Health and Welfare Plans

American Rescue Plan Act: COBRA Subsidy Relief and Dependent Care FSA Limit Increase

ELIZABETH LOH, March 18, 2021     On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”). This $1.9 trillion legislative package provides significant pandemic relief. This article focuses on the COBRA continuation coverage subsidy relief, as well as increased Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (“Dependent Care FSA”) relief provided under […]

New FAQs Clarify Coverage Requirements for COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines

MARY E. POWELL and SARAH KANTER, March 1, 2021   On February 26, 2021, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury (collectively the “Departments”) released FAQs About Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) Implementation Part 44 (the “FAQs”).1 These FAQs […]

Outbreak Extension Period — When Does It End?

MARY E. POWELL and SARAH KANTER, March 1, 2021   On February 26, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 (“2021 Relief Notice”)1, which explains how employee benefit plans must administer the end date of the tolling period for certain plan deadlines due to the COVID-19 national […]

An Overview of the Group Health Plan Provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Final Transparency in Coverage Regulations

MARY E. POWELL and SARAH KANTER, January 29, 2021   The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CAA) contains numerous provisions that impact group health plans. At a high level, these CAA provisions can be broken into three main categories: (1) reducing Out-of-Network (OON) costs for enrollees, (2) providing transparency regarding costs, and (3) permissive changes that […]

Flexible Spending Account Relief in Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

MARY E. POWELL and ELIZABETH LOH, January 6, 2021  In December, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), which combines COVID-19 stimulus relief with a number of year-end appropriations bills. The CAA contains numerous provisions that will impact health and welfare plans. The provisions of the CAA that need immediate attention are the […]

Keeping COBRA Notices Compliant in an Ever-Changing Landscape

JAHIZ NOEL AGARD, November 24, 2020  2020 has presented several issues requiring urgent attention for employers who sponsor group health plans, including a need to update the notices required under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), in particular the general (or initial) notice and the continuation coverage election (or enrollment) notice. This […]

New Proposed Rule Regarding Grandfathered Plans

SARAH KANTER, October 8, 2020  A new proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”), released by the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) (the “Departments”) on July 10, 2020, would permit grandfathered group health plans and grandfathered group health insurance coverage (“grandfathered plans”) to make greater increases to certain types of cost-sharing requirements […]

IRS Allows for Temporary Flexibility with Long-Awaited Guidance that Expands Mid-Year Election Change Opportunities for Cafeteria Plans

GISUE MEHDI and BRIANA B. DESCH, July 9, 2020   In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-29 and Notice 2020-33 (the “Notices”) on May 12, 2020. Notice 2020-29 provides increased flexibility for participants to make mid-year health plan, health flexible spending account […]

COBRA, HIPAA Special Enrollment, Claims and Appeals, and ERISA Notice Related Deadlines Extended

ELIZABETH LOH, May 7, 2020 On April 28, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of the Treasury (“Treasury Department”), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), issued several pieces of guidance providing relief to plan participants, COBRA-qualified beneficiaries, claimants, and plan sponsors who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance includes the following: […]

IRS Notice 2020-23 Extends Deadlines for Employee Benefit Plans

JENNIFER D. TRUONG, May 7, 2020   Under IRS Notice 2020-23, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided additional relief due to the coronavirus pandemic by extending the deadlines for the time-sensitive actions set forth in Revenue Procedure 2018-58.1 Specifically, the Notice extends the deadlines for filings and other actions that would otherwise be due on […]

COVID-19 — Health and Welfare Provisions in the CARES Act

MARY E. POWELL and LINDSAY R. DOCTO, April, 2020    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes to law to help the U.S. respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article discusses: (1) the […]

Health and Welfare Plans — Guidance for Employers Navigating Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic

MARY E. POWELL and LINDSAY R. DOCTO, March, 2020    Due to the urgent crisis the United States is facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President has declared a national emergency, as well as declaring major disasters in California, Washington, New York, Iowa, Louisi­ana, Texas and Florida. Federal and state governments have passed legislation and […]

Groundhog Results Are In: An Early Spring Means It’s Time for Health and Welfare Spring Cleaning!

GISUE MEHDI and CATHERINE L. REAGAN, February, 2020    1. Thought You Were in the Clear? CA’s Individual Mandate Replaces the ACA Individual Mandate for CA Taxpayers Although the federal government effectively removed the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act by setting the penalty to zero (effective January 1, 2019 under the Tax Cuts […]

Individual Coverage HRAs: Practicalities and Potential Pitfalls for Employers (Part One)

SARAH KANTER, September, 2019 This article is part one of a two-part article examining many of the issues that employers and other plan sponsors may want to consider when deciding whether to offer employees an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), which was created by final regulations (the “final regulations”) released on June 13, 2019 […]

Two Interesting New Rules Regarding Prescription Drugs — What is Really Going On?

MARY E. POWELL, September, 2019    In the last few months, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued rules that impact the cost that group health plans (GHPs) can charge participants for certain prescription drugs. This article explains those rules and also takes a critical […]

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