A Wellness Win for Employers, But Will it Last?

As explained in our April 21, 2015 and May 9, 2015 blog posts, wellness programs that are part of a group health plan are subject to the HIPAA nondiscrimination rules, and other state and federal laws including, but not limited to the ADA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and GINA.   Navigating the regulatory maze has been a challenge for employers, and the most recent struggles involve compliance with the ADA’s “voluntary” requirement. On December 30, 2015, the Federal District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n v. Flambeau, Inc., bypassed the ADA’s voluntary rule and held that Flambeau’s wellness program complied with the ADA under an alternative exception –  the ADA’s safe harbor. Read More ›

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Have you updated your Summary Plan Descriptions lately?

A summary plan description, or SPD, is the document that is given to participants and beneficiaries explaining the material terms of an ERISA plan.  Both pension plans and welfare plans are required to provide SPDs to participants.  An SPD generally must be provided when a participant first becomes covered by a plan.  It also must be provided on written request by a participant or beneficiary.

An updated SPD or summary of material modifications (“SMM”) must be provided no later than 210 days after the end of the plan year in which a material change to the plan was made.  For health plans, additional rules apply.  Read More ›

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