Friday, May 15, 2020

Benefit & Employer COVID-19 Updates Week Ending May 16th

May 12, 2020 – McGriff Insurance Services
Excerpt: “On May 12, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-29, which provides temporary flexibility for mid-year election changes under a Section 125 cafeteria plan during calendar year 2020. The changes are designed to allow employers to respond to changes in employee needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance relates to mid-year elections for self-insured and fully insured employer-sponsored health coverage, health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs).”

May 12, 2020 – McGriff Insurance Services
Excerpt: “On May 12, 2020, the IRS announced more options with respect to unused amounts in health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs). These options allow employers to permit…”
May 14, 2020 – Fisher & Phillips
Excerpt: “One long week after the U.S. Treasury announced that it was extending the Paycheck Protection Program Loan “safe harbor” deadline to May 14, the U.S. Treasury announced this morning that borrowers whose loan amount (combined with the loan amount of any affiliates) is less than $2 million is automatically deemed to have made the certification in good faith…Late in the day on May 13, the Treasury Department once again extended the repayment date of the safe harbor from May 14 to May 18 to give borrowers an opportunity to review and consider this announcement.”

May 14, 2020 – Littler Mendelson P.C.
Excerpt: “Some jurisdictions also require employers to screen the health of employees, often as they begin a shift. These health screening steps, including temperature checks, may become more common as states begin to reopen their economies.”

May 14, 2020 – Thomson Reuters
Excerpt: “However, IRS Notice 2020-29 (see our Checkpoint article) provides increased flexibility regarding midyear elections during calendar year 2020. The notice states that plans may be amended to allow several types of prospective cafeteria plan election changes during 2020, including an election to prospectively decrease a participant’s health FSA contribution amount.”

May 13, 2020 – Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
Excerpt: “Under the 2021 Final Rule, a self-funded group health plan has the flexibility to determine whether to include or exclude the amount of drug manufacturer copay coupons regardless of whether a medically appropriate generic equivalent is available. An insured group health plan may also have to comply with any applicable state laws regarding copay coupons…Unless new guidance is issued by the IRS changing its current position that discounts must be disregarded in determining whether a HDHP deductible has been met, it appears that sponsors of HSA-compatible HDHPs must adopt a copay accumulator program in order to preserve participants’ eligibility to make or receive health savings account (HSA) contributions.”

May 13, 2020 – Findley 
Excerpt: “Employers that are partly or completely prohibited from operating during the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic but who continue to fund employee health care coverage, may be able to take up to a $10,000 tax credit for each employee, regardless of whether they are paying wages to those employees.”

May 13, 2020 – Spencer Fane LLP
Excerpt: “Employers should carefully consider whether to adopt some, all or none of the changes permitted under Notice 2020-29, and whether to impose additional conditions or limitations on a participant’s ability to make mid-year election changes or to have additional time to spend unused amounts in their FSAs.”

May 12, 2020 – Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP
Excerpt: “Several weeks ago, the IRS and DOL issued a joint Final Rule extending a number of deadlines, including COBRA and HIPAA special enrollment deadlines. As part of this relief, a group health plan is required to ignore the period of time from March 1st until 60 days following the end of the national emergency when calculating a participant’s special enrollment window or COBRA qualifying event notice. However, the prior relief did not provide any guidance as it related to mid-year changes under a Section 125/Cafeteria plan. Today the IRS issued a different type of relief for Section 125 plans…Unlike the Final Rule issued last month, this relief is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL.”

May 12, 2020 – Littler Mendelson P.C.
Excerpt: “As expected, the proposal—the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act—includes a number of labor and employment provisions of great significance to employers, including expansion of prior laws, and new proposals aimed at providing relief to workers during the public health emergency. Senate Republicans have yet to unveil their proposal, although their leadership has indicated that providing employers with protection from liability related to COVID-19 lawsuits will be highest on their list of priorities.”

May 7, 2020 – Ice Miller
Excerpt: “To assist employers and public retirement systems with the myriad of changes, we have catalogued the provisions of the FFCRA and CARES Act that impact employer-sponsored retirement plans, health plans, and other benefits in a table format.”