• Posts by Kelly E. MacDonald
    Associate

    Kelly MacDonald has significant experience on a wide range of health, welfare and retirement plan matters. This includes the design, implementation, administration, and operation of benefit plans. She has experience advising on ...

Today, the DOL announced publication of a final rule that expands the ability of retirement plans to deliver participant disclosures online or via email by establishing a new, voluntary safe harbor that allows the use of electronic media as a default for participant disclosures. The final rule is in response to the previously reported October, 2019 proposed rule which allowed plan administrators to notify retirement plan participants that required disclosures, such as SPDs, will be posted on a website. Here are some key points of the final rule:

In Notice 2020-29 released on May 12, 2020, the IRS provides expanded options for participants with respect to 2020 mid-year election changes and also provides increased flexibility to apply unused amounts in health FSAs to medical care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, and unused amounts in dependent care assistance programs to dependent care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020.  Although the temporary relief under Notice 2020-29 was issued in response to the COVID-19 health emergency, the relief is not limited to individuals affected by the pandemic. Specifically:

On May 4, 2020, the IRS issued Q&As on the coronavirus-related distribution and loan provisions added by Section 2022 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). Section 2022 of the CARES Act (discussed in the March Monthly Minute) temporarily:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides broad-spectrum relief for participants and plan sponsors of qualified plans and expanded benefits for participants in group health plans including the following:

  • For defined contribution plans including 401(k) plans, the changes include expanded in-service distribution provisions up to $100,000, relief from early withdrawal penalty taxes, a temporary increase in 401(k) plan loan limits to $100,000, and relief from minimum required distributions for the remainder of 2020. The adoption of any optional provisions may require plan amendment. It appears amendments would not have to be adopted until at least December 31, 2022.
  • There are also special rules related to funding defined benefit plans.
  • There are several provisions that impact group health plan coverage requirements. 

The post below provides a summary of certain changes of particular interest to plan sponsors.

The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to hear two ERISA class-action cases next term that were decided by the lower courts in favor of plan participants. First, the Supreme Court agreed to review Retirement Plans Committee of IBM et al. v. Larry W. Jander, an employer stock-drop case from the Second Circuit.  IBM workers claimed that IBM’s Retirement Plans Committee breached its fiduciary duty by allowing workers’ retirement funds to be invested in artificially-inflated IBM stock. The Second Circuit applied the “more harm than good” standard that was set forth ...

The IRS recently announced in Rev. Proc. 2019-25, the following inflation-adjusted amounts for Health Savings Accounts for 2020:

Heath reimbursement accounts (“HRAs”) have long been subject to various restrictions under the ACA.  However, as of 2020, HRAs may be used to reimburse individual health coverage premiums. This signals a departure from the previous prohibition on integrating HRAs with individual coverage. Employers of all sizes will now be able to offer individual coverage HRAs, although specific notice and procedural requirements apply. The new rules also allow employers to offer “excepted benefit HRAs” to finance other types of medical expenses (for example, copays, deductibles and ...

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