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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 16, 2021

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[Guidance Overview]

Administering and Communicating the New COBRA Subsidy

"ARPA requires employers to update their current COBRA forms to explain the special subsidy rights and include other specified information.... [DOL] is required to provide model language for the election notice by April 10.... DOL is required to provide a model [Notice of Expiration of Period of Premium Assistance] by April 25.  MORE >>

Nixon Peabody LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Upcoming Deadline icon The COBRA Premium Subsidy Law: Understanding Your Compliance Obligations (PDF)

"Only the person to whom the COBRA premiums are payable is entitled to the ARPA tax credit. The person to whom premiums are payable varies depending on the type of plan involved. Importantly, the ARPA tax credit is not always available to the employer of the affected employees."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

ARPA's COBRA Subsidies: Similar to ARRA, But Some Important Differences

"[Q]ualified beneficiaries who are eligible for COBRA for other reasons, such as death of a covered employee, would not be eligible for a subsidy. Employers will probably need to maintain supporting documentation regarding the qualified beneficiary's COBRA election and a declaration of the covered employee's involuntary termination or reduction in hours."  MORE >>

Eversheds Sutherland

[Guidance Overview]

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Provides Full COBRA Premium Subsidies and More

"Presumably, an individual who hasn't yet elected COBRA as of April 1, 2021 but is still eligible to make an election under the extended time period may choose: [1] An election under ARPA that takes effect April 1, 2021 at no cost; or [2] An election that is retroactive to the date coverage was lost (but COBRA premiums must be paid for coverage before April 1, 2021)."  MORE >>

Miller Johnson

[Guidance Overview]

Can Employers Offer an Incentive to Employees to Get the COVID Vaccine? Probably, But Stay Tuned

"With the withdrawal of the EEOC's rules, agency guidance on the permissibility of offering incentives continues to be silent in the context of a pandemic and employers must rely on previous interpretations of the laws. "  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Clarifies Cafeteria Plan Flexibility Into 2022

"While Example 3 of [Notice 2021-15] indicates that more than $5,000 can be reimbursed ... Code section 129(a), which clearly limits the dependent care exclusion from gross income to $5,000 of services rendered during a taxable year, was not amended."  MORE >>

Fraser Trebilcock

[Guidance Overview]

Colorado Issues Clarifying Rules on Public Health Emergency Paid Sick Leave

"The Rules clarify that an employee's paid sick leave entitlement under PHE-PSL is dependent on both [1] the employee's status as a full-time or part-time employee, and [2] the time at which the employee requests the PHE-PSL."  MORE >>

Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

On the Shot Clock: New York Mandates Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccinations

"The law is effective immediately, and will expire and be deemed repealed on December 31, 2022.... The law does not appear to require employers to pay employees retroactively for time they may have taken off to receive one or more vaccine doses (although some employers may feel compelled to do so as a matter of internal equity)."  MORE >>

Nixon Peabody LLP

[Guidance Overview]

New York Enacts Paid Vaccination Leave Law

"[T]he law ... leaves many unanswered questions, such as how much advance notice an employee must provide an employer in order to take leave, what proof of vaccination may be requested of an employee, and whether the law applies to any future vaccination 'boosters' if any are necessary."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

ASOP No. 6 Practice Note: Development of Age-Specific Retiree Health Cost Assumptions, Including Applications to Pooled and Non-Pooled Health Plans (PDF)

48 pages. "This practice note provides information regarding current and emerging practices of actuaries in the development of age-specific claims cost assumptions."  MORE >>

American Academy of Actuaries

ERISA Health & Welfare Benefit Plans Need Administrative Committees, Too

"[Many] employers make important fiduciary decisions with respect to their welfare benefit plans -- such as the selection and monitoring of health plan third-party administrators -- on an ad hoc basis without any formal fiduciary structure."  MORE >>

Verrill Dana LLP

What Will the Healthcare Industry Look Like in the Next 5 to 10 Years? (PDF)

13 pages. "Over the next five to 10 years ... the industry will continue to evolve on several fronts, including access to and the delivery of care, financing and payment arrangements, patient care and engagement and population health. This publication covers those areas, ... and concludes with advice on preparing for the future of healthcare."  MORE >>


Lessons from State Balance Billing Laws: Taking the Disputes Out of Dispute Resolution

"Fourteen states currently operate IDR systems, which use arbitration to resolve payment disputes, yet their structures and dispute outcomes vary."  MORE >>

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

ERISA Advisory Council to Meet April 26

"[T]he 205th open meeting of [the ERISA Advisory Council] will be held via a teleconference on Monday, April 26, 2021 ... from 1:00 p.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. (ET).... The purpose of the open meeting is to set the topics to be addressed by the Council in 2021 ... [and to] receive an update from leadership of [EBSA]."  MORE >>

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

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon ARPA Employee Benefits Provisions

"ARPA-21 contains numerous employee benefits and executive compensation provisions, including premium assistance for [COBRA] health plan continuation coverage ... single-employer defined benefit plan funding relief, financial assistance to multiemployer pension plans, and an expansion of the definition of 'covered employee' under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code."  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Outbreak Period Nightmare: Employee Benefit Deadline Extensions Now Based on Individual Case-By-Case Basis

"The Joint Notice only extended the claims procedure deadlines for claimants; it did not explicitly extend the date by which a plan administrator had to respond to claims and appeals.... [T]he plan administrator's deadlines for issuing such adverse benefit determination on claims and appeals would appear to fall within the general notice and disclosure relief provided by the Disaster Relief Notice."  MORE >>

Fraser Trebilcock

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as DC Plan Administrator
for Retirement, LLC View job as DC Plan Administrator
for Retirement, LLC

DC Plan Administrator

Retirement, LLC

Telecommute / Oklahoma City OK / Sioux Falls SD

View job as Retirement Proposal & Implementation, Representative
for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

Retirement Proposal & Implementation, Representative

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

Arlington VA

Press Releases

Mrs401k to offer pooled employer 401k plans at no cost to employers

(How) Has COVID Impacted Health Savings Accounts?

PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

Webcasts and Conferences

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

March 24, 2021 WEBCAST

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

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

March 25, 2021 WEBCAST

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

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

COBRA Subsidies (Finally) Arrive

Foley & Lardner LLP

COBRA Subsidies Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Husch Blackwell

American Rescue Plan Act and the COBRA Subsidy -- Déjà Vu All Over Again

Jackson Walker

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

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