Required Minimum Distributions: What They Are, How They are Calculated, and How to Fix a Missed Payment

Introduction What are required minimum distributions? A required minimum distribution (“RMD”) is the minimum amount that must be withdrawn from your retirement account each year when you reach age a certain age. These rules apply to practically all retirement plans, including defined benefit plans, IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, and other defined contribution plans. While the rules affect almost every type of plan, they...

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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Plan’s Decision to Treat Dialysis Services as Out-of-Network, Potentially Savings Thousands of Dollars

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion on a case that could potentially save health insurance plans thousands of dollars. The case came from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and involved a dispute between a health insurance plan and a dialysis center. In a succinct seven-page opinion the 7-2 majority upheld the Plan’s decision to treat all dialysis claims as out-of-network and rejected the dialysis...

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Covering Abortion Related Services Post-Dobbs

During its most recent session, the U.S. Supreme Court released two opinions on cases that impact ERISA health & welfare plans. One of those cases, Dobbs v. Jackson, took center stage and remains in the national conversation today. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed States to regulate abortion. While the decision did not directly implicate ERISA health and welfare plans, many fiduciaries and...

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Texas Court Overrules Qualified Payment Amount Assumption for Non-Contracting Claims

In December 2020, Congress passed the No Surprises Act, which, among other things, aims to end balance billing for services provided by non-contracting providers at contracting facilities and by providers of emergency services. Providers can only receive payment for these services from the Plan. Under the No Surprises Act, if a provider that does not have a contract to provide services to Plan Participants (non-contracting provider) disagrees with an...

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DOL Rules on ESG Factors

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has issued updated guidance on fiduciary issues related to the investment of plan assets and the pendulum has swung back in the other direction. The saga began back in 2020 after the DOL published a final rule which limited the ability of fiduciaries to consider, environmental, social, and corporate governance (i.e., “ESG”) issues when making investment decisions with plan assets. Under this rule, fiduciaries...

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Plans Now Required to Cover Over-the-Counter COVID Tests

On January 10, 2022, the Biden administration suddenly announced that health plans and insurers must begin covering the cost of over-the-counter (“OTC”) COVID-19 tests by January 15, 2022. The three federal agencies mostly responsible for overseeing this process are the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor (i.e., the “Joint Agencies”). Since the January 10th announcement, the Joint Agencies have released two FAQs aimed at addressing questions...

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IRS Issues Updated Retirement Plan and IRA Limits for 2022

The IRS released updated 2022 annual limits for retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (“IRAs”). These limits, which are updated each year, impact all retirement plans (both defined contribution and defined benefit) and IRAs (both Traditional and Roth) and are crucial in plan administration and proper tax reporting. The following summary highlights some of the changes for 2022. Retirement Plan Limits

  2022 Limit 2021 Limit Change
Maximum...

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How Far Does Withdrawal Liability Extend? Local 705 International Brotherhood of Teamsters Pension Fund v. Pitello

Employers often ask how far withdrawal liability extends? Does it include other business entities owned by the same company? What about property those other entities own? On July 7, 2021, the Seventh Circuit decided in Local 705 International Brotherhood of Teamsters Pension Fund v. Pitello that withdrawal liability can reach affiliated trades or businesses that are under “common control” with the withdrawing employer, including any real estate owned by...

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Zirbel v. Ford Motor Company – Benefit Overpayment Decision Upheld in the Sixth Circuit

Incompetent Board of Trustees is not a defense. Benefit overpayment cases having been trending across the country. One of the latest was heard by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio. In Zirbel v. Ford Motor Company, the appeals court upheld the Ford retirement plan’s decision on a benefit overpayment mistakenly paid to an ex-spouse of a participant. In this case, Donna Zirbel received a $351,000 retirement-benefits payment from...

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No Surprises Act Expands Emergency Medical Services in Two Important Ways

The No Surprises Act ushered in several changes for health and welfare plans. Much has been said about the out-of-network emergency medical charges, out-of-network charges provided at an in-network facility, and air ambulance rules. But the Act also expanded the definition of “emergency services” in two important, but subtle, ways. That definition now includes (1) services provided at a “Free Standing Emergency Department” and (2) Post-Stabilization Services. Free Standing Emergency...

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