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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 1, 2021

8 New Job Opportunities 8 New Job Opportunities


[Official Guidance]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Text of HHS OCR FAQs: HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccination, and the Workplace

  1. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibit businesses or individuals from asking whether their customers or clients have received a COVID-19 vaccine? No....
  2. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule prevent customers or clients of a business from disclosing whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccine? No....
  3. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibit an employer from requiring a workforce member to disclose whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccine to the employer, clients, or other parties? No....
  4. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibit a covered entity or business associate from requiring its workforce members to disclose to their employers or other parties whether the workforce members have received a COVID-19 vaccine? No....
  5. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibit a doctor's office from disclosing an individual's protected health information (PHI), including whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccine, to the individual's employer or other parties? Generally, yes.


Office of Civil Rights [OCR], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Addresses HIPAA Privacy and COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace

"HHS's Q&As build on fundamental distinctions under the Privacy Rule regarding the scope of who is a HIPAA CE or BA. And as HHS repeatedly emphasizes, the HIPAA Privacy Rule is but one of many federal or state laws that employers should consider regarding whether to require employees to obtain vaccines, disclosures of vaccination status, and related issues."  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Release Surprise Billing Rule Detailing Arbitration Process

"The latest rule details the independent dispute resolution process to determine an out-of-network rate for items and services after talks between payers and providers break down. The rule also requires providers and facilities to give uninsured patients a clear estimate of the charges they can expect to receive for their services."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Giving COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives May Cause ACA Headaches

"If a company decides not to insure the unvaccinated, they enter a major risk of not meeting the 4980(a) requirement of offering benefits to at least 95% of full-time employees. In addition, if a company penalizes an employee by increasing their premiums, then they risk not meeting the 4980(b) penalty for offering unaffordable coverage."  MORE >>

Tango Health

[Guidance Overview]

Feds to Require Reporting of Air Ambulance Claim Data, Tip Their Hand on Impending Broker Compensation Rules

"[R]egulators issued proposed rules requiring insurers to disclose to their individual market customers information about compensation paid to the customers' brokers. These rules are interesting only in that they may reflect a sneak peek at part of what regulators will soon require of brokers, consultants and other vendors serving the group health insurance market."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

District of Columbia Expands Universal Paid Leave for Families

"As of October 1, 2021, eligible employees may now also take up to two workweeks of prenatal leave for newly added qualifying reasons ... The [Universal Paid Leave Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (PLEAA)] increases the potential duration of qualifying paid leave starting on October 1, 2021 ... [T]he PLEAA include[s] a temporary suspension of the PFL's one-week waiting requirement before workers are eligible for benefits after a qualifying event.... The PLEAA also ... [allows] eligible individuals to receive paid leave benefits retroactively if claimed within 30 days."  MORE >>

Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Extended to April 1, 2022

"Under the act, an employer must provide an employee with up to 40 hours of paid leave ... Leave will remain available to employees until April 1, 2022, or until the exhaustion of $75 million in program funds, for the same COVID-19 related reasons ... The extension of the act expands the reasons employers can use leave for family members."  MORE >>

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Expires. Now What?

"Depending on the reason for the absence, employees may be eligible for accrued paid sick leave, required under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. Local paid sick leave laws may require supplemental paid sick leave in some jurisdictions even after SPSL expires.... The end of SPSL does not prevent employers from voluntarily continuing to provide special COVID-19 paid sick leave. However, employers are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel regarding the implications before doing so."  MORE >>

Duane Morris LLP

CMS Issues Surprise Billing Interim Final Rule: Payers Praise, Hospitals Howl

"The key point of contention in the final rule ... is the independent dispute resolution process for some out-of-network billing. That process presumes that the payer's out-of-network reimbursement is the starting point for negotiations, which hospitals say gives payers a baked-in advantage."  MORE >>

HealthLeaders Media

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Time to Revisit Your ACA Affordability Strategy?

"[It] may be time to reevaluate your strategy for setting affordable contributions under ACA rules, especially if, like most employers, you've been using the FPL Safe Harbor up until now. While it offers the significant advantage of allowing the contribution to be prospectively determined, other methods may allow for a higher employee contribution."  MORE >>


HSA-Eligible Health Plans Embrace Changes to Better Serve Americans with Chronic Health Conditions (PDF)

"Most HSA-eligible health plans are leveraging new regulatory flexibility to cover more chronic disease prevention services on a pre-deductible basis. Diabetes and heart disease are the two most commonly targeted conditions for reducing or eliminating cost sharing. Reduced or eliminated cost sharing for chronic disease prevention drugs and services is not resulting in a significant increase in premiums."  MORE >>

America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Form 5500 Proposal Reflects SECURE Act Changes and More

"These changes include enhanced reporting for multiple-employer plans (MEPs) starting with the 2021 plan year and a new group filing alternative starting in 2022 for certain single-employer individual account and defined contribution (DC) plans. Additional changes unrelated to the SECURE Act would more broadly affect retirement and welfare plans starting in 2022. While these changes are narrower in scope than those proposed in 2016 -- but never finalized -- plan sponsors, administrators and service providers should review the proposal and consider submitting comments by Nov. 1."  MORE >>


Alert (High Risk Issue) icon Recent Court Decisions Extend the Statute of Limitations for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuits Under ERISA

"Recently, the DOL successfully argued that the Supreme Court's decision in Sulyma should serve as precedent to extend the statute of limitations for the DOL to bring fiduciary breach claims against plan fiduciaries.... The defendant [in this case] maintained that the Form 5500 filed in October of 2013 contained sufficient information to alert the DOL of the alleged breach.... [The court] held for the DOL, finding that the DOL did not have actual knowledge until it reviewed the Form 5500 in December of 2014." [Walsh v. Bowers, No. 18-0155 (D. Hawaii, Sep. 17, 2021)]  MORE >>

Verrill Dana LLP

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as 3(16) Plan Administrator
for Atlantic Pension Services 3(16) Plan Administrator

Atlantic Pension Services

Remote / Kennett Square PA / DE / NJ

View job as 3(16) Plan Administrator
for Atlantic Pension Services

View job as Senior Implementation Manager
for Ubiquity Retirement + Savings Senior Implementation Manager

Ubiquity Retirement + Savings

Remote / San Francisco CA / AZ / CO / FL / IA / IL / KY / LA / MA / MS / NJ / NV / NY / OR / RI / SC / TN / TX / WA

View job as Senior Implementation Manager
for Ubiquity Retirement + Savings

View job as Manager Retirement Services
for Alaska Airlines - Horizon Air Manager Retirement Services

Alaska Airlines - Horizon Air

Seattle WA

View job as Manager Retirement Services
for Alaska Airlines - Horizon Air

View job as Retirement Services Consultant
for Insperity Retirement Services Consultant


Kingwood TX

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

Nicholas Pension Consultants

Remote / Rancho Cordova CA / Corona CA

View job as 401(k) Recordkeeping Manager
for July Business Services 401(k) Recordkeeping Manager

July Business Services

Remote / Waco TX

View job as Quality Control
for MAP Retirement Quality Control

MAP Retirement


View job as Health Communications Specialist
for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] Health Communications Specialist

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS]

Remote / Woodlawn MD

Press Releases

Steidle Pension Solutions Announces the Launch of SPS 3(16) Administrative Services

Steidle Pension Solutions, LLC [SPS]

Industry Leading Retirement Plan Consulting Firm Acuff and Associates Celebrates 30 Years

Acuff & Associates

EBRI Welcomes New Retirement Vice Chair, Jason Jagatic

EBRI [Employee Benefit Research Institute]

Cohen and Buckmann Hires Big Law Attorney Zahava Blumenthal

Cohen & Buckmann P.C.

Complete 401(k) Solution Offers Simplicity and Helps Mitigate Risk for Retirement Plan Sponsors and Advisors

Dynamic Advisor Solutions

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

No Surprises Act: Considerations for Plans and Providers


Epstein Becker & Green

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Text of Agency Interim Final Regs: Requirements Related to Surprise Billing, Part II

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

Can You Save Too Much in a Health Savings Account?

Christine Benz, in Morningstar

Employee Benefits in the Supreme Court: October 2021 Update

Eversheds Sutherland

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

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