ML BeneBits

Fiduciary committees have long been established in connection with retirement plans to manage the investment, legal compliance, and operational risks that can arise under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). Since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and, more recently, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), welfare plan fiduciaries continue to take on increasing compliance responsibilities. Given the increased legal complexity of welfare plan administration, it may be time to consider establishing an administrative committee to help mitigate the various risks involved with managing a welfare plan.
The letter of intent has been executed. The due diligence is done. The purchase agreement is signed. The money has been wired. The deal has closed. You’re done—back to business as usual! Think again. For the folks responsible for employee benefits matters, whether it be the CEO, CFO, comptroller, or human resources team, the real work after a merger or acquisition may be just beginning.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), requires group health plans and insurers to annually attest that they are in compliance with the gag clause prohibition under the CAA. The first attestation is due no later than December 31, 2023 and covers the period from the date of the enactment of the CAA on December 27, 2020 through the date of the attestation. Future attestations will be due each subsequent December 31 and will cover the period since the last attestation was completed.
Based on new ERISA disclosure rules, now is a good time to review the compensation paid to your health plan’s consultant and broker. ERISA Section 408(b)(2)(B) requires brokers and consultants expecting $1,000 or more in direct and indirect compensation for services provided to group health plans to make detailed disclosures to the “responsible plan fiduciary” regarding their services and compensation.
The COVID-19 public health emergency and presidential declaration of national emergency are intended to end on May 11 and the US government recently issued guidance on unwinding these emergency declarations.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the US Department of Labor (DOL) has continued to be active in civil and criminal enforcement investigations of ERISA’s fiduciary duties. This blog post details two recent updates concerning the DOL’s ERISA enforcement program.
The Biden administration intends to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations (Emergency Declarations) attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 11, 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic brought multiple temporary changes for ERISA-governed group health and welfare plans that will sunset at the conclusion of the Emergency Declarations. It remains to be seen what, if any, guidance will come from the regulatory agencies outlining how these mandates will be phased out or, potentially, if any continuing obligations will remain.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires non-grandfathered group health plans (and insurers) to provide coverage for certain preventive health services for all adults, women, and children. Preventive services covered under the law must be provided to individuals without cost sharing, i.e., without the requirement to pay a copayment, coinsurance, deductible, or other cost.
In response to confusion regarding the “10-Year Rule” that was added to the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act), the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided relief to defined contribution plan beneficiaries and individual retirement account beneficiaries. In Notice 2022-53, the IRS provides two forms of relief: (1) the proposed RMD regulations, including the application of the 10-Year Rule, if finalized, will not apply earlier than 2023, and (2) the failure to distribute “Specified RMD” payments in 2021 and 2022 will not be treated as a plan qualification failure or trigger the 50% excise tax for the Specified RMDs.