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News

All News > Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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COVID-19 National Emergency and Public Health Emergency to End on May 11
OneDigital Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 3, 2023

"One of the biggest changes for health plan sponsors will be the end of the COVID Outbreak Period ... on July 10 (60 days after the end of the National Emergency). During the Outbreak Period, deadlines for HIPAA Special Enrollment, COBRA Notice and premium payments, and claims and appeals filing were extended.... For many plan participants, July 10 will be their final opportunity to take advantage of these extended deadlines."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration

COVID-19 Federal Emergency Declarations Ending in May 2023
Winston & Strawn LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 3, 2023

"[A] chart summarizes the impact that the end of the federal emergency declarations will have on private group health plans."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration

End of COVID-19 Outbreak Period
Kushner & Company Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 2, 2023

"With the declaration of the end of the National Emergency on May 11, 2023, the 60-day clock to end the Outbreak Period will start. This means that effective on July 10, 2023 (60 days after the end of the National Emergency) all of the pre-pandemic rules ... will go back to their normal timeframes."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  HIPAA  •  Health Plan Administration

Preparing ERISA Plans for the End of the COVID-19 Emergency Periods
Michael Best Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 1, 2023

"As the Public Health Emergency ends, plan sponsors should review coverage of COVID-19 and related costs to determine how the plan will cover such costs going forward. Plan sponsors should also consider whether any continued coverage may cause parity problems under [MHPAEA].... When the national emergency period ends on May 11, 2023, the 60-day clock will begin counting down toward the end of the Outbreak Period. At the end of the Outbreak Period, the extended [COBRA] deadlines will revert to their pre-emergency timeframes."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Design

Statement of Administration Policy Establishing the End of COVID-19 Declared Emergencies (PDF)
Executive Office of the President Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 1, 2023

"The COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) were declared by the Trump Administration in 2020. They are currently set to expire on March 1 and April 11, respectively. At present, the Administration's plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11, and then end both emergencies on that date. This wind-down would align with the Administration's previous commitments to give at least 60 days' notice prior to termination of the PHE."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Design

Text of IRS Publication 969: Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 1, 2023

"For use in preparing 2022 returns.... What's New: [1] Telehealth and other remote care services.... [2] Health FSA contribution and carryover for 2023.... [3] Insulin products.... [4] Health FSA contribution and carryover for 2022.... [5] Home testing for COVID-19 and personal protective equipment for preventing spread of COVID-19... [6] Surprise billing for emergency services or air ambulance services."

Tags: Cafeteria Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  HSAs  •  Health Plan Information for Employees

ERISA Litigation Trends: Out-of-Network Payments and COVID-19 Testing Reimbursement
ReedSmith, via Lexology; free registration required Link to more items from this source
Feb. 1, 2023

"[In] the coming year, plans .plans should be mindful of preserving the defensive privileges surrounding pricing methodology.... [I]nsurers and plans should anticipate that the outcome of many cases in 2023 will be decided on how much evidence providers gain through discovery and how clear (or unclear) plan language on pricing is.... [S]ome courts are allowing providers' claims [involving COVID-19 reimbursement] to proceed by reasoning that if a provider has standing to sue under ERISA by virtue of a plan beneficiary's assignment of benefits, then a plan may have breached an ERISA plan's terms in its failure to reimburse certain COVID-19 testing claims."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Fiduciary Duties  •  Health Plan Administration

Employer-Sponsored Coverage Stabilized and Uninsurance Declined in the Second Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Health Affairs Forefront Link to more items from this source
Jan. 31, 2023

"Using data from the Household Pulse Survey ... [the authors] examined trends in health coverage during 2021 and early 2022 among nonelderly adults.... Despite rising employment, rates of employer-sponsored coverage remained flat ... [W]hen the public health emergency ends, many people currently enrolled in Medicaid might no longer be eligible ... Policy makers and employers should be prepared to help people who lose Medicaid eligibility identify and navigate enrollment in alternative sources of health insurance, including both [ACA] Marketplace and employer-sponsored coverage."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Design  •  Health Plan Policy

Requirements for COVID-19 Paid Leave Are Dwindling
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 30, 2023

"States and localities are backing off their requirements that employers give paid leave to workers with COVID-19 after death and hospitalization rates have fallen dramatically since the height of the pandemic."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Public Health Emergency Extended Once Again: Effect on Group Health Plans
Sequoia Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 20, 2023

"[T]he public health emergency ... is now effective through April 11, 2023.... [G]roup health plans must continue to provide coverage related to the testing (including certain over-the-counter tests) and diagnosis of COVID-19 without cost-sharing requirements ... Similarly, coverage for the COVID-19 vaccine must be provided (by non-grandfathered group health plans) without cost sharing for both in- and out-of-network providers."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Design

District Court Upholds Trial Lawyer's Long COVID Disability Claim
DeBofsky Law Link to more items from this source
Jan. 13, 2023

"The court's finding ... benefits long COVID sufferers who work in other cognitively demanding occupations. The ruling also established that a specific diagnosis is not essential.... Since there are no specific laboratory tests available to diagnose long COVID ... the absence of concurrence among Abrams's physicians as to his diagnosis was not surprising ... What obviously led to the favorable outcome here, though, was the consistency of the evidence favoring Abrams."[Abrams v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 21-0980 (W.D. Wash. Dec. 27, 2022)]

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Disability Plans

New York's COVID-19 Leave: An Update
Fox Rothschild LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 3, 2023

"[New York] state continues to mandate paid COVID-19 sick leave in most cases.... [P]aid New York COVID-19 leave does not have an end or sunset date.... This leave is in addition to traditional sick leave. If employees can return to work sooner than the leave period, the employer can require employees to do so. Employees using COVID-19 leave must be paid the amount that the employee would have otherwise received had they continued to work as scheduled."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

Estimated Impact of the Expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on All Types of Health Coverage (PDF)
Urban Institute Link to more items from this source
Dec. 19, 2022

34 pages. "[The authors] estimate that if the PHE expires in April 2023, 18.0 million people will lose Medicaid coverage in the following 14 months. Of those, ... about 3.8 million people will become uninsured, about 9.5 million people will either newly enroll in employer-sponsored insurance after losing Medicaid or transition to employer-sponsored insurance as their only source of coverage after being enrolled in both employer-sponsored insurance and Medicaid sometime during the PHE[.]"

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Design

Text of 2022 Instructions for IRS Form 5329: Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Dec. 9, 2022

Oct. 13, 2022. "Reminders: ... The additional tax on early distributions doesn't apply to qualified disaster distributions, including 2020 coronavirus-related distributions.... The age restriction for contributions to a traditional IRA has been eliminated.... Individuals who reach age 701/2 on January 1, 2020, or later may delay distributions until April 1 of the year following the year in which they turn age 72" [Also available: 2022 IRS Form 5329]

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  IRAs  •  Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

COVID-19 Mortality Experience Analysis for Multiemployer Plans
Milliman Link to more items from this source
Dec. 8, 2022

"The number of deaths relative to the number expected increased significantly between 2019 and 2020 for all groups of employees, especially for retirees in pay status. Retirees saw a 15% increase in the ratio of actual to expected deaths, beneficiaries a 9% increase and disabled participants an 11% increase.... [It[ is expected that 2021 mortality experience will continue to reflect the impact of COVID-19 ... [W]hen including the increase in non-COVID-19 deaths in both 2020 and 2021, the highest increase in rate of death across the population has been for the 35- to 44-year-old age group."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans

What Does the Great Unwinding Mean for Employer-Based Health Plans?
InsuranceNewsNet.com Link to more items from this source
Nov. 28, 2022

"[T]he federal government is expected to stop purchasing and distributing vaccines for free as early as January 2023. Pharmaceutical companies are expected to set new prices for the commercial market. Plans need time to fully negotiate costs with manufacturers, pharmacies and wholesalers. Administration oversight and action will be important to avoid inflated costs. A clear picture of frequency of vaccines and boosters will be key in supporting effective price negotiations."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Costs  •  Health Plan Design

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Likely Extended Through Spring 2023
InsuranceNewsNet.com Link to more items from this source
Nov. 14, 2022

"[HHS] previously extended the public health emergency until January. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra promised to give health-care providers 60 days notice before lifting the emergency declaration so they can prepare for a return to normal operations. However, the deadline for giving that 60-day notice was [November 11] and no notice was sent out."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Design

Managing FMLA Leave and PTO in the Post-COVID-19 Landscape
HR Dive Link to more items from this source
Nov. 1, 2022

"While best practices for handling the intersection of FMLA and PTO pre-pandemic are still largely the same as they were before, a complex patchwork of state and local laws and the rise of post-COVID-19 conditions under the umbrella of long COVID-19 merit their own set of considerations[.]"

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave

How Does COVID-Induced Early Retirement Compare to the Great Recession?
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Link to more items from this source
Oct. 19, 2022

"The booming stock market associated with COVID induced early claiming among those with retirement assets, a stark difference from the Great Recession where workers remained to replenish depleted balances.... [G]enerous UI benefits reduced early claiming for workers in the two lowest earnings terciles, a stark difference from the Great Recession where the lower paid continued to retire earlier than the well paid. In the end, and in contrast to the Great Recession, the competing effects more than canceled each other out and resulted in an actual decrease in early claiming during the COVID Recession and slightly higher monthly Social Security benefits."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

National Public Health Emergency Extended into January 2023
Segal Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 17, 2022

"Effective October 13, 2022, the federal government extended the COVID-19 public health emergency for at least an additional 90 days.... This public health emergency declaration ... determines the period during which group health plans and insurers must pay for COVID-19 tests (including certain over-the-counter tests) and related services without charging cost sharing."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration

California Extends COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Best Best & Krieger Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 10, 2022

"[T]he law does not provide a new allotment of leave, but extends the time employees have to use any remaining leave (of the available 80 hours) not already used this year.... [It] also amends the current leave provisions and creates a program to reimburse costs for qualifying small businesses and nonprofits providing COVID-19 [supplemental paid sick leave]."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

California Extends Time to Use COVID-19 Sick Leave, Allows Further Testing as Prerequisite
ArentFox Schiff LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 7, 2022

"California extended the time for eligible employees to use COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave by three months, or until the end of 2022. In a further change, Assembly Bill 152 also allows California employers to require further COVID-19 testing as a condition of using this paid sick leave."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

States, Cities Tackle COVID-19 Paid Leave (PDF)
Mercer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Oct. 5, 2022

72 pages; rev. Oct, 4, 2022. The latest update covers California"s extension of the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) mandate through year-end and the creation of a small business grant program to offset SPSL costs.

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

California Poised to Extend COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirements
DLA Piper Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 16, 2022

"If signed, AB 152 will extend the COVID-19 SPSL requirements through December 31, 2022 -- three months beyond the current expiration date. The bill would not increase the amount of leave employees may take, but it would give employees an additional three months to use any SPSL for which they may be eligible. The Governor has until September 30, 2022 to sign or veto the bill. If the bill is not enacted, SPSL will expire as currently scheduled."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

California Legislature Extends COVID Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 12, 2022

"Assembly Bill 152 (AB 152), is expected to extend the state's current COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave expiration date from September 30 to December 31, 2022."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Local Regulation

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