Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 17, 2020

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Telecommute / AZ

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[Guidance Overview]

Leave for Oregon's Volunteer Emergency Responders During Unprecedented Wildfires

"Employers may want to be aware of their ability under Oregon law to grant unpaid leave requests for volunteer firefighters and other first responders who need to perform services to battle the wildfires and perform search and rescue efforts." Icon to read more

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconNew California COVID-19-Related Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirements Take Effect September 19, 2020

"Employers who already provided supplemental paid leave for the reasons related to AB 1867's covered reasons ... may count those hours toward the required amount of CSPSL hours under AB 1867. However, compensation for any qualifying supplemental paid leave provided to the employee must have been greater than, or equal to, the amount of compensation the employee would have received under AB 1867." Icon to read more

FordHarrison

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconAmendments to FFCRA Regs Effective September 16, 2020

"Employers of healthcare providers should carefully review all requests for FFCRA leave using the limited definition set forth in the September 11, 2020 Amendments.... [E]mployers can continue to provide FFCRA leave only when there is work available for employees and can require approval for intermittent leave.... Employers should ensure compliance with the DOL's regulations and guidance when evaluating requests for leave related to school closures or virtual learning." Icon to read more

Husch Blackwell

International Reference Pricing for Medicare Drugs: New Lease on Life or Least Likely to Succeed?

"[The Executive Order (EO)] provides no specifics for implementation, leaving it unlikely that any changes to the Medicare program contemplated by the EO will go into effect, if ever, before the 2020 election, by the end of the year, or soon thereafter. This Alert discusses the specifics of the EO, as well as some of the substantial challenges that will at least delay, and possibly prevent, its implementation." Icon to read more

Ropes & Gray LLP

2020 Trend: Businesses Help Provide Stability Through Employee Benefits

"Fewer than 15% of businesses plan to reduce benefits ... One-fifth of businesses are even boosting health care benefits.... 21% of surveyed businesses plan to boost mental health and well-being programs this year -- think EAPs, access to therapists and clinicians, or support for major life transitions, such as elder care." Icon to read more

Principal Financial Group

Not Your Normal Benefits Enrollment Cycle

"[M]any employers are focusing this year's open enrollment on adding clinical support to members who need it the most.... Employers are also reviewing specialty drug utilization because of the wide variety of costs for the same treatments given at different sites of care ... [E]mployers are upping members' access to virtual care in different areas and removing barriers to receiving that care. Virtual care has exploded in light of social distancing measures." Icon to read more

Buck

[Opinion]

Taskforce on Telehealth Policy: Findings and Recommendations

"Policymakers should make permanent the following specific COVID-19 policy changes: [1] Lifting geographic restrictions and limitations on originating sites. [2] Allowing telehealth for various types of clinicians and conditions. [3] Acknowledging, as many states now do, that telehealth visits can meet requirements for establishing a clinician/patient relationship if the encounter meets appropriate care standards or unless careful analysis demonstrates that, in specific situations, a previous in-person relationship is necessary. [4] Eliminating unnecessary restrictions on telehealth across state lines." Icon to read more

National Committee for Quality Assurance [NCQA]

[Opinion]

How the Executive Branch Can Lower Drug Prices

"The first section of this report provides background on drug companies' monopoly power and how taxpayer money supports drug research and development. The following section outlines how the next president should use his administrative authorities to ensure access to ... drugs that are essential to high-risk populations and drugs whose prices drug companies continue to raise during the pandemic.... The final sections of this report outline ways in which the next administration can think beyond the COVID-19 crisis and test different ways for Medicare to pay for prescription drugs." Icon to read more

Center for American Progress

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

IRS Announces Tax Relief for Oregon Wildfires and Straight-Line Winds Victims

"Victims of Oregon wildfires and straight-line winds that began September 7 now have until January 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.... Individuals and households who reside or have a business in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties qualify for tax relief." Icon to read more

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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Notice 2020-29 and Active Participant Status in a Cafeteria Plan

"Cafeteria plan permits all changes in election addressed in Notice 2020-29 including dropping deferrals towards premiums under employer sponsored group health plan (pursuant to affidavit of other coverage), and dialing health FSA deferrals down to zero. Is an individual who is no longer deferring under the plan still a participant in the plan in any way, or does participation terminate? The regulations regarding FMLA leave are as close as existing guidance gets, but don't provide a clear answer." Icon to read more

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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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