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Premium Surcharges for the Unvaccinated Are Lawful Within Limits

Many plan administrators expressed bewilderment at the Biden administration’s recent guidance to limit vaccine incentive or surcharge programs for unvaccinated plan participants. According to this SHRM article, which features insight from McDermott Partner Judith Wethall, any premium surcharges must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPPA) nondiscrimination rules. HIPPA nondiscrimination rules allow for participatory and health-contingent permissible wellness programs.

Read more here.

IRS Issues “Snapshot” Guidance on Qualified Retirement Plan Issues

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released “Issue Snapshots” on a number of topics related to tax-qualified retirement plans, including both pension and savings plans. Historically, the snapshots have explained new(er) laws and guidance, and have often included audit tips for IRS examiners. As a result, although the IRS has indicated that the snapshots are not official pronouncements of law or directives, the snapshots provide helpful insight into issues that the IRS thinks merit further discussion or clarification. Therefore, the snapshots can be instructive for plan sponsors and plan administrators.


New Guidance From the Department of Labor Clarifies Participant Disclosure Requirements

by Maureen O’Brien and Karen Simonsen.

In October 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations requiring plan administrators to disclose certain plan and investment-related information, including fee and expense information, to participants and beneficiaries in 401(k) plans and other participant-directed individual account plans.  In February 2012, the DOL issued final regulations under section 408(b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requiring certain covered service providers to furnish specified information to plan administrators so that they may comply with their disclosure obligations in the participant-level disclosure regulations. On May 7, 2012, the DOL published additional guidance addressing frequently asked questions concerning the participant disclosure regulations and the service provider disclosure regulations.

The new guidance consists of 38 questions and answers addressing, among other topics, revenue sharing disclosures, brokerage window disclosures, designated investment alternatives, transition rules, and form and content of investment-related information.  Plan administrators should review the new guidance now to determine if any changes to participant disclosures are required prior to the initial/annual disclosure deadline of August 30, 2012.

A detailed analysis of the new guidance from McDermott is forthcoming in the near future.  For now, click here to link to the new guidance.  To listen to McDermott’s webinar on participant fee disclosure and service provider disclosures, click here.