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About This Blog

Bloomberg BNA's Pension & Benefits Blog is a special resource offered by Bloomberg BNA to provide commentary and insight on news and trends reported in our publications: Pension & Benefits Daily, Pension & Benefits Reporter, and the Benefits Practice Resource Center. The authors of the blog are members of our Benefits Practice Resource Advisory Board and members of staff (who contribute summaries of some of their recent stories). 

The ideas presented here are those of individuals, and Bloomberg BNA bears no responsibility for the appropriateness or accuracy of the communications between group members. We reserve the right not to post comments that are abusive or otherwise objectionable.

Communications regarding the Pension & Benefits Blog may be directed to Dana Domone via e-mail to


Category : Compliance and Enforcement

February 26, 2014

Guidance on ACA 90-Day Waiting Periods Issued in Tri-Agency Final, Proposed Rules

Group health plans or health insurance issuers offering group health insurance coverage can't apply a waiting period that exceeds 90 days for individuals to be eligible for benefits coverage under terms of their plans, according to new final regulations under the Affordable Care Act and released jointly by three federal agencies.          

December 13, 2013

Guidance on Frozen Plans, DOMA Out ‘Imminently,' Treasury Official Says

The retirement plan community can expect guidance imminently on issues related to frozen defined benefit plans, a Treasury Department official said during a webcast.        

October 30, 2013

DOL Guidance on Same-Sex Spouses Mirrors IRS's, but Practitioners See Some Divergence

Department of Labor guidance providing that the terms “spouse” and “marriage” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act now include same-sex legally married couples was a confirmation of earlier Internal Revenue Service guidance, but some issues remain on the health and welfare plan side that could lead to legal action down the line, practitioners told Bloomberg BNA in a series of interviews.     

October 23, 2013

HRA Guidance Tied Employers' Hands, Has Some Re-Examining Plans, Attorneys Say

Employers hoping to offer health reimbursement arrangements to employees to give them money to spend on the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces have found their hands tied following guidance issued Sept. 13 by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor, attorneys said during a session of the Groom Law Group's Employee Benefits Seminar.

October 16, 2013

High Court Hears Arguments on Accrual Of Limitations Periods in ERISA Plans

In considering the date on which a disability plan's contractual limitations period begins to run, the U.S. Supreme Court justices questioned attorneys on a wide range of issues, including federal law preemption, equitable doctrines, potential harm and the purpose of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's administrative exhaustion requirement.

October 11, 2013

DOL Investigators Quiz Plan Sponsors On Training of Fiduciaries, Attorneys Say

  The Department of Labor is looking into fiduciary training as part of the agency's investigations into retirement plans, attorneys at Trucker Huss in San Francisco told Bloomberg BNA.The attorneys had taken part in a recent webinar on the basics of retirement plan committees, and later Bloomberg BNA asked them to share some of their real-life experiences relating to fiduciary training under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.  

October 1, 2013

Should Employers Pay or Play? Podcast by Littler Mendelson Attorneys Steven Friedman and Ilyse Schuman

Podcast (stream or download) by Steven Friedman and Ilyse Schuman: On Oct. 1, the Affordable Care Act marketplaces open for business. Then, starting in 2015, employers have a choice of whether to “pay or play,”-- to provide health care coverage or pay a penalty.

April 8, 2010

The Fiduciary Decision to Choose the ERISA Plan Auditor

Since many ERISA plans are in the process of preparing their audited financials for the 2009 Form 5500, this is a good time to to reflect on the nature and responsibilities that the plan administrator has in connection with the audit process. (As chair of the Audit Subcommittee for the committee that is the plan sponsor and plan administrator of the Goodyear Retiree VEBA, I had to think through these issues for our plan.)

March 1, 2010

Advisable Advice Regulations

Today's decision on the merits by the 9th Circuit in the Golden Gate Restaurant Association v. San Francisco case upholding the employer spending requirements of the San Francisco ordinance as not preempted by ERISA is a most interesting read.

November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast or Famine? - DOL Withdraws its Investment-Advice Regulation

The DOL has withdrawn its investment-advice regulation, culminating a process that began with a firestorm of objection regarding the DOL's attempt to implement the PPA's new investment-advice exemptions. The PPA's exemptions were controversial when passed, and became more controversial when the Department interpreted certain fee-leveling requirements in a manner that was perceived to be narrow.

September 22, 2009

Participant's access to information in claims adjudications.

One of the purposes of ERISA was to provide participants with access to information so they could understand their rights and obtain their benefits from their plans.

June 2, 2009

A Modest Proposal Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

It is not being controversial to say that there is a trend in the states in favor of permitting same-sex marriage.  Previously, a broad array of employers had begun provide benefits for their employees' domestic partners.  See generally Libert, Oringer & Raskin, "Same-Sex Marriage and Employee Benefits: The Approaching Revolution," 63 Empl. Ben. Plan Rev. 22.

January 29, 2009

Are Certain Reactions to the Investment-Advice Regulations Ill-Advised?

On January 16, 2009, the Department of Labor announced that it had finalized its work under Sections 408(b)(14) and 408(g) of ERISA, which set forth the PPA's new investment-advice exemptions.

October 2, 2008

Investment Advice—ERISA’s Culture War

The DOL’s recent proposed class exemption for the provision of investment advice has re-ignited the debate over the need for and the role of investment advice in participant directed plans. The proposal would strike a good balance between the need to offer investment advice to plan participants and the importance of participant safeguards.

September 24, 2008

Reviewing the Scope of Section 409A Transition

Full compliance with Section 409A is scheduled to be required in less than four months, by January 1, 2009. This deadline is the result of the considered and responsive review by personnel from Treasury, the IRS and the legislative branch last year, as 2007 ran its course.

August 15, 2008

A Report on Yet Another Reporting Issue for Private Equity and Other Investment Funds

Section 404(a)(1) of ERISA generally requires a fiduciary to act in the interest of participants and beneficiaries and to act prudently. ERISA also requires, under Section 103(b)(3)(A), an annual report which includes a financial statement containing, among other things, a statement of assets and liabilities "valued at their current value." Current value is to be determined in good faith by a trustee or named fiduciary.