Juliana Reno

Partner
Reno Juliana

Juliana Reno is co-chair of Venable's Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, and Health Practice Group. Juliana has the keen ability to distill complex rules and regulations into non-technical language. Her practice covers all facets of employee health and welfare benefit plans. She embraces her clients' business realities and goals and guides them through the process of crafting the right arrangements. By bringing the most critical and up-to-date information to her clients, Juliana empowers them to make the best decisions for their needs—weighing their resources, their risks, and their vision of the role of benefits in the overall employee experience.

Juliana provides practical solutions for companies facing complex benefits-related issues under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She has particular expertise in addressing issues in health benefits—not only major medical plans, but also health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement accounts (HRAs), and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Juliana has helped numerous clients through Department of Labor audits and has responded to many Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notices seeking ACA employer penalties. She negotiates service provider agreements and works with service providers to implement clients’ benefit needs.

Juliana's employer client base spans corporate teams, individual executives, hospitals, restaurants, technology companies, staffing agencies, nonprofits and associations, professional employer organizations (PEOs), home health agencies, and more. She also advises a number of businesses that provide services to employer plans—insurers, third-party administrators, wellness companies, and Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) administrators.

Juliana advises her clients on compliance and planning opportunities tied to ever-changing employee benefits laws. Her work includes not only health plans, but also cafeteria plans, life and disability plans, and qualified retirement plans. A recovering litigator, Juliana also advises clients regarding disputes involving benefits claims, health benefits cutbacks, breaches of fiduciary duty, and claims for benefits under ERISA and non-ERISA plans.

The universe of health and welfare plan requirements is vast, and Juliana's practice covers:

  • Assisting employers through all phases of a plan's life cycle—creation, operation, amendment, correction, and termination
  • Counseling employers, multi-employer plans, and service providers on legal and operational aspects of their health and welfare plans
  • Addressing regulatory requirements and compliance issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), including IRS and DOL audits at all levels
  • Advising employers regarding the ACA, including how to balance premium costs and employer penalty risks, provide ACA-compliant health coverage, comply with ACA reporting obligations, and respond to IRS penalty notices
  • Advising clients on the full range of federal and state laws that impact voluntary employees' beneficiary associations (VEBAs), multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) and association health plans (AHPs)
  • Providing day-to-day advice on specific eligibility and benefit questions, including coverage of dependents and domestic partners, offers of COBRA continuation coverage, and change-of-status determinations
  • Preparing and reviewing required documents and forms, including plan documents, summary plan descriptions (SPDs), summaries summary of benefits and coverage (SBCs), Forms 5500, and Forms 1095-C and 1094-C
  • Designing HIPAA privacy compliance programs, including drafting policies and procedures, preparing and negotiating business associate agreements, and training privacy workers
  • Serving as counsel in ERISA lawsuits brought against health plans by out-of-network providers
  • Coordinating paid and unpaid leave of absence programs, including disability leave, family and medical leave, and parental leave
  • Reviewing and drafting open enrollment packages, required notices, and benefit guides
  • Counseling employers on alternative means of providing healthcare, including onsite medical clinics and private exchanges
  • Working with employment counsel to ensure that benefits are properly addressed in employee handbooks, offer letters, employment agreements, and separation agreements
  • Responding to questions regarding the proper tax treatment of various fringe benefit programs, including tuition reimbursement and commuter benefits 

Experience

Representative Matters

  • For corporate clients with complex organizational charts, provide advice regarding calculation of COBRA premiums, variances in health plan eligibility and benefits rules, use of benefit-plan surpluses, and ACA compliance and reporting
  • For a social media company, integrate and coordinate leave programs with welfare benefit plans and change-of-status rules, addressing not only legal concerns but company policy preferences and operational issues
  • For a national vision insurer and its third-party administrator affiliate, provide ongoing representation concerning all manner of ERISA and HIPAA compliance. Projects include participating in new product development, drafting model administrative services agreements and business associate agreements, providing in-house training to legal and sales staff, preparing extensive analyses of "excepted benefits" under health care reform, and negotiating business associate agreements
  • For a startup third-party administrator, assist in drafting model administrative services agreement and provide ongoing advice regarding ERISA compliance
  • For a professional employer organization, provide advice and counsel regarding the design and coordination of health and welfare benefit plans among and between client companies
  • For national associations and their members, assess legality and viability of proposed association health plan (AHP) arrangements
  • For small employers, provide guidance concerning Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSHERAs) and other available options for funding employees' individual coverage
  • For a publicly traded Fortune 100 company, provided advice concerning ACA compliance strategies, transitioning employees of acquired entities to existing benefit programs, and participating in the redesign of those programs to meet the needs of different business segments
  • For a national restaurant chain, provided ongoing advice concerning the design and operation of welfare and retirement plans. Projects included drafting plan documents, filing for determination letters, applying to DOL and IRS correction programs, negotiating service provider agreements, and attending fiduciary committee meetings
  • For a national fraternal benefit society, provided analysis and advice concerning benefit plan coverage for employees and contracted sales agents
  • For a governmental health plan, provided counsel concerning the impact of domestic partner coverage, including imputed income issues and the ability of employees to contribute on a pretax basis
  • For a committee of retired union pilots, provided representation during airline bankruptcy proceedings in order to preserve pilots' health and disability benefits

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. magna cum laude Creighton University School of Law 1993
  • B.A. cum laude Yale University 1987
  • Distinction in the Major (Religious Studies)

Bar Admissions

  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New York

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable C. Thomas White Nebraska Supreme Court
  • Honorable C. Arlen Beam U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
  • Former adjunct professor, Creighton University School of Law and John Marshall Law School, teaching employee and welfare benefits courses

Recognition
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  • Legal 500, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, 2015, 2021