Free 12/6/10 ABA RPTE Employee Benefit Groups Study Group Conference Call Examines PBGC Enforcement of Downsizing Liability, Updated Reporting & Other PBGC Developments

November 19, 2010

The American Bar Association RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Arrangements Group invites members and other interested legal counsel and benefit practitioners to catch up on the latest Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) enforcement and regulatory developments by participating in its next regular one hour Study Group Conference Call on Monday, December 6, 2010, at 1 PM Eastern, Noon Central, 11 AM Mountain and 10 AM Pacific.  There is no charge to take part in the Study Group Conference call. 

During the call the Plan Transactions and Terminations Committee, chaired by Harold Ashner of Keightley & Ashner LLP (former PBGC Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations) will discuss recent PBGC reporting, monitoring, and enforcement developments, with a focus on PBGC’s pursuit of “downsizing liability” under ERISA Section 4062(e) and on how to deal with this liability effectively. 

The dial-in information for the call is:

Phone Number:   866/646-6488

Participant Pass code: 7255887619

If your client or organization maintains a PBGC-covered pension plan, you need to understand the various circumstances that may lead PBGC to pursue a claim for as much as the plan’s full termination-based underfunding — even though the pension plan remains ongoing with no intention to terminate it.  These circumstances go well beyond a traditional plant closing, and may include a going-concern asset sale, a stock sale, a transfer of operations to another facility, a temporary suspension of operations, or the discontinuance of one operation with all other operations continuing. 

Topics covered will include PBGC reporting requirements, triggers for 4062(e) liability, issues relating to how the liability is calculated, and options for settling the liability. Come prepared with your questions!

To receive handout materials, please RSVP, email Committee Vice Chair Robert Miller (rmiller@calfee.com) to let the Committee know you plan to attend.  If you have questions you’d like to have discussed on the call, you can include those questions along with your RSVP.  There is no charge for participating.

Membership In RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group Offers Many Benefits

Chaired by Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, membership in the Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Arrangements Group offers attorneys and others employee benefit professionals a broad range of opportunities to develop and expand their employee benefit knowledge, provide leadership and input on evolving employee benefit policies and practices, to network and collaborate with fellow practitioners, and to participate in a broad range of other activities designed to advance employee benefit knowledge and professionalism.  The Group focuses on all aspects of employee benefit plans and other compensation arrangements, including issues relating to qualified plans, medical and other welfare plans and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, the fiduciary responsibilities of plan trustees, plan administrators and other plan fiduciaries, plan administration, plan transactions, plan terminations, and litigation involving this area of practice.   If you would like more information about the Group or getting involved in its activities, please see RPTE Website orcontact its Chair, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, at cstamer@solutionslawyer.net or (469) 767-8872. 

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Group, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, management attorney and consultant Cynthia Marcotte Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising and representing employers, health and other employee benefit plans, their sponsors, fiduciaries and plan administrators, consultants, vendors, outsourcers, insurers, governments and others about employment, employee benefit, compensation, and a wide range of other performance, legal and operational risk management practices and concerns.  As a part of this work, Ms. Stamer has worked extensively with clients to manage risks and defend practices under a wide range of laws and circumstances.  Her experience includes extensive work advising and representing employers, plans, plan fiduciaries, trustees, investors, and others about managing and resolving risks relating to distressed pension and other employee benefit plans, downsizing and other workforce reengineering and other similar matters.  A prolific author and popular speaker, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts client and other training, speaks and consults extensively on GINA and other employment and employee benefit risk management practices and concerns for the ABA, World At Work, SHRM, 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.

Other Resources & Developments

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

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©2010 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. All rights reserved.


Proposed New Defined Benefit Plan Annual Funding Notice Rule Reminder of Need to Carefully Manage Pension Plan Responsibilities

November 18, 2010

Plan sponsors and administrators of defined benefit plans must carefully monitor and comply with the funding, notification, insurance and other associated requirements of the minimum funding rules imposed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code.  The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration today (November 18, 2010) its Pension Protection Act web page with the Annual Funding Notice for Defined Benefit Plans Proposed Rule, available at here, a fact sheet, available here, a model notice for single employer plans, available here, and a model notice for multiemployer plans, available here.  

Pension plan funding, reporting and disclosure and termination requirements are complicated in non-distress situations.  This complexity and the potential legal exposures of non-compliance can grow exponentially when a pension plan or one or more of its contributing employers becomes distress.  Furthermore, special controlled group, lien and successor liability rules incorporated into these funding requirements often create hidden risks for affiliated employers, lenders, potential purchasers and others dealing with these plans or the businesses that sponsor them.  As a consequence, all parties dealing with these plans should exercise care to understand and properly manage these exposures to avoid unintentionally triggering liability under these rules.

For More Information Or Assistance

If you need help reviewing or responding to the defined benefit plan funding or other employee benefit, compensation or employment regulations or other related matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469)767-8872. 

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Group, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, management attorney and consultant Cynthia Marcotte Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising and representing employers, health and other employee benefit plans, their sponsors, fiduciaries and plan administrators, consultants, vendors, outsourcers, insurers, governments and others about employment, employee benefit, compensation, and a wide range of other performance, legal and operational risk management practices and concerns.  As a part of this work, Ms. Stamer has worked extensively with clients to manage risks and defend practices under a wide range of laws and circumstances.  Her experience includes extensive work advising and representing employers, plans, plan fiduciaries, trustees, investors, and others about managing and resolving risks relating to distressed pension and other employee benefit plans, downsizing and other workforce reengineering and other similar matters.  A prolific author and popular speaker, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts client and other training, speaks and consults extensively on GINA and other employment and employee benefit risk management practices and concerns for the ABA, World At Work, SHRM, 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.

Other Resources & Developments

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

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates and notices about upcoming programs and events, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail- by creating or updating your profile at here.  To unsubscribe, send an e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject here.  For important information concerning this communication click here.

©2010 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. All rights reserved.

 


Affordable Care Act Grandfathered Plan Rules Loosened To Allow Insured Plans Making Some Insurance Changes To Qualify

November 17, 2010

A change to regulations implementing the “grandfathered plan” rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) announced yesterday has opened up the possibility that some insured group health plans changing insurers may continue to qualify as “grandfathered health plans” exempted from certain health care reform mandates.  Because policy or insurer changes can create challenges in meeting other conditions required to get grandfathered plan status, however, sponsors and administrators of insured group health plans should prepare to timely comply with all applicable Affordable Care Act mandates unless they have verified their ability to prove that their program meets all requirements to qualify for grandfathered plan status will need to confirm that with or without the insurance-related change.

The Affordable Care Act generally requires that insured and self-insured group health plans and group and individual health insurance policies comply with many new federal mandates beginning with the first day of the plan or contract year that begins after September 22, 2010.  If a group health plan or health insurance policy existed on March 23, 2010 and otherwise qualifies as a “grandfathered health plan,” however, it may qualify as exempted or for a delayed effective date from some but not these new mandates. By shaping the mandates applicable to group health plans, the grandfather rules will impact both the cost and the design of affected group health plans. 

Original Rule About Insurance Changes

Interim Final Regulations issued by jointly by the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services and Treasury (Agencies) last June established a series of detailed requirements that a group health plan or health insurance policy must meet to qualify as a grandfathered health plan or policy beyond merely existing on March 23, 2010.  As part of these requirements, the Interim Final Regulations identified a number of changes and other events that would disqualify a group health plan or insurance policy as a grandfathered plan. 

In the case of insured group health plans, changing insurance policies or insurers was not an allowable change for a plan desiring to qualify as grandfathered.  As originally interpreted by the Agencies in the Interim Final Regulations, self-insured group health plans were permitted to change third-party administrators without forfeiting grandfathered health plan status as long as the change did not otherwise change the plan terms or design in a way that would disqualify the plan for grandfathered status.  In contrast, however, the Agencies original interpretation stated that entering into a new policy, certificate, or contract of insurance for an insured non-collectively bargained group health plan in and of itself would disqualify the group health plan as a grandfathered health plan.  The modified rule published on November 16, 2010 (Amended Rule) eliminates this distinction in response to public comments received since its publication of the original guidance.

Amended Rule About Insurance Changes

Under the Amended Rule, the same standards now will determine the effect of a change in vendor or contract on the grandfathered health plan status of a group health plan whether the plan is insured or self-insured.  Accordingly, with respect to changes in group health coverage contracts, the Interim Regulations, as modified by the Amended Rule, now provides where insured or self-insured, a group health plan (including a group health plan that was self-insured on March 23, 2010) or its sponsor that enters into a enters into a new policy, certificate, or contract of insurance after March 23, 2010 that is effective before November 15, 2010 generally will cease to be a grandfathered health plan unless the plan meets certain specified conditions.  The group health plan must provide to the new health insurance issuer (and the new health insurance issuer must require) documentation of plan terms (including benefits, cost sharing, employer contributions, and annual limits) under the prior health coverage sufficient to demonstrate that except for the contract change, the group health plan otherwise has not been modified or experienced any other event that would otherwise result in its disqualification for grandfathered health plan status under the Interim Final Regulations as modified by the Amended Rule.

As currently drafted, the relief provided in the Amended Rule does not expressly apply to a change in insurer or insurance contract made by a non-collectively bargained group health plan after November 14, 2010 regardless of whether the change in made before deadline for the group health plan to begin complying with the Affordable Care Act (i.e., the first day of the first plan year beginning after March 22, 2010).  Additionally, the relief set forth in the Amended Rule does not apply to individual health insurance policies.  Where insured coverage is provided not through a group health plan but instead in the individual market, a change in issuer still remains a change in the health insurance coverage after March 22, 2010 that disqualifies the new individual policy, certificate, or contract of insurance for status as a grandfathered health plan for purposes of the Affordable Care Act.

For a more detailed discussion of the grandfathered plan rules and the changes made this week, see here.

For More Information Or Assistance

If you need help reviewing or responding to the grandfather regulations or other health benefit regulations or other related matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469) 767-8872. 

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Group, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, management attorney and consultant Cynthia Marcotte Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising and representing employers, health and other employee benefit plans, their sponsors, fiduciaries and plan administrators, consultants, vendors, outsourcers, insurers, governments and others about employment, employee benefit, compensation, and a wide range of other performance, legal and operational risk management practices and concerns.  As a part of this work, Ms. Stamer has worked extensively with clients on health care reforms and regulations under the Affordable Care Act and other federal and state laws.  A prolific author and popular speaker, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts client and other training, speaks and consults extensively on GINA and other employment and employee benefit risk management practices and concerns for the ABA, World At Work, SHRM, 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.

Other Resources & Developments

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

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.


Update Employment Practices To Manage Genetic Info Discrimination Risks Under New EEOC Final GINA Regulations

November 9, 2010

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued final regulations (“Final Regulations”) implementing the employment provisions (Title II) of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).  Employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, joint labor-management committees, and others impacted by GINA should carefully review and update their hiring and background check, sick and family leave, disability accommodation, and other existing policies and practices to comply with the updated guidance provided by the Final Regulations to avoid liability under new GINA’s rules governing genetic information collection, use, protection and disclosure  

Effective since November 21, 2009, Title II of GINA prohibits employers of 15 or more employees from discriminating in employment based on genetic information and restricts the acquisition and disclosure of genetic information by covered employers and certain other parties.

Under GINA, employers, employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management committees face significant liability for violating the sweeping nondiscrimination and confidentiality requirements of GINA concerning their use, maintenance and disclosure of genetic information.  Under GINA, employees and individuals can sue for damages and other relief like currently available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other nondiscrimination laws.

Meanwhile, Title I of GINA prohibits group health plans and health insurers from discriminating in eligibility or premium based on genetic information and requires these plans and insurers to protect the privacy of genetic information (Title I) for plan years beginning after May 20, 2009. 

When assessing potential GINA risks and exposures, employers and others covered by its provisions must exercise care not to overlook or underestimate the genetic information collected or possessed by their organizations and the risks attendant to collecting or using this information.  Many employers will be surprised by the breadth of the depth of “genetic information.”  Because of GINA’s broad definition of “genetic information,” its provisions create potential liability concerns for a surprisingly wide range of employment and health plan practices. 

The Final Regulations published today implement the employment discrimination rules of GINA Title II.  The EEOC previously published proposed regulations interpreting Title II of GINA in March, 2009. Concurrent with its release of the Final Regulations, the Commission also issued two question-and-answer documents on the final GINA regulations.  For links to today’s guidance and more details, see here.

Failing to properly address GINA compliance could expose employers to substantial risk.  Violation of the employment provisions of Title II subjects an employer to potentially significant civil judgments like those that generally are available for race, sex, and other federal employment discrimination claims covered by the Civil Rights Act.  Accordingly, employers and others who have not already done so should act quickly to review and update their policies and procedures to manage their new compliance and liability exposures under GINA.  Employers and others covered by GINA also should assess their leave and other records and practices for data that could be considered genetic information and take appropriate steps to safeguard this information to comply with the confidentiality, nondiscrimination and anti-retaliation rules of GINA, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws.

For More Information Or Assistance

If you need assistance evaluating or defending existing or proposed practices under GINA or with other workforce, employee benefit, compensation, 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.

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Group, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, management attorney and consultant Cynthia Marcotte Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising and representing employers, health and other employee benefit plans, their sponsors, fiduciaries and plan administrators, consultants, vendors, outsourcers, insurers, governments and others about employment, employee benefit, compensation, and a wide range of other performance, legal and operational risk management practices and concerns.  As a part of this work, Ms. Stamer has worked extensively with client to manage risks and defend practices under GINA, the ADA and a wide range of employment discrimination, privacy and other laws.  A prolific author and popular speaker, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts client and other training, speaks and consults extensively on GINA and other employment and employee benefit risk management practices and concerns for the ABA, World At Work, SHRM, 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.

Other Resources & Developments

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

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.

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates and notices about upcoming programs and events, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail- by creating or updating your profile at here.  To unsubscribe, send an e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject 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.

 


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