Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 23, 2020

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View More COVID-19 (Coronavirus) News and Resources

[Guidance Overview]

IRS and Other Federal Agencies Provide New Guidance on Paid Leave Tax Credits

"Eligible employers may claim the paid sick leave credit and the paid child care leave credit by offsetting the amount of the tax credit to which the employer is entitled against its federal payroll tax liabilities.... [W]here the amount of an eligible employer's tax credits exceeds the employer's payroll tax deposits, the employer will be able to file a request for an accelerated payment of the refundable tax credit from the IRS."

Stinson

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[Guidance Overview]

D.C. Provides Additional Benefits to Employees in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

"The Act expands the reach of the DCFMLA to provide 'declaration-of-emergency' (DOE) leave to employees unable to work as the result of the circumstances giving rise to a public health emergency declared by the Mayor. The need for leave can be demonstrated by [1] the employee's self-quarantine or self-isolation at the recommendation of the Mayor, Department of Health, any other applicable agency, or a medical professional; or [2] a government-mandated quarantine or isolation."

Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

New York Enacts COVID-19 Sick Leave Law, Effective Immediately

"Employers in New York with fewer than 500 employees are subject to both the newly enacted federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the NYSLL. The law that provides the more generous benefit applies, which will depend on employer size and the reason the employee cannot work (employee himself/herself is ill or quarantined, employee is taking care of a child whose school is closed, etc.)."

Pepper Hamilton LLP

[Guidance Overview]

New York's New Quarantine Leave Law

"The Quarantine Leave Law does not provide benefits to asymptomatic employees who are subject to quarantine or isolation orders but are able to work remotely. The law also excludes employees who elect to self-isolate absent a mandatory or precautionary order from the government."

Jackson Lewis P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

Ohio Permits Employers to Defer Health Insurance Premiums

"[A]ll insurers in Ohio are to provide their insureds in Ohio the option to defer premiums related to their health insurance coverage by up to 60 days, interest free, from each original premium due date.... [I]nsurers are ordered to permit employers to continue covering employees under a group health plan even if the employees would be otherwise ineligible due to a decrease in hours worked or an applicable 'actively at work' clause."

Graydon

[Guidance Overview]

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: FAQs for Employers

"This set of FAQs is intended to answer many of the questions employers may ask as they try to comply with this complicated emergency legislation and to provide sick or leave pay to affected employees."

Baker & Hostetler, via Lexology; free registration required

[Guidance Overview]

COVID-19 Update: Federal Law Requires Paid Leave, Expansion of FMLA Rights

"Employer groups with subsidiaries or affiliates that individually have fewer than 500 employees will need to consider the application to those entities.... Given the focus on work from home and social distancing, employers should also consider posting this notice on electronic intranets or emailing the notice to affected employees if it could apply to them.... To the extent that the FMLA leave overlaps with the paid sick leave rules, the entirety of the FMLA leave may effectively be paid leave."

Eversheds Sutherland

[Guidance Overview]

IRS, DOL Announce Plan for Employers to 'Swiftly' Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus-Related Leave to Employees

"[T]he IRS made clear that employers would be able to recoup these payments immediately by keeping a portion of the deposit it otherwise would pay as part of their employees' federal, social security and Medicare taxes.... [This] means that any taxes held in escrow for payment on federal, social security and Medicare taxes now could be used to pay employees taking paid leave under the law effective April 2. Notably, this would allow employers to draw funds from the payroll and income tax they withhold from or pay on behalf of all employees and not just those to whom they must provide paid leave under the new statute."

FMLA Insights

[Guidance Overview]

California Mandates 60-Day Premium Grace Period, State Agencies Follow with Additional Policyholder Protections

"California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a Notice requesting that all insurance companies provide their policyholders with at least a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums. Commissioner Lara also urged uninsured Californians and those who have lost coverage due to COVID-19 to purchase health coverage through Covered California during a new special enrollment period."

Goldberg Segalla

COVID-19: Health Care Plan and ACA Implications, Part 1

"What does the plan document say regarding eligibility? ... We adopted the look back measurement method and have an employee accumulating less than 30 hours of service per week. Do we still need to offer him/her coverage? ... We now have less than 50 full-time plus full-time equivalent employees. Are we still an applicable large employer (ALE)?"

Accord

New Jersey Extends Deadline for Health Coverage Filings

"[T]he deadline for applicable coverage providers to file Forms 1095 with the New Jersey Division of Taxation [has been extended] from March 31, 2020, to May 15, 2020. This filing requirement applies to in-state and out-of-state coverage providers that provided minimum essential health coverage to part-year or full-year residents of New Jersey in 2019, including insurers, employers, governmental agencies, and multiemployer plans."

Ballard Spahr LLP

Normal Cafeteria Plan Mid-Year Election Change Rules Apply -- for Now

"[A table] highlights a few of the mid-year election change requests anticipated as employees and employers respond to the social distancing and economic impact of COVID-19."

Faegre Drinker

How Workforce Changes in Response to COVID-19 Affect Group Health Plans

"[An] employer must obtain written confirmation from the employer group health plan's insurer that it agrees to any delay of the beginning of the COBRA continuation period. This applies to a fully insured group health plan and a self-funded group health plan (with stop-loss insurance)."

Fox Rothschild LLP

Telehealth: A Powerful Tool in Fighting COVID-19 Emergency-Driven Waivers and Payment Parity Requirements

"[G]overnment agencies have taken steps to temporarily relax certain regulatory requirements regarding telemedicine technology and insurance coverage. This wave of changes is primarily targeted at increasing access to care to slow the spread of the virus and get help to those infected, but the new flexibility will allow for expedited care more broadly as well."

Jackson Walker

Editor's Pick Fifty States, Fifty Stories: A Decade of Healthcare Reform Under the ACA (PDF)

41 pages. "How successful has the ACA been at accomplishing its goals? How have different stakeholders -- such as consumers, insurance companies, regulators, and health care providers -- been affected? Each of these major stakeholders has its own perspectives and interests, so it is helpful to consider what 'success' looks like from differing viewpoints."

Society of Actuaries

Benefits in General

Employee Benefits Issues in a Slowing Economy (PDF)

"[1] HIPAA and other privacy issues -- sharing COVID-19 information ... [2] Tax-qualified retirement plans -- partial plan termination ... [3] Participant 401(k) loans and hardship distributions ... [4] Termination of employment -- tax-qualified and non-qualified plan distributions ... [5] Health and welfare premiums during leave ... [6] Short-term disability considerations ... [7] Loss of medical coverage -- COBRA notice requirements ... [8] Life insurance -- conversion notice ... [9] Use of Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds ... [10] Equity incentive plans."

Squire Patton Boggs

Upcoming Events About Health & Welfare Plans

Mar. 24
Webcast
Free
Practical Issues for Employers in Navigating the New Federal Emergency Paid FMLA and Sick Leave Mandates
Littler
Mar. 24
Webcast
Free
Are You Getting Good Data on What is Driving Your Healthcare Costs?
University Conference Services
Mar. 24
Webcast
Free
Merger, Divestiture and Acquisitions and Employee Benefits
Wagner Law Group P.C.
Mar. 25
Webcast
Free
Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for Healthcare Employers
Jackson Lewis LLP
Mar. 25
Webcast
Free
Tools You Can Use: Prediabetes & Diabetes Management in the Workplace
Midwest Business Group on Health
Mar. 26
Webcast
Free
HIPAA Training for Employers: From Portability to Privacy
ABD Insurance & Financial Services
Mar. 26
Webcast
Free
Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor
Mar. 26
Webcast
Free
Pandemic Plan of Action - COVID-19 Update for Health & Welfare Plans
Groom Law Group
Mar. 26
Webcast
Free
Understanding Health & Welfare Section 125 Nondiscrimination Testing
ISCEBS - Pacific NW Chapter

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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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