No Surprises in the Final Rules Issued Under ACA

in Affordable Care Act, Health Benefits

Final rules have been issued regarding grandfathered plans, pre-existing conditions, rescissions, dollar limits, claims and appeals procedures, and patient protections. These rules, effective on the first day of the plan year beginning on and after January 1, 2017, finalize the current interim final rules and amendments without substantial change, incorporating important clarifications issued in prior guidance.  The final rules can be found here.  Here is a sampling of the requirements...Continue Reading

Workplace Wellness Webinar

in Wellness Programs

The KT health and welfare team recently conducted a webinar on workplace wellness programs. The webinar focused on practical and legal issues under the HIPAA nondiscrimination rules, the proposed EEOC regulations under the ADA and the proposed EEOC regulations under GINA. The presentation as well as an audio recording of the webinar can be accessed here.

Disability Claims Procedures Get an Affordable Care Act Makeover

in Welfare Benefits

In light of the volume of litigation involving claims for disability benefits, and the perceived need to improve procedural protections for workers who become disabled, the DOL is updating the disability claims and appeals procedures. Issued today, the newly proposed regulations mirror in large part the rules that are now in place for claims relating to health benefits, as revised under the Affordable Care Act for non-grandfathered health plans.

The proposed rules are intended to reduce...Continue Reading

Department of Labor Liberalizes Rules for Socially Responsible Investments

in Fiduciary Issues

On October 22, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidance on socially responsible investments or economically targeted investments (ETIs), which are investments chosen, at least in part, for reasons other than their expected investment return to the plan. While ETIs are not defined by ERISA, they are commonly understood to cover a broad array of arrangements, such as union plans investing only in unionized companies or funds that invest only in “green” or “sustainable”...Continue Reading

Plan Sponsor Forced to Restore Plan Benefits Due to Intentionally Misleading Communications to Employees

in Fiduciary Issues, Qualified Plans, Retirement Plans

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision that emphasizes the importance of accurate communications to employees regarding changes in qualified retirement plan benefits. In Osberg v. Foot Locker, Inc., the plaintiffs in the class action consisted of nearly 16,000 participants in a defined benefit pension plan sponsored by Foot Locker. Prior to 1996, Foot Locker sponsored a traditional defined benefit pension plan in which...Continue Reading