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February 21, 2013

Plan Communication is Key and Make it Accurate

In 2011, the Supreme Court opined on the conflict among plan communication, such as the plan document and the summary plan description (SPD) in CIGNA Corp v. Amara (see  Plan….Summary Plan Description…Which One Governs?, Benefit Beat, 6/7/2011).  The case was remanded to the trial court to determine whether equitable relief would be available due to the conflicting information provided to plan participants. 

In December, 2012, the U. S. District Court of Connecticut determined that, in fact, equitable relief is owed plan participants due to misleading information contained in the SPD (Amara v. CIGNA Corp., No 3:01-cv-2361, D. Conn. Dec. 20, 2012). 

While this case may wind its way back up through the courts, it is nevertheless, a reminder of how important it is to ensure that all plan communications are accurate and consistent.

 

The information contained in this Benefit Beat is not intended to be legal, accounting, or other professional advice, nor are these comments directed to specific situations.

As required by U.S. Treasury rules, we inform you that, unless expressly stated otherwise, any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this Benefit Beat is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

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