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Benefits

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Employers Have Flexibility with Contraceptive Coverage Plan Designs

In July, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld expanded exemptions to the ACA’s contraceptive mandate. Under these exemptions, plan sponsors that object to providing contraceptive coverage based on sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions will not be penalized for failing to include contraceptive coverage in the plan’s benefits. The ACA requires non-grandfathered health plans to cover certain women’s preventive health services without cost sharing, including all FDA-approved contraceptives. Religious exemptions apply to certain churches, houses of worship, and other church-affiliated institutions, which allows them to choose not to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage. In its 7:2 decision, the...

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Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Lawsuit Challenging ACA’s Constitutionality This Fall

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in Texas v. Azar, the lawsuit arguing that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. In June 2020, President Donald Trump’s administration asked the Supreme Court to strike down the entire ACA due to the elimination of the individual mandate penalty. The administration’s argument hinges on Congress’ decision in 2017 to reduce the individual mandate penalty to zero. According to the White House, removing that provision invalidated the entire law. If the remaining provisions of the ACA  are upheld without the individual mandate penalty, then little will change from the current...

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Post-coronavirus Return-to-Work Plans and EAPs

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed employees’ daily lives and routines, and even as businesses reopen, many employees are feeling the effects of the pandemic. As businesses reopen, employers must consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected employees, which in turn will affect their post-coronavirus return to work. As employees return to work, many are experiencing financial hardship, balancing new caregiving responsibilities, managing concerns over their physical well-being, and maintaining their mental well-being and health. During these uncertain times, employees are understandably experiencing significant stress, which can lead to lower productivity and morale, and increase their risk for health conditions, absenteeism...

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June 5th Client Call – Updates to PPP, Loan Forgiveness, Reopening & HR

When we met on the Client Call this past Friday, we were awaiting the president's signature on legislation amending terms of the PPP and loan forgiveness. As anticipated, this legislation has since been signed. We strongly encourage all to become familiar with the revised information. As discussed, HR 7010 amends the Paycheck Protection Program and Loan Forgiveness terms.  These changes include: 1. Covered period extended from 8 to 24 weeks. 2. Can spend more proceeds on non-payroll cost (60/40). Mark cautions: BE CAREFUL with this. The bill seems to create an all or nothing regarding loan forgiveness with the 60% of payroll cost. 3....

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Employee Compensation and Benefits During Closures and Furloughs

As business closures increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are faced with questions about compensation and health benefit coverage for their employees. Government relief measures may provide compensation for businesses and individuals in certain situations. In other cases, existing rules on employee rights will apply. Paid leave may be required for some employees by federal or state law. Also, some state insurance regulators are requiring insurance carriers to provide policyholders with additional flexibility regarding premiums and coverage, and some carriers are making similar changes independent of state requirements. This Compliance Overview provides a summary of the issues that employers may encounter...

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New COVID-19 Guidance for Section 125 Mid-year Election Change Rules

Guidance Applies to Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage, Health FSAs and DCAPs 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. A plan may permit any of the election changes described in the notice, regardless of whether they satisfy existing mid-year election change rules. For employer-sponsored health coverage, a Section 125 cafeteria plan may permit an employee to prospectively: Make a new election if the employee...

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IRS Releases 2021 Health Savings Account (HSA) Limits

Inflation-Adjusted Contribution Limits and HDHP Amounts to Increase The IRS has announced the 2021 inflation-adjusted amounts for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as determined under the Internal Revenue Code. Annual Contribution Limits For calendar year 2021, the annual limit on HSA contributions for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) is $3,600 (up from $3,550 for 2020). The annual limit on HSA contributions for an individual with family coverage under an HDHP is $7,200 (up from $7,100 for 2020). HDHP Amounts For plan years beginning in 2021, an HDHP is defined as a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,400 for...

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Reminder: PCORI Fees Due July 31, 2020

Fees Apply to Employers Sponsoring Certain Self-insured Plans As a reminder, employers that sponsor certain self-insured health plans are responsible for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fees. Fees for plan years that ended in 2019 are due July 31, 2020. Under the Affordable Care Act, PCORI fees were originally scheduled to apply to policy or plan years ending on or after Oct. 1, 2012 and before Oct. 1, 2019. However, in Dec. 2019, PCORI fees were extended for an additional 10 years. Thus, the fee continues to apply for the 2020-2029 fiscal years. Employers must report and pay the required PCORI fees annually via IRS Form 720. For...

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Mid-Year Elections Permitted to Change Health Plan Enrollment or FSA Contributions

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has relaxed the irrevocable election rule and strict list of permitted election change events normally accompanying a Section 125 plan, which are required when a group takes employee pretax contributions for health care or provides an employee cash option.  The new guidance allows employees to make five additional prospective mid-year election changes during the 2020 calendar year. 1.    Mid-Year Health Plan Enrollment for Waived Employees Employers may amend their Section 125 cafeteria plan to allow employees who originally waived health plan coverage to make a new election, in calendar year 2020, for employer-sponsored health...

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Coronavirus Bill Requiring Paid Employee Leave Signed Into Law, Tax Credits for Employers

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) into law. The Act requires employers to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures and also provides for a series of tax credits to employers and self-employed individuals to help cover lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Act takes effect no later than 15 days after it is signed by the president. Emergency Paid Sick Leave The Act requires two weeks of paid sick leave for government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees....

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