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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 26, 2021

6 Jobs Today (scroll to view)


[Guidance Overview]

The Medicare Enrollment COBRA Extension

"Where an employee enrolls in Medicare shortly before a COBRA qualifying event that is triggered by termination of employment or reduction in hours, ... [a special rule] provides an extended COBRA maximum coverage period for the covered spouse and dependents."  MORE >>

ABD Insurance & Financial Services

[Guidance Overview]

EEOC Withdraws Proposed Wellness Incentive Rules

"One of the EEOC Commissioners ... [stated] on February 18, 2021, that the rules remain under consideration at EEOC ... The incentive issue has particular currency and importance today as many employers consider whether to offer incentives to encourage employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations."  MORE >>

Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance Makes FSAs More Flexible

"For plan years ending in 2021, an employer can permit an employee to change his/her FSA election mid-plan year, regardless of reason.... [T]he employer can allow the employee to receive reimbursements for expenses incurred starting on January 1, 2021. This is a significant departure from the general FSA rules[.]"  MORE >>

Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Clarifies FSA Relief in CAA, Provides More Flexibility for Cafeteria Plan Elections

"In this most recent notice, the IRS broadened the relief ... so that an employer may allow election changes for all pre-tax health benefits in the 2021 plan year without a qualifying reason. The rules retain the written attestation requirement of other coverage for revoking medical coverage."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

COBRA/HIPAA Outbreak Guidance – an Answer (Finally)

"Effectively, the guidance says that all of the 'pause' buttons are on an individual-by-individual rolling basis. Thus for example, an employee who terminated prior to March 1, 2020 but whose COBRA 60-day election timeline had already begun to run but not yet expired, the timeline suspensions will end on February 28, 2021."  MORE >>

Kushner & Company

District Court Finds Fiduciary Breach in Misuse of Health Plan Assets and Failure to Provide Notice of Coverage Lapse

"Amounts withheld from employees' paychecks for their portion of medical insurance premiums typically had not been separated from other funds in the employer's general operating account, and it appeared that the employer used the funds to pay operating expenses." [Hammer v. Johnson Senior Ctr., No. 19-027 (W.D. Va. Jan. 21, 2021)  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Doctor Lacks Standing to Bring ERISA Claims Due to Health Plans' Anti-Assignment Provisions

"The court noted that the 'appeals raise an unsettled issue about whether an ERISA plan administrator or its claims agent may waive its right to rely on an anti-assignment provision in an ERISA-covered plan,' but it declined to decide that issue because even if waiver is available, Defendants did not waive their ability to assert the anti-assignment defense." [Griffin v. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., No. 18-10417 (11th Cir. Feb. 24, 2021)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

Proposed FAMILY Act Would Usher in Federal Paid Leave Law

"Unlike the [FMLA], the FAMILY Act would apply to all employers across the country regardless of their size. Employees would be entitled to 60 days of partially paid leave, per year, at two-thirds of their regular pay, capped at $4,000 a month. The leave would be funded through a payroll tax of 0.20%."  MORE >>

Fisher Phillips

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of EBSA Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak

"Subject to the statutory duration limitation in ERISA section 518 and Code section 7508A, all group health plans, disability and other employee welfare benefit plans, and employee pension benefit plans subject to ERISA or the Code must disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until sixty [60] days after the announced end of the National Emergency or such other date announced by the Agencies in a future notification (the 'Outbreak Period") for all plan participants, beneficiaries, qualified beneficiaries, or claimants wherever located in determining the following periods and date:

  1. The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request special enrollment under ERISA section 701(f) and Code section 9801(f),
  2. The 60-day election period for COBRA continuation coverage under ERISA section 605 and Code section 4980B(f)(5),
  3. The date for making COBRA premium payments pursuant to ERISA section 602(2)(C) and (3) and Code section 4980B(f)(2)(B)(iii) and (C),
  4. The date for individuals to notify the plan of a qualifying event or determination of disability under ERISA section 606(a)(3) and Code section 4980B(f)(6)(C),
  5. The date within which individuals may file a benefit claim under the plan's claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503-1,
  6. The date within which claimants may file an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan's claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503-1(h),
  7. The date within which claimants may file a request for an external review after receipt of an adverse benefit determination or final internal adverse benefit determination pursuant to 29 CFR 2590.715-2719(d)(2)(i) and 26 CFR 54.9815-2719(d)(2)(i), and
  8. The date within which a claimant may file information to perfect a request for external review upon a finding that the request was not complete pursuant to 29 CFR 2590.715-2719(d)(2)(ii) and 26 CFR 54.9815-2719(d)(2)(ii)....

"With respect to group health plans, and their sponsors and administrators, the Outbreak Period shall be disregarded when determining the date for providing a COBRA election notice under ERISA section 606(c) and Code section 4980B(f)(6)(D)."  MORE >>

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

[Official Guidance]

EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01: Guidance on Continuation of Relief for Employee Benefit Plans and Plan Participants and Beneficiaries Due to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Outbreak

"Individuals and plans with timeframes that are subject to the relief under the Notices will have the applicable periods under the Notices disregarded until the earlier of (a) 1 year from the date they were first eligible for relief, or (b) 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency (the end of the Outbreak Period). On the applicable date, the timeframes for individuals and plans with periods that were previously disregarded under the Notices will resume. In no case will a disregarded period exceed 1 year."  MORE >>

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

[Official Guidance]

IRS Announces Tax Relief for Oklahoma Severe Winter Storm Victims

"Individuals and households affected by severe winter storms that reside or have a business in all 77 counties in Oklahoma qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after February 8, 2021, and before June 15, 2021 are postponed through June 15, 2021.... Taxpayers also have until June 15 to make 2020 IRA contributions."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Prime Benefits View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Prime Benefits

Retirement Plan Administrator

Prime Benefits

Telecommute / Baltimore MD

View job as Director, Compliance - Insurance
for Transamerica

Director, Compliance - Insurance


Telecommute / Harrison NY / Norwood MA

View job as TPA Retirement Plan Administrator
for CPS Inc.

TPA Retirement Plan Administrator

CPS Inc.


View job as Total Rewards Specialist
for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc

Total Rewards Specialist

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc

Telecommute / Allentown PA

View job as ESOP Retirement Account Administrator, Senior
for Alerus

ESOP Retirement Account Administrator, Senior



View job as Pension Plan Consultant
for Pension Plan Specialists, PC

Pension Plan Consultant

Pension Plan Specialists, PC

Telecommute / Vancouver WA

Press Releases

Mark Farrah Associates' 5500 Employer Health Plus Simplifies the Analysis of Employer Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

Mark Farrah Associates [MFA]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Suspended Deadlines Under ERISA: Is It Time to Restart the Clock?

Morgan Lewis

Health Plan Cost Transparency Rules Will Apply in 2022 and Beyond

McAfee & Taft

IRS Provides Additional COVID-19 Relief for Cafeteria Plans

McDermott Will & Emery

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

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