Understanding Employee Benefits and key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. MORE

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced two settlements with major insurance companies this month that highlight the importance of employers avoiding the collection of group life insurance premiums from employees until the insurer has approved them for coverage, including receipt and approval of required evidence of insurability (EOI). These settlements follow two similar agreements

As mentioned in our recent blog, the date for complying with the new disability claims procedures (April 2, 2018) is rapidly approaching.  In addition to making sure disability plans comply with the new rules, employers should also be reviewing other ERISA plans, such as qualified retirement plans and nonqualified deferred compensation plans to determine

29 C.F.R. §2560.503-1

The DOL’s revised ERISA disability claims procedures regulations will be taking effect early next month, and plan sponsors should take a hard look at plan processes over the next few weeks to ensure compliance. The new requirements apply to disability benefit claims filed after April 1, 2018, after a 90-day delay postponed

The stories of an employer and a long-term disability insurer and claims fiduciary for an ERISA plan, defendants in two recent cases, ring so true. In the first case, the insurer was designated as claims fiduciary for an employer’s long-term disability plan, and ended up in litigation with the least friendly standard of review –

Many employers self-administer welfare benefit plans such as life insurance or disability insurance plans. This self administration requires the employer to determine eligibility for coverage, remit proper premiums and notify the insurance carrier about changes in coverage. The insurance carrier often does not even know the names of the covered individuals and the coverage amounts.

Employers who self fund their medical plans often have contracts with their third party administrators about claims processing. Some of those contracts provide that the claims processor has discretion to decide claims; others provide that the claims processor is simply acting in a ministerial fashion so that the employer ultimately retains discretion to decide contested

Employers know that they must honor qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) that assign a portion of a retirement benefit to a participant’s former spouse, known as an alternate payee, when the participant and alternate payee divorce. Those orders by law are not allowed to provide greater benefits than were otherwise provided under the plan. A

I blogged a few days ago about the U.S. Supreme Court decision making it harder for plans to recover from a third-party settlement fund for the amount the plan paid when a participant is injured by that third-party. A recent federal district court decision highlights the need to provide appropriate notice of the plan’s reimbursement/subrogation

Most self-funded ERISA medical plans provide that participants who have been injured by other people (think car accidents) must reimburse the plan if the participant recovers from the other person for those injuries. In order to obtain that reimbursement, a plan document must contain appropriate reimbursement/subrogation language and the plan must pay attention to the