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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 2, 2021

4 Jobs Today (scroll to view)


[Guidance Overview]

'Outbreak Period' Guidance Creates Migraines for Plan Sponsors

"The most challenging aspect of the recent guidance is that it admonishes plan sponsors to reissue notices, like COBRA notices, that when first issued were not entirely accurate (as to election and premium payment deadlines) ... The notices will almost certainly not have been accurate because last spring few people -- if any -- expected the presidential national emergency to last 12 months."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Every COBRA, Special Enrollment, or Claims Event Gets Its Own COVID-Extended Deadline

"This new interpretation only makes the administrative concerns more pronounced since employers and their administrators will now have to track dates on an event-by-event basis.... Self-insured plans in particular need to ensure their stop loss policies don't have any potential gaps that may be exposed by claims paid later than customary or allowed by the policy due to these extended deadlines."  MORE >>

HUB International

[Guidance Overview]

Mental Health Parity: New Comparative Analysis Required

"Group health plans that provide coverage for mental health or substance use disorder benefits and are therefore subject to mental health parity rules will soon be required to prepare a comparative analysis and have it available upon request."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Flexibility for Employers with Cafeteria Plans

"This article highlights the 20 key takeaways from Notice 2021-15 for employers with cafeteria plans.... Carryovers and grace periods ... Eligibility to contribute to an HSA ... Mid-year election changes ... Post-participation Health FSA reimbursements"  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Colorado Clarifies the Obligation to Provide Public Health Emergency Leave to New Hires and Part-Time Employees

"[T]he rules make clear that the amount of [public health emergency leave (PHEL)] to which part-time employees are entitled is tied to when the employee requests PHEL ... The second change makes clear that employees who are hired during a public health emergency are entitled to PHEL ... [W]hile these rules do not take effect until April 14, 2021, employers can rely on them immediately."  MORE >>


COBRA Subsidy Passes House

"The temporary subsidy would be available to [any] employee (or family member) who: [1] Is enrolled in COBRA, or becomes eligible for COBRA, on or after April 1, 2021, and before ... September 30, 2021 [or] [2] Became eligible for COBRA prior to April 1, 2021, and the period of COBRA coverage to which they would be entitled includes any month between April and September of 2021 -- even if the individual did not elect COBRA when it was initially offered or elected COBRA but discontinued it before April 1, 2021"  MORE >>


Business Associate Liability Under HIPAA

"[T]his article outlines what a business associate is, what a business associate's obligations are, how a business associate can be liable for HIPAA violations, and tips to avoid such liability."  MORE >>

Frost Brown Todd LLC

Severance Slip Ups: Critical Errors When Providing Severance Payments

"Not having a written agreement with a release ... Failing to consider the age of your employee ... Improperly including a confidentiality provision ... Including an overbroad/narrow release of claims."  MORE >>


Second Circuit Finds Arbitration Agreement Is Enforceable with Scope of Claims Provision Severed

"The court explained that where provisions of an arbitration agreement operate as a prospective waiver of a party’s right to pursue statutory remedies, the agreement would be unenforceable as against public policy. But here, Aflac represented to the court that it would waive Paragraph 10.7.1 and it is judicially estopped from revoking the waiver." [American Family Life Assurance Company of New York v. Baker, No. 20-1435 (2d Cir. Mar. 1, 2021; unpub.)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Outbreak Extension Period: When Does It End?

"[T]he Plan Administrator could choose to voluntarily extend the tolling period until the end of the Outbreak Period for all impacted deadlines.... [F]or fully-insured coverage, the carrier would need to agree (which may be unlikely); and for self-funded plans with stop loss coverage, it would need to be permitted under the stop loss policy."  MORE >>

Trucker Huss

District Court: Benefit Denial Letter Omission Renders Limitations Period Unenforceable

"An Illinois federal court recently held that the failure to identify a contractual limitations period in a benefits denial letter renders the limitations period unenforceable, even before applicable regulations were changed to expressly require that the limitations period be included." [Hewitt v. Lincoln Financial Corp., No. 18-8235 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 2, 2021)]  MORE >>

Faegre Drinker

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Investment Advisor
for SWBC Retirement Plan Services View job as Investment Advisor
for SWBC Retirement Plan Services

Investment Advisor

SWBC Retirement Plan Services

Austin TX

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Premier Plan Consultants View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Premier Plan Consultants

Retirement Plan Administrator

Premier Plan Consultants

Telecommute / San Diego CA

View job as Sr. Actuarial Analyst
for Newport

Sr. Actuarial Analyst


Chicago IL

View job as Cash Balance Plan Administrator
for Cash Balance Actuaries, LLC

Cash Balance Plan Administrator

Cash Balance Actuaries, LLC


Press Releases

Retirement Industry Specialists Create a Powerful New Partnership

The Cerrado Group

PSCA’s 2021 Non-Qualified Plan Survey is now available.

PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

Vitality Releases Survey Results of 32k+ Members and Global Toolkit on COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance


OneDigital Acquires Spiralight Group Benefits

OneDigital Health and Benefits

Webcasts and Conferences

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

March 18, 2021 WEBCAST

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

Health Benefits While on Leave

March 23, 2021 WEBCAST

ABD Insurance & Financial Services

2021 Health & Welfare Benefits Update

March 30, 2021 WEBCAST

Nixon Peabody LLP

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

DOL Issues Guidance on Outbreak Period Extensions

Groom Law Group

COVID-19 Deadline Extensions -- No More Time Outs But No Single Deadline Either

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Suspended Deadlines Under ERISA, Part Two: Sound the Alarm!

Morgan Lewis

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

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