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ERISA Group Health Plan Fees and Expenses: New Challenges

New Disclosure Obligations, Recent Class Actions Challenging Indirect Compensation, and Challenges for 401(k) and 403(b) Plans

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, December 14, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will update ERISA counsel, plan sponsors, and third-party administrators on a potential new wave of challenges to ERISA group health plan administration. The panel will discuss the recent challenges to fees and expenses charged by health plan service providers, highlighting novel lawsuits and recent court decisions. The panel will provide strategies for handling these disputes along with steps to ensure compliance and minimize risks.


Over fifteen years ago, the ERISA world was swept by a wave of challenges to the fees and costs charged by third-party service providers to 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Those cases radically changed the way that recordkeepers, investment managers, and plan fiduciaries administer ERISA retirement plans.

Now, a new litigation wave may be on its way—this time targeting fees and expenses charged to group health plans. Several recent signs suggest a potential surge of challenges to the fees and costs associated with health plans. Among other things:

  • The 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act imposes new disclosure obligations on certain group health plan vendors to disclose fees and revenue from third parties;
  • The same plaintiff’s law firm that originated the tsunami of 401(k) fee cases has signaled that it is looking to file a new set of lawsuits challenging group health plan fees and expenses;
  • New putative class actions have challenged indirect compensation received by third-party service providers to group health plans; and
  • Plan sponsors are getting involved too; several unions and Fortune 500 companies have filed novel lawsuits against their third-party administrators, challenging their fees.

Collectively, these developments point to a new series of lawsuits between health plan sponsors, participants, and third-party administrators.

Speakers Andrew Holly, a partner and co-chair of the ERISA Litigation department at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, and Nick Bullard, also a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, will examine these cases and trends. They will look at the issues and challenges that arise in litigation between plan participants, group health plans, and their service providers. They will also look at potential disputes between health plan sponsors and their third-party administrators. And they will offer practical advice about what sponsors and service providers can do to avoid litigation and, if necessary, win it.



  1. ERISA fiduciary standards for health and welfare plans
  2. New cases challenging group health plan fees
  3. Analysis of potential fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues relating to group health plan fees and expenses
  4. Best practices for ERISA counsel, plan sponsors, and third-party administrators


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Understanding the new case law and lawsuits challenging group health plan fees and expenses
  • Understanding the ERISA’s prohibited transaction and fiduciary rules as they apply to group health plans
  • Analyzing best practices with respect to the administration of group health plan fees and expenses


Bullard, Nicholas
Nicholas J. Bullard

Dorsey & Whitney

Mr. Bullard's practice focuses on three primary areas: (1) employee benefit and ERISA litigation, (2)...  |  Read More

Holly, Andrew
Andrew Holly

Dorsey & Whitney

Mr. Holly serves as co-chair of Dorsey’s ERISA Litigation Practice Group. He has 20 years' experience...  |  Read More

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