Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 15, 2021

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[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality and Usefulness iconIncentivizing (COVID-19) Vaccinations: What Employers Need to Know

"Employers that offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated may be creating group health plans under [ERISA]. In addition, incentivized vaccination programs may need to comply with [HIPAA] ... [G]uidance issued under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) provides a road map for employers to avoid running afoul of GINA."

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

Extent of Pandemic Extensions of COBRA Deadlines Is Unclear

"[The] rule is clear that disregarding relevant time periods is limited to one year. However, what is not clear is whether the tolling relief expires at the end of this month (i.e., one year from the March 1, 2020 start of the outbreak period), with all tolled periods re-starting for affected individuals, or whether the one year limit is merely a cap to be applied on an individual-by-individual basis."

Proskauer

[Guidance Overview]

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Changes in Sonoma County, San Francisco, and Los Angeles

"[T]he Sonoma County, California Board of Supervisors enacted an urgency ordinance that ... expands coverage under its emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) ordinance ... [T]he San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors adopted ... an ordinance that extends its expiring EPSL ordinance for an additional 60 days ... Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti revised an order requiring employers to provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) by broadening employee coverage[.]"

Littler

[Guidance Overview]

Tips for Assisting Consumers During the COVID Special Enrollment Period (PDF)

"A new special enrollment period (SEP) is available from February 15 to May 15 for states that use HealthCare.gov! Here are a few quick tips and facts on the SEP and calculating income to help you assist consumers during the pandemic and recession."

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

[Guidance Overview]

Congress Extends Tax Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave

"The temporary credit ranges from 12.5% to 25% of wages paid to qualifying employees for up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave per taxable year. However, certain requirements and limitations put the credit out of reach for many employers with paid leave programs."

Mercer

ACA Litigation Merry-Go-Round: 'Round and 'Round We Go

"Several justices, during oral arguments in November, seemed poised to conclude that the question of the individual mandate's constitutionality wasn't even ripe for consideration again, meaning the court might simply dismiss the case without ruling on the mandate's constitutionality."

Lockton

California Individual Mandate Penalties Will Be Issued in 2021

"Form 3895C, issued by the Franchise Tax Board and prepared by California's Health Insurance Marketplace, requires additional reporting obligations for employers that offer self-insured health plans, specifically on who was enrolled in health coverage.... The information must be furnished to employees by January 31, 2021 and filed with California's Franchise Tax Board (FTB) by March 31, 2021."

The ACA Times

Democrats Reintroduce Paid FMLA Bill

"The FAMILY Act (HR 804) would create a federal insurance fund paid for by both employers and employees to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave -- but without providing relief from the existing maze of state and local paid leave laws."

HR Policy Association

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconConsolidated Appropriations Act Provisions That May Require Immediate Action (PDF)

"[1] Partial termination relief ... [2] Disaster-related distribution and loan relief ... [3] Money purchase pension plan distributions ... [4] Flexible spending account (FSA) relief ... [5] Health plan transparency regulations ... [6] No surprise billing ... [7] ACA provider non-discrimination regulations ... [8] State all payer claims databases ... [9] Fee disclosures ... [10] Student loan repayment."

Boutwell Fay LLP

The Year Ahead: COVID-19's Impact on the Employee Benefits Value Proposition [Podcast]

"Employers need to reevaluate their employee benefit programs and policies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, tailoring their offerings to meet employee needs and considering the relief made available with the passage of the CARES and SECURE Acts."

Jackson Lewis P.C.

In Memoriam: Peter E. Haller

"It is with great sadness that the partners, counsel, associates and staff of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP mourn the untimely passing of our partner, colleague and friend, Peter E. Haller. Peter was a partner in the Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Department and leader for the ERISA fiduciary practice."

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Press Releases

TRA Celebrates 25th Anniversary
The Retirement Advantage [TRA]

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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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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