Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 13, 2020

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Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Cost Containment Beyond RBP to Maximize Health Plan Wellness
April 14, 2020 WEBCAST
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Pharmacy Benefits and Drug Cost Trends for 2020
April 28, 2020 WEBCAST
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Supporting Employee Caregivers During COVID-19
April 28, 2020 WEBCAST
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May 14, 2020 WEBCAST
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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources
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[Guidance Overview]

Administration Announces Expanded Coverage for Essential Diagnostic Services Amid COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

"[FAQs Part 42] implements the requirement for group health plans and group and individual health insurance to cover both diagnostic testing and certain related items and services provided during a medical visit with no cost sharing. This includes urgent care visits, emergency room visits, and in-person or telehealth visits to the doctor's office that result in an order for or administration of a COVID-19 test."

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

Los Angeles Increases Paid Sick Leave Obligations for Large Employers

"[E]mployers with 500 or more employees nationally -- including persons whose wages, hours or working conditions are controlled by the employer, such as temporary employees -- would be obligated to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to employees who have worked within the Los Angeles city limits during the time period specified in the ordinance."

McGuireWoods

[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Department of Paid Family Leave Releases New Guidance

"Employers who intend to use such a 'private plan' provided by an insurance carrier must ensure the plan meets minimum state requirements.... Under [recent DOI guidance], insurance carriers who offer private plans must submit the plans to the DOI for review before June 3, 2020."

Jackson Lewis P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

Washington State Expands and Clarifies Paid Family Medical Leave Law

"The most significant changes include: [1] A new definition and exemption for casual labor from the types of covered employment; [2] A new private right of action to employees and new enforcement provisions; and [3] Numerous small changes to waiting periods, conditional waivers, and supplemental benefits."

Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

Emergency Rule: Seattle Employers Cannot Ask for Doctor's Notes for Paid Sick Time

"Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards just issued a temporary emergency rule that prohibits employers from requesting a doctor’s note to verify employees’ use of paid sick leave under Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) ordinance. The emergency rule is in effect from April 8 until June 7, 2020, unless it is revoked earlier or extended through formal rulemaking."

Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

New York Employers' Leave Obligations for COVID-19 Absences Under Federal, State and Local Law

"Unlike the FFCRA, NYS COVID Leave applies to employers of all sizes and is not scheduled to sunset at the end of this year. However, employees are eligible for NYS COVID Leave only if they are 'subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19' and showing symptoms or physically unable to work remotely. The current 'New York State on PAUSE' executive order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and any 'shelter-in-place' orders that may be issued by local officials that apply to the general public do not qualify[.]"

Fox Rothschild LLP

[Guidance Overview]

New York Passes Paid Sick Leave Mandate

"Employers with one or more employees are required to provide at least one hour of accrued paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual begins on the first day of employment for new hires and upon the law's effective date (Sept. 30) for current employees. The PSL mandate adds to the state's existing paid leave benefits available to New York employees, including temporary disability and paid family and medical leave programs, and is separate from New York's emergency paid sick leave for COVID-19."

Mercer

What Does the Health Plan Say? Real-Life Employer Situations Related to Furloughs, Layoffs and Benefits Continuation

"In any true layoff situation, double-check the rehire provision in the documents. This provision generally governs under what timeframe the eligibility waiting period is waived for a rehire and if any other policy limitations would apply.... Do not underestimate the risk of continuing to cover an individual on life and disability benefits that is not eligible per terms of the plan.... Avoid out of hand comments / advice that sound like: 'Surely, given this crisis, the insurer won't enforce the eligibility rules in its contract.' 'But, what are the chances anyone will even know we covered this individual?' "

CBIZ

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick IRS and PBGC Provide Pension and Other Relief in the Wake of COVID-19

"Notice 2020-23 automatically postpones the due date of many tax payments and filings, and extends many deadlines that would otherwise apply with regard to benefit plan administration under Code rules. Any such due date or deadline that would ordinarily fall on or after April 1, 2020 through July 14, 2020, is automatically extended to July 15, 2020.... [C]alendar year plans' due date for the Form 5500 is July 30, 2020, outside the July 15th relief period.... PBGC automatically extended due dates for required filings[.]"

Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick IRS Guidance Extends Many Tax-Related Deadlines in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

"Unlike the extensive retirement plan-related relief within the [CARES] Act, individuals or entities wishing to avail themselves of the extensions provided in IRS Notice 2020-23 need not meet any condition of being directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.... Some are actions to be completed by individuals, others are the responsibility of entities such as financial organizations and retirement plans. For these actions, a deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, is extended to July 15, 2020."

Ascensus

The One About the Audit Requirement for Form 5500

"Why do annual reports for employee benefit plans (Forms 5500) have to be audited? ... Who is authorized to audit the form 5500? ... IQPAs are your friends.... Do all annual reports have to be audited? ... Tell me more about the 80-120 rule.... What about 2019, when [an employer is] close to the deadline and the audit is not done?"

Ferenczy Benefits Law Center

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of Agency FAQs, Part 42: FFCRA and CARES Act Implementation (PDF)
U.S. Department of Labor [DOL], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], and U.S. Department of the Treasury

IRS 5500 Extension Comes Up Short
American Retirement Association [ARA]

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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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