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February 2, 2009
COBRA is playing a key role in the economic stimulus proposals being contemplated by Congress.
Investment Advice, Regulations – Final?
On January 21, final participant investment advice regulations were published in the Federal Register. They are substantially similar to the proposed regulations issued in August (see Benefit Beat, 9/4/2008 – “Proposed Rules: Investment Advice Exemption for 401(K) Plans and IRAS”). These regulations are to take effect March 23, 2009; however, whether this will actually happen is an open question.
Supreme Court Says “Yes” To Beneficiary Designation Reliance
The United States Supreme Court has simplified the lives of ERISA plan administrators by giving credence to proper plan administration.
New Medicare Part-D Notices – Again?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) is at it again.
January 13, 2009
San Francisco: 2009 Health Care Expenditure Rates
Covered employers who are subject to the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance, are required to make health care expenditures (HCE) to, or on behalf of, their covered employees. The calculation method for these expenditures is set forth in accordance with the Ordinance, and are adjusted annually. Below are expenditure rates beginning January 1, 2009:
New FMLA Forms Posted on DOL’s Website
As a follow-up to last month’sBenefit Beat article summarizing the final FMLA rules, the DOL has posted the various new model FMLA forms on its website:
DOL Issues Final Civil Penalty Rules
EBSA has issued final regulations relating to procedures for assessing civil monetary penalties, in accordance with ERISA Section 502(c)(4), for certain notice failures. In summary, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, imposes several new notice requirements on qualified plan officials. The recently issued regulations clarify the process that the DOL can use to assess civil penalties for these violations.
Extension of Written Plan Document for 403(b) Plans
On December 11, 2008, the IRS issued some temporary relief to 403(b) plan sponsors, in the form of Notice 2009-3. Specifically relating to the plan document requirement, all 403(b) plans were, by January 1, 2009, to have a written document in place. This notice delays the written plan document requirement to December 31, 2009. However, a good faith effort must be made to administer the plans in accordance with the final 403(b) regulations during 2009.
New Pension Relief Law
On December 23, 2008, President Bush signed the “Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008” (Public Law 110-458) into law. This law provides some pension plan relief from the required minimum distribution provisions for the 2009 year only (the IRS has taken the position that no relief will be available for minimum distribution requirements for 2008). The required minimum distribution requirement applies to retirement plan participants, aged 70½ or older, and mandates that these individuals take a minimum distribution from their plans. Because of the reduction in account values, this news should be welcome.
Updated IRS and DOL Publications & Forms
The IRS and DOL have issued updated publications and forms: