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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 13, 2023

2 New Job Opportunities 2 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

Big Headline, Small Impact: Legislation Ends COVID-19 National Emergency

"Based on informal comments from the [DOL], it appears that the tolling of benefit plan deadlines will end on July 10, 2023, ... notwithstanding the legislation that ... [ended] the COVID-19 National Emergency on April 10th.... [T]he April 10th termination of the National Emergency technically means that under the current rule, the tolling period ends a month earlier (on June 9th). However, it appears that the agencies are contemplating changing the rule so that it will still end on July 10 as previously scheduled."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

President Signs Resolution Ending COVID-19 National Emergency: How This Affects Employee Benefit Plans

"The COVID-19 NE ends on April 10, 2023. However, per informal DOL guidance, this will not impact the Outbreak Period. The tolling of deadlines under the Outbreak Period will not extend beyond July 10, 2023 (60 days after the initial May 11 anticipated end to the NE). The COVID-19 PHE is set to expire on May 11, 2023."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Full HIPAA Enforcement to Resume as the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Ends

"With the imminent expiration of the PHE looming, OCR announced that [four prior] notifications of enforcement discretion will terminate on May 11, 2023. However, for the Telehealth Notification only OCR is affording a 90-day transition period through August 9, 2023. During this transition period, OCR will continue to exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties on health care providers for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules that occurs in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth."  MORE >>

Health Law Advisor, Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

CRS in Focus: The Section 45F Tax Credit for Employer-Provided Child Care

"Policymakers may be interested in tax policy options that incentivize businesses to provide child care for their employees. One existing option is the Internal Revenue Code Section 45F credit. Available data indicate that the 45F credit is rarely claimed, raising questions about whether the credit is an effective incentive and whether employers view providing child care as a net benefit." [IF12379 Apr. 11, 2023]F  MORE >>

Congressional Research Service [CRS]

[Guidance Overview]

San Francisco Ordinance Requires Differential Pay for Military

"[Effective] February 19, 2023, ... the Military Leave Pay Protection Act (MLPPA) ... requires private San Francisco employers who have at least 100 employees worldwide, to ... pay their employees the difference between their gross military pay and their gross pay as employees, for up to 30 days in a calendar year.... [T]he San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) [has] published some helpful FAQs on the application of this new ordinance."  MORE >>

CDF Labor Law LLP

Quantifying Long Term Effects of COVID-19 on Health Care Costs (PDF)

34 pages. "[I]ndividuals with COVID-19 diagnoses saw morbidity and cost increases well in excess of standard medical cost trends once the direct effects of COVID-19 were removed and beyond the recovery period.... Based on the data examined, and the assumptions of reasonable measuring period endpoints, overall claims for members with a COVID-19 diagnosis remained at least 20% higher than before the month of diagnosis, even for periods greater than six months after the diagnosis."  MORE >>

Society of Actuaries Research Institute

White House Fact Sheet: President Biden Announces Plan to Expand Health Coverage to DACA Recipients

"[HHS] will shortly propose a rule amending the definition of 'lawful presence,' for purposes of Medicaid and [ACA] coverage, to include DACA recipients. ... Under the proposed rule, DACA recipients will be able to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where they may qualify for financial assistance based on income, and through their state Medicaid agency. Like all other enrollees, eligibility information will be verified electronically when individuals apply for coverage."  MORE >>

Executive Office of the President

Health Coverage: State-to-State 2023 (PDF)

110 pages. "This report catalogues what health plans contribute in terms of: [1] Access to health care coverage; [2] Number of jobs the industry generates, both directly and indirectly; [3] Tax revenues paid to support the local economy."  MORE >>

America’s Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

Paid Sick Leave, Paid Vacation, and Consolidated Leave Plan Provisions in the United States, December 2022

Apr. 2023. "The National Compensation Survey provides comprehensive measures of compensation cost trends and the coverage, costs, and provisions of employer-sponsored benefits in the United States. The Excel tables present December 2022 estimates of paid sick leave and paid vacation plans by length of service requirement, and consolidated leave plan provisions. These estimates were not published with the National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2022 due to the identification of anomalous data that impacted these particular estimates."  MORE >>

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]


The Fiduciary Imperative of Reference-Based Pricing: A Legal and Financial Analysis

"[G]iven the federal government's endorsement of RBP and its proven efficacy in reducing employer costs and expanding participant options, ... the duty of prudence compels fiduciaries to seriously evaluate the potential benefits of RBP for their health insurance plans. Failure to do so could expose fiduciaries to potential liability for breach of their ERISA obligations as they would, in fact, be arguing that their legacy plan, paying an average of 224% of Medicare, is a reasonable and prudent choice for the plan and its participants."  MORE >>

Craig Gottwals , via BenefitsPro; free registration required

Benefits in General

Principled Performance Drives Fiduciary Excellence (PDF)

"Savvy human resources and finance leaders have realized that the dimensions of their EBP oversight responsibilities also require skills in governance, administration, and controls. They have learned -- some the hard way -- that those skill sets are equally, if not more, critical than ... investment discipline and must include health and welfare programs. This modern way of thinking is essential for achieving fiduciary excellence and Principled Performance."  MORE >>

Roland Criss, via Journal of Compensation and Benefits

Jury Trials in the ERISA Context: An Anomaly or a Trend? (PDF)

"Recently ... a court in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut joined the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to buck the weight of authority and allow for a jury trial for at least some ERISA claims. These cases raise the question of whether there has been a meaningful shift in how courts view fiduciary breach claims or whether these cases are outliers, and why."  MORE >>

Jenner & Block, via Employee Relations Law Journal

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 Sr. Retirement Plan Compliance Analyst
            for FuturePlan, by Ascensus

Sr. Retirement Plan Compliance Analyst

FuturePlan, by Ascensus


View job as Sr. Retirement Plan Compliance Analyst for FuturePlan, by Ascensus

Selected New Discussions

What Do Participating Employers Do if the MEWA Does not File a Form 5500?

"Hello, I have a few clients who are participating employers of H&W MEWAs. The MEWAs hold trusts but for reasons unknown, they are not filing Form 5500s. Do the participating employers file 5500s for themselves, and if yes, do they file as a trust even though they are not the Plan Administrator of a trust but sent funds to a trust?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Impact on Coverage Period of a More Generous COBRA Election Period

"If an employer wants to offer an election period more generous than the 60 days that is minimally required, does it impact the end date for the maximum continuation coverage period? Taken to an extreme, if the employer allows an employee to elect continuation coverage up until the end of the maximum coverage period (let's say 18 months in a given case), is it correct to say that the maximum coverage period is still 18 months after the qualifying event, and that while the employer is on the hook for claims arising any time during that 18 month period if an employee so elects, an employee electing on the last day doesn't have any coverage beyond the date of the election? Does anyone see any other impacts lurking in that scenario?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

OneDigital Announces Acquisition of Sequoyah Group


Renee Scherzer Named President of the National Association of Plan Advisors


OneAmerica joins the Retirement Advisor Council

Retirement Advisor Council

PBGC Rated Among Best Places to Work in Federal Government

PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Webcasts and Conferences
(Health & Welfare Plans)

A Return to 'Normal': Preparing Your Benefit Plan for the End of the COVID-19 Emergencies

May 25, 2023 WEBINAR

Hunton Andrews Kurth

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

COVID National Emergency Ends Early; Plan Sponsor Action Required

HUB International

The COVID-19 National Emergency Is Over

Miller Johnson

President Biden Signs Resolution Ending COVID-19 National Emergency

Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

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

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