• Posts by Lisa Wintersheimer Michel
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    Lisa Wintersheimer Michel is the leader of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group. Her practice primarily involves all aspects of qualified retirement plans, including profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans ...

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.

We previously reported on Retirement Plans Committee of IBM et al. v. Larry W. Jander, in our June 2019 newsletter which was an employer stock-drop case from the Second Circuit.

There’s good news and bad news under President Trump’s new spending package, which includes the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (“FCAA”). 

As reported in our June 2019 newsletter, the Ninth Circuit in Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee et al. v. Sulyma addressed when a participant has actual knowledge of a potential fiduciary breach.

The Transparency in Coverage Proposed Rule aims to give individuals greater access to health care pricing information. The proposals essentially require most group health plans, including self-insured plans, to disclose price and cost-sharing information to participants and beneficiaries. More specifically, not only do these rules require disclosure of cost-sharing estimates, plans would also be required to disclose negotiated rates for in-network providers and allowed amounts paid for out-of-network (OON) providers. Out-of-pocket cost information would be provided ...

The First Circuit unanimously found that two Sun Capital private equity funds could not be held jointly and severally liable for multiemployer defined benefit pension plan withdrawal liability incurred by a bankrupt portfolio company. The lower court based its liability ruling on its finding that the funds were partners in an implied partnership-in-fact which was engaged in a “trade or business.” However, on appeal the First Circuit disagreed and found that several factors rebutting the partnership-in-fact formation were too greatly discounted by the lower court. The ...

Once again, the IRS extended the due date for certain 2019 ACA information reporting requirements in Notice 2019-63. The due date for furnishing Form 1095-C (and 1095-B) to employees is extended from January 31, 2020, to March 2, 2020. (The due date for filing with the IRS remains unchanged at February 28, 2020, or March 31, 2020, if filing electronically). In addition, the IRS will not impose a penalty for failure to furnish Form 1095-C to any employee enrolled in an ALE member's self-insured health plan who is not a full-time employee for any month of 2019 if certain conditions are met ...

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