Recently, the Sixth Circuit ruled in Hitchcock v. Cumberland University 403(b) Plan that pension plan participants are not required to exhaust their plan’s administrative remedies before pursuing claims alleging statutory violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”).[i] In so deciding, the Sixth Circuit joined the majority of circuit courts in holding that claims alleging statutory violations of ERISA do not impose the same administrative exhaustion requirements that are applicable to claims seeking to enforce contractual rights under the terms of a plan. By deepening the current split on this issue among the circuit courts, the ruling could have a significant impact on future ERISA litigations.
As we previously reported here, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released Proposed Rules on April 16, 2015 to provide guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on permissible employer incentives for employee participation in wellness programs. Comments on the proposed rules were due on or before June 19, 2015. The EEOC received…
Through new FAQs and final regulations, the U.S. Departments of Labor (“DOL”), Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the Treasury (the “Departments”) have further clarified various issues related to the preventive care coverage requirement for non-grandfathered group health plans under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) as related to preventive care coverage.
The ACA requires that non-grandfathered group health plans provide benefits for certain preventive care without cost sharing, including:
- Evidenced-based items or services that have a rating of “A” or “B” in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (“USPSTF”) for the individual (except for breast cancer screening, mammography, and prevention, where there are updated USPSTF standards);
- Immunizations for routine use recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (“ACIP”) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) for the individual;
- For infants, children, and adolescents: evidence-informed preventive care and screenings provided for in the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”); and
- For women: other evidence-informed preventive care and screening provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by the HRSA
As employers and plans prepare for 2016 open enrollment, they must be sure to address in their benefit design and with their third party vendors the new embedded out-of-pocket maximum limitations on individuals that were announced at the end of May by the U.S. Departments of Labor (“DOL”), Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”).
The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires that non-grandfathered group health plans place limits on the maximum annual cost sharing imposed on plan enrollees for out-of-pocket costs associated with essential health benefits. For plan and policy years beginning in 2016, the maximum out-of-pocket cost for self-only coverage is $6,850, while the maximum out-of-pocket cost for coverage that is not self-only coverage is $13,700.