Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 10, 2020

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[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick Coronavirus/COVID-19 Considerations for Health Plans

"[W]aiving cost sharing, as some states have done, could potentially be an issue for individuals enrolled in [an HDHP with an HSA].... [If] the employer learns of the employee's medical information, condition, diagnosis etc. through the health plan, then that information is likely protected under HIPAA.... [P]utting employees on leave (whether because they have contracted the virus or as a preemptive measure) ... could have [ACA] employer mandate implications for employers subject to the mandate.... [If] an employee is in a stability period when they go on leave, their coverage will likely have to continue during the period of the leave[.]"

HUB International

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[Guidance Overview]

California Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus

"The Labor Commissioner indicated that preventative care under paid sick leave would include self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if recommended by civil authorities or if the employee has traveled to a high-risk area. However, employers cannot require employees to use paid sick leave for quarantine purposes."

Jackson Lewis

[Guidance Overview]

Pittsburgh's Paid Sick Leave Law Is Effective March 15; Revised Guidelines and New FAQs Have Been Issued

"Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Paid Sick Days Act will (finally) take effect on March 15, 2020 ... On February 15, 2020, one month before the ordinance's effective date, [the Mayor's Office of Equity (MOE)] revised some of its guidelines and released a set of long-awaited Frequently Asked Questions.... [C]hallenges remain both for companies that want one policy that also complies with the Philadelphia paid sick leave ordinance and for companies with employees based outside of Pittsburgh who regularly travel through the city."

Littler

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Labor Law Obligations for Employers

"Employer strategies to address the crisis may implicate a variety of employment laws and regulations. These questions and answers address some of the issues and concerns that employers might be called upon to consider as they develop plans and responses to evolving events."

Akin Gump

Senators Introduce New Emergency Paid Sick Days Legislation

"This emergency paid sick days legislation [S 3415] ... would: [1] Require all employers to allow workers to gradually earn seven days of paid sick leave. [2] Require all employers to provide an additional 14 days of paid sick leave, available immediately at the beginning of a public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis. [3] Ensure paid sick leave covers days when your child's school is closed due to a public health emergency, when your employer is closed due to public health emergency, or if you or a family member is quarantined or isolated due to a public health emergency."

Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, U.S. Senate

New Federal Rules Will Let Patients Put Medical Records on Smartphones

"Officials said the rules likely will give patients a greater say in health care decisions and put an end to a long-standing practice in which some doctors and hospitals resist handing complete medical files over to patients upon demand. Many of the provisions are set to take effect in 2022."

Kaiser Health News

Health and Group Benefit Administration: 2020 Market Perspectives

"Outsourcing the administration of health and group benefit (HGB) plans has become the preferred approach for large employers over the past two decades. This trend has accelerated in the past five years as the number of benefit administration firms has expanded and their technology capabilities have steadily improved.... [T]his 2020 market overview [highlights] some of the changes affecting the market that employers need to understand to take advantage of improvements and avoid issues in managing their administration providers."

Milliman

Editor's Pick Use of Individual Medicare Marketplaces for Public Sector Retiree Health Care: A Guide for Elected Officials (PDF)

13 pages. "Rising retiree health care costs and changes in accounting standards are making unfunded liabilities more prominent, and states and localities are taking a variety of actions to mitigate these costs.... the purpose of this report is to provide elected and appointed officials with a basic understanding of an individual Medicare marketplace. Also known as an individual Medicare exchange, this is a model that some state and local governments are adopting with noticeable savings."

Center for State & Local Government Excellence

Benefits in General

COVID-19 and its Implications for Pension and OPEB Accounting

"If rates do not rebound before the end of the fiscal year, the rate decrease could increase governments' OPEB liabilities substantially when they prepare their June 30, 2020 financial statements. The increase could be by as much as 30% or more for less mature governments who provide Medicare supplemental benefits. The increases will be smaller for fixed dollar benefit plans or for plans with no benefit after Medicare eligibility."

Bolton

Employee Benefit Plan-Related Tips for Employers in a Time of Coronavirus

"[This 10-point list of] representative benefit plan topics can serve as a quick reminder to employer plan sponsors that ensuring uninterrupted benefit plan operation and coverage should remain a priority ... [1] Consistency of coronavirus policies with existing benefit plan terms ... [2] Design decisions and advance participant messaging ... [3] Operational continuity ... [4] Contract term review and advance communications ... [and more]."

Akerman

Press Releases

Upcoming Events About Health & Welfare Plans

Mar. 11
Webcast
Free
Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Retirement and Health Plan Sponsors - Day 1
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor
Mar. 12
Webcast
Free
It's Not You, It's Healthcare: What's Next for Access & Employee Education
Employee Benefit Adviser
Mar. 12
Webcast
Free
Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Retirement and Health Plan Sponsors - Day 2
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor
Mar. 12
Ohio
Annual Legal & Regulatory Update
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Northeast Ohio Chapter
Mar. 15
Nevada
Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference
University Conference Services
Mar. 16
Webcast
Free
Use of Individual Medicare Marketplaces for Public Sector Retiree Health Care: A Guide For Elected Officials
Center for State and Local Government Excellence
Mar. 17
Webcast
Free
Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Retirement and Health Plan Sponsors - Day 3
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of CMS Final 2021 Actuarial Value Calculator Methodology (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2020 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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