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Welfare Plans

The Spencer Fane Employee Benefits Team devotes a substantial amount of time to its clients’ welfare plans.  In addition to health plans, these include plans providing educational assistance, dependent care assistance, life insurance, disability coverage, and other welfare benefits.  Increasingly, we are called upon to assist in developing employee wellness programs that comply with a complex array of federal statutes.

Designing and implementing “cafeteria plans” – allowing employees to purchase welfare benefits on a pre-tax basis – is also a key component of our practice.  In this connection, we assist 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.  Many of our clients have asked us to “wrap” their various welfare benefits into a single ERISA “plan,” thereby simplifying their annual reporting obligations.  We also assist clients in establishing welfare trust funds – when required under ERISA – and assist in obtaining IRS determinations that such trusts are tax exempt.

We also advise clients with respect to the many federal statutes governing welfare plans.  In addition to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), these include COBRA’s health care continuation requirements, the various aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), the Tax Code’s welfare plan nondiscrimination rules, and the requirements imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”).