals who did not timely elect COBRA are given another opportunity to elect that coverage, although their total period of COBRA coverage generally is not extended.
09/16/2008 - Significant Changes Imposed In Pension Plan Valuation of Alternative Investments
New Disclosure Requirements for Participant-Directed Individual Account Plans
10/23/2007 - IRS and Treasury Department Extend Section 409A Deadlines One More Year!
09/12/2007 - IRS Announces Limited Extension of Section 409A Compliance Deadline
04/11/2007 - 409A Final Regulations
12/22/2006 - IRS Issues Guidance on Reporting Section 409A Deferred Compensation
12/22/2006 - Diversification Notice and Pension Benefit Statement Guidance
12/22/2006 - President Bush Signs Bill Permitting One Time Rollovers to Health Savings Accounts
09/25/2006 - Plan Fees and Expenses The Next Wave of Lawsuits Has Begun
07/20/2006 - New Guidance on Using Debit/Credit Cards with HRAs and FSAs
06/14/2006 - Recent Health Plan Prescription Drug Developments
06/01/2006 - New Law Impacts 2006 Income Tax Liability of U.S. Citizens/Residents Working Abroad
05/19/2006 - Supreme Court Revisits Subrogation
What’s New in the World of Welfare Plans?
01/23/2006 - SECTION 409A NEWS ALERT: Section 409A Stock Valuation Guidance For Privately-Held Companies
01/17/2006 - Health Plan Update
01/04/2006 - SECTION 409A NEWS: Stock Valuation Guidance and Section 409A Technical Corrections
12/15/2005 - IRS Surprises Employers by Suspending Reporting and Witholding Requirements Under Code Section 409A
11/04/2005 - SECTION 409A NEWS: Separation Pay Exclusions
10/21/2005 - SECTION 409A NEWS: 2005 Action Items
10/04/2005 - Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Guidance: IRS Proposed Regulations Provide Relief Until 2007
08/08/2005 - How Long Do Employees Have to Elect COBRA Coverage?
06/21/2005 - DOL and SEC Tell Pension Plan Fiduciaries to Assess Third Party Consultants
06/07/2005 - Hidden Effects of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act's Regulations
06/01/2005 - New Grace Period Permitted for Cafeteria Plan Flexible Spending Accounts
03/10/2005 - New Notice of Rights Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994
03/07/2005 - IRS Issues Executive Compensation Audit Guidelines: What Employers Need To Do Now
01/31/2005 - The Automatic Rollover Rules
01/14/2005 - Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plan Guidance Under American Jobs Creation Act 04 and Notice 05-1
12/29/2004 - Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Guidance Brings Good News
12/28/2004 - USERRA Modifications
12/01/2004 - Deferred Compensation: Preparing for the Changes
09/07/2004 - Final Incentive Stock Option Regulations
06/01/2004 - HIPAA Privacy Compliance
03/01/2004 - Privacy Regulation Compliance Date Looms Closer for Small Group Health Plans
02/25/2004 - Defined Contribution Plans May Charge Former Employees' Accounts For Administrative Expenses
02/05/2004 - New Privacy Requirements Apply to Employers
12/01/2003 - Mutual Fund Trading Abuses and ERISA's Fiduciary Responsibilities
10/30/2003 - Public Companies, Insider Trading Restrictions and Individual Account Plans
07/17/2003 - EEOC Issues – Good News for Retiree Medical Plans
07/01/2003 - New COBRA Notice Guidance
06/18/2003 - Possible Claims Disruption as HIPAA Compliance Date for Standard Transactions Approaches
06/03/2003 - HIPAA Privacy – It’s Here (Closer Than You Think)
04/23/2003 - Failure to Provide Summary Plan Description Leads to Damages Award
02/03/2003 - Pension Blackout Rules for Individual Account Retirement Plans
01/13/2003 - Consumer Driven Health Plans
11/27/2002 - EGTRRA Amendments May be Required by December 31, 2002