Friday, December 3, 2021

Compliance and Benefit News Updates, Dec. 3, 2021 - Vax Mandate Comparison Chart, Intermittent Fasting & More

Tools, Templates and a McGriff Survey

Vaccine Mandate Comparison Chart, McGriff Insurance Services - We have prepared a chart summarizing some of the major provisions of the various federal vaccine mandates. Please note that litigation over these mandates is ongoing and subject to change. Additionally, state laws may also affect employers’ compliance responsibilities.

Compliance Updates

Biden’s Proposed Inflation Cap on Drug Prices Includes Private Insurance Plans - “Corporate groups focused on affordable employee benefits want to keep the language as is so it would provide price-increase protection for companies and their workers and not just Medicare enrollees…House Democrats passed the roughly $2 trillion social agenda legislation last Friday and sent it to the Senate…Opponents could pursue a parliamentary challenge under Senate rules, arguing that penalizing price increases by one private company on another has no bearing on federal budgetary issues. If the challenge succeeds, costs to private insurance plans would be stripped from the inflation rebates.”

The OSHA ETS Legal Battle Continues: Petitioners Request En Banc Review; Government Files Emergency Motion to Dissolve Stay - “Multiple groups of petitioners in the newly consolidated litigation and renamed challenge to the OSHA ETS, now known as the “OSHA Covid Rule Case,” Docket No, 21-7000, MCP No. 165 (6th Cir.) have asked the court to hear the OSHA challenge en banc, with all active judges in the circuit…The government has until November 30, 2021, to file one consolidated response to all the petitions for the case to be heard en banc.”

DOL Announces Rule to Increase Federal Contractor Minimum Wage - On Nov. 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new rule that will increase the minimum wage rate for federal contractor employees. The new rule implements Executive Order 14026 and increases the minimum wage for individuals performing work on or in connection with federal contracts to $15 per hour on Jan. 30, 2022.”

House Passes Build Back Better Act, Here’s What Employers Need to Know as It Goes to Senate - “While the BBBA is expected to undergo significant changes during Senate review (and may not pass at all), employers should take note of some key provisions in the House version.”

IRS Releases Final Forms for Next Round of PPACA Reporting - “The Internal Revenue Service recently released final 2021 forms for Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting under relevant Internal Revenue Code sections – and while not much is changing in terms of information you’ll need to report, the stakes have been raised for non-compliance.”

Benefit News

Biden to announce insurance reimbursements for at-home COVID-19 tests - “The White House said that departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury will issue guidance by mid-January clarifying that Americans with private insurance will be able to seek reimbursement for the costs of the at-home tests during the public health emergency. A senior administration official said that the new policy would impact some 150 million Americans who have private insurance. The reimbursement is not expected to be retroactive, but officials are still working out the specifics of the policy.”

Supply Chain Woes Mean Shortages Of Critical Medical Devices In California - "The logjam at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — which handle 40% of all waterbound imports to the U.S. — has triggered shortages of everything from computer chips to paper products and drawn the attention of President Joe Biden. Many Californians are grappling with shortages of lifesaving medical supplies. California hospitals say medical supplies are more difficult to acquire now or are taking much longer to be delivered.... Experts say the shortages and inflation will drive health care costs up, increasing insurance premiums. In addition, some medical device suppliers are considering cutting off providing devices to patients on Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance for low-income people, as they look for ways to reduce costs."

Health & Wellness

300 Minutes a Week of Moderate Exercise May Help Ward Off Cancer - "More than 46,000 cancer cases in the United States might be prevented each year if almost all of us walked for about 45 minutes a day, according to an eye-opening new study of inactivity, exercise and malignancies. The study, which analyzed cancer incidence and the physical activity habits of nearly 600,000 American men and women in every state and the District of Columbia, found that about 3 percent of common cancers in the United States are strongly linked to inactivity. Something as simple as getting up and moving, the findings suggest, might help tens of thousands of us avoid developing cancer in the coming years."

Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation, helps the body like a diabetes medication - Intermittent fasting, characterized by cyclic periods of fasting and eating, has emerged as a popular weight loss approach in recent years. Interestingly, however, a new study reports intermittent fasting can benefit the body in yet another way: reducing inflammation. Scientists from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute conclude intermittent fasting can increase levels of galectin-3, a protein linked to bodily inflammatory responses. ... 'In finding higher levels of galectin-3 in patients who fasted, these results provide an interesting mechanism potentially involved in helping reduce the risk of heart failure and diabetes,' Dr. Horne adds."