DOL Proposes To Expand Investment Related Services Giving Rise to ERISA Fiduciary Status As Investment Fiduciary

October 21, 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) today published a Proposed Regulation that would expand the circumstances when individuals giving investment advice to an employee benefit or employee benefit plan or individual retirement account participant for purposes of the fiduciary definition of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) § 3(21) and the prohibited transaction provisions of Internal Revenue Code (Code) § 4975(e)(3)(B).  

If adopted as proposed, the Proposed Regulation would broaden the persons considered fiduciaries based on their provision of investment related advice or services to plans, participants or beneficiaries.  Additionally, the restatement of these standards also likely will necessitate that both plan fiduciaries and providers of these services tighten agreements and other practices and procedures governing the engagement and delivery of services in order to maintain or protect desired allocations of fiduciary responsibility over these activities.  

The deadline for individuals and organizations to comment on the proposed rule is January 19, 2011. Plan sponsors, fiduciaries, service providers and others concerned about the potential impact of the proposed changes should assess the potential implications of the rule and timely submit any comments or concern to the EBSA by this date.

To learn more about the Proposed Rule and its implications, see the more detailed article here.

If your organization needs assistance to evaluate or respond to the Proposed Regulation or reviewing, updating, administering or defending your employee benefit, human resources, compensation or internal control and risk management procedures, documentation, or policies or procedures, please contact the author of this update, Board Certified Labor & Employment attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

Other Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other recent Solutions Law Press updates including:

About Ms. Stamer

Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Group, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits and Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is nationally recognized for her extensive work helping clients develop, implement and defend innovative, practical, legally defensible solutions to their particular health and other employee benefit, employment and insurance needs.  Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising and representing employer, association and other plan sponsors, health and other employee benefit plans, their fiduciaries, plan administrators, consultants, vendors, outsourcers, insurers, governments and others about health plan and product design; administration, legal and operational risk management, vendor and fiduciary credentialing, managed care and vendor contracting, cost-containment, documentation, public policy, enforcement, privacy, technology, litigation and other concerns.  Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts client and other training, speaks and consults extensively on these and other health and managed care program concerns and practices for the ABA, American Health Lawyers Association, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Professional Benefits Administrators, HCCA, Southwest Benefits Association and many other organizations.  Her insights on these and related topics have appeared in Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, various ABA publications and a many other national and local publications. To learn more about Ms. Stamer, her experience, involvements, programs and publications, see here or contact Ms. Stamer. 

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources available for review here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates and notices about other upcoming Solutions Law Press events, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail- by creating or updating your profile at here. For important information concerning this communication click here.

©2010 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer PC.  Reprint Permission Granted To Solutions Law Press. All other rights reserved.

 


EEOC Attacks Medical Leave Denials As Prohibited Disability Discrimination

October 19, 2010

Two new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuits filed against a Texas concrete manufacturer and Los Angeles garment manufacturer highlight the need for U.S. employers with more than 14 employees to consider and prepare to defend against potential disability discrimination exposures when dealing with medical leave requests by employees who might be considered disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as other expanding ADA enforcement exposures.  Read more.

The lawsuits reflect that employers considering an employee’s request for medical leave should evaluate if the ADA requires the employer to grant the requested medical leave in addition to considering any otherwise applicable leave entitlement the requesting employee qualifies for under the Family & Medical Leave Act, state leave laws or otherwise applicable employer policies.  As a result, all employers of 15 or more employees generally should review and tighten their policies and processes for evaluating requests for medical leave to minimize their exposure to claims that the denial of a requested medical leave violated the ADA. 

Furthermore, employers also should consider the advisability of other more generalized policy or procedure updates to strengthen their defensibility against potential ADA and other disability claims generally in light of stepped up enforcement by the EEOC and private plaintiffs changes to the ADA made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) that makes it easier for employees to win ADA suits. To mitigate growing exposures to these claims, employers covered by the ADA and/or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 should review and strengthen their existing hiring and other employment practices and documentation to strengthen their defensibility in the face of these new challenges. 

If you need assistance responding an employee’s request for medical leave or other accommodations, or otherwise to review, update or defend your disability discrimination or other employment, compensation, benefits or other workforce, internal controls or risk management practices, please contact the author of this update, Board Certified Labor & Employment attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

Other Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other recent Solutions Law Press updates including:

About Ms. Stamer

Management attorney and consultant Cynthia Marcotte Stamer helps businesses, governments and associations solve problems, develop and implement strategies to manage people, processes, and regulatory exposures to achieve their business and operational objectives and manage legal, operational and other risks. When working with clients, Ms. Stamer combines a client-oriented approach with an extensive practical and technical knowledge of human resources, insurance, employee benefits, health care, privacy & security, corporate compliance and other legal matters to assist clients to formulate and administer pragmatic operational and risk management strategies and effective internal controls taking into account the financial, operational, political, legal and other realities confronting the client.

Recognized in the International Who’s Who of Professionals and bearing the Martindale Hubble Premier AV-Rating, Ms. Stamer also is a highly regarded author and speaker who serves in the leadership of many professional and civil organizations.  She regularly conducts management and other training on a wide range of workforce management, employee benefits, compensation, risk management internal controls, and other related matters for businesses, trade and professional associations and others. Her insights on human resources risk management matters appear in The Wall Street Journal, various publications of The Bureau of National Affairs and Aspen Publishing, the Dallas Morning News, Spencer Publications, Health Leaders, Business Insurance, the Dallas and Houston Business Journals and a host of other publications.  To request Ms. Stamer’s assistance, for information about arranging for Ms. Stamer to provide workshops and other training, to access other publications or resources or for more details about Ms. Stamer’s experience and other credentials, contact Ms. Stamer at via telephone at 469.767.8872 or via e-mail at cstamer@solutionslawyer.net or see CynthiaStamer.com.

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©2010 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  License to reprint granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


Annual Benefit Limitation Waiver Guidance Offers Fast Acting Employers, Insurers Expanded Options To Meet Affordable Care Act Health Plan Rule

October 3, 2010

Many employers and insurers that act quickly may qualify for a temporary reprieve from the obligation to redesign their group health plans and health insurance policies to comply with the annual benefit limitations on health plan benefits imposed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) applicable to most health insurance plans and policies beginning with post-September 22, 2010 plan years.  

On September 3, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service published rules that enable qualifying employers and insurers to obtain a waiver of the application of ACA’s annual limits to their health plan for 2011 (Annual Limit Waiver).  In addition to the Annual Limit Waiver relief, HHS on October 1, 2010 also announced plans in the near future to publish additional guidance to provide some relief for mini-meds and certain other plans from the medical loss ratio rules of ACA.  Plan sponsors and insurers struggling to redesign their benefit programs to meet ACA’s annual limit and medical loss ration mandates for their 2011 plan year should act quickly to evaluate and where applicable take advantage of the added flexibility that this new guidance may afford regarding their 2011 plan design. 

With compliance deadlines impending, however, plan sponsors and insurers must act quickly to leverage these opportunities and make other necessary arrangements to update their health programs to meet new federal requirements.  When deciding how to respond to ACA and other new federal health plan rules, plan sponsors and insurers who maintain plans that can qualify as grandfathered plans under ACA should carefully consider all alternatives before deciding to forego this status.  Many plan sponsors and insurers feel soaring health coverage costs require that they make cost-saving plan design changes that preclude them from maintaining a grandfathered plan.  Creative use of the new Annual Benefit Limitation Waiver, grandfathered plan and other guidance may help mitigate the cost and other challenges of complying with these new federal rules. Read more details. 

If your organization needs assistance to apply for an ACA Annual Limit Waiver, reviewing or updating your heath care program design, documentation, policies or procedures in response to ACA or other requirements or with other employee benefit, insurance or human resources matters, please contact the author of this update, Board Certified Labor & Employment attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here

Other Resources 

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other recent Solutions Law Press updates including: 

About Ms. Stamer 

Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Group, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits and Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is nationally recognized for her extensive work helping clients develop, implement and defend innovative, practical, legally defensible solutions to their particular health and other employee benefit, employment and insurance needs.  Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising and representing employer, association and other plan sponsors, health and other employee benefit plans, their fiduciaries, plan administrators, consultants, vendors, outsourcers, insurers, governments and others about health plan and product design; administration, legal and operational risk management, vendor and fiduciary credentialing, managed care and vendor contracting, cost-containment, documentation, public policy, enforcement, privacy, technology, litigation and other concerns.  Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts client and other training, speaks and consults extensively on these and other health and managed care program concerns and practices for the ABA, American Health Lawyers Association, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Professional Benefits Administrators, HCCA, Southwest Benefits Association and many other organizations.  Her insights on these and related topics have appeared in Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, various ABA publications and a many other national and local publications. To learn more about Ms. Stamer, her experience, involvements, programs and publications, see here or contact Ms. Stamer.  

About Solutions Law Press 

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources available for review here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates and notices about other upcoming Solutions Law Press events, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail- by creating or updating your profile at here. For important information concerning this communication click here.  

©2010Cynthia Marcotte Stamer PC. Reprint Premisson Granted To  Solutions Law Press. All other rights reserved. 

 


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