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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 3, 2021

4 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

Best Practices for Mental Health Parity: Considerations for Implementation (PDF)

"While these requirements specific to NQTLs are unique to MHPAEA, the associated documentation and comparative analyses activities should feel familiar because they mirror some of the traditional documentation and auditing and monitoring functions of a corporate compliance program. Ultimately, plans and insurers need to demonstrate, upon request, that they are continually maintaining compliance with regard to parity -- in effect maintaining the capacity to rebut a presumption of noncompliance at any time."  MORE >>

Epstein Becker Green, via Compliance Today

[Guidance Overview]

Smaller Employers Beware: IRS Doesn't Want Paper ACA Filings Next Year

"If the proposed changes are finalized -- [expected] by this autumn -- all but the very smallest employers will be required to file these forms electronically for filing due dates falling in 2022 and beyond. Employers wishing to engage an ACA reporting and/or payroll vendor to comply with electronic filings requirements will need to begin contracting with a vendor in the coming weeks."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Not All as Expected: The IRS Releases Additional COBRA Premium Subsidy Guidance

"[T]he IRS position here is consistent with the statutory language of ARPA and means a situation could arise where an employer is entitled to the tax credit even though the employer is not paying the premium cost for the COBRA coverage. It remains unclear how an employer in this type of situation will have the information necessary to apply for the tax credit if the insurer is administering the COBRA premium subsidy without the employer's involvement."  MORE >>

Michael Best

[Guidance Overview]

COBRA Premium Subsidies: A Little More Guidance (and a Reminder)

"[T]he subsidy for an individual who has COBRA coverage only for dental or vision coverage will end if the individual becomes eligible for Medicare or a group medical plan that does not cover dental or vision expenses.... Apart from multiemployer plans, the entity that can claim the payroll tax credit for COBRA coverage subsidies (where COBRA is provided under federal law and not a state mini-COBRA law) is typically the applicable common law employer."  MORE >>

Ballard Spahr LLP

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance Clarifies When Federal Tax Credits Are Available for Emergency Paid Leave to Help Others Obtain or Recover from COVID-19 Vaccine

"Although the IRS' announcement involves federal law and federal tax credits, it can affect employers subject to local emergency paid sick leave laws currently in effect in Oakland, California, and the District of Columbia (possibly) because both of these laws include as covered uses this now-defined 'substantially similar condition' reason. Note, however, that both local laws set their own pay rate calculation standards, which will not necessarily fully align with federal standards."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Departments Provide Long-Awaited Guidance on the No Surprises Act

"The regulations are generally applicable to group health plans and health insurance issuers for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022. For fully insured plans, carriers will be responsible for ensuring compliance with these new rules; however, self-funded plan sponsors are legally responsible for ensuring compliance."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

The 2022 Required Annual Notices to Employees

"Employers must provide the Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage, CHIP, and WHCRA notices annually. Employers should also consider providing other notices with the required annual notices."  MORE >>

ABD Insurance & Financial Services


DOL Posts Comments Received on Reporting on Pharmacy Benefits and Prescription Drug Costs

61 comment letters published to date, including letters from [1] American Benefits Council; [2] ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) and Mercer; [3] National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP); [4] National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU); [5] UNITE HERE HEALTH; [6] UnitedHealthcare (UHC); [7] Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA); [8] Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS); [9] Michigan Association of Health Plans; [10] OneDigital; and [11] CVS Health.  MORE >>

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


Comments on the Development of a Public Health Insurance Option (PDF)

"In principle, a public option could offer lower premiums without paying providers less by having lower administrative costs or setting premiums that do not incorporate a profit margin. In practice, however, these cost advantages would likely be more than offset by a public option's disadvantages in utilization management, risk selection, and risk adjustment diagnosis coding.... Reducing provider prices would, of course, involve tradeoffs."  MORE >>

The Brookings Institution

Benefits in General

What Happens When You Squeeze a Vendor Too Tight

"A growing number of plan sponsors are turning to vendor search consultants for assistance with their evaluation and selection of third-party benefits administrators.... [T]hey focus on negotiating lower fees above all other considerations ... The resulting contracts come with attractive price tags, but they set plan sponsors up for a downstream nightmare of quality and service issues that negatively impact both plans and their participants."  MORE >>

Strategic Benefits Advisors

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Retirement Plan Consultant
for DWC - The 401(k) Experts Retirement Plan Consultant

DWC - The 401(k) Experts


View job as Retirement Plan Consultant
for DWC - The 401(k) Experts

View job as Retirement Plan Sales Associate
for Leading Retirement Solutions Retirement Plan Sales Associate

Leading Retirement Solutions


View job as Counsel
for Nationwide Insurance Counsel

Nationwide Insurance

Columbus OH

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Prime Benefits Retirement Plan Administrator

Prime Benefits

Remote / Baltimore MD

Press Releases

HBL Welcomes Partner Timothy F. Kennedy, Opens Philadelphia Office

Hall Benefits Law

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

International Actuarial Practice for Domestic U.S. Actuaries

September 15, 2021 WEBCAST

Conference of Consulting Actuaries

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

IRS Issues Additional ARPA COBRA Subsidy Guidance


Plan Cybersecurity Guidance: DOL Enforcement Warrants Plan Sponsor Action

Poyner Spruill LLP

IRS Takes Second Bite Into COBRA Subsidy Questions Under ARPA

Miller Johnson

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

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