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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 14, 2021

2 New Job Opportunities 2 New Job Opportunities


[Official Guidance]

Text of EEOC FAQs: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

"The availability of COVID-19 vaccinations raises questions under the federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ... This [Section K] was originally issued on December 16, 2020, and was updated on October 13, 2021." [Updates include revisions to Q&A 15-18, which discuss Employer Incentives For COVID-19 Voluntary Vaccinations Under ADA and GINA.]  MORE >>

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Issues Second Set of Regs Implementing the No Surprises Act

"Some specific topics on which the agencies have requested comment include: [1] Appropriate data transfer standards between providers and facilities and plans and issuers; [1] Enforcement actions for failure to provide a good faith estimate to individuals not enrolled in a plan or coverage ... [3] Additional or alternative supports for individuals with limited English proficiency or those with disabilities who require information in alternative and accessible formats."  MORE >>

Troutman Pepper

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues New Guidance on COBRA Deadline Extensions

"Given that the deadline for paying COBRA premiums is ordinarily 45 days after the COBRA election, some might have assumed that the deadline extensions for COBRA elections and payment would run consecutively.... The new IRS notice provides a different interpretation."  MORE >>

Ballard Spahr LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Guidance Clarifies HIPAA Hurdle Regarding Group Health Plan Premium Vaccination Incentive Programs

"Employers considering significant premium surcharges for unvaccinated individuals should take steps to ensure that the surcharge both complies with the HIPAA limit (i.e., 30% of the employee-only premium) and to understand whether the surcharge would result in the premium offer becoming unaffordable under the ACA for impacted employees."  MORE >>

Bond, Schoeneck & King

[Guidance Overview]

ACA in the States: New State-Based Marketplaces, Section 1332 Updates

"This post summarizes [recent] developments, including three states transitioning to state-based marketplaces for 2022 and new Section 1332 waiver developments. The latter topic area includes new comment periods on waiver extension requests, evaluation reports for three states, and Colorado's request for a waiver amendment."  MORE >>

Katie Keith, in Health Affairs Blog

[Guidance Overview]

New Missouri Law Provides Job-Protected Leave for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence

"[The Victims Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA)] applies not only to employees impacted by domestic or sexual violence, but also any family or household member of an employee who has suffered domestic or sexual violence.... The length of leave depends on the size of the employer."  MORE >>


Plan's Anti-Assignment Clause Blocks Provider's Lawsuit for Benefits

"Preapproval communications regarding the surgery indicated that coverage would be at out-of-network levels but did not specify reimbursement rates or payment terms. It is possible that disputes like this one may be alleviated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 requirement for providers to furnish plans with good faith estimates and for plans to provide participants with advanced explanations of benefits." [Alkon v. Cigna Health and Life Ins. Co., No. 20-2365 (D.N.J. Aug. 3, 2021)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

U.S. Employer Medical Costs Projected to Increase 5% Next Year

"[C]osts for large U.S. employers that pay for their employees' medical care will increase on average 5 percent to more than $13,000 per employee in 2022.... Budgeted health care costs ... increased to an average of $12,792 per employee in 2021, an increase of 5.2 percent from 2020.... Employees in 2021 are contributing about $4,505 for health care coverage this year, of which $2,482 is paid in the form of premiums from pay check and $2,023 is paid through plan design features such as deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance."  MORE >>


Surprise Billing Rule 'Puts a Thumb on the Scale' to Keep Arbitrated Costs in Check

"What's not clear is whether the changes in law made by the No Surprises Act -- which takes effect Jan. 1 -- will have the unintended consequences of shifting costs and leading to higher insurance premiums.... Some predict it may slightly slow premium growth. The reason.... is that a rule released Sept. 30 by the Biden administration appears to 'put a thumb on the scale' to discourage settlements at amounts higher than most insurers generally pay for in-network care."  MORE >>

Kaiser Health News

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Propose SECURE Act Changes for Form 5500

"If adopted, the proposed amendment to MEP reporting would apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2021. Other proposed revisions generally would apply to reporting for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022. The modifications affect employee pension and welfare benefit plans, plan sponsors, administrators, and service providers subject to annual reporting requirements. Comments to the proposed changes are due by November 1, 2021."  MORE >>


Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Senior Plan Consultant
for Bidwell Consulting Services, Inc. Senior Plan Consultant

Bidwell Consulting Services, Inc.

Remote / Chico CA

View job as Senior Plan Consultant
for Bidwell Consulting Services, Inc.

View job as DB / DC Consultant
for Nova 401(k) Associates DB / DC Consultant

Nova 401(k) Associates

Remote / Houston TX / Dallas TX / Scottsdale AZ

Press Releases

AMA Insurance Launches New Supplemental Health Insurance Program for Physician Practices

AMA Insurance

MassMutual Introduces New Employee Benefit to Help Pay Student Debt or Contribute to 529 College Saving Plans


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

IRS Guidance Sheds Light on COBRA Premium Payment Deadlines in the Time of COVID-19

Groom Law Group

We Have No Idea When the Outbreak Period Will End, But We Have a Better Idea When COBRA Payments Are Due

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, and Employment Law Practice: Ten Years in Review

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

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

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