Employee Benefits White Papers

Live Well, Work Well - September 2020

 

Choosing an Effective Hand Sanitizer

Hand hygiene is an important response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands with soap and water. If those aren’t available, using a hand sanitizer can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Americans are having a hard time tracking hand sanitizer down; however, the CDC doesn’t recommend that people make their own product, as there’s a chance it could be ineffective or cause skin burns.

Employers that sponsor group health plans should provide certain benefit notices in connection with their plans’ open enrollment periods. Some of these notices must be provided at open enrollment time, such as the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC). Other notices, such as the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) notice, must be distributed annually. Although these annual notices may be provided at different times throughout the year, employers often choose to include them in their open enrollment materials for administrative convenience.

Health benefits costs are almost certainly going to rise in 2021. They’ve been trending upward for years—over 50% in the last decade, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation— and the current state of economic uncertainty over COVID-19 won’t slow things down.

Realistically, after enduring months of business closures and managing exhausted workforces, many employers will be lucky to maintain uninterrupted operations. That’s why it’s critical for employers to think about reducing health costs right now—figure out cost-effective benefits first so money can be shuffled as needed later. Having a solid plan going into 2021 will better position organizations facing limited budgets.

Legal Update HeaderThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty. This employer mandate provision is also known as the “employer shared responsibility” or “pay or play” rules.

On Aug. 19, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updated its frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the pay or play penalties to include increased penalty amounts for the 2021 calendar year.

News Brief header

The Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Nov. 10, 2020—after Election Day.

A verdict on the case is expected to be reached during the spring of 2021. This announcement is the most recent development in this case. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case involved is Texas v. Azar, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate.

According to recent estimates from the University of Maryland, there is a cyberattack every 39 seconds. Data breaches and cyberattacks are daily headlines—and employee benefits plans are no exception to that threat.

In fact, employee benefits plans are even more vulnerable as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Organizations and benefits providers are relying heavily on electronic access, ultimately creating new vulnerabilities.