Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 4, 2020

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View COVID-19 News and Resources

[Guidance Overview]

FFCRA Leave Rights for Temporary Workers, and Joint Employer Challenges

"[It] is not uncommon for a temporary staffing agency and the client company to have different statuses under the FFCRA. Most often, the staffing agency has over 500 employees and would not be covered under FFCRA, but the client company has less than 500 employees and would be covered under FFCRA. In such a scenario, if the customer were considered a joint employer of the agency's temporary workers, it would be obligated to provide leave to the employee under the FFCRA."

Littler

[Guidance Overview]

Can an Employee Take FMLA Leave During a Furlough?

"[An] employee is not scheduled to work during a furlough -- naturally, they are on a forced leave of absence that usually is unpaid. As such, there is no work schedule from which to take FMLA leave.... The FFCRA is a bit persuasive here. The DOL has advised that furloughs cut off an employee's use of paid sick leave and paid FMLA leave under the [FFCRA].... It's also persuasive that federal agencies take the position that federal employees cannot take FMLA leave during a furlough, leading us further to the conclusion that the same applies to private-sector employees."

FMLA Insights

[Guidance Overview]

California PFL and San Francisco PPLO Expand to 8 Weeks on July 1

"Employees who take [California] Paid Family Leave prior to July 1, 2020 are only eligible for six weeks of leave, even if the leave extends into July. Leave must start on or after July 1, 2020 in order for an individual to receive eight weeks of Paid Family Leave.... The [San Francisco] PPLO requires that employers provide supplemental compensation for employees who are receiving Paid Family Leave benefits for bonding with a new child."

ABD Insurance & Financial Services

COBRA Questions to Consider Amid COVID-19 Layoffs

"[1] Do employees understand their eligibility for COBRA? ... [2] Do employees know they have other options? ... [3] How will employees evaluate COBRA and other coverage options? ... [4] Are my organization's COBRA processes up to date with the latest guidance? ... [5] Are COBRA qualified beneficiaries receiving the communication they need?"

HealthEquity

Editor's Pick New Wave of Costly Rx Claims on the Horizon

"[B]ecause several of these mega-priced drugs are not one-and-done treatments, your stop loss may not provide the financial protection you think. With lasering -- the common practice of setting higher coverage attachment points for certain plan members based on their prior claims experience or the likelihood that they will become high-cost claimants in the future -- this leaves a plan open to an ongoing burden for years to come."

Chelko Center for Benefits Management

Next Steps for Health Plans During and After COVID-19

"[M]any health plans may have experienced a temporary reprieve from rising health care costs as plan participants delayed care while the country was shut down. But any decline is likely temporary ... [P]lan members may start rescheduling their missed health care appointments and procedures as the country starts reopening. And that delayed care has the potential to increase long-term costs if participants' health conditions have worsened."

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Editor's Pick You Say Goodbye But I Say Hello: ACA Returns to the Supreme Court

"The Court could decide that neither Texas (nor the states that joined it) nor the individuals that sued had standing, and therefore, that this case should have been dismissed from the beginning. The Court could decide that, although the individual mandate no longer raises revenue for the United States, it is still a 'tax' and therefore, still constitutional under NFIB.... [The authors] think the most likely outcome is that the Court strikes down the individual mandate on the basis that it is no longer a constitutionally permitted tax, but severs the mandate from the statute, allowing implementation of the law to proceed essentially as it is now." [California v. Texas, No. 19-840; Texas v. California, No. 19-1019 (cert. pet. granted Mar. 2, 2020)]

Groom Law Group

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Welcome Deadline Relief for Savings Arrangement Reporting, Limited Additional Extensions

"Deadlines for providing [information returns for IRAs, health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs), and Coverdell education savings accounts (ESAs)] to the IRS and to account owners had previously been extended ... through July 15, 2020 ... The deadline for annual contributions to these accounts was also extended to July 15, 2020. This presented custodial organizations and service providers to these accounts with the dilemma of reporting contributions that could be received as late as the deadline for their reporting. Notice 2020-35 now provides a six-week window after the July 15, 2020, contribution deadlines in which organizations can prepare and provide these information returns to the IRS and to account owners."

Ascensus

[Opinion]

More Stability for Employee Benefit Programs Would Help Get America 'Back to Business'

"[M]ore must be done to better protect the health and financial security of the tens of millions of people served by the employer-sponsored benefits system. Similarly, some measures have either been put into place or proposed that would impede the operation of benefit programs.... [This paper provides] brief descriptions of the Council's outstanding legislative and regulatory priorities relating to health, retirement and paid [leave] programs."

American Benefits Council

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FSA with June 30 Plan Year-End -- COVID-Related Troubles

"Client has FSA that includes dependent care reimbursement, health insurance premium conversion, and the medical expense reimbursements. [1] One employee has $1,210 left in daycare balance, but daycare was closed and summer camps have been canceled. Is there any way to convert back to taxable income? [2] Other employee's insurance premium has increased. She wants to use the amount designated for medical expense reimbursement to pay the premium difference. She doesn't have enough expenses and she doesn't want her pay decreased to cover the premium when this money is sitting there. Any remedies?"

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Press Releases

OneDigital Acquires California Creative Benefits
OneDigital Health and Benefits

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Kids Are Home for the Summer, So Can Parents Take FFCRA Leave?
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP

Employers Face Decisions Over Keeping Telework Options
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@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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