The US Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and US Department of the Treasury, issued guidance and deadline extensions applicable to ERISA-governed group health and welfare plans. The guidance provides relief for plan sponsors, plan administrators and plan participants that may be struggling to comply with applicable deadlines and requirements in the midst of the chaos related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Access the full article.
Overview A new IRS notice extends the deadline for individuals to make health savings account (HSA) contributions from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. The IRS issued the notice to provide taxpayers with various tax filing and payment deadline extensions in response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. In Depth In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the IRS has issued Notice 2020-18, which extends certain tax filing and payment deadlines. All taxpayers with filing or payment deadlines of April 15, 2020 are eligible for relief under the Notice, regardless of whether they are directly impacted by COVID-19 (for example, due to illness or quarantine). The Notice extends the deadline for individuals to make contributions to their health savings accounts from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. HSAs allow individuals who are covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to contribute an amount up to IRS limits ($3,550 for individual coverage and $7,100 for...
A federal district court denied class certification to health plan participants who claimed the plan promised them lifetime benefits. The court found too many individualized questions about what the plan told each participant, and the claims could not be resolved on a class-wide basis. Fitzwater, et al. v. Consol Energy, Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-09849 and 1:17-cv-03861 (S.D.W.Va., October 15, 2019). Access the full article.
In today’s high-stakes environment, in-house counsel and HR professionals are often on the frontlines, responding to headlines that threaten business and reputational objectives. Join McDermott Will & Emery’s Employment and Employee Benefits practice groups at a half-day forum in our Chicago office on Oct. 10. This forward-looking program is designed to drive conversation around emerging trends to help employers craft their own narrative, instead of being held captive by it. See full event details and register here.
Federal Court Certifies Class in Multiple-Plan ERISA Challenge to Health-Plan and Retirement-Plan Fees
A Texas federal court certified a class in case brought by participants in one plan, and allowed those participants to represent participants in unaffiliated plans. The claims alleged that the defendants, who marketed and provided services to all of the plans, breached fiduciary duties by imposing excessive fees. See Chavez, et al. v. Plan Benefits Services, Inc., et al., No. AU-17-CA-00659-SS, United States District Court for Western District of Texas (Aug. 30, 2019). Access the full article.
With the uncertainty of the general election just one year away—and change on the horizon—now is the time to take stock of the legal and regulatory environment to prepare your organization for the future. On September 10 in Boston, the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), Fidelity and McDermott invite you to join your peers and colleagues for breakfast and an interactive discussion at 8 am EDT around hot topics in benefits and compensation. Areas of focus will include: Congressional action on healthcare—from Rx costs to surprise billing Direct contracting for health plans Federal and state paid leave Lasting impacts of tax reform New leveraged ESPP funding alternative Student loan repayment plans The SECURE Act and what comes next Register for the event.
The Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services have released final rules removing the prohibition on pairing HRAs with individual health policies. The final rules also allow certain HRAs and other account-based group health plans to qualify as limited excepted benefits. These rules are generally effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. Access the full article.
The US Supreme Court declined to review a recent Ninth Circuit decision, blocking the interim rules that exempted employers with religious or moral objections from providing birth control coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Until such time as this issue is clarified, it is prudent for employers with employees in certain states to comply with the ACA mandate and to cover contraceptives under their health plans. Access the full article. Teal Trujillo, a summer associate in our Chicago office, also contributed to this article.
Sponsors and fiduciaries of health and welfare plans should be aware of a recently filed class-action lawsuit against alleged fiduciaries of a health plan. It challenges health-plan fiduciary oversight and reasonableness of fees similar to actions against fiduciaries of defined-contribution retirement plans. The action highlights the importance of establishing and documenting prudent fiduciary processes for making decisions on behalf of health and welfare plans. Access full article.
During the most recent Tax in the City event in Dallas, Partners Erin Turley and Judith Wethall, presented on the rise of consumer driven health care. Some popular programs they discussed include wellness, smoking cessation, high deductible health plans and HSAs, telemedicine, direct contracting and affordable care organizations. They also discussed the compliance complexities associated with these programs, including ERISA, FLSA and HIPAA privacy concerns. View the full presentation.