Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 5, 2021

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[Guidance Overview]

Health Plan Coverage Provisions in the 2021 Appropriations and COVID-19 Stimulus Package

"[T]he bill's coverage-related provisions ... include appropriations provisions relevant to the [ACA], protections from surprise medical bills, continuity of care protections, enhanced mental health parity requirements, and several new provisions designed to increase the transparency of health care costs." Icon to read more

Katie Keith, in Health Affairs Blog

[Guidance Overview]

Stimulus Legislation Allows Temporary Changes to Health and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account Plan Rules (PDF)

"The new law provides plan sponsors with two options for increasing participant flexibility with respect to using amounts deferred under a health or dependent care FSA, as well as permitting some leeway with respect to dependent care benefits and expanding options for election deadlines.Icon to read more

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Gets Tech-Savvy in Approving Electronic Notice Posting and FMLA-Qualifying Telemedicine Visits

"The DOL advises that when an employer chooses to use electronic means to satisfy workplace posting requirements, such as on an intranet site, internet website, or shared network, the electronic notice must be as effective as a hard copy posting. The DOL will not consider electronic posting on a website or intranet to be effective if the employer does not customarily post notices to employees electronically." Icon to read more

Franczek P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

New Year, New Rules: Status of COVID-19 Leave Laws for New York Employers in 2021

"Covered employers who voluntarily continue to offer FFCRA leave through the first quarter of 2021 will be eligible for the FFCRA tax credit, which reimburses employers for the cost of providing FFCRA leave. For New York employers, though, their responsibilities under Senate Bill 8091, which guarantees certain leave, benefits and job protections to employees affected by COVID-19, remain in full force." Icon to read more

Duane Morris LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Live from New York, It’s ... Mandatory Sick and Safe Time

"Under the state law, January 1 marked the date that covered employers must permit eligible employees to begin using sick leave benefits they have accrued since the law's September 30, 2020 effective date. Although the statewide mandate is now fully in effect, employers should continue to look out for further developments at the state level, including final regulations. Under the city mandate, January 1 marked the beginning of the law's increased annual usage cap for certain sized employers." Icon to read more

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

With Federal COVID-19 Leave Ending, Leave Laws in D.C. and Elsewhere Take Center Stage

"D.C.'s COVID-19-leave laws took effect on March 11, 2020, and are set to expire on March 31, 2021. In 2020, employers subject to both the FFCRA and these D.C. laws generally fulfilled their D.C. COVID-19 leave obligations when they provided FFCRA leave to covered employees. Now, employers with workers in D.C. should ensure they provide D.C. COVID-19 leave to covered employees who need it." Icon to read more

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Many Health Plans Now Must Cover Full Cost of Expensive HIV Prevention Drugs

"Starting this month, most people with private insurance will no longer have to decide whether they can afford to protect themselves against HIV. Most health plans must begin to cover the drugs then without charging consumers anything out-of-pocket (some plans already began doing so last year).... [The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force] recommended PrEP for people at high risk of HIV infection, including men who have sex with men and injection drug users." Icon to read more

Kaiser Health News

Why More Companies Will Think of Benefit Plans as ‘Health Hubs’ in 2021

"In some cases, employees with HDHPs are inadvertently getting the message they should be avoiding care altogether to save themselves and their family money. And they're engaging with their benefit plan sporadically. Unlike how employees engage with other industries, they tend to step into and out of their benefit plan, often with little information. It's incumbent on all of us to recognize that our employees are consumers, as well, and provide them with an end-to-end healthcare journey that's a true continuum." Icon to read more

HR Daily Advisor

Closely Watched Healthcare Play by Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to Shutter

"The healthcare company began telling employees on [January 4] about plans to shut down by the end of next month ... Haven was first announced in January 2018 as a venture that could leverage their combined resources to create health solutions to benefit their U.S. workforces and, eventually, all Americans. Their main targets: the complexity of healthcare coverage and out-of-control costs." Icon to read more

FierceHealthcare

[Opinion]

Supreme Court Narrows ERISA Preemption

"Following Rutledge, there is the potential for more widespread adoption of similar legislation by states targeting other payment practices, not only by PBMs, but also by other group health plan service providers, like [TPAs] that manage employer health and behavioral health benefits. Legislation of the sort could have a chilling effect on strategies currently used by employers, TPAs and PBMs to manage benefit costs for self-funded plans." [Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Mgmt. Assoc., No. 18-540 (S. Ct. Dec. 10, 2020)] Icon to read more

Groom Law Group

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 Benefits Summary

"[1] Retirement Plans: Partial plan termination relief ... Limited retirement plan disaster relief ... Money purchase plan coronavirus-related distributions ... Multiemployer plan minimum age for distributions during working retirement ... Transfers of excess pension assets to retiree health or life accounts ... [2] Temporary relief applicable to FSA administration ... [3] Extended employer assistance for student loans ... [4] Employer group health plans: ... New surprise medical billing rules ... New mental health parity rules." Icon to read more

Holland & Hart LLP

District Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Fee Request in Connection with State Court Remand of Action Removed Under ERISA

"A recent decision out of the District Court of New Jersey exemplifies how even the most seemingly mundane procedural act — removal — implicates procedural and legal nuances with which courts continue to grapple." [Newton v. South Jersey Paper Products Company, Inc., No. 19-17289 (D.N.J. Dec. 17, 2020)] Icon to read more

Robinson & Cole LLP, via LexBlog

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2021 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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