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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 18, 2021

3 New Job Opportunities 3 New Job Opportunities


[Official Guidance]

Text of OPM Proposed Regs for Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program: Extension of Eligibility to Certain Employees on Temporary Appointments and Certain Employees on Seasonal and Intermittent Schedules; Enrollment Clarifications and Qualifying Life Events

20 pages. "This proposed rule expands eligibility for [the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)] to certain Federal employees on temporary appointments and certain employees on seasonal and intermittent schedules that became eligible for Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) enrollment beginning in 2015. This rule also expands access to FEDVIP benefits to certain firefighters on temporary appointments and intermittent emergency response personnel who became eligible for FEHB coverage in 2012. This proposed rule also updates the provisions on enrollment for active duty service members who become eligible for FEDVIP as uniformed service retirees pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017. In addition, this rule proposes to add qualifying life events for enrollees who may become eligible for and enroll in dental and/or vision services from the Department of Veterans Affairs."  MORE >>

U.S. Office of Personnel Management [OPM]

[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon U.S. Regulatory Considerations Applicable to Digital Health Providers and Suppliers

"[D]igital health technologies are transforming disease monitoring and diagnosis, access to consumer health information, clinical research and development and health benefits administration.... The development and use of digital health technologies raises complex and evolving regulatory challenges ... This series of articles provides an overview of the predominant regulatory considerations ... [This] Part I will provide an overview of [HIPAA] ... Part II examines how HIPAA is applied to mHealth (mobile health) application developers, as well as other privacy considerations. Part III will provide a high-level overview of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and its application to mHealth software developers ... Part IV will discuss other potential applicable laws[.]"  MORE >>

K&L Gates

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Clarifies Key Time Extensions of COBRA Election and Payment Deadlines

"Specifically, Notice 2021-58 addresses: [1] the extension of deadlines for COBRA elections and premium payments, and [2] the interaction of the extended deadlines with the COBRA subsidy available under [ARPA]."  MORE >>

Miller Johnson

[Guidance Overview] Updates; Latest Insurer Guidance

"[CMS] announced new changes to ahead of the 2022 open enrollment period. Federal officials also issued guidance on how to evaluate EDGE data submissions for 2021, requested comment on an information collection request regarding the ACA's contraceptive mandate, and posted new training resources to evaluate plan and insurer compliance with federal mental health parity standards."  MORE >>

Katie Keith, in Health Affairs Blog

[Guidance Overview]

New York City Enacts Law Requiring Severance Pay for Hotel Employees

"On October 5, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a requirement that New York City hotels pay their non-managerial employees $500 in severance pay every week, for each week after October 11, 2021 that the employees remain laid off. This is in addition to any severance paid to employees for periods prior to October 11, 2021. The law is effective immediately and expires on June 1, 2022."  MORE >>

Paul Hastings LLP

We Spend 12 Million Hours a Week on the Phone with Insurers

"[Gallup found that we] spend about 12 million hours a week calling our health insurance. (They also found that, as workers, calling our health insurance companies means we're more likely to miss work, and to be more checked-out and burned-out on the job.) And given all that ... it's important to know as much as possible about who we're actually on the phone with when we make those calls. Like, how do they make money? What are the incentives?"  MORE >>

Kaiser Health News

Nearly Half of American Workers Purchased at Least One New Health Benefit in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

"According to the 2021 Aflac WorkForces Report, almost half (44%) of all U.S. employees purchased at least one new health benefit in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with half of those adding life insurance. Roughly, one-third of respondents said they purchased critical illness, hospital indemnity, telehealth services or mental health resources."  MORE >>


Telehealth in the COVID-19 Era

"The goal for this hour is to have a cross-national exchange on telehealth and describe how telehealth has been used both in the Australian and U.S. context. Based on national numbers, the uptake has been quite similar of telehealth in the two nations. But behind that, there's a lot of variation.... [H]ow is it deployed in both countries? What has worked? What hasn't worked? ... [W]hat will telehealth look like after the pandemic in both how it is used and how will government and private insurers reimburse and regulate for telehealth?" [Video with transcript.]  MORE >>

RAND Corporation

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

IRS Updates Procedures for FAQs: Improvements to Citations and Historical Versions, and Good-Faith Reliance

"Significant FAQs on newly enacted tax legislation, as well as any later updates or revisions to these FAQs, will now be announced in a news release and posted on in a separate Fact Sheet. These Fact Sheet FAQs will be dated to enable taxpayers to confirm the date on which any changes to the FAQs were made. Additionally, prior versions of Fact Sheet FAQs will be maintained on to ensure that, if a Fact Sheet FAQ is later changed, taxpayers can locate the version they relied on if they later need to do so. In addition to significant FAQs on new legislation, the IRS may apply this updated process in other contexts, such as when FAQs address emerging issues.

"To address concerns about the potential application of penalties to taxpayers who rely on an FAQ, the IRS is today releasing a statement clarifying that if a taxpayer relies on any FAQ (including FAQs released before today) in good faith and that reliance is reasonable, the taxpayer will have a 'reasonable cause' defense against any negligence penalty or other accuracy-related penalty if it turns out the FAQ is not a correct statement of the law as applied to the taxpayer's particular facts."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline icon Are Your Employee Benefits Plans Ready for the New Year, or Is It the Same Auld Lang Syne?

"For retirement plans, hardship distribution amendments are due by December 31, 2021. For welfare plans, flexible spending account (FSA) amendments are due by December 31, 2021, and a number of the provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 need to be implemented by the plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2022. [This article provides] a quick year-end checklist for employee benefit plans."  MORE >>

Ogletree Deakins

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Relationship Manager
for The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm Relationship Manager

The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm

Remote / Pacific WA

View job as Relationship Manager
for The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm

View job as 401k & Defined Contribution Plan Consultant
for Planned Retirement Consultant & Administrators, LLC 401k & Defined Contribution Plan Consultant

Planned Retirement Consultant & Administrators, LLC

Remote / Ridgewood NJ

View job as Defined Benefit Plan Consultant
for Planned Retirement Consultants & Administrators, LLC Defined Benefit Plan Consultant

Planned Retirement Consultants & Administrators, LLC

Remote / Ridgewood NJ

Press Releases

ASPPA Honors Craig Hoffman with 2021 Harry T. Eidson Founders Award

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

Martin Rosenberg Academic Achievement Award Recipients Recognized

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

ASPPA Welcomes Natalie Wyatt as 2022 President

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

ASPPA Honors John Griffin with 2021 Educator's Award

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Investigations & Enforcement: Processes, Procedures, Policies & Proper Practices

October 26, 2021 WEBCAST

Groom Law Group

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Don't Neglect End-of-Year COBRA Duties


Interim Final Rule Implements Controversial Surprise Billing Arbitration Provisions

Ropes & Gray LLP

Employer Uptake of Pre-Deductible Coverage for Preventive Services in HSA-Eligible Health Plans

Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

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

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