Section Newsletter Articles on Employee Benefits

Some employers finding relief from rising health care costs, according to NBGH/Watson Wyatt Survey Corporate Law Departments, July 2006 Escalating increases in health care costs in recent years have wreaked havoc on companies’ compensation budgets, often holding pay and other perks hostage.
Current state of cash balance plans By Jennifer Hope Strouf Employee Benefits, June 2006 Currently “cash balance plans” are not defined by the Code or ERISA.
FASB issues exposure draft on changes to accounting for pension and other post-retirement benefit plans By Stewart D. Lawrence Employee Benefits, June 2006 The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued the Exposure Draft: Employers’ Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans, an amendment of FASB Statements No. 87, 88, 106, and 132 (R).
The future of automatic enrollment: An analysis of recent legislative activity By William E. Hansen Employee Benefits, March 2006 President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “A secure retirement rests on a three-legged stool: Social Security, Private Pensions, and Private Savings.
HSA/FSA grace period guidance restricts employer options but provides limited transition relief By Sharon R. Cohen Corporate Law Departments, February 2006 In Notice 2005-86, the IRS clarifies the effect of a health flexible spending account (FSA) grace period on health savings accounts (HSAs).
IRS issues proposed regulations on employer-comparable contributions to HSAs By Sharon R. Cohen Corporate Law Departments, February 2006 The IRS has proposed the first regulations on health savings accounts, which generally follow the comparability guidance issued in previous notices.
How to handle an employer’s group health plan lien By Robert T. Park Civil Practice and Procedure, January 2006 As a result of an accident, the plaintiff was injured. He brings a suit in circuit court for negligence. His damages include medical bills that were paid for by his employer’s group health insurance plan. After pursuing discovery, including depositions, the case settles. The health plan asserts a lien for the amount it paid. How should the lawyer handle the employer’s group health plan lien?
Governor signs Pension Reform Bill By Michael J. Hernandez Education Law, June 2005 The Governor has signed Senate Bill 27 into law. Among other things, SB 27 extends the teachers' Early Retirement Option (ERO).
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 By Brian W. Ruddell Business and Securities Law, December 2004 Section 1201 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 added Section 223 to the Internal Revenue Code to permit eligible individuals to establish Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for taxable years beginning in 2004.
Significant changes ahead for deferred compensation plans: An overview of the deferred compensation provisions under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 Employee Benefits, December 2004 President Bush recently signed into law new legislation that will substantially affect all nonqualified deferred compensation plans and employment agreements that include deferral arrangements, and may also affect other forms of compensation.
Supreme Court finds that HMO employee benefit plan eligibility decisions are governed by ERISA and therefore not subject to claims under state health care liability laws By William L. Scogland and Galen Mason Employee Benefits, September 2004 In Aetna Health Inc. v. Davila and CIGNA Health Care, Inc. v. Calad, the Supreme Court ruled that patients cannot use state health care liability laws to sue health maintenance organizations (HMOs) for claims relating to an HMO's interpretation of an employer-provided benefit plan.
Postmortem QDROs-May benefits be divided after death? By William L. Scogland and Mark A. Berggen Employee Benefits, June 2004 Issues regarding the qualification of postmortem domestic relations orders ("DROs") continue to exist as a unified approach among the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals has yet to be made clear to benefit law practitioners.
New rules for 204(h) notices By William L. Scogland and Teresa Faherty Blomquist Employee Benefits, October 2003 The Internal Revenue Service's final regulations for 204(h) notices, as such notices were amended by EGTRRA, are examples of subtle changes made to an ERISA rule in reaction to a much more controversial phenomenon, viz., the conversion of traditional defined benefit plans to cash balance plans.
Reinsuring employee benefit plan risks through a captive By Michael Lusk and Michael Todd Scott Corporate Law Departments, June 2003 Since the Department of Labor approved a prohibited transaction exemption for Columbia Energy Corporation in 2000, there has been an increased interest from employers in reinsuring employee benefit plan risks through their captives
Federal case updates By Milan Kim Employee Benefits, April 2003 Jebian was a participant in Hewlett's ERISA plan, which was run by Voluntary Plan Administrator (VPA), an independent claims administrator.
IRS eases rules for minimum required distributions By Steven Lifson Employee Benefits, May 2001 The IRS has issued new regulations that govern required minimum yearly distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts ("IRAs") and tax-qualified plans to people over age 70-1/2 and to beneficiaries of deceased IRA owners and plan participants
Appeals court holds that ADEA applies to retiree health plan By Sharon R. Cohen Corporate Law Departments, February 2001 In Erie County Retirees Assoc. v. County of Erie, Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to retirees and retiree health plans.
Survey on QILDRO By Steven N. Peskind Family Law, October 2000 On July 1, 1999, after ten years of work by the Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Section Council, HB1612 became law creating a vehicle to assign retirement benefits from State of Illinois pension plans.
IRS expands its programs available to correct defects in qualified plans By Steven Lifson Employee Benefits, October 1999 Over the years, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") has initiated a number of voluntary remedial programs designed to encourage employers that sponsor tax-qualified plans to correct defects in plan documents and errors in the administration of plans.
The fate of summary judgment and discovery in ERISA benefit-claim litigation: Wilkins v. Baptist Healthcare Systems, Inc., 150 F.3d 609 (6th Cir. 1998) By Mark A. Casciari and Ian H. Morrison Employee Benefits, September 1999 Departing from years of accepted practice, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Wilkins v. Baptist Healthcare Systems, Inc., 150 F.3d 609 (6th Cir. 1998), rejected summary judgment as a procedural device for adjudicating ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B) claims for benefits.