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<< Older News  |  July 11, 2020

News

All News > Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Almost Half of Adults in Families Losing Work During the Pandemic Avoided Health Care Because of Costs or COVID-19 Concerns
Urban Institute Link to more items from this source
July 10, 2020

"Almost half (45.5 percent) of adults in families losing work or work-related income reported unmet need for medical care in the family because of costs in the 30 days before the survey and/or avoidance of care because of concerns about exposure to the coronavirus. Among adults in families losing work or work-related income because of the outbreak, more than half of those with lower incomes and those with uninsured family members, those in families with chronic conditions, and parents living with children under 19 were in families that avoided health care because of cost or concerns about exposure to the coronavirus."

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

About 5% of Adults in Families Losing Jobs During the Pandemic Also Lost Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
Urban Institute Link to more items from this source
July 10, 2020

"Though coverage did not change between March/April and May for the overall sample, adults in families losing jobs reported a 4.9 percentage-point decline in [employer-sponsored insurance] during this period, from 59.0 percent to 54.1 percent, and a 3.5 percentage-point increase in private nongroup coverage, from 7.9 percent to 11.4 percent."

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

Managing Required Minimum Distributions in 2020
Withum Smith+Brown, PC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 10, 2020

"Individuals have until August 31, 2020, to repay or roll over RMDs taken in 2020 that are no longer required under the CARES Act waiver. Amounts repaid to the same IRA will not be treated as a rollover for purposes of the rule restricting owners to one rollover in a 12-month period. The normal 60-day limitation on rollovers will not apply to RMDs received in 2020 and rolled over by August 31, 2020."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Editor's Pick IRS Temporarily Relaxes Cafeteria Plan Midyear Election Change and FSA Rules
Jones Walker Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 10, 2020

"Employers will need to engage with their cafeteria plan vendor to coordinate the implementation of any changes and to identify any potential issues or limitations, such as vendor capabilities. Employers wishing to adopt the claims period extension will also need to determine whether FSA forfeitures have already been applied to pay for plan expenses. If so, the employer will likely have to restore these amounts.... [E]mployers should consider how the changes will be communicated to employees, in accordance with ERISA (particularly for Health FSAs)."

Tags: Cafeteria Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Recent COBRA Developments Call for Employer Attention
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 10, 2020

"The [DOL's] posting of revised model COBRA notices, the extension of various key COBRA deadlines and several class actions filed against employers for allegedly deficient COBRA notices all highlight the need to revisit COBRA compliance."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Sacramento, Santa Rosa, and San Mateo County Enact Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinances
Littler Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 10, 2020

"[T]hree local governments in Northern California enacted emergency paid sick leave ordinances.... In part, these laws aim to fill gaps left by the federal [FFCRA] ... [This article] separately address[es] what each ordinance requires, demonstrating how differently cities may approach implementation of emergency paid sick leave ordinances. These varying approaches further complicate the patchwork of emergency paid sick leave requirements in California, which includes a statewide mandate for certain food sector workers and now nine local ordinances."

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

CARES Act Expansion of In-Service Withdrawals Highlights 403(b) Plan Surrender Charge Disparity
Hall Benefits Law Link to more items from this source
July 10, 2020

"These plans typically feature annuities that require the payment of a surrender charge of up to 12% on asset withdrawals or transfers.... If surrender charges do apply, it could make better financial sense to take out a loan, a process which has been made easier for those affected by COVID-19 through the CARES Act.... [M]ost 403(b) loans are collateralized -- the insurance company will freeze a portion of the account and then make a separate loan that it earns profits on."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 Leaves of Absence: How-To Guides for Large and Small Employers in New Jersey
Fox Rothschild LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 10, 2020

"Some employment laws vary depending on a company's size as measured by the number of employees. These flowcharts -- one for employers with fewer than 500 employees and one for those with 500 or more -- apply to leave requests through the end of 2020. They are designed to help businesses navigate the web of intersecting city, state and federal leave laws and regulations such as the [FFCRA], the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law."

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

California Restaurants Must Provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (PDF)
Hunton Andrews Kurth Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 9, 2020

"In April, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20, requiring California employers in the food sector industry to provide certain workers affected by the pandemic wit h up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave.... The Executive Order is meant to cover individuals who work in certain food-related industries or in the retail food supply chain, including pick-up, delivery, supply, packaging, retail, or food preparation. This includes a broad range of workers such as grocery workers, restaurant and fast-food workers, workers at warehouses where food is stored, and workers who pick-up or deliver food items."

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

A Guidebook to CARES Act Relief: Notice 2020-50 Provides Additional Clarity and Relief for Employers and Employees
Seyfarth Shaw LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 9, 2020

"Expansion of the definition of 'Qualified Individual' ... Clarification of amounts available for a CV distribution ... Guidance relating to amount that may be distributed and reliance on self-certification for CV distributions ... Guidance on tax reporting and re-contribution of CV distributions ... Guidance regarding CV loans ... Amendment deadline."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Editor's Pick Satisfying Employee Benefit Plan Disclosure, Notice and Election Requirements During a Pandemic and Beyond
BakerHostetler Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 9, 2020

"The Internal Revenue Code and [ERISA] set forth numerous disclosure, notice and election requirements for employee benefit plans. These communications can involve thousands of pages per year, per participant, and be very expensive if they must be printed on paper and mailed. Few participants really want all that paper.... Pre-COVID-19 guidance regarding electronic media ... IRS Notice 2020-42: COVID-19 Temporary Guidance Regarding Electronic Elections ... EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01 ... DOL safe harbor for electronic media for retirement plans ... Deciding whether to adopt the DOL 2020 safe harbor for retirement plans."

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

Colorado Expands Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act to Require Almost All Private Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave Benefits
Ogletree Deakins Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 9, 2020

"Beginning January 1, 2021, the [Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)] will require employers with 16 or more employees to provide full-time employees with up to 48 hours of paid sick leave per year. Beginning in 2022, employers of all sizes will have the same mandate. The HFWA also requires employers to provide employees with up to 80 hours of paid sick leave upon the declaration of a public health emergency. The law also creates notice requirements for employers and allows employees to seek damages in the event of noncompliance."

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

Text of IRS Notice 2020-54: Guidance on Reporting Qualified Sick Leave Wages and Qualified Family Leave Wages Paid Pursuant to the FFCRA (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
July 8, 2020

10 pages. "Employers will be required to report these amounts either on Form W-2, Box 14, or on a separate statement. This required reporting provides employees who are also self-employed with information necessary for properly claiming qualified sick leave equivalent or qualified family leave equivalent credits under the [FFCRA]....

"Employers must separately state the total amount of qualified sick leave wages paid pursuant to paragraphs (1), (2), or (3) of section 5102(a) of the [Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)], qualified sick leave wages paid pursuant to paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of section 5102(a) of the EPSLA, and qualified family leave wages paid pursuant to section 3102(b) of the [Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)]. Employers must separately state each of these wage amounts either on Form W-2, Box 14 or on a separate statement. Self-employed individuals claiming qualified sick leave equivalent or qualified family leave equivalent credits must then report these qualified sick leave and qualified family leave wage amounts on Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals, included with their income tax returns, and reduce (but not below zero) any qualified sick leave or qualified family leave equivalent credits by the amount of these qualified leave wages."

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

Virtual Benefit Fairs Draw Interest for Fall Open Enrollment
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article Link to more items from this source
July 8, 2020

"For the fall 2020 open enrollment period, during which employees will select their benefits for 2021, more employers are expected to go virtual, taking benefit fairs online. Virtual fairs give more people access to helpful information, especially with much of the staff likely to still be working from home -- and for those at the worksite practicing social distancing[.]"

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

IRS Provides COVID-19-Related Relief to Employers with Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans; Action Required by August 31
Clark Hill PLC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 8, 2020

"In the case of an amendment to stop safe harbor contributions for HCEs only, the amendment may be adopted at any time and will take effect for contributions that would otherwise have been required for periods after the later of [1] the provision of reasonable advance notice to the affected HCEs ... or [2] adoption of the amendment. In the case of an amendment to stop safe harbor contributions for all employees, both NHCEs as well as HCEs, the amendment must be adopted no later than August 31, 2020."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration

IRS Issues Guidance for COVID-19 Distributions from Retirement Plans
Cheiron Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 8, 2020

"Ideally, plan sponsors will coordinate with participants and communicate to them how the coronavirus-related distributions will be coded by the plan for tax purposes. Without some coordination, the plan may treat a distribution differently than the way the participant intends for it to be treated."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Use the Telemed Safe Harbor While it Lasts
Mercer Link to more items from this source
July 8, 2020

"Since the outset of the pandemic, we've seen increased utilization of telehealth services and, importantly, an increase in first-time users -- and not just for COVID-19 related items. There's been a huge shift among providers as well, as many were thrust into using virtual technology.... Now is the time for employers to take a thoughtful pause to determine how their plan design needs to change to take advantage of this new environment."

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

The Preliminary Reported Impact of COVID-19 on ACA Premiums
Milliman Link to more items from this source
July 8, 2020

"This paper examines the reported impact of COVID-19 on preliminary rate filings among six states and D.C. that have been publicly released as of June 15, 2020.... [H]ealth insurers assumed that COVID-19 would increase premiums by an average of 0% to 4.3% for 2021, depending on the state and market. However, many regulators have already indicated they will allow additional adjustments after the original filings, and health insurers have noted that they will continue to monitor the pandemic and may adjust 2021 premiums as new information becomes available."

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

What Happens When an Employer Chooses Not to Treat Participants' COVID-Related Distributions as Such?
Robert Toth, via National Tax-Deferred Savings Association [NTSA] Link to more items from this source
July 8, 2020

"A surprising number of employers have opted NOT to offer the COVID-related distribution (CRD) relief under the CARES Act. But the employer's decision is not the final word on this matter, because the statute grants participants specific tax benefits regardless of the sponsor's choice. So what does this actually mean for participants?"

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration

The Growing Importance of ESG Due Diligence Post-COVID-19 (PDF)
Prepared by Paul Hastings LLP for TRACE Link to more items from this source
July 7, 2020

14 pages. "[A] primary challenge is that because 'ESG diligence is still in its infancy,' there is a perceived lack of 'processes to properly judge the ESG risks associated with a target.' This paper seeks to help address that challenge, identifying the key considerations and processes in conducting ESG diligence. It discusses the rise of ESG due diligence in investments and acquisitions, and the steps investors and businesses can take to identify key ESG risks and opportunities by sector and geography, and ultimately, by individual company."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments - ESG

Relief for Safe Harbor Plans Reducing or Suspending Contributions in 2020
Seyfarth Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 7, 2020

"Although [Notice 2020-52] gives welcome relief to safe harbor plan sponsors, there continue to be strict deadlines regarding plan amendments (which not only change the contribution formula, but also incorporate annual nondiscrimination testing provisions) and distribution of updated notices. Once safe harbor status is lost, ADP and ACP Tests must be passed for the full 2020 plan year, as applicable."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Design

IRS Provides Guidance to Safe Harbor Plans for Mid-Year Contribution Reductions
EisnerAmper Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 7, 2020

"[Notice 2020-52] states that ... contributions made to a plan on behalf of HCEs are not considered safe harbor contributions and as a result a mid-year change by a plan sponsor that reduces or suspends contributions made on behalf of HCEs is not a reduction or suspension of safe harbor contributions that would require a plan amendment ... IRS has clarified that such a change requires that the affected HCEs receive an updated safe harbor notice and an opportunity to change their salary deferral elections[.]"

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design

Reducing or Suspending 401(k) Safe Harbor Contributions Mid-Year
Retirement Learning Center, LLC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 7, 2020

"Sponsors who reduce or suspend 401(k) safe harbor nonelective contributions will satisfy the 30-day supplemental notice requirement, provided the sponsor [1] Gives the notice to employees no later than August 31, 2020, and [2] Adopts the required plan amendment no later than the effective date of the reduction or suspension of safe harbor nonelective contributions. There is no relief on the timing of the supplemental notice under Notice 2020-52 for sponsors who reduce or suspend safe harbor matching contributions."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design

Sharp Increase Predicted for Healthcare Costs
EPIC Link to more items from this source
July 7, 2020

"A recent PwC report expects costs to rise by 4% to 10% in 2021, a sharp increase from recent years. The survey points to mental health utilization and specialty drugs as two big drivers. It also alludes to provider utilization as pent-up demand, in part fueled by cash-strapped providers who suffered financially from deferment of non-COVID-19 care during the height of the crisis. PwC indicates the permanency of telemedicine and the willingness of employers to move to narrowing network choices as an offsetting cost mitigation. And it is time for the insurance plans to pay the piper for COVID-19 treatment."

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

Opportunities for Health Care Payers in the 'New Normal' (PDF)
Alvarez & Marsal Link to more items from this source
July 7, 2020

"Providers are experiencing cash flow challenges due to the loss of revenue-generating procedures and office visits. Payers, on the other hand, are experiencing short-term cash windfalls as a result of record-low claims expenses. But, they are preparing for the coming economic recession that will no doubt negatively impact health plan revenue by way of a shifting mix of membership. Health plans must use this crisis to think strategically, not only about their current products and sources of revenue, but about new insurance products and market niches."

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


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