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Sharon Lippett Quoted in “DOL May Broaden ‘Employer’ Again Despite Health Plan Loss”

Law360

Sharon L. Lippett, Member of the Firm in the Employee Benefits practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Law360, in “DOL May Broaden ‘Employer’ Again Despite Health Plan Loss,” by Emily Brill. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Labor wants to expand its definition of “employer” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to allow small businesses to band together to purchase employee retirement plans, but experts warn the change could meet the same fate as the recently invalidated association health plan rule.

The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration hopes to finalize the so-called association retirement plan rule by June, according to a list of spring regulatory priorities released May 22. That’s three months after a Washington, D.C., federal judge gutted a rule that similarly enlarged the definition of “employer” to allow small businesses and the self-employed to buy health insurance plans that skirt Affordable Care Act coverage mandates.

“It is not clear that the definition of employer [would] survive [another] legal challenge,” said Sharon L. Lippett, a member of Epstein Becker Green’s benefits and executive compensation practice. “The D.C. district court judge made some strong arguments as to why the definition does not work under Section 3(5) of ERISA.”