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Sarah Bhagwandin practices employee benefits law, counseling clients on the design, implementation and ongoing administration of tax-qualified retirement plans, welfare plans, fringe benefit plans and executive compensation. Ms. Bhagwandin’s clients include public and private companies, governmental agencies and religious and other nonprofit organizations. She is a frequent speaker on a broad range of topics, including health care reform, fiduciary duties and liability, and the HIPAA privacy and security rules.

Retirement Plans
Ms. Bhagwandin advises 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, profit sharing and money purchase pension plan sponsors on a broad range of issues, including best practices in plan administration, controlled group, affiliated service group and separate lines of business issues, prohibited transactions, ERISA compliance, tax compliance, discrimination testing, and distributions. She reviews and negotiates service provider contracts and advises Plan committees regarding fiduciary duties, including best practices for oversight of providers. Her practice includes drafting plan documents, plan amendments, summary plan descriptions and related documentation. Ms. Bhagwandin has guided clients through Voluntary Compliance Program applications and self-correction of compliance failures, as well as represented clients in government audits.

Health and Welfare Plans
Ms. Bhagwandin works extensively with health and welfare plan sponsors on administration and compliance issues under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, COBRA, HIPAA, and the Affordable Care Act. She drafts health and welfare plans, wrap documents, cafeteria plans, and related documents, as well as reviews and negotiates service provider contracts, including business associate agreements. Ms. Bhagwandin has assisted clients in all areas of HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule compliance for employer-sponsored health plans, including developing and drafting policies and procedures, conducting HIPAA training, and advising clients regarding beach notification.

Compensation Plans
Ms. Bhagwandin designs, drafts, and advises on the implementation and administration of executive compensation arrangements, including 457(b) and 457(f) plans for executives of nonprofit clients.

Professional Affiliations

    • Washington State Bar Association
    • Western Pension and Benefits Conference
    • American Bar Association
    • Western Pension and Benefits Conference
    • American Bar Association
    • American Bar Association
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Publications

  • “Going Green: What Procedures Should You Consider for 2016 Electronic ERISA Disclosures?” Employee Plan Benefit Review, March 2016
  • The HIPAA Security Rules: A Blueprint for Compliance, 2006, updated 2009

Speaking Engagements

  • “Annual Employee Benefits Legal Update,” International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists (ISCEBS), Washington Athletic Club, Seattle, Wash., 2004-2015
  • “ACA & the Small Employer – Are Small Employers Off the Hook?” 2014 Pacific Tax Institute, Washington Society of CPAs, Oct. 30, 2014
  • “Alaska Employers' Biggest Employment/Benefits Headaches: How to Ease the Pain,” 3rd Annual Seminar for Alaska Employers, Anchorage, Alaska, Oct. 14, 2014
  • “Essential Left Coast Employment Update: Strategies for Restaurateurs,” Client Presentation, Feb. 27, 2014
  • “Health Care Reform – Impact on Employers,” 2013 Pacific Tax Institute, Washington Society of CPAs, Nov. 14, 2013
  • Play or Pay and Other 2014 Health Care Changes,” Webinar, Jun. 4, 2013
  • “Higher Education at the Crossroads: Managing Risk and Uncertainty in a Changing World,” The Independent Colleges of Washington, Seattle, Wash., Feb. 7, 2013
  • “Affordable Care Act Upheld: What Now?” CLE, San Francisco, Calif., Sept. 11, 2012
  • “Update on Health Care Reform,” Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Health Care Reform: What Hospitality and Lodging Businesses Need to Know, Spokane and Seattle, Wash., Feb. 8-9, 2012
  • “Legal and Practical Implications of the New 403(b) Regulations,” Oregon Independent Colleges Association, March 2008