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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 26, 2021

4 Jobs Today


[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Ann. 2021-7: Amounts Paid for Certain Personal Protective Equipment Treated as Medical Expenses (PDF)

"[A]mounts paid for personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19 PPE) are treated as amounts paid for medical care under Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code ... [T]he amounts are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).... Group health plans, including health FSAs and HRAs, under the terms of which expenses for COVID-19 PPE may not be reimbursed, may be amended pursuant to this announcement to provide for reimbursements of expenses for COVID-19 PPE incurred for any period beginning on or after January 1, 2020[.]"  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon IRS Clarifies Pandemic-Related Relief for Dependent Care FSAs

"Employers that wish to provide the Relief will need to choose between providing the carryover opportunity or an extended Grace Period because the Notice confirms that a dependent care FSA may not have both.... [T]he extended Grace Period would allow employees who have ceased participation to continue to incur claims until the end of the next plan year."  MORE >>

Faegre Drinker

[Guidance Overview]

Increased ACA Health Insurance Subsidies Provide Savings Opportunity for Small Employers

"The new 0% contribution rate means that eligible households with income up to 150% FPL can now get health insurance completely paid for by the government.... Small employers frequently overlook the opportunity for the considerable savings that could be realized by making some employees eligible for subsidized coverage through the Marketplace."  MORE >>

Kaufman & Canoles, P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Side by Side Comparison of California Paid Leave Mandates

"This chart provides a snapshot of paid leave laws that may cover California workers affected by COVID-19. [It includes] a comparison of California laws on paid family leave, paid sick leave, and 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave."  MORE >>

California Department of Industrial Relations

[Guidance Overview]

California Enacts Retroactive Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Employees Impacted by COVID-19

"[A] California employer with more than 25 employees nationwide is covered by the SPSL law.... [and an] employer with one employee in California but 25 or more additional employees nationwide is required to provide the SPSL to the California employee."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

California Expands Mandate for COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Retroactive to January 1, 2021

"Covered employees that took leave between January 1, 2021 and March 28, 2021, for a 'qualifying reason' have the right to ask their employer for a 'retroactive' payment. The employer must pay the 'retroactive' 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave by the next payday for the next full pay period[.]"  MORE >>

CDF Labor Law LLP

U.S. Employers Making Moves to Facilitate COVID-19 Vaccination of Employees

"[M]ore than eight in 10 employers (84%) agree immunization of the population will allow the country to reactivate the economy, and 80% of employers say it will allow them to move to a new normal in terms of returning to the workplace. Yet, relatively few employers (10%) believe vaccines should be mandatory."  MORE >>

Willis Towers Watson

Group Health Plan Compliance Is Harder Now Than Ever Before

"Not one but TWO major federal laws that directly affect many aspects of private health insurance and employer-sponsored benefits became law in the last three months.... Plus there is the myriad of regulations, notices, and other critical federal guidance that's landed on our laps over the past few months."  MORE >>

MZQ Consulting, LLC

Making Mental Health Parity a Reality: The Challenge Continues

"Despite the Parity Act, insurance providers across the county too often still discriminate against those suffering from mental health conditions. That discrimination takes many forms."  MORE >>

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Embracing the New Digital Age: Creating Your Virtual Employee Benefits and Engagement Strategy

"Don't start with the technology ... Align HR, IT and technology providers around the common goal ... Explore new omnichannel tools for a better employee experience ... Rely on data for ease and personalization ... Engage your workforce with effective communication ... Change is a constant -- reevaluate your strategy often."  MORE >>


High Risk Issue icon Staggering Increase in Ransomware Attacks During 2021 Cost Healthcare Industry $21 Billion

"Ransomware attacks cost the healthcare industry $20.8 billion in downtime in 2020, which is double the number from 2019 ... 92 individual ransomware attacks occurred at healthcare organizations, and 600 clinics, hospitals and organizations were affected.,,, [N]ore than 18 million patient records were impacted ... a 470% increase from 2019[.]"  MORE >>


When Is a Severance Plan Not an ERISA Plan?

"The court had the most difficultly evaluating whether the [Project Completion Incentive Plan] required the employer to exercise discretion to a sufficient degree to justify ERISA governance.... The court acknowledged that there was no 'clear dividing line on when cause-type determinations involve the requisite level of discretion,' but held that it was not necessary to consider that further, because the PCIP does not require a 'for cause' determination." [Atkins v. CB&I, L.L.C., No. 20-30004 (5th Cir. Mar. 22, 2021)]  MORE >>

Robinson & Cole LLP

Benefits in General

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Changes Ahead for Employee Benefit Plan Audits

"In July 2019, the AICPA Auditing Standards Board (ASB) issued AICPA Statement on Auditing Standards No. 136, 'Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA' ... [which] prescribes certain new performance requirements for ERISA plan financial-statement audits and changes the form and content of the related auditor's report."  MORE >>

The Central New York Business Journal

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as 401(k) Administrator
for TPS Group

401(k) Administrator

TPS Group

Telecommute / North Haven CT

View job as Benefits Advisor
for Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA]

Benefits Advisor

Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA]

Telecommute / CA / FL / GA / IL / KY / MA / MD / MO / NY / PA / TX / WA

View job as Manager, Plan Consulting Reporting Services
for Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group

Manager, Plan Consulting Reporting Services

Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group

Wakefield MA / NH / RI

View job as 401(k) Support Staff
for Retirement, LLC

401(k) Support Staff

Retirement, LLC

Oklahoma City OK

Press Releases

OneDigital Acquires Your Benefits Partner, LLC

OneDigital Health and Benefits

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Fiduciary Institute Series 2021: Part 2 - Benefit Claims

April 7, 2021 WEBCAST

American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Fiduciary Institute Series 2021: Part 1 - Introduction to Fiduciary Governance

April 7, 2021 WEBCAST

American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Washington State Long-Term Care Program: Employers Should Take Notice and Act Quickly

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Risks of Providing Employee Benefits for Those Not Actively at Work

Ice Miller LLP

ARPA Increases Limit for Annual Contributions to Dependent Care FSAs

Epstein Becker Green

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

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