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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 11, 2023

4 New Job Opportunities 4 New Job Opportunities


[Official Guidance]

Text of OCR Notice of Expiration of Certain Notifications of Enforcement Discretion Issued in Response to the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

"This document is to inform the public that four Notifications of Enforcement Discretion issued by [OCR] regarding how the Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules promulgated under [HIPPA and HITECH] will be applied to certain violations during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency, will expire upon expiration of the COVID-19 PHE, which is currently scheduled for 11:59 p.m. on May 11, 2023.... OCR will continue to exercise enforcement discretion consistent with the Notifications for violations of the HIPAA Rules that occurred during the period that each Notification was in effect. In addition, OCR is affording covered health care providers a 90-calendar day transition period to come into compliance with the HIPAA Rules with respect to their provision of telehealth using non-public facing remote communication technologies."  MORE >>

Office of Civil Rights [OCR], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

Prescription Drug Cost Reporting: Employer Guidance

"Highlights of the changes from the prior year ... [1] An additional option for multiple vendors to submit the same data file on behalf of the same plan, issuer, or carrier has been added ... [2] Clarifies [reporting for prescription drug rebates and stop-loss reimbursements]; and [3] RxDC reporting does not apply to retiree-only plans."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

California State Disability Insurance Payroll Tax Cap Eliminated in 2024

"The increased SDI benefit percentage levels that began in 2018 (up to 60%-70% of Average Weekly Wages (AWW)) have been extended through the end of 2024. The SDI benefit percentage increases again to up to 63%-90% of AWW in 2025 ... These benefit enhancements are funded by the elimination of the taxable wage limit on individual wages subject to the annual SDI withholding rate ($153,164 in 2023) effective January 1, 2024."  MORE >>


ACA Preventive Services Mandate Partially Vacated: What's Affected, What's Not, and What's Next

"For now, the ruling is in force across the country and technically allows plan sponsors and insurers to impose cost-sharing with respect to preventive services affected by the ruling. However, due to the significant operational, written plan design, and communications hurdles to altering course, and the practical and legal constraints on timing, near-term changes are unlikely." [Article includes detailed list of services that are/are not affected by the ruling.] [Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 20-0283 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2023; notice of appeal filed Mar. 31, 2023)]  MORE >>


Third Circuit Finds Deductions from Accrued PTO Do Not Violate Salary Basis Requirement for Exempt Employees

"the Third Circuit held that employer-provided paid time off (PTO) is a fringe benefit that is not part of an exempt employee's 'salary' for purposes of assessing compliance with the 'salary basis' requirement for certain 'white collar' exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As a result, an employer may deduct from an exempt employee's PTO bank based on the quality or quantity of the employee's work without compromising the employee's exempt status under the FLSA." [Higgins v. Bayada Home Health Care Inc., No. 21-3286 (3d Cir. Mar. 15, 2023)]  MORE >>


Severance Agreements Should Be Reviewed in Light of NLRB Ruling (PDF)

"Before redlining your severance agreement, consider whether the employee at issue is a statutory employee under the NLRA to whom the decision in McLaren Macomb applies in the first place.... Consider whether any language that arguably interferes with NLRA rights (e.g., confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions) is really needed.... Think about ways to narrowly tailor any potentially problematic language ... Consider disclaimers stating that nothing in the agreement interferes with the employee's NLRA rights." [McLaren Macomb, 372 NLRB No. 58 (Feb. 21, 2023)]  MORE >>

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Why Every Employee Benefits Program Should Include Financial Education

"[Company] leaders should be empathetic to how little financial education their Gen Z and Millennial employees have likely received, and how ill-equipped many are to navigate these periods of transition, especially in a challenging economic environment.... [J]ust 53% of U.S. employees say they have a good understanding of their total healthcare costs, and 57% have high anxiety about costs beyond what their insurance covers."  MORE >>

BenefitsPro; free registration required

Insurance Industry Coalition Forms Non-Profit to Study Baffling Excess Mortality

"Members of the group, called The Insurance Collaboration to Save Lives, say they were increasingly concerned about excess mortality and morbidity trends that even three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.... When controlling for population size, the annual number of excess deaths is up 84.9% between 2019 and 2021.... With excess morbidity comes excess losses for insurers that could be significantly quelled with digital screening and triage of policyholders."  MORE >>

SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Settles Lawsuit Led by Ed Asner

"As part of the agreement, SAG-AFTRA will pay $15 million to older members of SAG-AFTRA who lost their coverage in the guild's health plan due to changes made in 2020 that raised the amount of annual earnings required to qualify for the plan and removing members' ability to count residuals towards that earnings threshold."  MORE >>

The Wrap, via Yahoo News

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice TN-2023-02, for Victims of Severe Storms, Straight-Line Winds and Tornadoes in Tennessee

"Victims of severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes in Tennessee from March 31 to April 1, 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, straight-line winds and tornadoes that reside or have a business in Cannon, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Lewis, Macon, McNairy, Rutherford, Tipton, and Wayne counties qualify for tax relief."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as DC Plan Administrator
            for The Benefit Advantage

DC Plan Administrator

The Benefit Advantage

Remote / West Bloomfield MI

View job as DC Plan Administrator for The Benefit Advantage

View job as Retirement Plan Consultant
            for The MandMarblestone Group, llc

Retirement Plan Consultant

The MandMarblestone Group, llc


View job as Retirement Plan Consultant for The MandMarblestone Group, llc

View job as Relationship Manager for Defined Benefit/Cash Balance Plans
            for The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm

Relationship Manager for Defined Benefit/Cash Balance Plans

The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm


View job as Relationship Manager for Defined Benefit/Cash Balance Plans for The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm

View job as Retirement Plan Consultant - Combo Plans
            for Definiti

Retirement Plan Consultant - Combo Plans



View job as Retirement Plan Consultant - Combo Plans for Definiti

Press Releases

Sue Diehl Honored with NTSA 2023 Richard Ford Volunteer Service Award

National Tax-Deferred Savings Association [NTSA]

Veteran Legal and Employee Benefits Advisor Andy Nebens Joins Alliant Insurance Services in New York

Alliant Insurance Services

Group Benefits Leader Mylo Selected by Mployer Advisor as a Top-Rated Solution for Employers


Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

Practically Speaking with Compliance: Ending of the COVID Emergencies



Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Health and Welfare Benefits Monthly Update, April 2023 (PDF)

Alston & Bird

CMS Updates Could Help Employers on Second Round of Drug Cost Reporting

Ogletree Deakins

We've Come to the End of the COVID-19 Outbreak Period Road


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

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