Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 5, 2020

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[Guidance Overview]

Health and Welfare Benefits Monthly Update (PDF)

21 presentation slides. Topics: [1] Post-election rundown; [2] Final health plan transparency rules; [3] Litigation update; and [4] Recap and update on tolling period and COVID guidance developments. Icon to read more

Alston & Bird

[Guidance Overview]

Colorado Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

"This initiative mandates that employers provide 12 weeks of leave for Colorado employees, plus an additional four weeks in case of medical complications.... Beginning January 1, 2024, an employee can take paid family and medical leave, and receive family and medical leave insurance benefits while taking leave.... Beginning January 1, 2023, each employer must remit a payroll tax to the fund to provide for these benefits with the tax being paid 50/50 by the employer and employee. From January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024, the total payroll tax amount is 0.9%." Icon to read more

Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

Colorado Voters Approve Paid Medical and Family Leave Program

"The paid leave program will be funded through a new payroll tax split evenly between employers and employees with the tax initially set at 0.9% of an employee's wages (up to an applicable limit discussed below). Employers and employees will begin paying into this new insurance program on January 1, 2023, and benefits will be available to employees under the program beginning on January 1, 2024." Icon to read more

Holland & Hart LLP

[Guidance Overview]

What We Know About Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (and What We’re Still Learning)

"While payment of benefits under the law will not start before January 2022, important employer obligations take effect in less than two months. Most critically, employers must begin taking deductions from the pay of Connecticut employees to fund the program on January 1, 2021. Complying with payroll and other aspects of the complex act will be challenging, not the least because the state has not yet issued explanatory regulations." Icon to read more

Littler

Supreme Court: Justices Will Consider Constitutionality of ACA’s Individual Mandate Again

"Before the justices can turn to the main questions in the case -- whether the mandate is still constitutional and, if not, what should happen to the rest of the ACA -- they must resolve a threshold question: whether the challengers have a legal right to sue, known as standing.... If the justices agree with the challengers that at least one of them has standing to challenge the mandate, then they will move on to decide whether the mandate as currently drafted is constitutional.... If there are five votes to strike down the mandate, then the justices must decide the final and most consequential question, known as severability: whether the mandate can be separated from the rest of the ACA, or whether some or all of the ACA must also be invalidated along with it." [California v. Texas, No. 19-840; Texas v. California, No. 19-1019 (cert. pet. granted Mar. 2, 2020)] Icon to read more

SCOTUSblog

Cost of Employer Health Benefits to Be Impacted by COVID-19

"68% of insurers expect increased medical claims driven by COVID-19 diagnostics, care and treatment. Insurers also said they expect increases in medical costs to continue to vastly outstrip inflation in 2021. In 2019, insurers reported cost increases of 9.7%, which was just under 3 times the rate of inflation. In 2020, they expect a rise in medical costs of 9.5%, which is roughly 3.5 times the inflation rate. For 2021, 90% of insurers expect the trend to sustain or increase." Icon to read more

Reinsurance News

Responding to the COVID-19 Environment: Actions for Health Plan Sponsors

"[1] Consider a range of scenarios when planning for 2021 and beyond ... [2] Remember that all health care is local ... [3] Build on a broad virtual care strategy ... [4] Design mental health programs to meet expected increased needs ... [5] Recognize that health care affordability will be a growing challenge as the economy recovers ... [6] Review existing health plan offerings critically ... [7] Address social determinants of health ... [8] Keep an eye on new health plan designs and vendors ... [9] Measure results." Icon to read more

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

A New Item on Your Medical Bill: The ‘COVID’ Fee

"The coronavirus pandemic has made the practice of health care more costly as providers must wear protective gear and sanitize equipment more often, even as they face declining revenue.... Surprise 'COVID' and 'PPE' fees have turned up across the country ... Some of these fees ... have drawn the attention of state attorneys general who say that charging patients directly can take advantage of vulnerable consumers or violate health insurance contracts and consumer protection laws. The new charges range from a couple of dollars to nearly $1,000." Icon to read more

The New York Times; subscription may be required

Employers Facing ‘Onslaught’ of New Litigation Under FFCRA

"[E]mployers are facing an onslaught of litigation primarily alleging they retaliated against employees for seeking and/or using the FFCRA's leave and sick pay provisions. While most of the cases haven't yet been adjudicated or resolved, it's helpful to review the allegations to get a sense of where and how the conflicts tend to arise." Icon to read more

HR Daily Advisor

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

► It's easy to sign up and participate in discussions! Post answers, ask questions, create custom feeds and views. Join your peers (and potential referral sources or customers)—there is no charge.

Multiple Testing Failures
"I'm testing a Plan that's failing the Contributions & Benefits test, the DCA 25% Concentration Test and the DCA 55% Ave Benefits Test. The software is giving me a $4000+ number for the correction to the HCEs DCA contribution amount. Would that "reclassification" then funnel down to a new number to be used now in the Contributions & Benefits test, since his DCA contribution total is going to be adjusted? Thanks" 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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