logo logo

Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 23, 2021


[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon IRS Provides Clarity Regarding FSA Relief Available Under Consolidated Appropriations Act

"IRS Notice 2021-15 ... provides welcome clarity regarding several of the lingering questions, as well as some additional relief and guidance.... [This article includes] common questions from employers regarding the CAA relief and a summary of the answers provided by IRS Notice 2021-15."  MORE >>

Verrill Dana LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon IRS Clarifies FSA and Other Relief

"[T]he most visible change is significantly broader flexibility for both health care and dependent care FSAs.... [Notice 2021-15] reaffirms that these enhanced carryovers and grace periods will not cause a health FSA lose 'excepted benefit' status. This means a health FSA will not have to comply with all the [ACA] mandates as a result of adopting one of these provisions."  MORE >>

HUB International

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides New Guidance on Health FSAs and Dependent Care Assistance Programs

"New Notice 2021-15 clarifies the latest temporary rules regarding health FSAs and DCAPS included in the Act.... [E]mployers that choose to adopt any of the 2021 changes must formally amend their plans to do so. The amendment can be retroactive, but must be adopted not later than December 31 of the first calendar year beginning after the end of the plan year in which the amendment is effective."  MORE >>


Ninth Circuit: Employer Failed to Adequately Notify Participant of Group Life Insurance Conversion Rights

"After reviewing both the certificate of coverage and the SPD, the Ninth Circuit determined that they were ambiguous as to exactly when the employee's 31-day conversion period began.... The court also observed that the employer: [1] had continued to pay premiums for the employee after February 29 (thereby increasing the potential for confusion on when the 31-day conversion period began); and [2] was aware of the employee's terminal condition, and should have realized that the employee would be interested in maintaining his life insurance coverage." [Estate of Foster v. American Marine SVS Group Benefit Plan, No. 20-35023 (9th Cir. Feb. 9, 2021)]  MORE >>

The Wagner Law Group

Building Effective Employee Wellness Programs That Last

"Three basic components ground effective employee wellness programs ... blood, broccoli and exercise, or BB&E ... Wellbeing can also be associated with things that are a little harder to measure, such as mental health and financial security.... Employee education is essential to any effective employee wellness program."  MORE >>

Corporate Synergies

High Deductibles May Encourage Smarter Patient Decisions About Low-Value Care Use

"Over the three years after a firm began offering a health plan with a deductible of at least $500, its spending for a set of 24 low-value outpatient services fell by an average of 13.7% compared to firms that never offered such a plan.... The percent reductions in spending were significantly larger for low-value services than for all outpatient care and all laboratory services, suggesting some ability and willingness of patients to selectively curtail low-value care."  MORE >>

National Institute for Health Care Management [NIHCM]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice 2021-02: Texas Severe Winter Storm Victims

"Victims of this month's winter storms in Texas will have until June 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments ... [T]he IRS is providing this relief to the entire state of Texas.... The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on February 11."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

District Court Denies Dismissal for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies; Highlights Importance of Communication About Appeal Procedures

"The court explained how Ferguson's attorney asked the Plan Administrator to explain in writing whether there was a grievance policy, and he did not respond to that request.... The court found that Ferguson and McClinton did not have to appeal the denial of their administrative breach of fiduciary claim for two reasons: [1] Section 8.7 states that they 'may appeal;' and [2] requiring them to appeal would be a futile exercise because the Retirement Committee already decided Drake's appeal which involves the same claims and sought-after remedies." [Ferguson v. BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc., No. 19-1135 (N.D. Ala. Feb. 19, 2021)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

In Memoriam: William R. Whitehurst

"He practiced law for 35 years with Womble Bond Dickinson until he was forced to retire due to health reasons. At the time of his retirement, he was the managing partner of the firm's Winston-Salem office and a member of its Firm Management Committee. While practicing law, he was recognized regularly for excellence in corporate, employee benefits, and tax law by Best Lawyers in America, and he was named as the Triad's Lawyer of the Year multiple times for employee benefits law."  MORE >>

Winston-Salem Journal

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Manager/Supervisor of Benefits and Payroll Compensation
for Virginia Farm Bureau View job as Manager/Supervisor of Benefits and Payroll Compensation
for Virginia Farm Bureau

Manager/Supervisor of Benefits and Payroll Compensation

Virginia Farm Bureau

Richmond VA

View job as Legal Director
for Pension Rights Center View job as Legal Director
for Pension Rights Center

Legal Director

Pension Rights Center

Telecommute / Washington DC

View job as Compliance Consultant
for SMA Services, Inc.

Compliance Consultant

SMA Services, Inc.


View job as Senior Legal Content Specialist- Benefits Law
for Bloomberg Industry Group

Senior Legal Content Specialist- Benefits Law

Bloomberg Industry Group

Arlington VA

Press Releases

Centivo Expands Its Health Plan Into Connecticut


Court Restores More Than $42k to Employee Benefit Plan of Defunct Detroit Dental Services Provider After U.S. DOL Complaint

Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Newly Posted Webcasts and Conferences

How Employers Can Help Employees Get the Most Out of Their Health Coverage and FSAs in 2021

February 26, 2021 WEBCAST

Groom Law Group

Peeling Back the Layers of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA)

March 9, 2021 WEBCAST


Annual Legal & Regulatory Update

March 11, 2021 WEBCAST

Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Northeast Ohio Chapter

Recommendations for Plan Sponsors, Fiduciaries, and Service Providers From a Plaintiff’s Litigation Perspective

March 18, 2021 WEBCAST

Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

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


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

HUB International

IRS Releases Guidance on FSA Flexibility Under the CAA

Miller Johnson

Unsubscribe  |   Change Email Address

Search Past Issues   |   Privacy Policy

Submit an Article   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise Here

Copyright 2021, 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, 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.

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

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers. We are not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.