Published: May 21, 2020

There is new COBRA guidance that applies to ALL GROUP HEALTH PLANS subject to federal COBRA. (See our recent client alert). Rules and FAQs were issued jointly by the IRS and DOL that reflect the COVID-19 environment and the possibility that qualified beneficiaries may not timely elect COBRA or pay COBRA premiums. This guidance essentially “stays” or “tolls” the timelines for COBRA elections for the period starting March 1, 2020 and ending 60 days after the date the President declares that the COVID-19 national emergency has ended. In the meantime, even if COBRA is not elected and/or COBRA premiums are not paid, group health care coverage for these qualified beneficiaries cannot be terminated. In separate guidance plan administrators have been given additional time to issue COBRA notices and election forms.

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Published: May 20, 2020

Section 2202 of the CARES Act includes certain provisions relating to COVID-19 distributions from defined contribution plans (including 403(b) programs), and COVID-19 related loans. In Informal Guidance, the IRS has confirmed that it is optional to include these provisions in your plan.

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Published: May 19, 2020

Under provisions of the CARES Act, employers are permitted to take a refundable tax credit against the employer share of Social Security taxes in the amount of 50 of the "qualified wages" with respect to each employee, up to $10,000. The maximum employee retention tax credit is therefore $5,000 per employee. Under revised IRS guidance issued May 7, 2020, FAQs 64 and 65, qualified wages include health care costs, even if the employer is not continuing to pay wages and compensation to that employee.

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Published: March 16, 2018

Effective for any claims made on or after April 1, 2018, the decision to grant or deny benefits under an ERISA-covered plan will be governed by new rules.   Since insured plans are subject to the claims procedures set forth in the insurance booklets, carriers will need to modify the claims procedures outlined in their policies and certificates of coverage. All other plans that are subject to the ERISA claims procedures will need to be reviewed and modified.

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