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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 5, 2021

3 Jobs Today


[Guidance Overview]

Issues and Answers on the ARPA Dependent Care FSA Change

"Following passage of CAA21, it dawned on Congress that dependent care FSA balances in 2021 would be very, very high, and come tax time in April 2022, employees would be in for quite a shock when they realized that they would have to pay income tax on upwards of $5,000 in dependent care expenses they thought would be tax-free.... ARPA was designed to solve a problem caused by CAA21; it was not designed to expand dependent care FSA benefits."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

MHPAEA Guidance Addresses Comparative Analysis Disclosures Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act

"The FAQs address compliance with a CAA-21 requirement, effective since early February, under which plans and insurers must provide the Departments their comparative analyses regarding nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs)."  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

[Guidance Overview]

ARPA COBRA Subsidy: Two Bites at the Apple, and Some Additional Food for Thought

"[I]ndividuals making an election will have an opportunity to elect COBRA coverage on a retroactive basis (back to their loss of coverage) or on a prospective basis (starting April 1, 2021) ... While the COBRA subsidy is available for state law continuation coverage ... the special second election period ... may be limited to periods of continuation coverage provided under federal COBRA."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

COBRA Subsidies Under the American Rescue Plan Act

"AEIs who elect COBRA during this special election period will begin COBRA coverage on April 1, 2021, but if the COBRA event occurred before this date, the coverage will still end 18 months from the date they originally became eligible for COBRA.... [To] take advantage of the subsidy, they must make their COBRA elections within the special election period."  MORE >>

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Governor Vetoes and Recommends Amendments to COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Bill

"[T]he Governor exercised his line-item veto power to send the section of the bill mandating COVID-19 emergency sick leave back to the Legislature ... Governor Baker ... has recommended several revisions to the bill, including varying the compensation rate for different types of emergency sick leave and the establishment of a flat tax credit per employee."  MORE >>

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Returns to Philadelphia

"Unlike the prior iteration of the law that sunset on December 31, 2020, this law will stay in effect 'for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.' ... The law applies to both union and nonunion private-sector employees of employers with 50 or more employees."  MORE >>

Ogletree Deakins

Eighth Circuit Holds Arkansas Law Banning Discretionary Clauses Does Not Apply to Disability Insurance Policy Renewed Prior to Law's Effective Date

"[T]he Eighth Circuit found that Ark. Code R. Section 054.00.101-4 ('Rule 101'), which prohibits discretionary clauses in insurance contracts issued or renewed on and after March 1, 2013, does not void the discretionary policy in this case. The policy was issued on January 1, 2011 and it lists a single renewal date of January 1, 2012." [Roebuck v. USAble Life, No. 19-1855 (8th Cir. Apr. 1, 2021)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

Federal Court Strikes Down Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

"The federal decision follows similar rulings by the Texas state courts that enjoined the paid sick leave benefit ordinances from taking effect in Austin and San Antonio. The basis for all these decisions has been the same[:] ... the city exceeded its authority because its ordinance violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act, and is therefore, unconstitutional." [ESI/Employee Solutions, L.P. v. City of Dallas, No. 19-570 (E.D. Tex. Mar. 31, 2021)]  MORE >>


COVID-Related Changes to Paid Sick Leave

Podcast with transcript. "[E]mployers need to make sure they're not giving this FFCRA paid sick leave to employees based on the fact that they are highly compensated, or that they're full time, or based on seniority.... [T]hey're not going to qualify for those tax credits ... [and] will have to cover the costs themselves if they choose to do this."  MORE >>

Jackson Walker

Paid Family Leave: Challenges and Experiences of Family Caregivers of Older Adults

"This report focuses on caregivers' experiences in the first two states to pass paid family leave (PFL) in the US -- California and New Jersey.... [T]hese two pioneering states provide important lessons for how this policy can address the multiple challenges working caregivers have in managing both roles and barriers to benefit take-up."  MORE >>

Urban Institute

DOL Annual Report to Congress on Self-Insured Group Health Plans (PDF)

18 pages. "Approximately 60,500 group health plans filed a Form 5500 for 2018, an increase of nearly 5 percent from [2017].... Self-insured group health plans that filed a Form 5500 covered approximately 35 million participants in 2018 and held assets totaling more than $92 billion." [See also Appendix A, Group Health Plans Report: Abstract of 2018 Form 5500 Annual Reports Reflecting Statistical Year Filings, and Appendix B, Self-Insured Health Benefit Plans 2021: Based on Filings through Statistical Year 2018.]  MORE >>

U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Benefits in General

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Arbitration of ERISA Claims: Courts Grapple with Competing Considerations (PDF)

"[Two federal circuits] have reached opposite conclusions regarding whether ERISA claims may be subject to arbitration where the arbitration clause is contained in the governing plan document. This column [reviews those decisions and] the respective arguments that may determine whether or not arbitration of ERISA disputes remains a viable avenue for plans sponsors."  MORE >>

Jenner & Block, via Employee Relations Law Journal

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Client Services Manager
for Pinnacle, An NPPG Company

Client Services Manager

Pinnacle, An NPPG Company

Delray Beach FL

View job as 401(k) Retirement Plan Administrator
for BDS Consulting Group

401(k) Retirement Plan Administrator

BDS Consulting Group

Worcester MA

View job as Senior Legal Content Specialist- Benefits Law
for Bloomberg Industry Group

Senior Legal Content Specialist- Benefits Law

Bloomberg Industry Group

Arlington VA

Press Releases

Online Actuarial Value Calculator Updated

Contribution Health

Partners Robert K. Butterfield, Marc S. Schechter, Corey F. Schechter and Paul D. Woodard Named on 2021 Super Lawyers List

Butterfield Schechter LLP

Attorney Wayne Miller Joins The Wagner Law Group

Wagner Law Group P.C.

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

California’s New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave: Answers to Employers’ Frequently Asked Questions

April 7, 2021 WEBCAST

Ogletree Deakins

New Rules for MHPAEA: What You Need to Know

April 13, 2021 WEBCAST


American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and Employee Benefit Plans: Next Steps for Plan Sponsors and Administrators

May 26, 2021 WEBCAST


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Text of Agency FAQs, Part 45: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Implementation and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (PDF)

U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]; and U.S. Treasury Department

Health and Welfare Benefits Monthly Update (PDF)

Alston & Bird

COBRA Changes Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Spencer Fane

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

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