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View COVID-19 News and Resources

[Guidance Overview]

New COVID-19 Section 125 Plan Guidance: The Possible and the Impossible

"This guidance is OPTIONAL. Employers don't have to do any of it unless they want to! If they do want to take advantage of it, it's not an all or nothing proposition.... The Health FSA carry-over relief in Notice 2020-29 isn't all that extensive, and it is a bit confusing. When you layer it with the claim's deadline extension ... the relief becomes more meaningful. It also gets trickier to explain and calculate."

MZQ Consulting, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Offers Relief to Cafeteria Plans, HDHPs, Individual-Coverage HRAs (PDF)

"Employers adopting any of the pandemic relief's options should be mindful of the nondiscrimination rules for cafeteria plans and watch for unintended compliance failures that could result.... To reduce the possibility of adverse selection, employers may decide to limit the election changes allowed or not to offer any of new options under the relief. Any limitations, however, need to comply with the [HIPAA] rules that prohibit discriminating on the basis of health status."


District Court Allows Fiduciary Duty and Mental Health Parity Claims Against TPA

"Following the denial of residential mental health treatment benefits for a self-insured health plan participant's child, the child's parents sued the plan and the third-party administrator (TPA) that processed the plan's claims.... [T]he TPA argued that even if it was a fiduciary, it could not be held liable for a monetary award representing the recovery of unpaid benefits. Acknowledging this general principle, the court nevertheless pointed out that while recovery of unpaid benefits may be the parents' primary goal, other forms of relief may be available." [Daniel R. v. UMR, No. 19-069 (D. Utah Mar. 12, 2020)]

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Tracking Telehealth Changes State-By-State in Response to COVID-19

"All 50 states plus Washington, D.C., have introduced licensure flexibilities ... 40 states plus Washington, D.C., offer behavioral health services through telehealth. 32 states plus Washington, D.C., offer occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy services through telehealth.... 11 states have issued telehealth guidance for Child Well-care ... 13 states have issued guidance to providers to allow for telehealth or remote care delivery for early childhood intervention services."

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Retiree Health Cost Estimates for 2020

"A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2020 is projected to spend approximately $351,000 in today's dollars ($535,000 in future dollars) on healthcare over their lifetime. Expenses at age 85 are estimated to be 234% higher than that at age 65.... A healthy 45-year-old couple is projected to spend approximately $505,000 in today's dollars ($1.4 million in future dollars) on healthcare over their lifetime."

Milliman's Healthcare Town Hall

Philadelphia Councilmembers Propose Expansion of Emergency Sick Leave

"This proposed bill for public health emergency leave will cover any employees (including health care providers, emergency workers, caregivers, gig economy workers, and undocumented workers) during a declared public health emergency who perform work for an employer and are physically present at the workplace for at least 40 hours per year.... This bill would essentially increase the number of paid sick days an employee would receive from five to 14 days, and would allow workers to use the days immediately rather than waiting for them to accrue."


Low-Income Workers' Eligibility for Emergency Paid Family Leave

"This brief estimates eligibility for the emergency paid family leave program under different participation scenarios, providing information to human services organizations and others about the potential benefits of outreach to lower income parents and their employers about the program. It focuses in particular on poor and low-income working parents and small businesses."

Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue, Inc.
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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2020, 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, 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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