Health & Welfare

Plan Administrator Deemed an ERISA Fiduciary

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Dawson-Murdock v. Nat'l Counseling Group, Inc., has allowed a life insurance beneficiary to sue her husband's employer for breach of fiduciary duties concluding that she had sufficiently alleged that the employer was an ERISA fiduciary.

IRS Releases ACA Affordability Rates for 2020

The Internal Revenue Service has issued Revenue Procedure 2019-29 to implement the 2020 index adjustments for certain Affordable Care Act ("ACA") contribution percentages used to determine affordability under the employer shared responsibility mandate. Background. Under the ACA, contribution percentages are used to determine: (i) whether an Applicable Large Employer ("ALE") is subject to the ...

IRS Expands List of Preventive Care Benefits

IRS has issued Notice 2019-45 which expands the list of "preventive care benefits" permitted to be provided by a high deductible health plan ("HDHP") when determining if an individual is eligible to make tax-exempt contributions to a health savings account ("HSA"). In general, an individual is eligible to contribute (or have his or her employer contribute) to an HSA if he or she participates in ...

A Sigh of Relief For Employers Subject to Potential ACA Disparate Impact Discrimination Claims

In the aftermath of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, litigants have pressed courts on what conduct meets the criteria for a disparate impact discrimination claim. Typically, a disparate impact discrimination claim contends that a facially neutral employment practice has a discriminatory effect on a protected class of people such as race, gender, or age. In contrast to traditional ...

Was The Court of Claims Correct for the Wrong Reason?

In Iowa Bankers Benefit Plan v. United States, the Court of Federal Claims decided that the Iowa Bankers Benefit Plan, a group health arrangement, is within the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") definition of a "covered entity" under Section 9010 of the ACA, subject to the annual fee on health insurance providers. Section 9010 of the ACA is not codified, but is interpreted by the IRS regulation at 26 ...

Court Finds an Employee's Vacation While On FMLA Leave is Acceptable

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC"), in DaPrato v. Mass. Water Resources Authority, has affirmed a jury's finding that an employee was wrongfully terminated for taking a vacation to Mexico during a period of Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") leave. In doing so, the SJC also upheld the trial court's decision to award the employee liquidated damages under the FMLA.

Apprenticeship Training Programs Must File Electronic Notice to be Exempt from ERISA's Reporting and Disclosure Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") has issued new regulations requiring apprenticeship training programs to file electronically in order to take advantage of an exemption from ERISA's reporting and disclosure requirements. (See DOL Reg. § 2520.104-22) An apprenticeship training program ("ATP") is an employee welfare benefit plan that exclusively provides apprenticeship training and other ...

HHS Guidance on When One Health Plan May Share PHI of Individuals with Another Health Plan

HHS has issued FAQs that provide guidance on the circumstances under which HIPAA's Privacy Rule allows for one health plan to share protected health information ("PHI") about individuals who "have a relationship" with a second health plan. Background. HIPAA's Privacy Rule allows a covered entity ("CE"), including a health plan, to disclose PHI to another CE for either: (i) the health plan's own ...

Beneficiary May Sue Trustees of One ERISA Plan for Fiduciary Breaches Causing Loss of Benefits under Another ERISA Plan

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in DeRogatis v. Bd. of Trustees of the Cent. Pension Fund of the Int'l Union of Operating Engineers, has held that ERISA allows a plaintiff to sue the trustees of an ERISA welfare benefit plan for a fiduciary breach that caused her to lose benefits under another, related ERISA pension plan.

Agencies Expand HRA Availability to Provide Coverage

In response to an Executive Order from President Trump, the DOL, HHS, and the IRS proposed new regulations to expand the use of HRAs to pay for certain medical expenses.  They now have released final regulations that will be published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2019.  The final regulations, which will become effective January 1, 2020, provide for two new types of HRAs. Excepted Benefit ...