Spencer Fane LLP Logo
Latest Posts

Supreme Court Charts Path To Recovery Under Welfare Plan Reimbursement Provisions

The Supreme Court has just made it easier for ERISA welfare plans to recover from participants who refuse to honor their plans’ reimbursement provisions. Resolving a question that has divided the federal circuit courts of appeals, the Court held in Sereboff v. Mid-Atlantic Medical Services that — under the right plan language and the right facts — a welfare plan’s action to recover such funds constitutes “equitable” relief and is therefore permissible under ERISA. And while the subtleties of the Court’s reasoning might not make spellbinding reading, they nonetheless contain an important message for employers who sponsor such plans.

Case Highlights Importance of Adequate Cobra Notice Procedures

The method of delivering required COBRA notices is always a popular topic among plan administrators. COBRA contains no specific requirements as to the manner in which notice must be given. Generally, however, the plan administrator’s good faith effort to notify the participant, by mailing a notice to the participant’s last known address, is sufficient.

Medicare Part D Notices Revised

As we reported in our July 2005 issue of Benefits in Brief, the Medicare Part D regulations issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require group health plans providing prescription drug coverage to Part D-eligible individuals to disclose to participants whether that coverage is creditable – that is, at least as good as Medicare Part D coverage.

THE FIDUCIARY CORNER: Abdicating Duties Does Not Prevent Liability

When companies fail to remit 401(k) plan contributions, the Department of Labor almost always looks for – and usually finds – fiduciaries to hold responsible. Cases such as these often can be traced to financially troubled plan sponsors trying desperately to juggle the claims of competing creditors. Employee salary deferral contributions somehow become mixed with company cash, and thus delayed on their way to the trust account.

Are You Ready For SEC Redemption Fee Rules?

Market timing and other short-term trading patterns impose costs on mutual funds by disrupting management, forcing funds to maintain excessive liquidity, and driving up tax expenditures.

DOL Modifies Exemption for Loans Made to Plans

Many sponsors of employee benefit plans have found it necessary to lend money to a plan, as a way of easing a liquidity problem or otherwise facilitating the plan’s operation. Such loans have occurred in the context of failed insurance companies, other illiquid assets, or delays in the disbursement of distributions by plan trustees or custodians. Because a plan sponsor is a “party-in-interest,” however, such a loan constitutes a “prohibited transaction” under both ERISA and the parallel Tax Code provisions.

IRS Issues Final Relative Value Regulations

The Internal Revenue Service has issued final regulations governing the disclosure of the financial effect and relative value of optional payment forms offered under defined benefit and money-purchase pension plans. Such plans must describe these optional forms (and their relative values) in the qualified joint and survivor annuity (“QJSA”) explanation they are required to provide to participants just before their benefit commencement date.

THE FIDUCIARY CORNER: Information Requests Should Be Honored–Promptly

Ignoring a participant’s request for copies of plan documents and SPDs is never a good idea. It is even less so when the participant has already filed a lawsuit against the plan sponsor or its fiduciaries, and when the letter comes from the participant’s attorney. A federal judge in Tennessee imparted this lesson to Nissan North America, Inc. in a decision earlier this year.

Plans Cannot Treat Domestic Partners As Spouses

Two recent private letter rulings by the Internal Revenue Service confirm that domestic partners – even when granted the same rights as married couples under state law – cannot be treated as spouses by retirement plans.

Minimal Employer Involvement May Create ERISA Plan

Yet another recent federal court opinion reminds us that ERISA plans – and thus ERISA obligations – may be created even when they are not intended. While an Ohio court was construing the “payroll practices” exemption from ERISA in the Langley case (see “What is in a Name? Not an ERISA Plan”), a court in Texas construed a similar exemption for “voluntary insurance arrangements,” and found it unavailable.

1 34 35 36 37 38 Showing 351-360 of 372 results View All