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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 6, 2023


[Guidance Overview]

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

"[P]lan sponsors [should] pay particular attention to notifying employees of the upcoming changes that will accompany the end of the PHE and NE and to ensure that participants covered under an HDHP understand that they may continue to contribute to their HSAs."  MORE >>

McDermott Will & Emery

[Guidance Overview]

The End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: New Deadlines for Group Health Plans

"This article provides (i) a recap of the deadlines, (ii) rules of thumb for determining the deadlines, and (iii) tables more specifically addressing some of the most common deadlines that arise. Plan administrators should review plan operations now and prepare to administer these shifting deadlines correctly to avert potential penalties and minimize avoidable claims exposure."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

FAQs Anticipate End of COVID-19 National Emergency, Address Outbreak Period Extensions for COBRA and HIPAA Special Enrollment

"The FAQs leave some open questions -- notably, no examples address how the outbreak period's end will affect extended deadlines for filing benefit claims, appeals, and requests for external review; express guidance would be welcomed."  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline icon San Francisco Employers, Do You Need to Submit an Employer Annual Report Form by May 1?

"Employers covered by San Francisco's ... Health Care Security Ordinance [HCSO] are required to submit the Employer Annual Report Form ... by May 1, 2023.... [The HCSO] applies to private and non-profit employers who employ any individual in San Francisco, and twenty or more workers ... inside or outside of San Francisco."  MORE >>

Jackson Lewis

[Guidance Overview]

HHS Finalizes 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D Final Rule

"This final rule will strengthen Medicare Advantage and hold health insurance companies to higher standards ... by [1] cracking down on misleading marketing schemes by Medicare Advantage plans, Part D plans and their downstream entities; [2] removing barriers to care created by complex coverage criteria and utilization management; and [3] expanding access to behavioral health care. The new rule will also ... implement a key provision of the Inflation Reduction Act ... that will improve access to affordable prescription drug coverage[.]" [Also available: Fact Sheet]  MORE >>

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

Fourth Circuit Finds Company Did Not Properly Eliminate ERISA Severance Plan Prior to Mass Layoff

"[T]he severance plan was contained within BCI's employee handbook. The plan could be amended or eliminated pursuant to the same procedure that applies to any other portion of the handbook. The handbook may only be modified or amended in writing by the Human Resources department.... The Board was required to have HR effectuate its elimination of the severance plan in writing." [Messer v. Bristol Compressors Int'l, LLC, No. 21-2363 (4th Cir. Apr. 3, 2023; unpub.)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

Are Remote Employees Eligible for FMLA Leave?

"For employees working remotely, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division says their work location for counting the number of employees within 75 miles is 'the office to which they report or from which their assignments are made.' Further, you should include in your employee count all other remote employees who report or get assignments from the same location."  MORE >>

McAfee & Taft

Employers Should Prepare for Additional Healthcare Cost Volatility

"Are you leveraging the lowest cost networks and vendors based on your geographic footprint? Many employers have different geographical footprints than they did before the pandemic.... Have you negotiated your administrative and program fees? Is your pharmacy contract keeping pace with market improvements? ... Are there conditions or procedures that would benefit from a centers-of-excellence approach? ... Are you supporting virtual care in ways that improve access and reduce costs?"  MORE >>

Willis Towers Watson

Press Releases

Distinguished Benefits Counsel Scott E. Galbreath to Lead Trucker Huss' Equity and Executive Compensation Practice

Trucker Huss

HFMA Names Ann Jordan as New CEO

HFMA [Healthcare Financial Management Association]

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

A Look at Bereavement Leave and Granting Time Off to Grieve


Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

COVID-19 Public Health and National Emergencies to End May 11 -- or Earlier

Morgan Lewis

Guidance Issued on the End of the COVID-19 Emergency Periods and Impact on Benefits Plans

Ice Miller LLP

RxDC Reporting Considerations for Employers


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

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