Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 25, 2021

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[Guidance Overview]

2021 State Paid Family and Medical Leave Contributions and Benefits

"As of January 2021, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Washington DC mandate paid leave for an employee's own health condition. Except for Hawaii, these jurisdictions also require paid family leave for bonding with a new child, caring for a seriously ill or injured family member, and certain other purposes. Although these mandates share common elements, each jurisdiction differs from others in some way." Icon to read more

Mercer

[Guidance Overview]

2021 Flexible Spending Account Relief in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

"Absent further guidance, the uniform coverage rule may allow an employee to make a mid-year election in 2021 (as part of the CAA relief) to contribute less to the FSA than the level of reimbursement the employee has received from the FSA for the year, creating an incentive for employees to reduce their elections. The IRS granted uniform coverage rule relief this past summer with respect to 2020 mid-year election changes, so it is possible that the IRS may grant employers some flexibility to prevent this result this time around as well." Icon to read more

Holland & Hart LLP

Furloughed Workers May Lose FMLA Eligibility

"[O]ne way an employee can lose eligibility for FMLA leave during a furlough is if, as a result of layoffs, there no longer are at least 50 employees working within the 75-mile radius of the employee's worksite ... Depending upon the length of the time off, a leave of absence generally is considered to be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA ... In addition, the ADA does not impose a minimum-service requirement to be eligible for leave." Icon to read more

Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

Insurers Add Food to Coverage Menu as Way to Improve Health

"Food has become a bigger focus for health insurers as they look to expand their coverage beyond just the care that happens in a doctor's office. More plans are paying for temporary meal deliveries and some are teaching people how to cook and eat healthier foods.... [I]nsurers and policymakers are ... treating food as a form of medicine that can help patients reduce blood sugar or blood pressure levels and stay out of expensive hospitals." Icon to read more

InsuranceNewsNet.com

Voluntary Benefits Can Offer Post-Pandemic Lifeline to Employees

"In 2021, employers will continue to seek ways to expand the voluntary benefit offerings in their employee benefit packages to provide more-customized options to meet workforce needs ... [1] A growth spurt for the voluntary benefits industry.... [2] All voluntary benefits that address employees' financial well-being will likely take top billing.... [3] Even more customization of benefits will be of interest to employees.... [4] Employees will continue to look more closely at voluntary benefits available to them." Icon to read more

OneDigital Health and Benefits

Benefits in General

Biden Administration to Review Rules for Employee Health and Retirement Plans

"Congress might review recently finalized Trump-era rules effecting health plan coverage. Targets could include a [DOL] and [HHS] rule to allow grandfathered group plans to impose higher cost-sharing requirements, a DOL, Treasury and HHS (tri-agency) rule requiring health insurers and self-insured plans to disclose price and cost-sharing information, and an HHS rule to pass along drug company rebates to patients at the point of sale, among others....

"The [EEOC] on Jan. 7 released proposed rules limiting the value of incentives employers may use to encourage employee participation in wellness programs that track employees' health data. On Jan. 20, however, the Biden administration withdrew the proposed regulations from publication in the Federal Register until his newly appointed EEOC chair, Charlotte Burrows, reviews and approves the rule....

"The Biden transition team's list of regulations to be reviewed includes a November 2020 DOL final rule requiring sponsors of retirement plans to evaluate investments based solely on financial risk and return factors except when nonfinancial factors are used as a 'tie breaker' between funds with similar performance expectations....

"Another DOL final rule expected to be reviewed by the new administration addresses fiduciary requirements for professionals who recommend investments to 401(k) plan participants, allowing advisors to receive compensation from mutual fund providers while holding them liable if they fail to act in the best interest of those they advise." Icon
to read more

Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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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