On January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court vacated longstanding Sixth Circuit precedent that had created a presumption of vesting of collectively bargained retiree welfare benefits, such as health or life insurance benefits. In doing so, the Court reiterated the primacy of a contract’s written terms in evaluating whether a plan sponsor intended to confer irrevocable (or ‘‘vested’’) welfare benefits to retirees. This article discusses the opinion’s potential impact on the legal landscape of retiree welfare benefits, and offers some practical tips for plan sponsors and employee benefit practitioners.
Reproduced with permission from Pension & Benefits Daily, 28 PBD, 02/11/2015. Copyright 2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com