Health & Welfare Benefit Plans
Identifying ways to provide cost-effective health coverage and welfare benefits can significantly impact a business’s bottom line, as well as its employee relations, but the legal requirements can be overwhelming.
Our attorneys help employers navigate these requirements to identify the optimal benefits for their workers. This enables the employer to better focus on everyday business concerns. We assist companies in designing health and welfare benefit programs, drafting necessary plan documents and plan communications, and negotiating third-party administration agreements, insurance contracts, direct-contracting arrangements and other provider agreements.
Clients turn to our team for advice on how to structure a flexible benefit arrangement or redesign a health program as a cost-efficient, consumer driven health (CDH) arrangement for active employees or retirees through the use of health spending accounts (HSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). For companies interested in consolidating plan documents and streamlining annual reporting with the IRS, we help implement a consolidated or “wraparound” welfare benefit program. We can also help our clients determine whether funding any welfare benefit programs through a voluntary employee beneficiary association (VEBA) would be advantageous.
Our experience goes beyond these services as well. Attorneys in the group advise on all aspects of retiree welfare benefits, including strategies for reducing or eliminating obligations, and maximizing tax-advantaged funding vehicles for retiree plans.
Our clients also look to us for in-depth experience with the privacy and security of medical information. Under sweeping changes imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), employers must ensure that their health plans maintain the privacy and security of their participants’ protected health information, do not use or disclose such information except in limited circumstances, and provide individuals with certain rights concerning their health information.
Finally, we provide our clients with guidance on new federal and state laws and developing trends. For example, a new definition of “dependent” in the Internal Revenue Code, a new state law requiring employers operating in the state to maintain a cafeteria plan, or a U.S. Supreme Court decision validating same-sex marriages could have profound effects on welfare benefit programs.