Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog

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

District Court Partially Dismisses ERISA 401(k) Fee and Performance Claims for Lack of Standing

A federal district court in New York recently granted Omnicom Group Inc.’s (“Omnicom’s”) motion to dismiss, for lack of Article III standing, claims challenging the offering of investment options in Omnicom’s 401(k) plan in which the plaintiff participants did not invest.  The court denied Omnicom’s motion to dismiss, however, with respect to the remainder of the claims, which alleged that Omnicom’s administrative committee breached its fiduciary duties under ERISA by including allegedly costly and underperforming funds in its 401(k) plan, causing the plan to pay excessive recordkeeping fees and offering an investment lineup that was overly expensive.

With respect to the standing argument, the court first rejected defendants’ reliance on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Thole v. U.S. Bank N.A., 140 S. Ct. 1615 (2020), which held that participants in a defined benefit plan do not have standing to sue when they personally suffered no monetary injury. The court concluded that it was of “decisive importance” that Thole involved a defined benefit plan as opposed to a defined contribution plan, like the one at issue here.  Nevertheless the court held that this did not change the fact that a plaintiff must allege and show that she has been personally injured to demonstrate injury-in-fact as required under Article III. Relying on analogous case law from the Second Circuit, the court concluded that a plaintiff in a defined contribution plan who does not personally invest in a challenged fund lacks Article III standing to sue.

In so ruling, the court rejected the notion that plaintiffs suing derivatively on behalf of a plan under ERISA § 502(a)(2) automatically have standing. The court explained that a plaintiff must assert both a cause of action under ERISA and a constitutionally cognizable injury-in-fact. Since plaintiffs could not have suffered an injury from the alleged mismanagement of funds in which they did not invest, the court concluded that plaintiffs could not demonstrate the requisite injury. Similarly, the court concluded that merely because plaintiffs filed their lawsuit as a class action did not change the analysis because the requirements of Article III are “no less true with respect to class actions” than with other suits. Finally, despite its finding that Thole was inapplicable, the court did cite Thole for its statement that “there is no ERISA exception to Article III.”

The court then concluded that plaintiffs can only seek relief with respect to funds in which they were invested.  The court did, however, allow plaintiffs to challenge the entire suite of target date funds even though plaintiffs invested in only five of the thirteen funds, because the funds were all part of the same product line.

With respect to the claims for which plaintiffs had standing, the court rejected defendants’ arguments for dismissal.  It concluded that plaintiffs stated a claim for imprudence with respect to the suite of target date funds because plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that the funds charged higher fees, or underperformed relative to comparable funds.  In so ruling, the court referenced what it found to be the trend among courts in the Second Circuit to defer deciding whether the complaint identified suitable comparator funds until after discovery. For the same reason, the court declined to dismiss plaintiffs’ claim that the overall investment menu was overly expensive.

The court also declined to dismiss plaintiffs’ claim that the plan paid excessive recordkeeping fees because, it found, plaintiffs provided sufficient evidence that comparable plans paid lower fees and defendants’ arguments to the contrary were more appropriately evaluated after discovery. Finally, the court allowed plaintiffs’ failure to monitor and knowing breach of trust claims to proceed because plaintiffs plausibly alleged an underlying breach of fiduciary duty and that defendants knew or should have known of the alleged breaches.

View from Proskauer

The court’s ruling on the standing issue is potentially significant because plaintiffs frequently challenge the prudence of funds in which they did not personally invest. It is unclear how helpful it will ultimately prove to be, however, because many courts have already ruled that plaintiffs do have standing to challenge funds in which they did not invest. Hopefully, courts examining fresh challenges on standing grounds will follow this court’s lead, given the thorough and persuasive manner in which the court presented its rationale for the ruling.

The case is In re Omnicom ERISA Litig., No. 20-cv-4141 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 2, 2021).

Fifth Circuit Holds Participants Lack Standing To Challenge Plan Investment Options

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, for lack of standing, of a fiduciary breach representative action against American Airlines and its 401(k) plan investment committee.  Ortiz v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 20-10817, 2021 WL 3030550 (5th Cir. July 19, 2021).  As discussed in an earlier post, two former American Airlines employees brought this suit in 2016 on behalf of the American Airlines 401(k) plan, alleging that the plan fiduciaries’ investment decisions breached their fiduciary duties of loyalty and prudence and violated ERISA’s prohibited transaction rules.  In particular, plaintiffs alleged the defendants imprudently selected and retained a demand-deposit fund—sponsored and managed by American Airlines Federal Credit Union—as a plan investment option instead of a stable value fund, which had a higher rate of return.  Both named plaintiffs invested in the credit union fund but did not invest in a stable value fund that was added to the plan’s investment menu during the relevant statutory period.

Last year, a judge in the Northern District of Texas dismissed the case, holding that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to pursue their claims.  In so holding, the court explained that any harm from defendants’ failure to offer a stable value fund was speculative since:  (i) plaintiffs did not show they would have invested in a stable value fund had it been available to them; and (ii) even when it did become available, plaintiffs did not invest in it.

The Fifth Circuit agreed with the district court’s conclusion that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their claims, but employed slightly different reasoning.  At the outset, the Court rejected the application of a recent Supreme Court case, Thole v. U.S. Bank N.A., 140 S. Ct. 1615 (2020), to the issue of whether plaintiffs suffered a cognizable injury for purposes of Article III standing.  The Court wrote that the defendants could not rely on Thole to argue that plaintiffs did not suffer a concrete injury because the Supreme Court “explicitly drew a distinction” between the defined benefit plan at issue there—in which participants’ entitlements to benefits are fixed independent of fiduciaries’ investment decisions—and defined contribution plans such as the American Airlines 401(k) plan, in which participants’ benefits are tied to their account value and thus to plan fiduciaries’ investment decisions.

The Fifth Circuit’s decision instead focused on the causation prong of the Article III standing analysis.  Unlike the district court, the Court did not focus only on whether plaintiffs would have invested in a stable value offering if one was available, but on whether plaintiffs would have done so if, counterfactually, the plan never offered the demand-deposit option at all.  Here, because plaintiffs did not transfer out of the demand-deposit fund even when a stable value option became available, the Court found it unlikely that plaintiffs would have invested in a stable value option even if the demand-deposit fund was never available.  Accordingly, the Court held that to the extent plaintiffs suffered injuries, those injuries were caused by their own investment decisions and not by defendants.

Proskauer’s Perspective

Ortiz is notable because it appears to be the first appellate court to consider whether Thole’s holding applies in the defined contribution plan context.  The decision is also notable for its causation analysis for purposes of determining Article III standing.  This could prove to be significant in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, 563 U.S. 421 (2011), which held that plaintiffs seeking plan reformation to remedy a misleading plan communication need not prove detrimental reliance on the communication.  Ortiz suggests that, in spite of Amara, defendants may be able to effectively reinstate a detrimental reliance requirement by arguing that, in the absence of detrimental reliance, there is no showing of causation and harm sufficient to satisfy constitutional standing requirements.

[Podcast]: Special Financial Assistance for Multiemployer Pension Plans (Part 1)

proskauer benefits brief podcastThis episode of The Proskauer Benefits Brief is the first of our three-part series analyzing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) guidance on the new special financial assistance program for troubled multiemployer pension plans that was created by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  In this initial episode, partner Rob Projansky and senior counsel Justin Alex cover the basic contours of the program.


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An Additional Word from IRS Regarding the ARP COBRA Subsidy

The IRS just released some new supplemental guidance on the COBRA premium subsidy in the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARP”). IRS Notice 2021-46, released July 26, 2021 provides additional color on a handful of discrete subsidy issues that had been addressed in earlier guidance but still caused some confusion. The guidance, in Q&A format, addresses:

  • the availability of the subsidy during extended coverage periods due to disability determinations, second qualifying events, and state law extensions,
  • ineligibility for the subsidy due to other group health coverage or Medicare,
  • when a state continuation coverage program qualifies as “comparable” to federal COBRA coverage, and
  • who is the “premium payee’ for purpose of claiming the tax credit, including in the context of controlled groups, MEWAs, and business reorganizations.

The Notice can be found here. For more information on how to claim the ARP COBRA tax credit, see our blog here.

A Practical Guide to Claiming the COBRA Premium Assistance Tax Credit

Over the last few months, employers and plan administrators have concentrated on identifying qualifying individuals eligible for COBRA premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”), sending out proper notices, and collecting election forms. Now that the dust has settled on the first round of election notices, employers and plans have turned their attention to another pressing topic: claiming the COBRA premium assistance tax credit.

Why is it Important to Apply for the Tax Credit?

ARP provides a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for qualifying individuals from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.  This subsidy is implemented by a tax credit mechanism.  This means that the person to whom the COBRA premiums would otherwise be payable in the absence of the COBRA subsidy—generally, the employer or the plan and, sometimes, the insurer—must claim the tax credit to be reimbursed for the cost of providing “free” COBRA coverage to qualifying individuals.  For details on determining who the “premium payee” is for purposes of the COBRA premium subsidy, please see our blog post overview.

What Taxes are Offset by the Credit?

The tax credit is intended to offset Medicare tax liability.  If the amount of COBRA premium assistance provided to qualifying individuals exceeds the Medicare tax payable (for example, in the case of a multiemployer plan that does not have any Medicare tax liability), a refund of the excess amount can be requested.

How Is the Tax Credit Claimed?

The tax credit is generally claimed by reporting the COBRA premium assistance provided to qualifying individuals on the quarterly employment tax return (IRS Form 941).  (Premium payees that do not normally file the IRS Form 941 because they do not have federal employment tax liability, such as some multiemployer plans, will have to do so to claim the tax credit.)  There is a worksheet provided with the instructions to the IRS Form 941 that outlines how to calculate the two parts of the tax credit: (1) First, the non-refundable portion of the tax credit (the amount by which the COBRA premium assistance is offset by the Medicare tax liability); and (2) Second, the refundable portion of the tax credit (the excess, if any, of the COBRA premium assistance provided over the Medicare tax liability).

For more information about calculating the amount of the COBRA premium assistance that can be claimed as a tax credit, please see our blog post.

How Can the Tax Credit be Paid in Advance?

It is possible to claim the tax credit even before the IRS Form 941 filing deadline.  There are two additional steps needed to get the credit faster. (1) First, an employer (or plan with federal employment tax liability, such as a multiemployer plan with employees or a multiemployer plan that makes benefit payments subject to withholding) may reduce the federal employment taxes it would otherwise be required to deposit up to the amount of the anticipated COBRA premium assistance tax credit. (2) Second, an advance of the anticipated tax credit after reducing available federal employment tax deposits may be claimed by filing an IRS Form 7200 with the IRS.

  • Practice Pointer: If a plan does not have any federal employment tax liabilities to reduce in step one (for example, in the case of a multiemployer plan that does not have employees and does not make any benefit payments subject to withholding), the plan can go straight to step two and file an IRS Form 7200 to request the anticipated tax credit.
  • Practice Pointer: IRS Form 7200 must be faxed to the IRS.

Even if the two steps above are used to claim the tax credit in advance, an IRS Form 941 is still required to complete the full claim for the tax credit. Any advance of the tax credit will need to be reconciled when IRS Form 941 is filed.

When Can the Tax Credit be Claimed?

Claiming the tax credit operates on a rolling deadline basis. There are two key dates, each described below.

  • Date of COBRA Election: The person to whom premiums are payable (e., the employer or the plan) becomes eligible to claim a tax credit for the COBRA premiums not paid by the qualifying individual so far on the date that it first receives the qualifying individual’s COBRA election. For example, if an employer receives a qualifying individual’s COBRA election on June 17, and the individual has not paid premiums starting April 1, the employer would become eligible on June 17 to claim the tax credit for the period of coverage from April 1 through June 30.
  • Beginning of Subsequent Periods of Coverage: At the beginning of each subsequent period of coverage, the person to whom premiums are payable becomes eligible to claim a tax credit for that coverage period (provided the individual remains eligible for COBRA premium assistance for that coverage period). Returning to the facts used above, the employer would become eligible on July 1 to claim the tax credit for coverage provided from July 1 through July 31.

When Can the Tax Credit be taken as an Advance?

If an advance of the tax credit is desired, different timing rules apply.

As a reminder, to claim the tax credit before filing an IRS Form 941, there are two steps: (1) Reduce federal employment tax deposits, and (2) Following the reduction of employment tax deposits to the extent available, file an IRS Form 7200 with the IRS to request an advance of the anticipated excess tax credit.  The timing rules for eligibility to reduce federal employment tax deposits use the same schedule described above. However, if the employer or plan wants to file an IRS Form 7200 to request the anticipated excess tax credit following reduction of deposits, it must wait until the end of the payroll period in which it becomes eligible to claim the tax credit.

Returning to the second part of our example above, for coverage provided from July 1 through July 31, the employer would become eligible to reduce employment tax deposits on July 1—the first day of that coverage period. To file IRS Form 7200 to request an advance of the tax credit for coverage provided from July 1 through July 31, the employer would need to wait until July 16—after the end of the payroll period in which the employer first become eligible to claim the July credit (assuming the employer’s payroll period ran from July 1 through July 15).

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Takeaway

This blog post provides a general overview on how to claim the COBRA premium assistance tax credit.  Employers and plans should develop a course of action to ensure timely recovery of any tax credits to which they are entitled.  But don’t delay – for most employers and plans, the next Form 941 filing deadline is July 31, 2021, so the time to act is now.

PBGC Releases Guidance on New Special Financial Assistance Program for Troubled Multiemployer Plans

As a follow up to our previous alert on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, we have summarized the key aspects of the recently released PBGC and IRS guidance on the new Special Financial Assistance Program for troubled multiemployer pension plans in our latest client alert, which can be found here.

District Court Denies Interlocutory Appeal for Novel Issue of “Hardwired” 401(k) Plans

A federal district court in Maryland recently declined to certify an interlocutory appeal to the Fourth Circuit on the issue of whether financial institutions can “hardwire” a preference for their own proprietary investment vehicles into their employees’ 401(k) plans.  David G. Feinberg, et al., & all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., et al., Defendants, No. 17-cv-427, 2021 WL 2784614 (D. Md. July 2, 2021).  In so ruling, the district court prevented, at least for now, an opportunity for an appellate court to consider an issue that could significantly impact the adjudication of fiduciary breach challenges to the offering of proprietary funds in 401(k) plans.

A group of T. Rowe Price employees who participated in the company’s 401(k) plan sued the company in 2017, alleging that T. Rowe Price breached its fiduciary duties of prudence and loyalty in its administration of the plan.  The employees took issue with, among other things, T. Rowe Price’s decision to amend the plan to include “hardwiring” language requiring plan fiduciaries to exclusively offer T. Rowe Price’s proprietary funds as investment options.

Earlier this year, plaintiffs asked the court to find the hardwiring amendment void as against public policy because it “purports to relieve [the fiduciaries] from responsibility or liability” as prohibited by Section 1110(a) of ERISA.  See Feinberg v. T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., No. 17-cv-427, 2021 WL 1102455 (D. Md. Mar. 23, 2021).  Judge Bredar of the District of Maryland rejected this argument, finding the provision in question unlike language that has been held to violate Section 1110(a), such as language expressly limiting fiduciary liability or requiring fiduciaries to take actions that clearly violate ERISA.  Plaintiffs subsequently asked the court to certify for appeal to the Fourth Circuit the narrow question of whether the hardwiring amendment violates Section 1110(a) of ERISA.

In his recent order, Judge Bredar held that the plaintiffs failed to make the showing necessary to justify the “extraordinary step” of an appeal at this stage.  In particular, Judge Bredar stated that the amendment’s permissibility did not pose a “controlling question of law” because it required resolving factual disputes—such as the plan drafters’ intent as to the amendment’s meaning—at the district court level.

Proskauer’s Perspective

While this decision focused on the standard for an interlocutory appeal, the underlying litigation raises novel questions about the validity of hardwiring provisions and the extent to which they might protect plan sponsors against fiduciary breach allegations related to the inclusion of proprietary investment vehicles.  The Supreme Court previously ruled that ordinary rules of prudence govern the decision to maintain employer stock in employee stock ownership plans (“ESOPs”), even though by definition the assets of these plans must be invested in company stock.  Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 573 U.S. 409 (U.S. 2014).  It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court’s reasoning in the ESOP context applies equally to employers who, like T. Rowe Price, limit their 401(k) plan investment menus to proprietary funds.

Tenth Circuit Addresses Damages for Excessive Recordkeeping Fee Claims

One of the multitude of recent cases challenging the recordkeeping fees of 401(k) plans recently made its way to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Ramos v. Banner Health, No. 20-1231, — F.3d —- (10th Cir. June 11, 2021).  Following a bench trial that resulted in a determination that the fiduciaries of Banner Health’s 401(k) plan had failed to monitor the plan’s uncapped, asset-based, revenue sharing arrangement with Fidelity, the Court affirmed the district court’s rejection of the plaintiffs’ expert testimony on damages and fashioning of its own method to calculate the plan’s losses due to the excessive recordkeeping fees.

First, the district court found the expert testimony concerning reasonable recordkeeping fees to be unreliable because it was based vaguely on the expert’s experience, which was mostly with smaller plans.  And, while there were 4,770 mega plans available for comparison, the expert claimed not to have relied upon their data in forming his opinion.  Second, when devising its own damages calculation, the district court took into account the fact that the recordkeeper eventually offered to create a revenue credit account to refund some of its uncapped revenue sharing proceeds to the plan.  The court noted that the amount of the revenue credits “may be viewed as the amount that Fidelity itself considered to be excessive” and thus could be used to approximate the loss.  This measure led to the court finding no losses to the plan for the years in which the revenue credit account was in place.

Proskauer’s Perspective

Plaintiffs’ difficulties in proving loss due to excessive recordkeeping fees is becoming a recurring theme.  Currently on appeal before the Second Circuit is Cunningham v. Cornell Univ., No. 16-CV-6525 (PKC), 2019 WL 4735876 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2019), appeal filed, No. 21-88 (2d Cir. Jan. 13, 2021), wherein the district court granted summary judgment to the defendants on the ground that, even if they had failed to monitor the recordkeeping fees of the Cornell 403(b) plans, the plaintiffs had failed to prove any resulting loss because their expert testimony concerning reasonable recordkeeping fees was unreliable.  In particular, reminiscent of Banner Health, the testimony was based vaguely on the experts’ experience and a cherry-picking of a few university plans with lower recordkeeping fees.

Temporary Relief for Witnessing Spousal Consent Extended for Another Year

Just when we were about to draft our blog reminding plans of the expiration of the temporary relief. . . The IRS has now issued Notice 2021-40 extending for another year the temporary relief from the requirement that spousal consent for plan distributions or loans be witnessed in person.

As discussed in greater detail in our earlier post, in response to the COVID-19 National Emergency, the IRS previously issued guidance temporarily allowing a notary or plan representative to witness spousal consent electronically via live video, provided certain conditions are met.  This relief was originally due to expire on December 31, 2020, but last December the IRS issued a notice extending it through June 30, 2021.  Notice 2021-40 now further extends the same relief for another year, through June 30, 2022.

Notably, as it did in its prior extension notice, the IRS is requesting comments on whether it should issue permanent guidance modifying the physical presence requirement.  Notice 2021-40 contains various questions it would like commenters to address in that regard.  Comments are due by September 30, 2021.

Plan administrators must continue to ensure that electronic witnessing meets all of the conditions set forth in the initial temporary relief, outlined here.

Calculating the ARP COBRA Premium Subsidy Tax Credit

On May 18, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-31 (the “Notice”) providing guidance on the temporary 100% COBRA premium subsidy under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”), summarized generally here.  The Notice addresses how to calculate the premium subsidy and the corresponding tax credit available to premium payees, as well as the rules for claiming the tax credit.

Calculating the Tax Credit: Generally

The general COBRA rules provide that a group health plan may charge a qualified beneficiary 102% of the applicable premium for COBRA continuation coverage.  According to the Notice, if the employer does not subsidize COBRA premiums for similarly situated qualified beneficiaries who are not eligible for the subsidy, then the tax credit is equal to the full premium charged to other similarly situated qualified beneficiaries for COBRA continuation coverage.  Additionally, the Notice clarifies that the premium amount includes any administrative costs typically permitted to be charged with respect to COBRA continuation coverage.  Thus, if an employer does not provide a subsidy for COBRA continuation coverage, the employer may claim a tax credit for the full 102% of the applicable premium.

Effect of Employer Subsidies

If the employer subsidizes all or part of the COBRA premium for similarly situated individuals who are not eligible for the subsidy, the amount of the tax credit available to the employer is the premium that would have been charged to an assistance eligible individual in the absence of the premium subsidy.  The Notice clarifies that the tax credit does not include any amount that the employer would have otherwise subsidized.  For example, if the full COBRA cost for continuation coverage (102% of the applicable premium) is $1,000 per month, but the employer only charges terminated employees $250 per month, the tax credit is $250.

The amount of the credit varies based on how the employer structures its severance package.  As an example, assume 102% of the applicable premium is $1,000 per month, and the employer offers a 3-month period during which terminated employees may continue coverage for $200 per month, after which they must pay the full COBRA rate.  Based on the Notice, the analysis is as follows:

  • If the employer considers the 3-month period part of the terminated employee’s COBRA continuation period, the available credit is $200 per month during the 3-month period, and $1,000 per month thereafter.
  • If the employer considers the loss of health coverage and the beginning of the COBRA period to occur at the end of the 3-month severance period, then the employee is not entitled to the ARP premium subsidy during that period (because the coverage is not COBRA coverage) and the employer may not claim the credit. Once the severance period ends, if the former employee (who is an assistance eligible individual) elects COBRA coverage, the credit is $1,000 per month for the remainder of the subsidy period.

The Notice contemplates that employers may change their severance programs to take advantage of the subsidy/credit.  In addition, the Notice clarifies that an employer may claim the credit if it charges the full COBRA premium to all employees and qualified beneficiaries but makes a separate, taxable payment to assistance eligible individuals (i.e., pays a severance amount as taxable compensation rather than subsidizing COBRA as part of the severance packages).

How Much is the Premium Subsidy When Non-Qualified Beneficiaries are Covered?

An assistance eligible individual is any COBRA “qualified beneficiary” who loses group health coverage on account of a covered employee’s reduction in hours of employment or involuntary termination of employment.  COBRA’s definition of a “qualified beneficiary” includes only a covered employee and their spouse and dependent children who were covered under the health plan on the day before the COBRA qualifying event, as well as children born to or adopted by the employee during a period of COBRA coverage.  However, group health plans may extend “COBRA-like” coverage to family members who are not considered qualified beneficiaries (e.g., a domestic partner), and covered employees may add new spouses to their COBRA coverage in accordance with HIPAA’s special enrollment rules.  In such instances, the employer or plan administrator will need to determine what portion of the premium is eligible for the subsidy and how much it may claim as a tax credit.

The Notice confirms that the IRS uses an incremental approach when determining the amount eligible for the premium tax credit (and subsidy) in these situations.  If the cost of covering a non-qualified beneficiary does not add to the cost of covering the assistance-eligible individual(s), then the amount of the tax credit is the full COBRA premium.  If covering a non-qualified beneficiary adds to the cost of coverage, then the incremental cost to cover the non-qualified beneficiary is not eligible for the COBRA premium subsidy or the corresponding tax credit.

Example: An assistance eligible individual elects COBRA coverage for himself and all of his family members who were covered under the plan on the day before the qualifying event, which includes one dependent child and his domestic partner.  Under the terms of the plan, COBRA coverage for an employee plus-two-or-more-dependents costs $800 per month, and the COBRA premium is $600 per month for self-plus-one-dependent.  Accordingly, the incremental cost of covering the domestic partner is $200 per month.  As a result, the individual will pay $200 per month for COBRA coverage for his domestic partner, and the premium payee may claim the $600 per month as a payroll tax credit for the subsidy.

Takeaway

The Notice provides useful guidance on the calculation of the premium subsidy and the corresponding tax credits in various circumstances.  However, the calculations may be less than straightforward depending on the facts and circumstances, particularly where post-termination coverage is subsidized, or if the plan voluntarily provides continued coverage to individuals who are not otherwise qualified beneficiaries.  When in doubt, reach out to legal counsel for advice.

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