Posts Categorized: Health Benefits

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.

Illinois Civil Unions

in Health Benefits, Welfare Benefits

Effective June 1, 2011, both same gender and opposite gender civil unions are permitted in Illinois.  A link to the bill – SB 1716 – is appended below.  It’s time to dust off those domestic partner and marriage policies for health plans. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/96/SB/PDF/09600SB1716enr.pdf

All Quiet in DC this Week

in Health Benefits, Retiree Benefits, Welfare Benefits

Now that the set of Transformers 3 has moved out of DC, it is fairly quite this week.  It appears that everyone is digging out from the avalanche of Affordable Care Act guidance, and waiting for the elections in two weeks.  As you are updating your enrollment guides and summary plan descriptions, and drafting plan document amendments, keep in mind that plaintiffs lawyers love obscurity and inconsistency.  The best way to draft any plan language is to be clear and consistent among your enrollment guides, summary plan descriptions and plan documents.

GINA – More than an Interesting First Name

in Health Benefits

Just in time for annual enrollment, the DOL has issued a number of FAQs on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).  Remember, if you have health risk assessments for your medical plan, the questionnaires must be voluntary and you must decouple the genetic information questions from any monetary or other incentive that is paid to complete them.  You can still pay a monetary incentive but your health risk assessment must make it clear that the incentive is only paid for completing the non-genetic information portion of the assessment.  The FAQs can be accessed at the link below.  http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-GINA.html

Michelle’s Law is Still Alive (Barely)

in Affordable Care Act, Health Benefits

As noted in our August 17th post, many sponsors are applying the age 26 regulations to children as defined in IRC Section 152(f)(1). This means that other children, such as children of a legal guardian, children of a domestic partner or grandchildren, would not be covered by the mandatory age 26 rules. Thus, applicable plans could apply the usual dependency tests to these children as they have in the past (e.g., age 19 and age 25 if a full time student).   If a plan sponsor did apply full-time student rules to children not covered by the age 26 regulations, then Michelle’s Law would still apply to those children…. Continue Reading