As employers consider implementing a vaccine mandate to encourage employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we have recently discussed the merits of imposing a “vaccine surcharge” on monthly health insurance premiums for those employees who remain unvaccinated.  There were unanswered questions about specific legal issues, but now the Department of Labor (DOL), Health and Human

In our most recent summary of IRS Notice 2021-31, we noted the Internal Revenue Service provided much-needed clarity to looming compliance challenges as employers, insurers, and others race to implement the applicable COBRA premium subsidy provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).  While there are many other important clarifications made by

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) is the latest federal COVID-19 relief bill, which the President signed into law on Thursday, March 11, 2021. ARPA includes new COBRA continuation coverage election, notice, and subsidy requirements; pension plan funding relief; and some cost-saving benefit opportunities employees may be able to leverage.  Some of these

We recently provided an update on the looming end date for COBRA and other deadline extensions and the uncertainty that continues to add to the administrative burdens without more clarity from the DOL and IRS.  Message received, apparently.

On behalf of the IRS, the DOL has now released Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 that attempts to

In May of 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released joint-agency guidance that extended several important deadlines for employees, including COBRA election and payment deadlines, HIPAA Special Enrollment deadlines, and claims submission and appeal deadlines.  Under the guidance, plan administrators were required to extend the deadlines that would otherwise apply

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act) provides certain COVID-19-related relief, including temporary additional flexibility regarding flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Employers have several practical considerations when deciding whether to adopt one or more of the changes in their plans.

Under the FSA changes, employees need not lose the benefit of the dollars they set aside

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, generally provides the annual funding for the federal government and, in almost 5,600 pages, contains several important rules giving further COVID-19 relief, including the expansion of eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

The Act also relaxes several health, welfare, and retirement plan rules

The Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal regulators released updates and clarifications related to employee benefits, including updates to model COBRA notices and an extension of certain statutory deadlines intended to minimize the possibility of participants and beneficiaries losing benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article highlights the DOL’s recent changes and updates relating

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are observing all sorts of never-before-seen changes in the fully-insured group health plan space.  Many insurers are liberally waiving their normal rules to accommodate the continuation of coverage to employers and employees in their time of need.  Although the accommodations are welcome, employers need to exercise

With the combination of our nation’s response to COVID-19 and the resultant economic downturn, employers of all sizes face the moral and financial dilemma of evaluating employee headcounts while businesses are grappling with the reality of the current situation.  Many employers are considering furloughs, or other types of approved leaves of absences, to reduce immediate