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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 10, 2023

4 New Job Opportunities 4 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

HHS Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Transition Roadmap

"Many COVID-19 PHE flexibilities and policies have already been made permanent or otherwise extended for some time. However, HHS continues to review the flexibilities and policies implemented during the COVID-19 PHE to determine whether others can and should remain in place, even for a temporary duration, to facilitate jurisdictions' ability to provide care and resources to Americans. Still, others will expire. [This Fact Sheet includes] a list of some of the changes people will see in the months ahead."  MORE >>

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

COVID-19 Emergency Declarations Anticipated to Expire: Impact for Group Health Plans

"[U]ntil the public health emergency and national emergency are expressly declared to be expired by the President, the temporary relief still applies. [A] chart summarizes the impact to group health plans and how employers can begin preparing for these anticipated changes."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

HHS Releases Initial Guidance for Medicare Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate Program

"The Medicare Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate Program will require rebates to the Medicare Trust Fund in cases of price increases that exceed inflation, particularly brand name drugs, which make up 80 percent of all prescription drug spending.... CMS is seeking comment from the public on ... [1] the process to determine the number of drug units for rebatable drugs; [2] reduction of rebate amounts for certain Part B and Part D rebatable drugs in shortage and in cases of severe supply chain disruptions; [3] the process to impose civil monetary penalties on manufacturers of Part D rebatable drugs that fail to pay rebates; [and] [4] assuring accuracy of the inflation rebate payments[.]" [Also see: [1] fact sheet; [2] Medicare Part B Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate guidance memo; and [3] Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate guidance memo.]  MORE >>

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

Maryland Employers: Prepare for Paid Family and Medical Leave Under the Time to Care Act

"Starting in 2025, covered employees can receive up to 12 weeks of leave insurance benefits to deal with a serious personal health need, bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill relative or address needs correlating with military deployment. The [Time to Care Act of 2022] officially goes into effect June 1, 2023[.]"  MORE >>


Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of ERISA Life Insurance Claims Due to Ex-Spouse's Ineligibility for Coverage

"Staropoli argued that the Benefits Executive misled her into believing she had coverage for Charles because it withdrew premiums from her paycheck and listed Charles as a covered dependent on the company's benefits portal. [The Third Circuit held that reliance] on these facts is unreasonable as a matter of law because they cannot be reconciled with the unqualified plan language." [Staropoli v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co; JP Morgan Chase Bank NA, No. 21-2500 (3d Cir. Feb. 7, 2023)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

Bipartisan Bill Seeks Stand-Alone Telehealth for All Workers

"Unlike the current temporary policy, the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act [HR 824] would let all employers offer excepted-benefit stand-alone telehealth arrangements to all employees (including benefit-eligible optouts), not just those ineligible for benefits."  MORE >>


Reasons to Add Lifestyle Spending Accounts to Your Benefits Offering

"Lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs) are a flexible solution that offers employees a 'subsidy' to meet covered expenses -- like fitness, social memberships, emergency savings, and stress management services, home internet service, food delivery service, tutoring costs for children, summer camp costs, new appliances, new tires and car repair services, and so on. And LSAs offer three powerful incentives to employees and employers alike."  MORE >>



Reforming ERISA to Help States Control Health Care Costs

"Adding ERISA preemption to the [ACA's] waiver program or adding a waiver to the ERISA statute would offer modest assistance to state cost-control reform efforts without undermining the ACA or ERISA's protections ... Although past proposals have failed to pass in Congress, the endurance of the ACA and the bipartisan recognition of state health care cost control's urgency present an opportunity to try again."  MORE >>

The Commonwealth Fund

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Employee Benefit Plan Audit Independence

"[EBSA Interpretive Bulletin 2022-01 specifies that] employee benefit plan sponsors can engage an independent auditing firm immediately after the accountant disposes of the publicly traded securities of the plan sponsor."  MORE >>


Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Retirement Plan Manager
            for American Trust

Retirement Plan Manager

American Trust


View job as Retirement Plan Manager for American Trust

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
            for Schiller’s Pension Consulting

Retirement Plan Administrator

Schiller’s Pension Consulting

Remote / San Mateo CA

View job as Employee Benefits Attorney
            for UMWA Health and Retirement Funds

Employee Benefits Attorney

UMWA Health and Retirement Funds

Hybrid / Washington DC

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
            for The Finway Group

Retirement Plan Administrator

The Finway Group

Remote / West Des Moines IA / IL / KS / MN / MO / ND / NE / SD / WV

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator for The Finway Group

Selected New Discussions

Conflicting Documents: ERISA SPD v. Section 125 SPD

"The client's Section 125 SPD says the effective date of a QLE (in this case, marriage) will be on a prospective basis whereas the ERISA SPD says the effective date of the new spouse's coverage would be based on the date of the event. The employee submitted the necessary enrollment paperwork 10 days after the event. I did some research and found that in these cases the employee is entitled to the benefit of the more generous of the 2 documents. So, the ERISA SPD would govern in this case. Then I was discussing with a coworker and their thought is the cafeteria plan document is the more accurate, unless it is the QLE is birth or adoption. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

FSA (Health) Calendar Year Plan, Prorate for New Hires?

"Can an ongoing FSA prorate new employees to the maximum allowable FSA for the year? Ie new employee is eligible 3/1, so their limit is 10/12*Full limit? Am currently waiting for copy of the SPD/Employee Benefit Guide."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Executive Compensation Partner David Mollo-Christensen Joins Choate


MissionSquare Retirement Announces New Board Chair and Two New Board Members

MissionSquare Retirement

Putnam Investments Announces Sustainable Retirement Target-Date Funds

Putnam Investments

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

What Happens Once the COVID-19 National Emergency Ends in May?

Kutak Rock LLP

ACA Contraception Rule Proposes More Than the Elimination of the Moral Exemption

Miller & Chevalier

Adding Long-Term Care Insurance to Your Employee Benefits Package (PDF)


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

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