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ML BeneBits

Recent LawFlash publications from the employee benefits practice include:

  • IRS FAQs: A Potential Shield for Taxpayers—Not a Sword for the Service: The IRS recently issued guidance on the utility of and weight to be afforded informal “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) published on its website—clarifications that became necessary given the IRS’s heavy reliance on FAQs as the preferred form of guidance throughout COVID-19 in its attempt to swiftly clarify and interpret standards of newly enacted relief programs often administered by the IRS and the US Department of the Treasury. Read more in the LawFlash.
  • A Survival Guide to DOL Group Health Plan Mental Health Parity Audits: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 mandates that employers offering medical/surgical and mental health/substance use disorder coverage provide comparative analyses and any supporting documentation demonstrating compliance with parity requirements to the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor upon request. The Consolidated Appropriations Act also directs the Department of Labor to request specific non-quantitative treatment limitation information from at least 20 plans each year and to report its findings to Congress. This LawFlash provides plan sponsors with insight into what to expect from this new enforcement initiative, and how to ensure compliance with the high fiduciary standards when administering non-quantitative treatment limitations. Read our LawFlash for more details.
  • ERISA Fiduciaries: DOL Proposed Rule Signals More Ease for ESG Investing: The US Department of Labor on October 14 published in the Federal Register a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights.” The proposed rule, if adopted in its current form, would be a significant revision of two controversial regulations adopted at the end of the administration of US President Donald Trump that were perceived by some as imposing new hurdles when considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in making fiduciary investment decisions for US retirement plans and investors subject to ERISA. For more on the key takeaways, read our LawFlash.