Notification needs to go to Medicare eligible employees and their spouses who are over 65 by October 15th to inform them if the Employer plan offered is at least as good, if not better than Medicare Party D drug coverage. This must be done each year and then Employers must go to the CMS( Center for Medicare Services) site and complete the process letting them know your employees have been notified.
Please keep in mind that this determination is the employer’s responsibility when the employer is the plan sponsor. If the carrier states that the health plan is non-creditable, the benefits may still be creditable if the employer has an HRA arrangement in place. The employer would have to override the carrier notice. Therefore, it is the employer’s responsibility to examine all of the benefits that are being provided to determine the creditability of the prescription coverage. The carrier is only providing notification regarding the creditability of the coverage that the carrier provides.
The suit is ongoing – this is the kind of thing we work hard to avoid for our clients.
The core of the fiduciary breach complaint is summarized as follows in case documents: “Lowe’s imprudently selected and retained the Hewitt Growth Fund for the Plan, in consultation with Hewitt (which served as the plan’s fiduciary investment consultant), despite the fact that (1) the Hewitt Growth Fund was a new and largely untested fund at the time it was added to the plan; (2) the Hewitt Growth Fund was underperforming its benchmark at the time it was added to the plan and continued to underperform after it was added to the plan; and (3) the Hewitt Growth Fund was not utilized by fiduciaries of any similarly-sized plans and was generally unpopular in the marketplace.”
The complaint says the target-date funds used in the plan and as the designated default investment were underperforming since they were selected, resulting in a great loss to participants. By Rebecca Moore / PLANSPONSOR
The complaint notes that as fiduciaries, the Walgreen defendants must prudently curate the plan’s investment options. They must regularly monitor plan investments and remove ones that become imprudent. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants breached these fiduciary duties by adding to the plan in 2013 a suite of poorly performing funds called the Northern Trust Focus Target Retirement Trusts and keeping these funds in the plan despite their continued underperformance.
Despite a market “teeming with better-performing alternatives,” the plaintiffs say, Walgreen selected the Northern Trust Funds, which already had a history of poor performance. According to the complaint, they had significantly underperformed their benchmark indexes and comparable target-date funds since Northern Trust launched the funds in 2010.
The lawsuit contends it was predictable that the Northern Trust Funds continued underperforming through the present. For nearly a decade, these investment options performed worse than 70% to 90% percent of peer funds, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs say not only does Walgreen refuse to remove the funds, it has actually added Northern Trust funds to the plan’s investment lineup, and selected the Northern Trust target-date funds as the plan’s default investment.
Additional Items through High Deductible plan at no charge
The IRS has issued new guidelines, expanding the field of what is considered preventive care to include an additional list of 14 new items and services. This means that certain treatments, specifically for conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, liver disease and depression, now can be covered as preventive care by a HDHP without affecting Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility.
Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC.
Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated.
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