Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog

The View from Proskauer on Developments in the World of Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation

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Roberta Chevlowe

Roberta K. Chevlowe provides advice to employers and boards of trustees of multiemployer benefit plans on a broad range of issues relating to their retirement, health and other employee benefit plans. With nearly three decades of experience practicing in this area, Roberta employs a practical, business minded approach to helping her clients comply with the various requirements imposed by ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, COBRA, the Affordable Care Act and other federal and state laws affecting employee benefit programs. Roberta’s practice also includes advising clients in connection with benefit claim appeals, lawsuits and government audits; drafting plan documents, policies and employee communications materials; and negotiating with plan service providers.

Roberta is best known for her work in the area of COBRA compliance and for advising employers in connection with the benefits they provide to employees’ domestic partners and same-sex spouses. She is a co-author of The COBRA Handbook and lectures and publishes articles on a variety of employee benefits topics. In addition, Ms. Chevlowe is a member of Proskauer’s Health Care Reform Task Force, and she led the Firm’s Domestic Partner Benefits Task Force.

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Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or self-insured and, in the case of insured plans, the requirements of state insurance law. In states where same-sex marriage is … Continue Reading

New IRS Guidance Relating to Same-Sex Spouses and Qualified Retirement Plan Benefits

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in U.S. v. Windsor) that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the IRS announced that same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes and provided guidance relating to the impact of Windsor on certain types of employee benefits.  At the same … Continue Reading

More Post-Windsor Guidance from the IRS Relating to Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses: Cafeteria Plan Changes, Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision that repealed Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex spouses were not recognized as spouses for federal tax and benefits purposes.  In the immediate aftermath of Windsor, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17, which stated the IRS position that, for … Continue Reading

Federal District Court (In Its Capacity As An Employer) Must Reimburse Employee for the Cost of Health Benefits for her Same-Sex Domestic Partner

The Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, an administrative body that reviews decisions of the court’s chief judge, recently weighed in on an issue involving same-sex domestic partner health benefits in the post-Windsor world.  The decision is interesting insofar as it relies at least partially on the Windsor decision in awarding “spousal” benefits to an unmarried same-sex … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Announces a “Place of Celebration” Rule in Implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision With Regard to Employee Benefit Plans

A few weeks after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stated that it will apply a “place of celebration” rule in recognizing same-sex spouses for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code (including with respect to employee benefit plans), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced today that it too will interpret the term “spouse” as including … Continue Reading

IRS Adopts a “Place of Celebration” Rule in Implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor Decision

On August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued important guidance for employers and employees relating to the impact of the Windsor decision on employee benefit plans. In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the agencies ruled that a same-sex couple legally married in any jurisdiction will be recognized as spouses … Continue Reading

The Impact of Windsor on Social Security Benefits and FMLA Rights

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor, which struck the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provision limiting marriage to opposite sex spouses, the government agencies have been working on updating guidance in a number of areas. Two recent updates are noteworthy: Social Security Benefits — The Social Security Administration has … Continue Reading

Proskauer Webinar on Supreme Court DOMA Decision

Section 3 of The Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional. Please join Proskauer’s DOMA Task Force on Wednesday, July 17th at 1:00pm EST for a webinar discussing the impact of the Court’s decision on employer-provided benefits. Registration details are listed below. Please follow these steps to register for the webinar or webinars you would … Continue Reading

DOMA Held Unconstitutional

The Defense of Marriage Act, which defines “marriage” and “spouse” as excluding same-sex partners, was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court today in a 5-4 decision on equal protection grounds.  Stay tuned for information about our upcoming Webinar regarding the impact of the Court’s decision on employer-provided benefits.  We will also post a link … Continue Reading

Health Benefits Provided to Same-Sex Spouses

As we await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, which may come as early as this week, many employers are considering the potential impact that the decision may have on the health benefits that they provide to their employees, regardless of whether they currently offer health benefits to their employees’ … Continue Reading

The Future of Domestic Partner Health Benefits

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) is unconstitutional in Windsor v. U.S., which is expected to be decided this month, will employers that offer health benefits to employees’ same-sex domestic partners cease offering “domestic partner” benefits separately from benefits for employees and their spouses? Currently, one rationale … Continue Reading

Proskauer’s DOMA Task Force

Proskauer’s Employee Benefits Practice Center’s DOMA Task Force, which is comprised of lawyers from our offices nationwide, regularly advises employers and other plan sponsors on the myriad benefits issues that arise in the context of domestic partner benefits. As more states legalize same-sex marriage and the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to issue a decision … Continue Reading

DOL Updates Model COBRA Notice in Light of Health Care Reform

Come 2014, the Health Insurance Exchanges will provide another option to COBRA “qualified beneficiaries” who are considering whether to elect to continue health coverage under an employer’s group plan. In an effort to ensure that qualified beneficiaries understand this option, the U.S. Department of Labor has revised its model COBRA Election Notice to refer specifically … Continue Reading

Agencies Issue Updated Summary of Benefits and Coverage

On April 23rd, the DOL, HHS and IRS (the “Agencies”) released an updated template for the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (“SBC”) that group health plans and issuers are required to send to plan participants.  This updated SBC is the template to be used by plan sponsors and issuers to comply with the SBC requirements … Continue Reading
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