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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 19, 2021

3 Jobs Today


[Guidance Overview]

ARPA Provides Tax Credits for Voluntary Paid Sick and Family Leave

"[B]ecause the tax credits are for qualifying leave employers voluntarily provide; there is no hard start date to provide benefits (only an end date for the tax credits) and no mandate to provide the leave in the first place."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

ARPA's COBRA Subsidy: New Obligations, and Unanswered Questions

"What types of terminations of employment are 'involuntary?' ... How does the subsidy apply in the case of severance or other arrangements that provide for alternative forms of continuation coverage? ... How will MEWAs and third party plan sponsors such as PEOs take the tax credit? ... How extensive must an employer's efforts be with respect to former employees who may be assistance-eligible employees but who the employer has difficulty locating?"  MORE >>

Stevens & Lee

[Guidance Overview]

American Rescue Plan Act: COBRA Subsidy Relief and Dependent Care FSA Limit Increase

"In calculating premiums for COBRA coverage, the group health plan can include the costs paid by both the employee and the employer, plus an additional 2% for administrative costs. The COBRA subsidy provided for under the Act will cover both employer and employee costs, plus the 2% administrative fee (if any)."  MORE >>

Trucker Huss

[Guidance Overview]

New DOL Rules: Employers Need to Notify Participants of COBRA, Special Enrollment and Claims Deadlines

"The DOL's solution: plan administrators should apply the term 'Outbreak Period' on a person-by-person basis, considering the circumstances of each individual participant and when their outbreak period began. This means that it is a plan administrator's responsibility to determine each individual participant's 'Outbreak Period' and toll the applicable deadlines for up to a year from that specific date."  MORE >>

Frost Brown Todd LLC

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Clarifies Relief for Health FSA Benefits Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

"While a health FSA plan still cannot have both a grace period and a carryover in effect for the same plan year, [Notice 2021-15] gives employers the flexibility, in a plan amendment, to suspend a grace period provision to apply the expanded carryover relief for a plan year or to suspend a carryover provision to apply the extended grace period relief for a plan year."  MORE >>

Faegre Drinker

[Guidance Overview]

California to Enact New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirement

"[T]his new requirement applies to employers with more than 25 employees and establishes a new 'bank' of COVID-19 related sick leave for covered employees for 2021 -- even if they were previously provided such leave in 2020."  MORE >>

Fisher Phillips

How to Choose Between High-Deductible Health Plans and Traditional Health Plans

"Consider the ages of your employees.... [L]ook at enrollment stats, spending behavior, and other information from previous years ... [C]hoosing what health insurance options to offer could have a major impact on labor costs -- as well as employee satisfaction."  MORE >>

Connect Your Care

Texas Appellate Court Affirms Temporary Injunction Barring San Antonio's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

"This recent ruling means that San Antonio's PSL Ordinance is now in the same boat as other PSL ordinances passed in the Lone Star State (Dallas and Austin)." [Washington v. Associated Builders & Contractors of South Texas Inc., No. 04-20-00004-CV (Tex. 4th Ct. App. Mar. 10, 2021)]  MORE >>

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon ICHRA: Three Changes Needed for Prime Time

"As ICHRAs begin to mirror the rapid growth of 401(k) plan with more industry and employer awareness, they will also have growing pains ... This post highlights three areas for improvement that could instantly begin paving the way to the inevitable ICHRA mainstream adoption if quickly addressed by the regulatory departments."  MORE >>

ABD Insurance & Financial Services

Montana Considers Adopting Mini-COBRA Requirements for Small Employers

"[A] bill moving through the Montana Legislature would create a 'mini-COBRA' law that would require any small business with a group health insurance plan to offer continuing coverage for up to 18 months at the employee's expense starting in 2023. Montana is one of only six states without a mini-COBRA program[.]"  MORE >>

Kaiser Health News

District Court Finds No Waiver of Evidence of Insurability Where Insured Paid Life Insurance Premiums for Ten Years

"The outcome of this case is an important reminder for employees who have ERISA-governed life insurance policies to review those policies and make sure they have complied with all requirements. One cannot simply rely on the employer or insurance company to proactively ensure an employee is qualified for the coverage for which she is paying premiums." [Shields v. United Of Omaha Life Ins. Co., No. 19-448 (D. Me. Mar. 16, 2021)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

The World According to ARP: Key Employee Benefits Changes

"Plan sponsors will need to track all assistance-eligible individuals receiving the COBRA subsidy and related amounts in order to take advantage of the employer tax credit for the cost of such COBRA premiums.... Single-employer pension plan sponsors should consult with their actuaries to determine the effect that the new pension funding stabilization rules will have on the sponsor's funding obligations, including the effect on annual funding notices."  MORE >>

Sidley Austin LLP

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Regulatory Support Associate
for Transamerica

Regulatory Support Associate


Telecommute / MA / NY

View job as Retirement Compliance Consultant
for Transamerica

Retirement Compliance Consultant


Telecommute / IA / MA / OH

View job as Defined Benefit Implementation Consultant
for Intac Actuarial Services, Inc., part of FuturePlan by Ascensus

Defined Benefit Implementation Consultant

Intac Actuarial Services, Inc., part of FuturePlan by Ascensus


Press Releases

ICMA-RC Announces New Brand Name to Reflect Expanded Vision


The Health Plan and DisposeRx Partner to Increase Opioid Prevention Initiatives in West Virginia

The Health Plan

Webcasts and Conferences

COBRA Compliance Update: Easing the Outbreak Period Suspensions, and COBRA Subsidies to the Rescue

April 1, 2021 WEBCAST


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

ARPA COBRA Subsidy: When Is a Termination of Employment Involuntary?


Employers' Top Questions About ARPA's COBRA Subsidy

OneDigital Health and Benefits

Tax Changes for Childcare May Present DCAP Challenges


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

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