Our spring briefing discussed important employee benefits issues facing employers today. Topics included SECURE 2.0 provisions, health and welfare plan updates, the end of the COVID emergency periods, retirement plan regulatory pronouncements, litigation analysis, and lessons learned from a recent IRS hearing.
Key takeaways from our conversation
- Mandatory changes from SECURE 2.0 will be effective soon. Employers will need to confirm their recordkeeper is ready, and prepare for any impacts to their payroll system.
- Optional enhancements from SECURE 2.0 will be available soon. Employers should consider what enhancements are of interest to their organization, and check with their recordkeeper’s capability and timing to support the option.
- Although the Consolidated Appropriations Act’s (CAA) changes to health plans are mostly implemented, a few key changes remain pending. Plan sponsors should continue to work with third-party administrators to ensure CAA compliance.
- New transparency requirements for health plans create fiduciary risks, and plan administrators should consider creating health and welfare fiduciary committees to monitor health and welfare plan fiduciary matters.
- Once proposed rules under HIPAA are finalized, plan sponsors need to (1) reconsider how they treat PHI related to reproductive healthcare services, (2) update business associate agreements and plan documents accordingly, and (3) provide updated HIPAA training to internal staff.
- Due to the end of certain administrative relief and required design changes that are tied to the COVID-10 emergency declarations, plan sponsors need to communicate with participants, update internal procedures, and coordinate with insurers or service providers.
- The DOL’s recent (and controversial) fiduciary regulations explain how environmental, social, and/or governance factors can be considered (if at all) when selecting plan investments and exercising shareholder rights with respect to securities held by the plan.
- Retirement plan excessive fee litigation continues unabated, despite a slew of settlements this spring. Plan fiduciaries need to continue refining their oversight practices to minimize their risk of liability.