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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 12, 2021

4 New Job Opportunities 4 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Clarifies Application of COVID-19 Outbreak Period Extensions for Electing COBRA Continuation Coverage and Paying COBRA Premiums

"Notice 2021-58 [provides] helpful guidance on COBRA continuation coverage in two key areas: [1] the application of the extended timeframes for electing COBRA continuation coverage and paying COBRA premiums in response to the on-going COVID-19 national emergency, and [2] the interaction of the extended timeframes with the COBRA premium subsidy available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).... [T]en examples [are] provided in the Notice."  MORE >>

Verrill Dana LLP

[Guidance Overview]

COVID-19 Relief Addresses COBRA Election and Premium Payment Deadlines

"Notice 2021-58 provides that the disregarded periods for an individual to elect COBRA and make initial and subsequent COBRA premium payments (that is, under the outbreak period rules) generally run concurrently. The guidance includes a set of detailed rules that expand on this general concept."  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

[Guidance Overview]

Incentivizing Vaccination: Federal Agencies Issue Guidance on Use of Health Insurance Discounts and Surcharges and the Impact on Employer Mandate Affordability

"While the FAQs provide much needed clarity on the subject, ... employers must be mindful of other laws and guidance ... For example, any wellness program must still comply with other federal nondiscrimination laws. Additionally, the wellness program must otherwise be 'voluntary.' That is, an employer is prohibited from: [1] requiring employees to participate in any health care plan, [2] denying coverage from any plan, or [3] taking any adverse action against any employee who declines participation in any medical examination or wellness program."  MORE >>

K&L Gates

[Guidance Overview]

COVID Vaccines: When Is an Employee's Vaccination Status HIPAA-Protected?

"HIPAA specifically excludes from PHI information held by the employer in its employment records. An employer who sponsors a group health plan generally wears two separate hats -- it has different responsibilities when acting as an employer and when acting as a covered entity, i.e. the health plan.... While state laws may not be less restrictive than HIPAA requirements, they can provide additional restrictions."  MORE >>

McAfee & Taft

Court OKs Insurer's Application of Self-Reported Symptom Limit

"[T]he court of appeals began by finding it reasonable for a disability insurance to require objective proof of functional limitation ... The fact that the self-reported symptom limitation was not raised until more than one year after the 24-month period elapsed should have raised concerns about Unum's determination to apply the limitation.... [It] is troubling that the court here accepted at face value the opinions of non-examining in-house Unum doctors over a host of specialists who examined Professor Ovist and explained their findings." [Ovist v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., No. 20-1464 (1st Cir. Sep. 22, 2021)]  MORE >>

DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C.

Attorney Fired After Bout with COVID and Request to Work Remotely from Slovenia, Advances FMLA Claims

"The assistant general counsel of a ... manufacturing company, who was fired after he requested leave to recover from COVID-19 and then to travel to Slovenia so he could work remotely from his wife's home, plausibly pleaded FMLA interference and retaliation claims ... Denying his employer's motion to dismiss, a federal court in Pennsylvania also allowed his claim against another company to advance under a joint employment theory." [Burbach v. Arconic Corp., No. 20-723 (W.D. Penn. Sep. 22, 2021)]  MORE >>

Wolters Kluwer; free registration required

The Five Stages of Health Savings Account Ownership

Infographic. "Life stage: College grad ... Employer action: Educate on value ... Life stage: Early career ... Employer action: Promote increased contributions ... Life stage: Mid-career ... Employer action: Help employees save ... Life stage: Mature career ... Employer action: Help employees invest ... Life stage: Ready to retire ... Employer action: Help employees plan for retirement."  MORE >>

Willis Towers Watson

How Private Equity Is Raising Health Care Costs for Americans

"By 2018 private equity represented 45% of all health care mergers and acquisitions. Private equity firms borrow heavily from banks and others, using the funds to acquire private entities with the goal of turning a profit in a relatively short time.... Raising prices has been a common strategy after a private equity acquisition. A study found that hospitals have increased their prices after being acquired by private equity firms."  MORE >>

America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

California to Allow Kids to Add Parents to Insurance Plans

"To be eligible, adults must rely on their child for at least 50% of their total support. The law applies only to people who buy their health insurance on the individual market. Those who get insurance through their jobs, which includes most people in the state, aren't eligible."  MORE >>


Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as "You Break It, We Fix It" Administrator
for Nova 401(k) Associates "You Break It, We Fix It" Administrator

Nova 401(k) Associates

Remote / Houston TX / Dallas TX / Scottsdale AZ

View job as "You Break It, We Fix It" Administrator
for Nova 401(k) Associates

View job as Health Insurance Specialist (Recent Graduates)
for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] Health Insurance Specialist (Recent Graduates)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS]

Remote / San Francisco CA / Atlanta GA / Chicago IL / Boston MA

View job as Senior Retirement Specialist
for Alerus Senior Retirement Specialist



View job as Sales Support Specialist
for Alerus Sales Support Specialist



Press Releases

iJoin Taps Chris Phillips to Lead its Growing National Sales Team


Centivo Named by Blackstone’s Equity Healthcare as a Preferred Health Plan Offering for its Portfolio Companies


SageView Expands Wealth Management Business with Acquisition of Bloomfield Hills Fiinancial

SageView Advisory Group

OneDigital Retirement + Wealth Hires Saumen Chattopadhyay as Chief Investment Officer


Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Bulletproofing Your Plan Design

October 13, 2021 WEBCAST

Validation Institute

Top Employee Benefit Challenges for 2022

October 21, 2021 WEBCAST

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

2021 Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum

December 7, 2021 WEBCAST

AHIP [America's Health Insurance Plans]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

The No Surprises Act and Transparency Requirements


COBRA Election and Payment Periods: Does One Year of 'Tolling' Really Mean One Year?


States, Cities Tackle COVID-19 Paid Leave (PDF)


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

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