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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 11, 2022


[Guidance Overview]

Benefit Plan Deadlines Extended Again for States of Emergency

"[A]bsent a further continuation or early termination, the National Emergency will end on February 28 [2023].... [A]bsent a further extension, the Public Health Emergency will expire in mid-October 2022.... When these emergencies do finally end, plan sponsors should be prepared to send communications to participants about the end of the extensions and review their plan documents to account for any changes after the end of the period."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Alert (High Risk Issue) icon Understanding the Expansion of New Mexico’s Paid Sick Leave Law (PDF)

"Effective July 1, 2022, the 'Healthy Workplaces Act' now requires all private employers in the State of New Mexico, regardless of the size of their business or total workforce population, to provide eligible employees with up to 60 hours of paid sick leave per year for personal health or injury, to care for a family member, or for reasons related to domestic abuse."  MORE >>

Polsinelli PC

Federal Judge Throws Out Yet Another Portion of HHS 'Surprise' Medical Billing Regs

"[T]he court held that ... the interim rule 'places its thumb on the scale for the QPA, requiring arbitrators to presume the correctness of the QPA and then imposing a heightened burden on the remaining statutory factors to overcome that presumption.' The court held that by implementing the interim rule, HHS essentially rewrote statutory terms that were already clear and unambiguous." [LifeNet v. HHS, No. 22-162 (E.D. Tex. Jul. 26, 2022)]  MORE >>

Stevens & Lee

District Court Approves Blue Cross Blue Shield $2.67 Billion Settlement, Acknowledges Importance of ERISA Fiduciary Duties

"Employers who made a claim should be aware that they may have fiduciary duties under ERISA with respect to the use of any proceeds from the settlement fund. In its approval order ... the court stated that all ERISA fiduciaries must comply with those duties.... [T]he court acknowledged that while the settlement funds are not 'plan assets' at the time of their distribution, the [DOL] may take the position that some of those settlement funds are 'plan assets' after distribution." [In re: Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation MDL 2406, No. 13-20000 (N.D. Ala. settlement approved Aug. 9, 2022)]  MORE >>

Miller Johnson

More U.S. Employers to Offer Travel Benefits for Abortion Services in Wake of Dobbs Decision

"The survey of 305 U.S. employers found over a third of respondents (35%) now offer travel and lodging benefits for elective and medically necessary abortions. Another 16% of employers plan to offer abortion travel benefits in 2023, while 21% are considering it."  MORE >>

Willis Towers Watson

Survey Finds Health Benefit Cost Growth Will Accelerate to 5.6% in 2023

"While significantly higher than the increase of 4.4% projected for 2022, the 2023 increase lags overall inflation, which is currently running at about 9% ... The projected increase of 5.6% reflects changes that employers plan to make to hold down cost. If they made no changes, respondents indicated that the cost for their largest medical plan would rise by an average of 7.0%."  MORE >>


How to Beat the Open Enrollment Blues

"Setting expectations and vision are paramount to the overall success of an open enrollment. It's important to meet often and early to plan necessary logistics and put workflows in place to avoid staff burnout during this hectic time."  MORE >>

Assured Partners

COVID-19 Meant Many Workers Went Out Sick Without Pay

"U.S. workers who lacked access to paid leave missed out on an estimated $28 billion in wages over the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to previous years."  MORE >>

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Understanding the Inflation Reduction Act's Drug Pricing Package

"The IRA's drug pricing reforms include Medicare drug price negotiation, Medicare inflationary rebates, and Medicare Part D redesign ... [This article provides] a broad overview of the three main pillars of the IRA's drug pricing reforms -- considering their differences from prior legislative proposals, as well as clarifying what other reforms are not included in the package."  MORE >>

Health Affairs


Why the Inflation Reduction Act Will Reduce Medicare Drug Costs, Not Cut Benefits

"The Inflation Reduction Act ... will reduce the cost of prescription drugs that are covered by Medicare ... In total, these changes will save the government about $250 billion over ten years and will also lower premiums and cost sharing for Medicare beneficiaries."  MORE >>

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

IRS Disaster Relief Notice MO-2022-07, for Victims of Missouri Severe Storms and Flooding

"Victims of severe storms and flooding beginning July 25, 2022, now have until November 15, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments ... Individuals and households ... that reside or have a business in the Independent City of St. Louis, Montgomery, St. Charles and St. Louis counties qualify for tax relief."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

Katherine Schulze Joins MissionSquare Retirement to Lead the Company’s Legal and Corporate Affairs Team

MissionSquare Retirement

Know Your Numbers for 401(k) Day

PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Reversal of Roe vs Wade: What Now?

August 18, 2022 in GA

Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Atlanta Chapter

Benefit Plan Fiduciary Bootcamp

September 20, 2022 WEBCAST

Groom Law Group

Insights Into the Expansion of New Preventive Care Benefits in HSA-Eligible Health Plans

September 22, 2022 WEBCAST

EBRI [Employee Benefit Research Institute]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

District Court: Religious Employer Violated Title VII by Revoking Health Coverage for Employee's Same-Sex Spouse

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

Colorado Provides Updated Guidance for Paid Sick and Safe Leave

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP

Reconciliation Bill Drug Pricing Provisions Could Lead to Rising Drug Costs for Employers

HR Policy Association

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

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