Posts Categorized: Welfare Benefits

DOL Audits

in Health Benefits, Welfare Benefits

The Department of Labor’s initiative to review the quality of employee benefit plan financial audits has been in place for many years, but there are signs that it has recently intensified. We have heard that the DOL is starting to dig deeper into the financial audits that are filed with the Form 5500 and in some cases have rejected the audits and imposed penalties. Because the audit report is considered an integral part of a Form 5500 filing for funded plans with at least 100 participants, plan administrators are at risk if the DOL determines that audit procedures were inadequate. The… Continue Reading

EBSA Electronic Distribution Rules

in Health Benefits, Retiree Benefits, Welfare Benefits

Today, EBSA posted all of the public comments received with respect to electronic distribution of benefit plan information. There are many great comments in this listing, including Kilpatrick’s comments listed as Number 32.  Although DOL is still reviewing the comments, DOL is apparently focusing on other plan materials (such as 401k statements for example) that can be delivered electronically, rather than SPDs and SMMs.  It’s unclear whether this is because DOL already has decided to adopt separate rules depending on the type of document to be transmitted.  DOL has said that proposed regulations could be issued by the end of… Continue Reading

DOMA Enforcement

in Health Benefits, Tax Issues, Welfare Benefits

Recently, the Obama Administration indicated that it will no longer enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Many employer sponsors are wondering how this affects their plans.  We are currently examining these issues and plan to issue a Legal Alert next week discussing the implications.  However, please keep in mind that DOMA does not affect ERISA preemption, so for self-insured plans, ERISA preemption is still alive and well.

Participants Sue Wellness Program

in Court Cases, Welfare Benefits, Wellness Programs

Last week a federal district court in Florida certified a class action against Broward County Florida’s health plan.  The class action alleges that the plan’s wellness program violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by charging employees a $20 bi-weekly surcharge for not participating in a wellness program.  The wellness program required biometric testing (glucose and cholesterol) and completion of an online health risk assessment.  If participants did not complete the testing and health risk assessment, participants were charged a $20 bi-weekly surcharge.  While these kinds of programs are allowed under HIPAA and ERISA (subject to certain requirements), the EEOC has been mostly… Continue Reading