Tag: ERISA

Question: Our company is getting ready for open enrollment. Can we distribute ERISA notices electronically instead of printing and delivering hard copies? Answer: Yes, electronic delivery complies with ERISA’s disclosure rules – but certain conditions must be met. First, whether delivered in hard copy or electronic media, ERISA requires preparing and furnishing materials “in a…

On August 31, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Departments of Labor and Treasury to make it easier for employers to offer retirement and savings programs. The majority of workers are employed at small businesses where they are less likely to have access to 401(k) plans and other retirement plans than workers…

At this time of year, many employers and benefit advisors begin preparing Form 5500, the annual report required for most employee benefit plans. Form 5500 must be filed with the federal government within seven months after the end of the plan year. For calendar-year plans, that means the plan’s 2017 Form 5500 is due July…

The Rap on Wraps

There’s a good chance you use a wrap document to help satisfy your Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) summary plan description (SPD) obligations. Yet if you look for a definition of wrap document in ERISA statutes or regulations, you will not find one. The wrap is not a defined term or required document; it…

The Department of Labor’s new claim rules for disability benefits took effect April 2, 2018. The changes were announced over a year ago, but the effective date was delayed to give insurers, employers, and plan administrators adequate time for implementation. Although we’ve reported on the key issues in this blog previously, now seems like a…

Summary plan descriptions (SPDs) are required for all retirement, health, and welfare plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). However, misconceptions about this requirement are widespread. ERISA attorney Stacy H. Barrow, partner with Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP, had a chat with ThinkHR about the importance of having proper ERISA…

In its March 15, 2018, decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule that expanded the definition of an investment advice fiduciary under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Under the Fiduciary Rule, investment brokers were going to be required to put…

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued compliance guidance for benefit plans, employers and employees, and service providers who are impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Question: If we own majority ownership interests in two companies, can both companies’ group health benefits be included in the same ERISA plan? Answer: Please check with your insurance broker, tax advisor, or legal counsel regarding the structure of the company ownership and the benefits plan design. While we cannot provide tax or legal advice, what follows…

Question: What are the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) rules about nondiscrimination in benefits plan designs to assist with creating benefit class carve-outs? Answer: Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, which is governed by ERISA) and I.R.C. § 125 plan rules, employers are allowed to offer different contribution levels or benefit coverage levels…