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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 4, 2023


[Guidance Overview]

Preparing for the End of the COVID-19 Emergency: Tri-Agencies Issue FAQs to Assist Plans and Issuers

"In what is a welcome surprise, the FAQs confirm that individuals covered by a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) will remain Health Savings Account (HSA)-eligible until further notice even if the HDHP in which they are enrolled provides medical care services and items purchased related to testing for and treatment of COVID-19 prior to the satisfaction of the HDHP's applicable minimum deductible."  MORE >>

McDermott Will & Emery

[Guidance Overview]

New Guidance Helps Employers Navigate End of the COVID-19 Emergency Orders

"The FAQ guidance includes details on COVID-19 diagnostic testing, coverage of vaccines, and the extended deadlines for COBRA, special enrollments, and group health plan claims and appeals."  MORE >>

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline icon Agencies Release FAQs in Advance of the Upcoming Gag Clause Attestation Filing Deadline

"The CAA required group health plans and health insurance carriers to attest annually to the government that they have no 'gag clauses' in their contracts. Plans and carriers must complete the GCPCA form electronically using the form provided by the Agencies.... The first attestation is due no later than December 31, 2023, and covers the period beginning December 27, 2020, or the effective date of the applicable group health plan or health insurance coverage (if later), through the date of attestation."  MORE >>

Woodruff Sawyer

[Guidance Overview]

NLRB General Counsel Issues New Guidance on Separation Agreements

"[Key takeaways from Memorandum GC 23-05 include:] [1] The circumstances surrounding presentation of the severance agreement to an employee are irrelevant if the agreement is unlawful on its face. Simply offering an unlawful agreement is prohibited, so whether the employee actually signed it is also irrelevant.... [2] In almost all circumstances, a non-disparagement provision will be unlawful, except to prevent 'maliciously untrue' defamatory statements about an employer. That is a high bar to satisfy, and employers will need to be particularly careful in drafting non-disparagement language."  MORE >>

Foley & Lardner LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Illinois Paid Leave (for Any Reason) Signed Into Law

"Employers have no responsibility to pay employees for any unused paid leave that was accrued but not taken prior to their separation from employment. ... Employers must give written notice to employees regarding the Paid Leave Policy.  ... Employers subject to the PLFAW Act should be mindful of the recordkeeping requirements as well, as they will need to maintain records documenting hours worked, paid leave accrued and taken, and remaining paid leave balances for each employee. "  MORE >>

Assured Partners

Texas Court Invalidates Certain ACA Preventive Care Requirements

"Preventive care recommendations by ACIP (e.g., vaccines and immunizations) and HRSA for women's health services (including contraceptive coverage requirements) would not be affected ... [D]uring the appeal proceedings, it is anticipated many group health plans will continue to cover all preventive services without cost-sharing. Typically, health plan contracts are in place for the plan year, and employers generally do not make coverage or cost changes midyear." [Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 20-0283 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2023; notice of appeal filed Mar. 31, 2023)]  MORE >>

NFP; free registration required to view full report

Implications of Texas District Court Ruling on ACA's Preventive Services Mandate

"It is important to look at how the federal government approaches the decision before making choices to change preventive services coverage. If ... a plan sponsor wishes to modify preventive services coverage, it would likely be considered a material reduction in benefits, requiring a 60-day advance notice if the change is made mid-year." [Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 20-0283 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2023; notice of appeal filed Mar. 31, 2023)]  MORE >>


Texas District Court Blocks Enforcement of Some of ACA's Preventive Health Services Requirements

"In a ruling that has already been appealed to the Fifth Circuit, a Texas district court vacated all federal administrative actions to implement or enforce portions of the [ACA's] preventive health services requirements. The court's March 2023 decision expands on its ruling from last September holding that compulsory health plan and insurance coverage for preventive health services based on a rating of 'A' or 'B' in recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), made after March 23, 2010, violated the US Constitution's Appointments Clause." [Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 20-0283 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2023; notice of appeal filed Mar. 31, 2023)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

How Employers Can Help Employees with Surprise Medical Bills

"A strong employee advocacy program can help plan participants navigate a high medical bill and work to ensure that a participant only pays what they should. These specialized benefits advocates can also help participants review their insurance plan before a procedure to determine what the plan will pay. Figuring out who is and who isn't in network ahead of time is critical to keeping the cost down."  MORE >>

Corporate Synergies

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice Ar-2023-01, for Victims of Severe Storms and Tornadoes in Arkansas

"Victims of severe storms and tornadoes in Arkansas on March 31, 2023, now have until July 31, 2023, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments ... [I]ndividuals and households affected by severe storms and tornadoes that reside or have a business in Cross, Lonoke, and Pulaski counties qualify for tax relief."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

Partners Marc Schechter, Robert K. Butterfield, Corey F. Schechter and Paul D. Woodard Named on 2023 Super Lawyers List

Butterfield Schechter LLP

Voya Launches New Advisory Services Solution for Retirement Plan Participants

Voya Financial

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Rep and Warranty Insurance and Executive Compensation and Employees Benefits



Winning Employee Hearts With Your Benefits Package

April 4, 2023 PODCAST

HR Daily Advisor

Student Loan Repayment Benefits

April 19, 2023 WEBINAR


Benefits Are Easy... Said No One Ever!

May 10, 2023 in TX

Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

COVID-19 National Emergency May End Earlier Than Previously Announced


It's Over: DOL, Treasury, and HHS Confirm End of (Most) COVID-19 Rules for Health Plans


ACA Preventive Service Requirements Partially Vacated

Groom Law Group

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

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