Employee Benefits

  The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, signed into law on December 27, 2020 (the “Act”), changes a myriad of different rules for employer-sponsored retirement plans and health and welfare benefits. Among the more significant of the Act’s changes is a temporary rule to provide relief for certain events related to COVID-19 that would otherwise be considered partial retirement plan terminations (which can have costly implications for the employer). The partial plan termination rules, and temporary relief in the Act, generally impact employer plan sponsors with a tax-qualified retirement plan (excluding certain governmental and church plans). Background: Partial Plan Terminations Under…
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, signed into law on December 27, 2020, did not extend the December 31, 2020, expiration date for the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Therefore, FFCRA-covered employers are no longer required to provide emergency paid sick or family leave under federal law. However, the Act did extend the FFCRA tax credits for covered employees until March 31, 2021, under these circumstances: If an employee still has a remaining FFCRA leave balance available for use; and If the employer voluntarily allows the employee to use his or her FFCRA leave balance.…
On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, was signed into law. The Act included a measure entitled the “No Surprises Act” to restrict medical providers from sending consumers surprise medical bills.  Once the Act goes into effect in 2022, consumers will not receive balance bills for the following: Emergency care; Transport by air ambulance; or Non-emergency care at an in-network facility, when patients are unknowingly treated by an out-of-network doctor or lab In these situations, consumers would only be responsible for paying their deductibles and co-payments per the terms of their in-network health insurance plans. Under the Act,…
The IRS has released guidance regarding qualified plan distributions to state unclaimed property funds. Revenue Ruling 2020-24 covers the withholding and reporting requirements when a plan distribution is made to a state unclaimed property fund. Revenue Procedure 2020-46 modifies and updates prior guidance to make it easier for individuals who obtain benefits from a state unclaimed property fund to roll over their benefits. Revenue Ruling 2020-24  The ruling adds a withholding and reporting requirement for retirement fund distributions from state unclaimed property funds. Under Section 3405, individual benefits payments from a qualified retirement plan are subject to federal income tax…
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) established a new structure whereby a group of unrelated employers could participate in a single defined contribution plan as of January 1, 2021.  Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) must be administered by a Pooled Plan Provider (PPP), which acts as the plan sponsor, handling all fiduciary, administrative, and investment responsibilities. PPPs must be registered with the Department of Labor (DOL) before beginning operations. Because of the highly specialized requirements for administering a PEP, the PPP role is more likely to be filled by registered investment advisors (RIAs), third-party administrators (TPAs),…
The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury (“the Departments”) have issued the final rule on health care coverage transparency, imposing important new requirements on non-grandfathered health plans and self-insured plans to disclose health care cost and cost-sharing information. Group Health Plan Transparency Requirements For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, plans must make the following information available to the public via a machine-readable file and update it every month: In-network negotiated rates between the plan and its providers for covered services and items; Out-of-network allowable charges and billed amounts for the most recent 90-day…
    Portfolio Media. Inc. | 111 West 19th Street, 5th floor | New York, NY 10011 | www.law360.com Phone: +1 646 783 7100 | Fax: +1 646 783 7161 | customerservice@law360.com By Eric Schillinger and Anne Hall (January 27, 2021, 5:22 PM EST) The Consolidated Appropriations Act, a year-end budget bill that included COVID-19 stimulus relief, was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump in December 2020. The act also included numerous provisions related to employer-sponsored health and welfare benefits, including optional relief for flexible spending accounts, mandatory expanded reporting and disclosure obligations regarding participants’ out-of-pocket health care costs,…
joint notice issued by the DOL and IRS on May 4, 2020 required group health plans to extend certain timeframes for participants during the COVID-19 “outbreak period” (defined as the period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the announced end of the national emergency for COVID-19).  The Notice requires a tolling of the following COBRA deadlines: The 14-day deadline for plan administrators to furnish COBRA election notices; The 30 or 60-day deadline for an employer or individuals to notify the plan of a qualifying event; The 60-day deadline for participants to elect COBRA; The 45-day deadline for…
The Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services have issued an interim final rule (IFR) regarding group health plan coverage of COVID-19 testing and vaccines. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), group health plan providers must provide certain preventive services with no cost sharing. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), preventive services related to COVID-19 must be covered within 15 business days after such services receive an “A” or “B” recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). In addition, group health plans must include coverage for immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee…
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) added new lifetime income disclosure requirements to benefit statement rules under ERISA. On September 18, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to the Federal Register to implement the lifetime income disclosure requirements pursuant to the SECURE Act.  Once the lifetime income disclosure requirement becomes fully effective on September 18, 2021, defined contribution plan benefit statements must include lifetime income illustrations expressed in two forms: as a single life annuity (SLA) and a qualified joint and survivor annuity (QJSA). In addition, benefit statements including…