Spencer Fane’s Employee Benefits Group devotes a substantial amount of time to its clients’ welfare plans. These include not only health care plans, but also those providing educational assistance, dependent care assistance, life insurance, disability benefits, and other welfare benefits. Designing and implementing “cafeteria plans” – allowing employees to purchase welfare benefits on a pre-tax basis – is also a key component of our practice. Most recently, Group members have assisted clients in the evaluation and implementation of consumer-driven health programs, such as flexible spending accounts (“FSAs”), health reimbursement arrangements (“HRAs”), and health savings accounts (“HSAs”).
In addition to drafting welfare plans, we frequently amend such plans to reflect legislative and regulatory changes. Other amendments are drafted to further clients’ objectives in maintaining such plans, such as through managed care provisions. We also assist clients in establishing welfare trust funds, as required under ERISA. In many cases, clients call upon the Group to obtain IRS determinations that such trust funds are tax exempt.
Advising clients with respect to federal statutes and regulations concerning welfare plans is also a major component of our services. Many clients request our assistance in complying with rules concerning cafeteria plans, COBRA health care continuation requirements, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), the Tax Code’s welfare plan nondiscrimination rules, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”).