logo logo

Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 15, 2021

5 Jobs Today


[Guidance Overview]

Mental Health Parity Compliance Gets a Boost in 2021 Spending Act

"The 2021 CAA adds two new requirements to health plans' existing MHPAEA obligations: a comparative analysis and the duty to disclosure this analysis and related information to DOL on request."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Overview of New DOL Guidance for the COBRA Subsidy Mandate, Including New Notice Requirements

"While the new DOL guidance is helpful, it does not address all outstanding issues.... [Charts in this article] summarize the new model notices and forms to be distributed to COBRA qualified beneficiaries ... [T]hese forms need editing before use[.]"  MORE >>

Foley & Lardner LLP

[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA, Business Associates, and the Conduit Exception

"Although the 'conduit' exception is helpful to entities wishing to avoid business associate status, the scope of the exception is narrow and is often misunderstood or misapplied.... When in doubt, the safest course for covered entities is to require a business associate agreement."  MORE >>

Holland & Hart LLP

District Court Rules Plans Must Cover Specific Therapies to Comply with Mental Health Parity Rule

"The District Court [for the Northern District of California] held that the plan's exclusion of [specific types of treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)] created a separate treatment limitation applicable only to services for a mental health condition.... [The] ruling explained that ... once a [group health plan] decides to cover (ASD), it cannot draft an exclusion that specifically carves out and rejects coverage for a core treatment of ASD[.]" [Doe v. United Behavioral Health, No. 19-7316 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2021)]  MORE >>


Employer Has Separate Obligations Under Workers' Compensation and FMLA

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has ruled ... that complying with [a state's] workers' compensation laws does not absolve an employer from its separate obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)." [Ramji v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC, No. 19-13461 (11th Cir. Apr. 6, 2021)]  MORE >>

The Wagner Law Group

District Court Allows Claims Against Religious Employer for Denial of Same-Sex Spousal Health Benefits

"The court noted that the federal claims implicated a question that was left open by Bostock as to whether the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected the employer's decision to revoke the spouse's benefits on the basis of sex, but it declined to decide that question this early in the proceedings." [Doe v. Catholic Relief Servs., No. 20-1815 (D. Md. Mar. 26, 2021)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Telehealth After COVID-19 (PDF)

"As policymakers and regulators consider new or revised public policies regarding the availability of and payment for telehealth services now and in a post-pandemic health system, questions regarding the effects of telehealth on access to care, the costs of care, health outcomes, and potential fraud need to be considered."  MORE >>

American Academy of Actuaries

Designating a Health Savings Account (HSA) Beneficiary

"If you designate an individual other than a spouse ... the funds from your HSA will be distributed and taxed as income at fair market value. Individual beneficiaries other than a spouse may also use the HSA funds they receive to pay for qualified medical expenses for up to a year after the account owner's death."  MORE >>


U.S. Prescription Drug Prices Are 2.5 Times Those in Other OECD Countries

"Brand-name drugs drove the disparity: U.S. prices for this category were 344 percent higher. For unbranded generics, U.S. prices were lower than those of other countries.... U.S. prices remained nearly twice those of other countries after adjusting U.S. prices downward to account for rebates and other discounts paid by drug companies."  MORE >>

RAND Corporation

Estimates of Coverage If ARPA's Enhanced Marketplace Subsidies Were Made Permanent

"[T]he number of people uninsured would drop by 4.2 million, or almost 14 percent, in 2022 if the ARPA's enhanced marketplace subsidies were permanent and consumers, employers, and insurers responded to the new subsidy schedule as if it were fully phased in.... [S]ubsidized marketplace enrollment would increase by 5.1 million people, an increase of 60 percent in 2022."  MORE >>

Urban Institute


Stupid Budget Tricks: Government Healthcare Edition

"[O]ne-third of U.S. government healthcare is waste, fraud and abuse. That same system compensates doctors less than half of what private plans do. But when congress is faced with how to make it more efficient or to save money, its answer is to bluntly cut the reimbursement to doctors even further[.]"  MORE >>

Benefit Revolution

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2021-28: Request for Public Recommendations on Items to be Included on the 2021-2022 Priority Guidance Plan (PDF)

"The Department of the Treasury and the [IRS] invite the public to submit recommendations for items to be included on the 2021-2022 Priority Guidance Plan.... Taxpayers should ... briefly describe the recommended guidance and explain the need for the guidance.... [T]axpayers may include an analysis of how the issue should be resolved."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS] and U.S. Department of the Treasury

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Benefits Associate
for Littler Mendelson, P.C. Benefits Associate

Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Philadelphia PA / Los Angeles CA / Kansas City MO / AK / AL / AR / AZ / CT / DC / DE / FL / GA / HI / IA / ID / IL / IN / KS / KY / LA / MA / MD / ME / MI / MN / MS / MT / NC / ND / NE / NH / NJ / NM / NV / NY / OH / OK / OR / RI / SC / SD / TN / TX / UT / VA / VT / WA / WI / WV / WY

View job as Benefits Associate
for Littler Mendelson, P.C.

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Retirement Solutions Specialists Retirement Plan Administrator

Retirement Solutions Specialists

Telecommute / Jacksonville FL

View job as Defined Benefit Retirement Plan Analyst
for Trinity Pension Consultants, Inc. Defined Benefit Retirement Plan Analyst

Trinity Pension Consultants, Inc.

Akron OH

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Nicholas Pension Consultants Retirement Plan Administrator

Nicholas Pension Consultants

Telecommute / Rancho Cordova CA / Corona CA

View job as Retirement Plan Benefits Administrator
for Compass Retirement Consulting Group Retirement Plan Benefits Administrator

Compass Retirement Consulting Group

Telecommute / Stratham NH / MA / ME

Press Releases

WEX Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire benefitexpress

WEX Health

Fiduciary Benchmarks Rebrands as Fiduciary Decisions and Optimizes Organizational Alignment

Fiduciary Decisions

John Hancock Retirement Expands Advice Program to All 401(k) Plans

John Hancock

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

COBRA Premium Assistance: Are You Prepared to Comply?

April 20, 2021 WEBCAST

Payne & Fears

Benefits Spark

May 12, 2021 WEBCAST

Artemis Health

Washington Legislative Update

May 17, 2021 WEBCAST

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Bostock, Section 1557, and Transgender Benefits in Self-Funded Health Plans (PDF)

Davis & Gilbert LLP, via Employee Relations Law Journal

COVID-19 Vaccination: Setting Up On-Site Programs

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Legal Considerations of Employer-Provided COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Unsubscribe  |   Change Email Address

Search Past Issues   |   Privacy Policy

Submit an Article   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise Here

Copyright 2021, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers. We are not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.