Health Care Reform Dashboard

Health Care Reform Dashboard

Charting Developments with the
Affordable Care Act and Beyond



Spring Cleaning: Preparing for the COVID Emergency’s End

Summary The almost three-year-old COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency declarations (Declarations) are slated to expire May 11, 2023. The Upshot The Bottom Line Plan sponsors should use the coming months to work with their advisors and administrators to ensure that their plan design, documents, and communications are appropriately reviewed and, if necessary, revised [&hellip… Continue Reading »

Congress Breathes New Life Into Pre-deductible Access to Telehealth Services

The recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (CAA 2022) is best known for preventing a government shutdown and providing aid to Ukraine, but its more than 2,600 pages also contain language that revives a telehealth services provision that many health plan sponsors will welcome. The provision allows participants to receive benefits under a High Deductible Health Plan [&hellip… Continue Reading »

More Guidance on Coverage of Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Test Kits

Following up on their earlier guidance the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services have issued an additional set of frequently asked questions and answers on the requirement to cover over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits. The new FAQ primarily offers further explanation of a safe harbor approach described in the earlier guidance. This safe harbor generally applies [&hellip… Continue Reading »

Reminder: COBRA Notice Deadline is May 31

This is a reminder that a COBRA notice deadline is approaching. It applies to employers that are subject to the federal COBRA rules. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) requires employers that are subject to the federal COBRA rules to provide notice to those who do not currently have COBRA continuation coverage, but who are [&hellip… Continue Reading »

IRS Issues Additional Dependent Care FSA Guidance

Following up on guidance issued in February the IRS has issued a new notice on the temporary carryover rules for dependent care flexible spending accounts. The 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) provides that, for plan years ending in 2020 and 2021, participants in a dependent care plan may carry over unused amounts into the next plan year. These carryover [&hellip… Continue Reading »

ARP: Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) will have significant and immediate impacts on employee benefit plans, employers, and other plan sponsors and plan administrators. President Biden signed the ARP stimulus bill today. We highlight the most significant employee benefits and executive compensation changes under the ARP below. COBRA Provisions Section 9501 of the ARP requires employers [&hellip… Continue Reading »

COVID-19 Vaccine Programs: EEOC Withdraws Proposed Rules on Employer Wellness Incentives

Many employers implementing vaccination programs for their employees have needed to consider whether those programs should be treated as employee wellness programs. Wellness programs, particularly those programs that offer incentives for participation, may be subject to nondiscrimination requirements. Concern about these nondiscrimination requirements rose in the final days of the Trump administration, when the U.S. [&hellip… Continue Reading »

Stimulus Bill Adds New Disclosure Requirements for Consultants and Brokers to ERISA Health Plans

The new stimulus bill (the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 or CAA) imposes new disclosure requirements for brokers and consultants providing services to ERISA health plans. The service providers are required to disclose to a plan’s fiduciary the direct and indirect compensation, including commissions and other incentive compensation they (or their affiliates and subcontractors) receive [&hellip… Continue Reading »

New Stimulus Deal: A Little More Flexibility for Flexible Spending Arrangements

The stimulus package that President Trump signed includes several provisions of significance to employee benefit plans, including measures that respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements (FSAs). FSAs typically allow employees to make contributions on a pre-tax basis through a cafeteria plan and use those contributions to pay [&hellip… Continue Reading »

HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance on Contacting Survivors of COVID-19 About Plasma Donation

The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance clarifying how HIPAA’s Privacy Rule permits covered entities (in particular, health care providers and health plans) or their business associates to contact former COVID-19 patients about plasma donation to treat or potentially treat patients. The guidance follows the FDA’s approval of blood [&hellip… Continue Reading »

New Executive Order and CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule Offer Permanent Expansion of Medicare Telehealth Services, Extension of Temporary Telehealth Flexibilities

On August 3, 2020, President Trump signed the “Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access” (the Executive Order). The Executive Order directed the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the temporary telehealth flexibilities authorized during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and to propose a regulation to [&hellip… Continue Reading »

IRS Guidance Provides COVID-19 Relief for Participants Taking Retirement Plan Distributions and Loans

The IRS has released Notice 2020-50, which provides guidance to employers that have amended their retirement plans to take advantage of provisions under the CARES Act that provide access to special plan distributions, known as Coronavirus-Related Distributions (CRDs), and expanded plan loans. Coronavirus-Related Distributions The CARES Act permits employers to amend their eligible retirement plans to [&hellip… Continue Reading »

FAQs on COVID-19 Address Benefit Issues

The U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury have jointly published a set of frequently asked questions that offer guidance on a number of benefits issues related to the expansion of coverage during the COVID-19 emergency period. The questions pertain to the COVID-19 rules under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act [&hellip… Continue Reading »

IRS Issues Guidance Allowing Employer-Sponsored Leave Donation Programs for COVID-19 Relief

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-46 providing guidance to employers whose employees forgo sick, vacation, or personal leave to aid victims of COVID-19. Generally, when an employee donates sick, vacation, or personal leave to which he or she otherwise is entitled, the donation is treated as an assignment of income – the employee is treated [&hellip… Continue Reading »

IRS Issues Guidance Allowing Employer-Sponsored Leave Donation Programs for COVID-19 Relief

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-46 providing guidance to employers whose employees forgo sick, vacation, or personal leave to aid victims of COVID-19. Generally, when an employee donates sick, vacation, or personal leave to which he or she otherwise is entitled, the donation is treated as an assignment of income – the employee is treated [&hellip… Continue Reading »

IRS Allows Remote Spousal Consent for Retirement Plans

The IRS released Notice 2020-42, which provides temporary relief during calendar year 2020 from the physical presence requirements for participant elections in retirement plans. Under the new guidance, there is relief during calendar year 2020 from the physical presence requirement for any participant election witnessed by a notary public through an electronic system that uses remote [&hellip… Continue Reading »

CMS Addresses Extended Deadlines for Benefit Plans

The Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has followed the guidance, jointly issued by the U.S. Departments of Labor and the Treasury, that extends benefits-related deadlines in the face of COVID-19 hardships affecting plans and plan participants. That guidance provides for relaxed enforcement of requirements for plans to [&hellip… Continue Reading »

IRS Provides Flexibility for Employer-Sponsored Cafeteria Plans and FSAs in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued new guidance, Notice 2020-29, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing for temporary flexibility with respect to mid-year elections made during 2020 under Code section 125 cafeteria plans related to employer-sponsored health coverage, health Flexible Spending Arrangements (health FSAs), and dependent care Flexible Spending Arrangements (DC FSAs). The guidance [&hellip… Continue Reading »

IRS Issues New Guidance on CARES Act Provisions Affecting Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) clarifying the special distribution options and loan relief provisions applicable to eligible retirement plans and IRAs found in section 2202 of the CARES Act. The following is a high-level overview of the clarifications detailed in the FAQs. A more in-depth analysis of the CARES Act can be [&hellip… Continue Reading »

DOL and Treasury Extend Benefits-Related Deadlines

To reduce the risk that participants will lose benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak because they fail to meet certain procedural requirements, the U.S. Departments of Labor and the Treasury announced the extension of a number of benefits-related deadlines. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor issued EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01, which offers certain relief to plan sponsors [&hellip… Continue Reading »

CMS Encourages Flexibility in Utilization Management and Prior Authorization Within Limits

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued FAQ guidance encouraging health insurers to relax their utilization management and prior authorization requirements in view of the COVID-19 pandemic while at the same time cautioning them to act in accordance with existing guidance. The FFCRA and CARES Act prohibit insurers and group health plans from requiring prior [&hellip… Continue Reading »