Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 29, 2020

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[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-07: Electronic Posting for Purposes of the FMLA and SCA (PDF)

"This Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) provides guidance to WHD field staff on when, as a matter of enforcement policy, WHD will consider these forms of electronic notice to satisfy the notice requirements under the following statutes and their corresponding regulations: ... the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ... and the Service Contract Act (SCA).... Consistent with the statute and its implementing regulations, WHD will consider electronic posting to satisfy the FMLA posting requirements where, for example, all hiring and work is done remotely and an employer posts the appropriate FMLA notice on an internal or external website that is accessible to all employees and applicants." Icon to read more

Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-08: Telemedicine and Serious Health Conditions Under the FMLA (PDF)

"[C]ontinuing the policy adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WHD will consider a telemedicine visit with a health care provider as an in-person visit [for purposes of establishing a serious health condition under the FMLA], provided specified criteria are met. To be considered an 'in-person' visit, the telemedicine visit must include: [1] an examination, evaluation, or treatment by a health care provider; [2] be permitted and accepted by state licensing authorities; and, [3] generally, should be performed by video conference." Icon to read more

Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconEnd-of-Year COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Additional Benefits Provisions

"The most immediate change is significant additional flexibility for both health care flexible spending arrangements (FSA) and dependent care FSAs.... These provisions are optional, not required.... For health FSAs, while the grace period and carryover options may seem essentially identical, they can have different effects on an employee's ability to contribute to a health savings account ... For that reason, employers with high deductible health plans may want to choose the carryover option.... [T]he Act includes the 'No Surprises Act' which is designed to address 'surprise medical bills.' ... The Act also requires group health plans and health insurance carriers add [certain] information to health insurance cards." Icon to read more

HUB International

[Guidance Overview]

Consolidated Appropriations Act Includes Health Plan Transparency Requirements

"[1] Removal of gag clauses on price and quality information ... [2] Disclosure of compensation to brokers and consultants ... [3] Mental health parity and substance use disorder benefits ... [4] Reporting on pharmacy benefits and drug costs." Icon to read more

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 Expands Cafeteria Plan Flexibility

"The CAA's COVID relief provisions also amend the [Internal Revenue Code] to temporarily raise the maximum age of a child for whom qualifying childcare expenses may be reimbursed under a DCAP to age 14 during the plan year for which the end of the regular enrollment period was on or before January 31, 2020. This change will apply where a participant has at least one tax dependent who turns 13 during that plan year." Icon to read more

EPIC

[Guidance Overview]

Consolidated Appropriations Act Extends Incentive for Employer-Provided Student Loan Relief

"The CARES Act provided a temporary provision that enabled employers to provide tax-advantaged benefits until January 1, 2021, and now this provision has been extended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act for five more years.... The CARES Act changed the definition of 'educational assistance' to include payments made by the employer to an employee before January 1, 2021 for principal and/or interest on qualified education loans incurred by the employees. In short, employers could provide a student loan repayment benefit of $5,250 to employees tax-free for 2020 through an education assistance program." Icon to read more

Graydon

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconEmployer Considerations for January 1 FFCRA Changes

"[1] Will your company continue to provide both paid sick leave and paid family leave to employees until March 31, 2021? ... [2] Is your company able to provide these leaves equally to all eligible employees? [3] How will your company provide notice regarding leave to employees? ... [4] Are there currently any state or local jurisdictional orders or laws that provide more generous leave for employees?" Icon to read more

Husch Blackwell

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconFFCRA Mandatory Leave Ends, But Employer Tax Credits Continue

"Employers are no longer required to provide FFCRA leave to employees from January 1, 2021, forward.... Employers who voluntarily provide FFCRA leave can claim a tax credit to cover the cost of providing FFCRA leave to eligible employees through March 31, 2021.... specifically for COVID-19 and/or generally for all illnesses." Icon to read more

Jackson Walker

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconMany Massachusetts Employers with Private Plans Must Renew MAPFML Exemptions by December 31, 2020

"Many employers that applied for an exemption were approved for an initial one year period beginning on October 1, 2019 and ending on September 30, 2020. The Massachusetts Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave then extended that initial year of the Private Plan exemption until December 31, 2020.... If an employer does not renew the exemption on or before December 31, 2020, the employer will be responsible for remitting contributions to the Trust Fund retroactive to October, 2019." Icon to read more

Goodwin Procter

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconColorado Provides Guidance for Additional Paid Sick Leave Starting January 1

"The Division stated that, at this time, the 80-hour PHE Supplement requirement continues until at least January 24, 2021 (four weeks after the expiration of the latest emergency declaration). However, the PHE Supplement requirement will extend deeper into 2021 if further renewed, extended, and/or amended emergency declarations continue to be issued ... An employer's PTO/vacation policies can satisfy the HFWA requirements, but [the authors] recommend certain revisions to ensure compliance." Icon to read more

Fox Rothschild LLP

Year-End Legislation Includes Repeal of Federal Antitrust Enforcement Immunity for Insurers

"The bipartisan bill amends the McCarran-Ferguson Act to restore the application of federal antitrust laws to the health insurance industry but does not otherwise affect the authority of state authorities to regulate health insurance provided under the act. This bill will help address instances of artificially higher premiums, unfair insurance restrictions and harmful policy exclusions, supporters said. It allows the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to regulate health insurance markets." Icon to read more

BenefitsPro; free registration required

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Spending Bill Includes Coronavirus Relief for Employee Benefit Plans

"[1] Paycheck Protection Program relief ... [2] Medical expense deduction floor reduced ... [3] Disaster relief: distributions and loans ... [4] Money purchase plans may offer coronavirus-related distributions ... [5] Partial plan termination relief ... [6] Qualified future transfer elections ... [7] Healthcare provisions ... [8] Education-related provisions." Icon to read more

Ascensus

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality iconEnd-of-Year Omnibus Bill Includes COVID-19, Health and Retirement Plan Provisions

"[The bill] includes a large surprise medical billing package, a health transparency and patients' rights package, various tax extenders and other tax and health provisions, and a few miscellaneous retirement provisions. This is the largest health care legislative package since the [ACA] and includes more than 10 new patient protections with rapid effective dates, suggesting a very busy health regulatory year in 2021 ... The package does not include relief for multiemployer pension plans facing insolvency or the single-employer defined benefit plan funding relief provisions previously included in the House-passed HEROES Act." Icon to read more

Groom Law Group

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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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