United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Cafeteria Plans: Qualifying Events and Changing Employee Elections

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Feb 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Cafeteria plans, or plans governed by IRS Code Section 125, allow employers to help employees pay for expenses such as health insurance with pre-tax dollars. Employees are given a choice between a taxable benefit (cash) and two or more specified pre-tax qualified benefits, for example, health insurance. Employees are given the opportunity to select the benefits they want, just like an individual standing in the cafeteria line at lunch.

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Topics: ERISA, group health insurance, Danielle Capilla, change in status event, cafeteria plan, Section 125 plan, pre-tax benefits, taxable benefits

Avoid Increased Penalties by Filing Annual Benefit Plan Reports on Time

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Jul 19, 2016 12:56:38 PM

Form 5500 is the annual report that group benefit plans use to report required information about the plan’s financial condition and operations. Most group and pension plans that are subject to ERISA are required to file a Form 5500. With the July 31 deadline for calendar year plans fast approaching, and higher penalties for not filing taking effect in August, this is a good time to review this important plan filing.

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Topics: Form 5500, ERISA, Jennifer Kupper, benefit plan reporting, group benefit plans

COBRA and the Affordable Care Act

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jan 5, 2016 12:00:00 PM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers to offer covered employees who lose their health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits for a limited time at the employee's own cost. COBRA provisions are found in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code (Code), and the Public Health Service Act (PHSA). Employers with 20 or more employees and group health plans are subject to COBRA provisions. Most governmental plans, church plans, and certain plans of Indian tribal governments are exempt from COBRA. Employers should always consult with counsel about state continuation laws that are similar to COBRA and apply to small employers.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, COBRA, ERISA, change in status event, Affordable Care Act, COBRA continuation coverage

Negotiating over COBRA Coverage – Use EXTREME CAUTION!

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Dec 15, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Proceed with cautionHave you ever overheard the new employee in the break room, bragging about how good their health insurance was with their previous employer, and how much less expensive it was than the coverage they are currently being offered?

You may think ”If it was so good, then why give it up?” There are always a number of factors that can lead to someone making a job change, but what happens when COBRA becomes a part of the negotiating process when they are working out the terms of employment with the new company?

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Topics: employee benefits, COBRA, ERISA, Elizabeth Kay, COBRA continuation coverage, health care benefits

Reporting and Plan Documents Under ERISA and Cafeteria Plan Rules

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 3, 2015 12:00:00 PM

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed in 1974. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is the agency responsible for administering and enforcing this law. For many years, most of ERISA’s requirements applied to pension plans. However, in recent years that has changed, and group plans (called “welfare benefit plans” by ERISA and the DOL) now must meet a number of requirements.

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Topics: ERISA, Danielle Capilla, cafeteria plan, welfare benefit plans

Upcoming ERISA-related Supreme Court Cases to Watch

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jul 23, 2015 12:00:00 PM

The Supreme Court has granted the petition in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, a case centered on the issue of whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) preempts Vermont's health care database law as it was applied to a third-party administrator for a self-funded ERISA plan. Vermont requires health care providers and payers to provide claims data and information to a state health care database, which informs the state on health care policy. The Second Circuit held that ERISA concerns were intruded on by the state's recordkeeping requirements. The Second Circuit held that under ERISA only a "slight reporting burden" is permissible, and the Vermont requirements were burdensome and time-consuming.

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Topics: ERISA, U.S. Supreme Court, Danielle Capilla, Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

Regulatory Agencies Propose Expansion of “Excepted Benefits”

Posted by: Linda Rowings    Jan 13, 2014 8:49:00 AM

By Linda Rowings
Chief Compliance Officer
United Benefit Advisors 

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Topics: ACA, HRAs, health care reform, EAPs, Employee Assistance Programs, HIPAA, ERISA, Internal Revenue Code, Group health plans