Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...
The Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration promises to be a busy place during the next few months as it expects to be involved in issuing five final rules and two proposed rules, including the re-proposal of the fiduciary rule, according to DOL's Semiannual Agenda of Regulations, released July 3.
The fiduciary rule, which in the agenda is formally called the Conflict of Interest Rule--Investment Advice, is scheduled to be re-proposed in October, the agenda said (130 PBD, 7/8/13; 40 BPR 1628, 7/9/13). In the rulemaking, EBSA seeks to change the definition of “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
While that rulemaking heats up again, however, EBSA hopes to be involved in finalizing five rules.
Among these is a rule on target date disclosures that would amend the department's qualified default investment alternative regulation and its participant-level disclosure regulation by requiring that more detailed information about target date fund investments be disclosed to plan participants and beneficiaries. The agency, which issued a proposed rule in November 2010 (227 PBD, 11/30/10; 37 BPR 2613, 12/7/10), said it intends to release the final rule in November.
In October, EBSA expects to issue a final rule on annual funding notices. The Pension Protection Act added requirements to ERISA Section 101(f) that administrators of defined benefit plans provide an annual funding notice to plan participants, beneficiaries, and other parties. EBSA released a proposed regulation in November 2010 (221 PBD, 11/18/10; 37 BPR 2529, 11/23/10).
In January, EBSA expects to issue a final rule amending the abandoned plan program. The agency issued proposed regulations in December that would amend its 2006 final regulations on abandoned plans to include plans of companies undergoing Chapter 7 liquidation under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (237 PBD, 12/12/12; 39 BPR 2391, 12/18/12).
The other two final rules are health care-related regulations in which the agency is involved in joint rulemaking with the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services.
In October, the agencies expect to issue a final rule on implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. In January 2010, they released interim final (T.D. 9479) and proposed regulations (REG-120692-09) implementing the 2008 law, which requires group health plans to treat medical and mental health benefits equally (19 PBD, 2/1/10; 37 BPR 259, 2/2/10).
In December, the agencies hope to issue a final rule on the 90-day waiting period limitation under the Affordable Care Act. Proposed rules, under which no group health plan or group health insurance issuer could impose a waiting period that exceeds 90 days after employment, were issued in March (53 PBD, 3/19/13; 40 BPR 759, 3/26/13).
Aside from the fiduciary rule re-proposal, the other proposed rule that EBSA expects to issue in the coming months would fall under the Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosure rules, adding to covered service providers' duties by requiring them to furnish, along with the disclosures, a guide or similar tool designed to help plan fiduciaries in understanding the disclosure documents. EBSA hopes to issue that proposal in October.
The full text of the semiannual agenda is at http://op.bna.com/pen.nsf/r?Open=pkun-99bpvs.
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