Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 30, 2020

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View COVID-19 News and Resources

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues Bulletin on FFCRA Leave in Light of Summer Camp and Program Closures

"[FAB 2020-4 notes] that, unlike schools and day care centers, many summer camps and programs closed in response to COVID-19 before any children began to attend and, in some cases, before they began to enroll.... [T]he FAB provides guidance on how to determine whether the camp or program would have been the place of care for an employee's child."

Proskauer

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Allows Tax-Advantaged Leave Donation to COVID-19 Relief Organizations

"Notice 2020-46 provides that employees who forgo paid time off in exchange for tax deductible employer contributions made before January 1, 2021, to a charitable organization for the relief of victims of COVID-19 will not be taxed on the value of the donated leave. The employer may still deduct the contribution, but the employee may not take a charitable deduction."

Verrill Dana LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Long Beach Unanimously Passes COVID-19 Paid Supplemental Sick Leave Mandate

"As of May 19, 2020, employers must provide full-time employees performing work within the City of Long Beach with 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave (PSSL), and part-time employees with PSSL 'equal to the number of hours an [e]mployee works on average over a two [2] week period.' ... The ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees nationally that are not required to provide PSSL under the [FFCRA]."

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

D.C.'s Highly Anticipated Paid Family Leave Program to Launch July 1

"The law enables eligible employees who work in D.C. to take paid leave for certain family and medical purposes. Earlier this year, the D.C. Department of Employment Services, which will administer the program, suggested that the leave benefits portion of the statute might be delayed due to COVID-19. However, this possibility did not come to pass, and benefits will be available to eligible employees starting this Wednesday as planned."

Jackson Lewis P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

DC's Paid Family Leave Benefits Available July 1, 2020: What Employers Need to Know

"Employees who spend more than 50% of their work time in DC may take PFL for: [1] Up to eight weeks for paid parental leave to bond with a new child ... [2] Up to six weeks of paid family leave to care for a covered family member (defined very broadly) with a 'serious health condition'; and [3] Up to two weeks of paid medical leave to care for the employee's own 'serious health condition'.... [T]he combined total of leave taken during a 52-week period may not exceed 8 weeks."

Proskauer

Third Circuit Rejects Retirees' Claim for Lifetime Medical Benefits

"Applying ordinary principles of contract interpretation, the Court concluded that the CBA did not 'clearly and expressly' vest the retirees with lifetime benefits. In so ruling, the Court rejected the retirees' argument that because the Plan required union consent before altering medical benefits and also did not include a general durational clause, it could be inferred that 'the parties clearly expressed their intent to vest post-retirement medical benefits.' " [Blankenship v. Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc., No. 19-3374 (3d Cir. Jun. 19, 2020)]

Proskauer

COBRA Notice Class Actions Increasing

"Over the past few months, there have been a slew of class action lawsuits filed against several large employers alleging technical violations of COBRA's election notice requirements and seeking penalties and damages -- even where the employer used the model COBRA election notice form provided by the [DOL].... The DOL's model COBRA election notice form requires some employer customization, and the lawsuits generally allege that employers have not been customizing the forms correctly.... The specific allegations are slightly different in each case, but all revolve around technical defects."

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Health Insurer Insights Into Challenges, Implications, and Lessons Learned

"[M]ost [health] insurers report that their employer block of business remains surprising stable. Still, there are concerns that small employers, in particular, will begin to drop coverage in the coming months.... Though insurers face a significant degree of uncertainty, they believe the crisis will have less of an impact on 2021 premiums than initially feared. Most insurers feel that the COVID-19 crisis has not prompted a need to change benefit designs to any great degree, though they believe telehealth benefits are here to stay."

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Employers Offering Insurance Benefits

"About 25% of employers say COVID-19 has made them more interested in making changes to their insurance benefit programs within the next 18 months. While approximately 4% of employers have already dropped an insurance benefit as a result of COVID-19 and 16% are considering doing so, 40% of employers say the coronavirus outbreak has affected their views of the importance of benefits, and these are almost universally shifts toward viewing benefits as more important now. Large companies and those most concerned about COVID-19 are the most likely to say their opinions have changed."

LIMRA

[Opinion]

Bipartisan Tax-Free Solution to Health Care Financing: Coupling HRAs with a Public Option

"A combination of health insurance initiatives by the presumptive 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential nominees could expand health care coverage and significantly reduce costs, without raising taxes. Along the way, the combination could revitalize private plans."

Regina Herzlinger, Richard Boxer and James Wallace, in Health Affairs

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Health Insurance Continuation Coverage Under COBRA (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

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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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