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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 9, 2021

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[Official Guidance]

Text of EBSA Notice of the Availability of the Model Health Care Continuation Coverage Notices Required by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

"These model documents include an ARP General Notice, a Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods, an Alternative Notice, and a Notice of Expiration of Period of Premium Assistance.... [T]he Department also developed a Summary of ARP requirements to include the following supplemental disclosures, which should be included with the ARP General Notice, the Alternative Notice, and the Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods: [1] A summary of the ARP's premium assistance provisions. [2] A form to request the premium assistance under the ARP. [3] A form for an individual to use to satisfy the ARP's requirement to notify the plan (or issuer) that the individual is eligible for other group health plan coverage (other than coverage consisting of only excepted benefits, coverage under a health FSA, or coverage under a QSEHRA) or that the individual is eligible for Medicare.

'Each model notice is designed for a particular group of qualified beneficiaries. When provided in combination with these supplemental disclosures, these model documents contain all of the information needed to satisfy the content requirements for the ARP's notice provisions."  MORE >>

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

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Takes First Bite at COBRA Subsidy Guidance

"The guidance does not specifically address the deadline to send updated COBRA election notices describing the subsidies for individuals with qualifying events on or after April 1, 2021 ... The election of subsidized COBRA coverage does not cut off an individual's pre-existing COBRA election right if it was extended under the Joint Relief and EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01."  MORE >>

Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues FAQs, Model Notices for ARPA COBRA Premium Assistance

"[T]he FAQs offer no specific guidance on the coordination of the COBRA subsidy with severance plans ... Similarly, the guidance is silent as to what constitutes an involuntary termination of employment."  MORE >>

Ballard Spahr LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline icon Immediate Employer Action Required as DOL Issues Guidance, Model Notices for ARPA COBRA Subsidies

"[1] You should notify affected individuals of the one-year COBRA extension ... [2] For those [who lost] coverage between April 1, 2021 [and] September 30, 2021, you need to give them a notice regarding the free COBRA ... [3] You need to send a notice by May 31, 2021 to qualifying individuals who had a COBRA event before April 1, 2021 -- including expired COBRA participants ... [4] Free COBRA reimbursed directly to the employer ... [5] No one-year extension of deadline to elect free COBRA."  MORE >>

McAfee & Taft

[Guidance Overview]

COBRA Subsidy Effects on Severance Programs and Employee Separations

"Employers that pay for a terminated employee's COBRA premiums as part of a severance program should understand that in most cases, during the next six months, this will no longer be a benefit which can serve as adequate consideration for a release of claims.... Employers should review recent and current severance and separation issues and implement [certain] changes."  MORE >>

Frost Brown Todd LLC

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Release FAQs Implementing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Requirements Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act

"[The FAQs] provide a detailed list of information that, at a minimum, must be included in the comparative analysis for each NQTL. The Departments note that the list of minimum required content 'closely aligns' with guidance that the DOL has previously provided in the form of the Self-Compliance Tool for the MHPAEA[.]"  MORE >>

Faegre Drinker

[Guidance Overview]

Virginia Enacts New Paid Sick Leave Law for Home Health Workers

"The new law requires all employers that employ a 'home health worker' to provide such employees with paid sick leave.... [P]aid sick leave begins to accrue when employment begins, at a rate of at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked."  MORE >>


Denial of Autism Care Coverage Can Breach ERISA Duty

"[T]he court found: 'On its face, the ABA/IBT exclusion creates a separate treatment limitation applicable only to services for a mental health condition (Autism).' ... Although UnitedHealth's final argument was that the Parity Act addresses limitations rather than exclusions, the court rejected UnitedHealth's position, deeming it a distinction without a difference. " [Doe v. United Behavioral Health, No. 19-7316 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2021)]  MORE >>

DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C.

Employer Gets Whacked on Workers' Comp, FMLA Overlap

"FMLA leave can run concurrently with a workers' compensation leave, or with paid sick leave.... It's a good idea to get the FMLA clock running right away. Although you are not required to let FMLA and other leaves run concurrently, it is to your advantage to do so." [Ramji v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC, No. 19-13461 (11th Cir. Apr. 6, 2021)]  MORE >>

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP

Benefits in General

Eleventh Circuit: One Party's Attorney Can't Be Held Personally Liable for the Other Party's Attorney Fees under ERISA

"The [district] court directed the claimant's attorney, rather than the claimant herself, to pay the fees to the insurer, because the attorney was responsible for prolonging the litigation of moot arguments despite having 30 years of ERISA experience.... [T]he Eleventh Circuit [overturned, stating] that interpreting ERISA's attorney's fee provision to allow an award of fees against a lawyer would circumvent existing procedures for sanctioning attorney misconduct." [Peer v. Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, No. 19-13974 (11th Cir. Apr. 6, 2021)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as 401(k) Plan Administrator
for Pension Investors Corp 401(k) Plan Administrator

Pension Investors Corp

Telecommute / Hollywood FL

View job as 401(k) Plan Administrator
for Pension Investors Corp

View job as 401(k) Retirement Plan Administrator
for Heritage Pension Advisors, Inc. 401(k) Retirement Plan Administrator

Heritage Pension Advisors, Inc.

Telecommute / Commack NY

View job as 401(k) Retirement Plan Administrator
for Heritage Pension Advisors, Inc.

View job as Client Service Manager
for July Business Services Client Service Manager

July Business Services

Telecommute / Waco TX

View job as Defined Benefit Administrator - Experienced
for MGKS Defined Benefit Administrator - Experienced


Telecommute / AZ

View job as Defined Contribution MEP Account Manager
for Nova 401(k) Associates Defined Contribution MEP Account Manager

Nova 401(k) Associates

Telecommute / Houston TX / Dallas TX / Scottsdale AZ

Press Releases

Plan Sponsor of the Year – Winners for 2020

ABG Retirement Plan Services [ABG]

DFW Business Group on Health Announces Two New Directors

DFW Business Group on Health

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

FMLA Compliance

April 13, 2021 WEBCAST

Pryor Learning

And They're Off: COBRA Subsidy Race Is Under Way

April 13, 2021 WEBCAST

Ogletree Deakins

COBRA Compliance

April 15, 2021 WEBCAST

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

Strategies for a Dispersing Workforce: Legal, Financial, Cultural, Health, and Benefits Considerations

April 16, 2021 WEBCAST

Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC [MMA]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

DOL Issues Guidance on COBRA Subsidy


Model ARPA COBRA Notices Have Arrived!

Jackson Lewis P.C.

COBRA Subsidy Forms and Guidance Issued

Jackson Walker

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

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