Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 15, 2020

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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources
View Coronavirus (COVID-19) Webcasts

[Guidance Overview]

The Impact of the CARES Act on Employee Welfare Benefit Plans, Programs, and Arrangements

"[T]he CARES Act requires plans and issuers to implement changes to the preventive services recommendations relating to 'qualifying coronavirus preventive services' within 15 business days following the date on which a recommendation is made.... Effective for expenses incurred after December 31, 2019, section 3702 of the CARES Act allows funds in health FSAs, HSAs, and Archer MSAs to be applied to the purchase of over-the-counter medicines and drugs without a prescription from a physician[.]"

Mintz

[Guidance Overview]

FAQs on COVID-19 Group Health Plan Coverage Implementation

"[R]ules regarding the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) would typically require 60 days advance notice for mid-year changes affecting the content of the SBC. Since CARES Act changes requiring zero-cost coverage for testing and related visits took immediate effect on March 18, 2020, plan sponsors could not provide advance notice of these types of changes.... In the FAQs, the Departments announce a non-enforcement position against any plan or issuer that amends its health plan to provide greater coverage for the diagnosis and/or treatment of COVID-19, or to provide expanded coverage for telemedicine and other remote-care services without providing at least 60 days advance notice."

Faegre Drinker

[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Issues Guidance on Insured Private Paid Family and Medical Leave Plans

"[T]he new guidance requires insurance carriers to submit policy forms to the DOI by June 3, 2020.... [E]mployers seeking a self-insured exemption may use the resources ... to ensure that their self-administered PFML private plans comply with the Commonwealth's PFML requirements.... The DOI's guidance includes a 20-page Filing Guidance Notice, which contains a PFML Policy Template for private insurance carriers offering paid family and medical leave plans. In addition, the DOI issued a PFML Policy Form Checklist, which carriers must complete and submit with policy packages submitted to the DOI for approval."

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Guidance Overview]

California's Local Governments Expand Paid Sick Leave Laws

"The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose have each adopted paid sick leave measures to assist workers not covered by the [FFCRA] during the COVID-19 crisis. The City of Oakland is also considering a similar law. Because the FFCRA only covers employers with fewer than 500 employees, many of the state's major cities have moved to extend the same coverage to employees working for larger companies."

Mintz

[Guidance Overview]

Interaction Between FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave and California Paid Family Leave

"Employees who are eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under the [FFCRA] may also file a claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL), a benefit established under California law.... Employees who continue to receive wages while on PFL will have their PFL benefit amount reduced so that that the total does not exceed their regular wages (not including overtime).... If an employee is already on PFL, the [DOL] guidance suggests that the employee is most likely not eligible for EPSL."

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

[Guidance Overview]

Navigating California's Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinances in Light of COVID-19

"This Alert identifies developments in other California cities like San Jose, Los Angeles and Emeryville, as well as permissible uses of paid sick leave under the existing laws in Oakland, San Diego and Santa Monica for work absences that are related to COVID-19."

Duane Morris LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Guidance on Recovery of Paid Leave Costs for Defense Contractors Pursuant to the CARES Act

"[T]he relief is permissive and not mandatory, and reimbursement of paid leave must be necessary to keep employees in a 'ready state.' ... [T]he contractor must demonstrate that the leave was taken by employees who would be performing on a government contract, but the work cannot be performed because the facilities have been closed or made practically inaccessible, inoperable or other subject to other restrictions that prevent performance of work at the side as a result of the COVID-19 national emergency; and then, it is only to reimburse contractors for paid leave granted because the employee is unable to telework because the job duties cannot be performed remotely."

Frost Brown Todd LLC

Health Plan Requirements for COVID-19 Testing

"The requirements apply to almost all group health plans ... Effective dates for the requirements ... Clarification of tests and visits that must be covered without cost sharing ... Guidance on telemedicine ... Guidance on medical management ... Guidance on reimbursing out-of-network providers ... Guidance on notice requirements ... Guidance on EAPs and on-site clinics ... Implications for plan sponsors."

Segal

Puerto Rico Enacts Law Creating Special Paid Leave for Non-Exempt Employees in the Private Sector

"The purpose of Bill No. 2428 is to establish a special paid leave for non-exempt employees infected (or are suspected of being infected) by the illness or epidemic that triggers a state of emergency declared by either the Governor of Puerto Rico or the Secretary of the Puerto Rico Health Department."

Littler

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Payment of COBRA Premiums by a Hospital or Other Third Party

"If a third party pays certain individuals' COBRA premiums, does that third party risk creating a MEWA or otherwise being deemed to be engaged in the business of insurance? A specific example would be a hospital or other provider paying the COBRA premiums of certain of its patients, in effect in order to get reimbursement from the patients' insurer."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Automatic Extension for Form 5500 for Deadlines Through July 15?

"Has anyone heard of an automatic extension of 5500s for deadlines falling between April 1 and July 15, 2020? This article from ASPPA states there is: https://www.asppa.org/news/browse-topics/irs-5500-extension-comes-short , but when our office called the IRS for guidance, they denied any knowledge of such automatic extension."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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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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