Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 6, 2021

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[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality and Usefulness iconNow and Yet to Come: Benefit Plan Changes Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

"FSA relief is optional, and employers need to be intentional about if and how they do it and focus on employee communication.... Group health plans will need to annually perform compliance tests regarding any non-quantitative treatment limits that may apply to their mental health and substance use disorder coverage.... The law attempts to solve surprise billing beginning with plan years on or after January 1, 2021.... Employer plans will need to start tracking and reporting all of their enrollee information, their plan's geographic reach, and detailed pharmacy cost, claim, and rebate data.... All brokers and consultants will need to provide almost every group client with extensive compensation disclosures every year, beginning with plan years that start on or after January 1, 2022." Icon to read more

MZQ Consulting, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality iconConsolidated Appropriations Act, 2021: Health and Welfare Plan Provisions

"While the provisions in the Act align with calendar year plans, the application of the rules do not align for non-calendar year plans that have closed their plan years for 2020.... The most notable provision of the No Surprises Act is the Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process.... There is no minimum rate that must be at issue to access IDR; however, the No Surprises Act does build in some protections to prevent abuse.... [P]lan sponsors should take steps now to ensure that it is fully complying with Mental Health Parity and be prepared to conduct the new required comparative analyses." Icon to read more

Morgan Lewis

[Guidance Overview]

Back to School: Tips for Avoiding FFCRA Liability Traps

"[1] When determining employees' eligibility for FFCRA leaves, consider employees' total use of FFCRA leaves, including leave taken last school year.... [2] Consider intermittent leave options to maximize employee productivity and leave options.... [3] Request documentation to support the qualifying reason for an employee's FFCRA leave, including the employee's statement that his/her child's school was closed for in-person attendance." Icon to read more

Hall Benefits Law

[Guidance Overview]

Congress Gives Employers More Things to Consider with Their FSA Plans

"Employers benefit from the use of unused account balances to offset the losses from those that spend more than they contributed and terminate mid-year and permitting these changes would likely reduce the amount of gain an employer has to offsets its loses.... Employers may also find some of these changes too cumbersome to administer or their FSA vendors may have limitations on being able to administer the changes." Icon to read more

Graydon

[Guidance Overview]

Congress Declines to Extend Required FFCRA Leave Past December 31, 2020

"[An] employer will likely be unable to claim a tax credit for paid EPSL provided to an employee in 2021 if that same employee already took 80 hours of EPSL in 2020. Similarly, an employer cannot claim a tax credit for the full 80 hours of EPSL voluntarily provided to an employee in 2021 if the same employee took less than 80 hours of EPSL in 2020 ... The available tax credit for paid EFMLA in 2021 is more complicated ... [and] will likely depend on how the employer calculates the 12-month period under its FMLA policies, and how much FMLA/EFMLA an employee has taken during the 12-month period." Icon to read more

Miles & Stockbridge

[Guidance Overview]

California's COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law: Employers Beware

"California employers should proceed with caution and take care to not pull the proverbial rug out from under employees who were availing themselves of available SPSL prior to December 31 and who, but for its sunset, had SPSL leave remaining or seek to remain on leave into 2021." Icon to read more

Duane Morris LLP

Walgreens to Sell Drug Wholesale Business

"Walgreens Boots Alliance will sell its pharmaceutical wholesale business to AmerisourceBergen in a $6.5 billion cash and stock deal. Pharmaceutical wholesalers essentially act as middlemen, purchasing drugs from manufacturers and then distributing them to customers like drugstore chains. Walgreens says it will now have the flexibility to invest in and focus on its retail business which, like others, has been rattled by the COVID-19 pandemic." Icon to read more

Modern Healthcare Online; free registration required

Benefits in General

2020 ERISA Litigation Trends Hint at What's Ahead This Year (PDF)

"By any measure, 2020 was a record-setting year for litigation under [ERISA]. The U.S. Supreme Court issued four ERISA decisions, more than it has issued in a single year in the 45-year history of the statute.... As 2021 begins, this trend shows no sign of slowing down, with important developing issues related to fee and performance litigation for smaller retirement plans, COBRA notices, arbitration clauses and class action waivers, actuarial assumptions, cyber theft, and employee stock ownership plans, or ESOPs -- among others." Icon to read more

Groom Law Group

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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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