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September 30, 2020

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 5164: Test Package for Electronic Filers of ACA Information Returns (PDF)

22 pages, Oct. 2020, for Processing Year 2021. "[This publication] contains general and program specific testing information for use with ACA Assurance Testing System (AATS).... Software Developers must pass IRS AATS test scenarios for the forms and tax years that the software package will support.... Transmitters and Issuers must pass a one-time communication test for the forms they will file." Icon to read more

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconNew York City Employers Have New Safe and Sick Leave Obligations; Statewide Law Also Goes Into Effect

"Just days before New York's statewide paid sick leave law (NYPSL) takes effect on September 30, the New York City council passed a suite of amendments to NYC's existing Earned Safe and Sick Leave Law (ESSL), in part aligning safe and sick leave obligations with the impending NYPSL and in part creating new obligations under the ESSL.... Meanwhile, with just one day to go until the NYPSL's effective date, the state has not yet issued any guidance or regulations on NYPSL, leaving employers with many unanswered questions with respect to their obligations under the state safe/sick leave law due to ambiguities in the statute's language." Icon to read more

Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

New California Family Rights Act Expands Employee Rights and Employer Responsibilities

"The new CFRA dramatically expands the CFRA's reach to more employers and significantly increases the reasons for which an employee can take CFRA leave and the family members for whom CFRA leave may be used. The new law also substantially raises the risk that employers will have to provide 24 weeks of unpaid time off in 2021 and beyond, as compared to the current 12 weeks." Icon to read more

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality iconStates, Cities Tackle COVID-19 Paid Leave (PDF)

37 pages, revised Sep. 28, 2020. "This [paper] provides brief summaries of new state and local paid leave benefits, as well as guidance addressing how current paid leave benefits apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.... The federal emergency paid sick and family leave requirements under the [FFCRA] do not preempt any state or local paid leave mandates. Employers need to watch for guidance from state and local authorities on coordinating the new federal paid leave rights with state and local mandates." Icon to read more

Mercer

[Guidance Overview]

Preparing for the California Individual Healthcare Mandate

"Employers with 50 or more Full Time Equivalent employees, who offer self-insured coverage, and have one or more California-Resident employees enrolled, must file with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) of California.... Employers can transmit the same federal Forms 1094-C and 1095-C they transmit to the IRS to the FTB.... The deadline is March 31, 2021 for employers and insurers to complete their reporting to the FTB for Tax Year 2020." Icon to read more

Tango Health

California Governor Signs Bill to Allow State to Develop Generic Drugs [Audio]

"California will be the first state to create its own line of generic drugs to cope with high drug prices. A new law lets the state outsource manufacturing but control pricing and distribution." Icon to read more

National Public Radio [NPR]

Drugs Aren't the Reason the U.S. Spends So Much on Health Care

"The U.S. spent $10,637 per capita on health care in 2018. Comparable countries spent $5,527. The overwhelming majority of the difference -- 76% of it -- came from spending on inpatient and outpatient care -- not drugs, which get more attention but represent just 10% of the difference." Icon to read more

Drew Altman, via Axios

The Up and Down Impact of the Pandemic on Health Care Costs

"2021 costs to employer plans are expected to be slightly higher (0.5% to 5.0%) than the non-pandemic baseline projection. Nevertheless, when 2020 and 2021 are combined, all scenarios show cost reductions (-2.8% to -3.8%) relative to the non-pandemic baseline.... Employers should consider these scenarios as they budget for and measure the performance of their health care plans in the upcoming year." Icon to read more

Willis Towers Watson

Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for Americans Under 65, 2020 to 2030

"[N]et federal subsidies in 2021 for insured people are $920 billion, or 4.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2030, that annual amount is projected to reach $1.4 trillion, also 4.4 percent of GDP. Over the 2021-2030 period, subsidies are projected to total $10.8 trillion. Medicaid and [CHIP] account for about 45 percent of the federal subsidies annually during the period; Subsidies for employment-based coverage, about 35 percent; Payments for Medicare, about 15 percent; and Subsidies for coverage obtained through the marketplaces established by the [ACA] or through the Basic Health Program, about 5 percent." Icon to read more

Congressional Budget Office [CBO] and Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT]

Cyber-Attackers' Theft of Over Ten Million Individuals' PHI Leads to $6.85 Million HIPAA Settlement

"HHS's investigation revealed that the plan failed to: [1] Conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the risks and vulnerabilities concerning the ePHI in its possession. [2] Implement sufficient security procedures to adequately reduce the risks and vulnerabilities to its ePHI. [3] Implement adequate hardware, software, or procedural mechanisms to record and review activity on its information systems containing ePHI until March 2015. [4] Prevent unauthorized access to the ePHI of more than 10.4 million individuals that was stored on its network." Icon to read more

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

Re-thinking Fringe Benefits for Your Newly Remote Workforce

"With telework likely to continue for the foreseeable future, employers may wish to take a fresh look at their fringe benefit offerings and evaluate the impact those benefits have on remote workers' productivity and well-being. Whether they simply tweak current benefits or offer brand new ones, employers must determine whether a perk is taxable or nontaxable to the employee." Icon to read more

Voya

[Opinion]

Trump Doesn't Need Price Controls to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

"By making full use of his executive authority, President Donald Trump has helped to reduce health care costs by increasing choice and competition. The president’s executive order would damage the Medicare Part D program, which is generally working well for taxpayers and seniors. The administration should advocate reforming Medicare Part D through bipartisan congressional action, not deforming it with foreign price controls." Icon to read more

The Heritage Foundation

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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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