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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 22, 2021


[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline icon One-Year Expiration of Outbreak Period: It's (Probably) Time to Pay Your COBRA Premiums

"[T]he relief afforded under these rules will expire effective February 28, 2021 -- and this expiration would be a 'hard stop,' meaning there will not be a 60 day 'wind down' period as anticipated in the original guidance.... The DOL seems more open to seeking avenues to further extend the Outbreak Period.... The IRS is less keen on issuing any sort of extension."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline icon Extended Deadlines Ending for COBRA, HIPAA Special Enrollments, Benefits Claims and Appeals

"[T]he IRS and DOL may attempt to reinterpret the Outbreak Period relief, such as by saying that it applies on a participant-by-participant basis.... If employers did not communicate the impending February 28, 2021 Outbreak Period expiration, they should make sure they do so now."  MORE >>

HUB International

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Releases Guidance on FSA Flexibility Under the CAA

"Notice 2021-15 allows retroactive amendments to health FSAs and HRAs to cover OTC medicines and drugs, and menstrual care products as of January 1, 2020.... Notice 2021-15 also clarifies that the spend down feature under a health FSA does not relieve the employer of its requirement to offer COBRA continuation coverage under the health FSA."  MORE >>

Miller Johnson

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon FSA Issues Resolved in New IRS Guidance

"[I]ssues addressed by the IRS in [Notice 2021-15]: ... [1] Carryover amounts do not affect FSA contribution limits ... [2] HSA eligibility ... [3] Limiting health FSA spend down access to YTD contributions ... [4] Prospective election change relief not limited to FSAs ... [5] Limiting election reductions to amounts already reimbursed ... [6] Cafeteria plan retroactive amendment deadline ... [7] The odd dependent care FSA age limit increase to age 14 in 2020 ... [8] Employer-imposed restrictions on relief permitted."  MORE >>

ABD Insurance & Financial Services

New Format for BenefitsLink Newsletters -- Better View on Smartphones

"If you're using a smartphone to read these newsletters, our new format means you'll see the text in a larger size, and you won't need to turn your phone sideways! (People are using smartphones more and more -- who knew?) If you have any trouble with the new format or you have any comments, contact us. Thanks!"  MORE >>


Navigating Voluntary COVID-19 Vaccination Programs and Incentives

"Armed with the understanding that voluntary vaccination programs are generally permissible provided they are truly voluntary, the question arises: can employers affirmatively incentivize employees to become vaccinated? And if so, how do employers design incentives that ensure their vaccination program remains truly voluntary and does not in effect force participation in potential violation of the anti-discrimination laws?"  MORE >>


In Control: Common Ownership and Employee Benefits

"Whether or not entities are part of a controlled group can have wide-ranging benefits implications.... The Affordable Care Act ... COBRA ... Non-discrimination rules ... Medicare secondary payer rules."  MORE >>

HUB International

Benefits in General

Making Sure It Hurts: Increased Penalties for ERISA Violations

"The increased penalties generally apply to reporting and disclosure failures if the penalty is assessed after January 15, 2021, and if the violation occurred after November 2, 2015. [A table] compares penalty amounts assessed for violations after January 15, 2020, through January 15, 2021, to penalty amounts assessed after January 15, 2021."  MORE >>

McDermott Will & Emery

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Plan Consultant
for Advanced Plan Designs, LLC View job as Plan Consultant
for Advanced Plan Designs, LLC

Plan Consultant

Advanced Plan Designs, LLC

Telecommute / Springfield MO

View job as Summer Law Clerk (Pathways Intern)
for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Summer Law Clerk (Pathways Intern)

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Telecommute / Washington DC

Press Releases

IRI Announces New Board Chair

Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

Fisher Phillips Adds Employee Benefits Associate in Atlanta

Fisher Phillips

Newly Posted Webcasts and Conferences

COVID-19 Legislative Update: Retirement, Health and Tax Provisions in Budget Reconciliation Bill

February 25, 2021 WEBCAST

Groom Law Group

ERISA Covered Health and Welfare Plan Administration: Compliance, Fiduciary Liability, DOL Enforcement Actions

April 14, 2021 WEBCAST


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Do the COBRA and HIPAA Outbreak Periods End on February 28, 2021?

Kushner & Company

Proposed COVID-19 Plan Would Subsidize COBRA Coverage Through Sept. 2021

Watko Benefit Group

How to Prepare for a Unified Benefits Plan During a Merger and Acquisition

Tango Health

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587.

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