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<< Older News  |  March 7, 2021

News

All News > CARES Act

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Text of Agency FAQs About FFCRA and CARES Act Implementation, Part 44: Coverage of COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Without Cost Sharing (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]; U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; and U.S.Treasury Department Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 27, 2021

11 pages; 14 Q&As. "This document addresses the requirement under section 6001 of the [FFCRA], as amended by section 3201 of the [CARES Act], for group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage, including grandfathered health plans, to provide benefits for certain items and services related to diagnostic testing for COVID-19, without imposing any cost-sharing requirements, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements. In addition, this document addresses the requirement under section 3203 of the CARES Act for non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers offering non-grandfathered group or individual health insurance coverage to cover, without cost sharing, qualifying coronavirus preventive services, including recommended COVID-19 vaccines. This document also addresses other health coverage issues related to COVID-19 and includes information about how providers may seek federal reimbursement when delivering COVID-19 related services to the uninsured."

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

Administration Strengthens Requirements That Plans and Issuers Cover COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Without Cost Sharing and Ensures Providers Are Reimbursed for Administering COVID-19 Vaccines to Uninsured
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 27, 2021

"This guidance makes clear that private group health plans and issuers generally cannot use medical screening criteria to deny coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic tests for individuals with health coverage who are asymptomatic, and who have no known or suspected exposure to COVID-19. Such testing must be covered without cost sharing, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements imposed by the plan or issuer.... In addition, the guidance confirms that plans and issuers must cover point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic tests, and COVID-19 diagnostic tests administered at state or locally administered testing sites. "

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

Text of IRS Notice 2021-15: Additional Relief for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Under § 125 Cafeteria Plans (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 18, 2021

34 pages. "This notice clarifies the application of Section 214 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, recently enacted as Division EE of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 ... which provides temporary special rules for health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs under Section 125 cafeteria plans.... This notice also provides additional relief with respect to mid-year elections for plan years ending in 2021.... The notice also provides relief with respect to the effective date of amendments to Section 125 cafeteria plans and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to implement the expansion of allowed expenses for health FSAs and HRAs by the [CARES Act] to include over-the-counter drugs without prescriptions and menstrual care products."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Cafeteria Plans  •  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Design

401(k) Plan Sponsor and Participant Behavior During the Global Pandemic (PDF)
T. Rowe Price Link to more items from this source
Feb. 17, 2021

"68% of plans with assets greater than $25 million adopted at least one CARES Act Provision. 9% of participants with access to provisions, in plans with assets greater than $25 million, used at least one CARES Act provision. 23% of participants indicated that they plan on repaying their Coronavirus Related Distribution (CRD)."

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

What Plan Sponsors Need to Be Thinking About in 2021
Meaden & Moore Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 16, 2021

"In response to three recent tax bills, employers are implementing new provisions that both improve engagement with retirement plan participants and alleviate their own administrative burdens. Now that the dust has settled from 2020, business owners can more clearly see how these three pieces of legislation work in tandem as they and their plan participants head into 2021."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  SECURE Act

Plan Design During Challenging Times: Actionable Insights from Behavioral Finance (PDF)
VOYA Financial Link to more items from this source
Feb. 16, 2021

12 pages. "[If] we make it easy to draw down savings, how can we make it even easier to accumulate savings once the hardship is over? It's an especially crucial question given that policy makers also made it easier for workers to pull out savings during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.... This whitepaper proposes changes to plan design that can boost savings once the economy recovers."

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

Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): A Primer (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS] Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 3, 2021

27 pages. "This report explains [traditional and Roth] IRAs' eligibility requirements, contribution limits, tax deductibility of contributions, and withdrawal rules, and it provides data on the accounts' holdings. It also describes the Saver's Credit and provisions enacted after the Gulf of Mexico hurricanes in 2005, the Midwestern storms in 2008, the hurricanes in 2012 and 2017, the California wildfires in 2017, certain other federally declared disasters occurring on or after January 1, 2018, and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to exempt distributions to those affected from the 10% early withdrawal penalty." [RL34397, updated Feb. 3, 2021]

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

Tracking Federal COVID-19 Laws Affecting Employee Benefits, Jobs (PDF)
Mercer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 3, 2021

20 pages. Summary of significant employment-related provisions in COVID-19 relief legislation, including measures affecting: [1] Retirement plans; [2] Health benefits; [3] Paid leave benefits; [4] Other health, welfare and retirement benefit requirements; [5] Other tax credits, deductions and financial aid for employers and individuals.

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

U.S. and Puerto Rico Issue Rules on Non-COVID-19 Disaster Relief for Retirement Plans
Ogletree Deakins Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 1, 2021

"Last year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Congress and the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury (Hacienda) granted favorable tax treatment to coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) and participant loans from U.S.-qualified plans and Puerto Rico-qualified plans, respectively. Recently, both jurisdictions extended similar tax treatment to certain distributions, hardship withdrawals, and plan loans related to non-COVID-19 disasters."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Puerto Rico Plans

Revisiting the CARES Act and Its Impact on Retirement Savings
Vanguard Link to more items from this source
Jan. 28, 2021

"At the time of its passage, some in the retirement industry were concerned that, while relief was needed, this bill would 'open the floodgates' to a large percentage of workers cashing out years of retirement savings. Fortunately, this did not happen. Analysis of Vanguard defined contribution (DC) recordkeeping data shows a modest portion of workers did access their retirement savings in 2020, but that the vast majority of participants remained steadfast on their retirement journey."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Retirement Plan Design

Post-CARES Act Checklist for Retirement Plan Sponsors
Cammack Retirement Group Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 28, 2021

"For plans that adopted the loan repayment suspension provision, payments with a due date beginning in January 2021 can no longer be suspended.... [T]here is no minimum required distribution due for anyone on April 1st of this year ... [T]he deadline for 2021 RMDs will be 12/31/2021.... [P]lan sponsors should confirm that no [coronavirus-related] distributions were processed after December 30th ... While the deadline for CARES Act loans actually occurred several months ago (September 22,2020), plan sponsors that permitted these loans should confirm that no new CARES Act loans were disbursed after that date."

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

Editor's Pick Quick Guide to 403(b) Plan Amendments for Hardship Withdrawals
Voya Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 12, 2021

"A 403(b) plan of either a public school or 501(c)(3) organization will need to adopt a plan amendment by the end of 2021 if the 403(b) plan allows hardship withdrawals. The [SECURE Act] ... provided additional opportunities for a participant to access their retirement account while employed. The [CARES Act] permitted 403(b) plans to offer a coronavirus-related distribution (CRD) and loan relief to 'qualified individuals.' All 403(b) plans of public schools must adopt the SECURE and CARES amendments by the end of 2024 ... All plans for 501(c)(3) organizations with 403(b) plans will have until the end of the 2022 to adopt SECURE and CARES amendments[.]"

Tags: 403(b) Plans and Annuities  •  CARES Act  •  SECURE Act

New COVID-19 Stimulus Law Does Not Extend CARES Act CRD Relief
Slott Report Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Jan. 11, 2021

"The new law does include retirement plan tax breaks for non-COVID-19 disaster declarations, like fires or hurricanes. Those breaks are the same breaks Congress provided in prior disaster relief legislation and in the CARES Act for CRDs.... The legislation also includes the same relief for plan loans made on account of a covered disaster that we saw in prior legislation.... [N]one of this relief applies to COVID-related distributions or loans taken in 2021. The new law also does not extend the waiver of required minimum distributions (RMDs) into 2021."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Partial Termination Relief for Retirement Plans Included in New Stimulus Bill
Warner Norcross & Judd LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 29, 2020

"The IRS previously issued guidance under the [CARES Act] clarifying that employees furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19 but rehired by the end of 2020 would not be counted in determining whether a retirement plan incurred a partial plan termination for the plan year.... Under this new law, a retirement plan will not have a partial termination for a plan year if: [1] any portion of the plan year includes the period beginning March 13, 2020, and ending March 31, 2021; and [2] the number of active participants covered by the plan on March 31, 2021, is at least 80% of the number of active participants covered by the plan on March 13, 2020."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Retirement Plan Administration

Consolidated Appropriations Act Extends Incentive for Employer-Provided Student Loan Relief
Graydon Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 29, 2020

"The CARES Act provided a temporary provision that enabled employers to provide tax-advantaged benefits until January 1, 2021, and now this provision has been extended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act for five more years.... The CARES Act changed the definition of 'educational assistance' to include payments made by the employer to an employee before January 1, 2021 for principal and/or interest on qualified education loans incurred by the employees. In short, employers could provide a student loan repayment benefit of $5,250 to employees tax-free for 2020 through an education assistance program."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Educational Assistance Benefits

This Retirement Rule Will Be Back in 2021
Fox Business Link to more items from this source
Dec. 28, 2020

"Thanks to the CARES Act ... RMDs were waived for 2020. That allowed many seniors to reap tax savings at a difficult time. But RMDs will be back on the table in 2021. Now's the time to prepare for them to avoid getting caught off-guard."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Editor's Pick Congress Approves Additional COVID Relief as Part of Government Funding Package
Ascensus Link to more items from this source
Dec. 23, 2020

"The legislation extends to money purchase pension plans the option to permit coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) ... Employers will be provided relief from partial plan terminations that could result from a reduction in workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.... Temporary special rules for health FSAs and dependent care FSAs ... Preventing surprise medical bills ... The legislation provides limited non-COVID-related disaster relief for certain federal disasters declared on or after January 1, 2020, and ending 60 days after enactment of this bill.... A CARES Act provision that permitted employers to provide student loan repayment benefits of up to $5,250 to employees on a tax-free basis has been extended to December 31, 2025." [Editor's note: As of Dec. 23, the bill has not yet become law; it's future is uncertain.]

Tags: CARES Act  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  FFCRA  •  FMLA and Other Leave  •  Health Plan Design  •  Misc. Distribution Issues  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Retirement Plan Reminders for a New Year
Segal Link to more items from this source
Dec. 21, 2020

"Whenever the calendar turns to a new year, certain opportunities and obligations end and new ones arise. This compliance insight focuses on: [1] The end of various [CARES Act] retirement plan provisions. [2] Deadline extensions that do or do not continue into 2021. [3] Changes coming in the new year."

Tags: CARES Act  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Defaulting 401(k) Plan Borrowers in the Time of COVID
Blank Rome LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 15, 2020

"The CARES Act's favorable treatment of coronavirus-related distributions, including plan loan offsets, will end on December 30, 2020.... [It] remains unclear whether Congress will extend that treatment.... [It] can be anticipated that employees will continue to lose their jobs at an elevated rate into early 2021 and, if they have plan loans, face being taxed on those loans when their employment terminates.... [W]ithout further legislative intervention, their recourse to extend the time period to avoid taxation of their unpaid loans would be to look to the qualified plan loan offset extended rollover period in the TCJA."

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

Preparing for the End of the Plan Year, Calendar Year, and Next Year
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 11, 2020

"The end of the plan year tends to be a busy time for administration, as plan sponsors and service providers work to ensure that all requirements are met before another plan year has ticked away.... 2020 has presented unbelievably unique challenges.... The [CARES Act], passed in March 2020, has provided us with some solutions to COVID-related problems, as well as several new twists to our usual operations."

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

Congressional Pushback to Recent IRS Guidance on Deductibility of Expenses Related to PPP Loans
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
Dec. 11, 2020

"Given existing Internal Revenue Code provisions and regulations, as well as federal case law, regarding the tax deductibility of reimbursable expenses, it might be challenging for the Treasury Department and IRS to now stake out a rationale that directly opposes the position it has taken in Notice 2020-32, Revenue Ruling 2020-27, and Revenue Procedure 2020-51. However, the joint statement by Senators Grassley and Wyden indicates that there is bipartisan support for a potential legislative solution[.]"

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

Editor's Pick CARES Act Relief for Retirement Plan Loan Payments Is Ending. Now What?
DWC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 8, 2020

"First, barring any extensions to the CARES Act or subsequent legislation, participant loan payments must restart as of January 1, 2021.... Second, the loan must be reamortized to reflect the interest which accrued during the payment delays in 2020. Third, as part of the reamortization, the loan maturity date may be extended up to one year to account for the permitted suspension of payments."

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

Employer Health Plans Must Pay the Cost of a COVID-19 Vaccine
McAfee & Taft Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Dec. 7, 2020

"The CARES Act requires group health plans to provide first-dollar coverage of COVID-19 vaccines within 15 business days after the vaccine receives an 'A' or 'B' rating from the United States Preventive Services Task Force or receives a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC.... [G]roup health plans and insurers must pay the full cost of COVID-19 vaccines regardless of whether administered in- or out-of-network."

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

Year-End Compliance Update for Retirement Plans
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article Link to more items from this source
Nov. 24, 2020

"[1] Year-end deadlines ... [2] IRS guidance on birth/adoption withdrawals ... [3] Part-time employee eligibility changes for 401(k) plans ... [4] Pooled Employer Plans ... [5] Coronavirus-related withdrawals ... [6] Coronavirus-related loans from qualified plans ... [7] Waiver of required minimum distributions for 2020 ... [8] Partial plan terminations ... [9] Restatement window for pre-approved defined contribution plans ... [10] Electronic disclosures ... [11] Electronic signatures ... [12] Remote witness of spousal consents."

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

Editor's Pick PBGC to Allow Contributions Made by January 4, 2021 to Count for 2020 PBGC Variable-Rate Premium
October Three Consulting Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Nov. 19, 2020

"[This] possibility may be significant for, e.g., employers who want to make a CARES Act contribution that reduces 2020 variable-rate premiums but would like to deduct that contribution in 2021.... [S]ome sponsors can reduce 2020 PBGC variable-rate premiums by accelerating 2021 quarterly contributions to January 4, 2021. Under this strategy, the sponsor, in effect, takes the amount of contributions required to be made for 2021 and contributes it for 2019."

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


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