Employee Benefits Tag

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Legal Update Header On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate in a 7-2 ruling.

This lawsuit was filed in 2018 by 18 states as a result of the 2017 tax reform law that eliminates the individual mandate penalty. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA on the basis that the individual mandate is a valid tax. With the penalty’s elimination, the appeals court in this case determined that the individual mandate is no longer valid under the U.S. Constitution.

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HR Compliance Bulletin header image On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated and additional answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal fair employment laws while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new and updated FAQs address whether employers may require or provide incentives for employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. They were added to guidance that the EEOC first issued on March 18, 2020, and then updated several times. The last update was made in December 2020.

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Legal Update Header On May 18, 2021, the IRS issued Notice 2021-31, a guidance document on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) subsidy for continuation health coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

The Notice discusses the background of the subsidy and includes 86 questions and answers (Q&As) about its application.

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Legal Update Header On May 5, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a second Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) for 2022 that finalized the remainder of the standards included in the proposed notice issued at the end of 2020.

The first final 2022 NBPP was published Jan. 19, 2021. This second NBPP describes additional benefit and payment parameters under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that apply for the 2022 benefit year, including the following:

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Legal Update Header On May 10, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance on the taxability of dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs) for 2021 and 2022, clarifying that amounts attributable to previously issued carryover and extended grace period relief generally are not taxable.

Specifically, if these dependent care benefits would have been excluded from income if used during taxable year 2020 (or 2021, if applicable), these benefits will remain excludible from gross income and are not considered wages of the employee for 2021 and 2022.

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For a growing number of employers, voluntary accident insurance plans may play a part in rounding out employee benefits packages to help employees pay for unexpected costs.

Accidents can happen to anyone—and the reality is that accidents do happen. In fact, more than 80 million people in the United States seek medical treatment for injuries each year. This article provides an overview of accident insurance and reasons why many employers are offering this voluntary benefit to employees.

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HR Compliance Bulletin header image On April 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) premium assistance for health insurance continuation coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and similar state mini-COBRA programs.

The DOL’s FAQs are reprinted in this Compliance Bulletin.

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Legal Update Header On April 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued FAQs and model notices for the COBRA premium assistance provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The ARPA provides a 100% subsidy for employer-sponsored group health insurance continued under COBRA and similar state continuation of coverage programs for eligible individuals. The subsidy applies from April 1 through Sept. 30, 2021. The notices and the FAQs appear on a new DOL webpage dedicated to the ARPA COBRA subsidy.

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Legal Update Header The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) amended the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) to provide additional protections.

On April 2, 2021, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (Departments) jointly issued FAQs to clarify these amendments. In particular, the CAA requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to conduct comparative analyses of the nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs) used for medical and surgical benefits as compared to mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits. The comparative analyses, and certain other information, must be made available upon request to applicable agencies beginning Feb. 10, 2021.