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    New COBRA Subsidy Requires Quick Action by Plan Sponsors

    The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, includes a number of provisions designed to assist workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is a new COBRA premium subsidy that pays for 100 percent of the applicable COBRA premium for eligible individuals with respect to coverage periods […] More

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    Military Employment Resource Page

    Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may […] More

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    Agencies Revise—and Complicate—COBRA Deadline Extensions

    Federal agencies issued new guidance addressing pandemic-related extended deadlines for electing COBRA health care continuation coverage and for filing health plan claims and appeals, but benefits specialists warn that the new relief will be administratively burdensome for employers and plan administrators. On Feb. 26, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Treasury and IRS issued Notice […] More

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    Railroad Worker Can Take Disability Benefit Dispute to Court

    A worker whose disability benefits claim was denied by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board could seek review in federal court of the board’s decision not to reopen his claim, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Judicial review plays a modest, but important, role in guarding against decisions that are arbitrary, inconsistent with the standards set […] More

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    Employer Groups Seek Clarity on COVID-19 Vaccination Incentives

    As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, there are legal factors employers should bear in mind when deciding whether to offer incentives to encourage vaccination. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is part of a coalition of employer groups asking the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for guidance. These business leaders are […] More

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    Biden Administration to Review Rules for Employee Health and Retirement Plans

    On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, the Biden-Harris transition team released a list of more than 100 federal agency regulations approved under the Trump administration since 2017 that it intends to revisit. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows an incoming Congress to review federal agency final rules issued during the last 60 legislative-session days and to […] More

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    EEOC Proposes New Limits on Wellness Program Incentives

    On Dec. 7, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released for public comment a set of proposed rules limiting the value of incentives employers may use to encourage employee participation in wellness programs that track employees’ health data: If program incentives are too high, they would be considered to violate the ADA and GINA […] More

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    IRS Lowers Standard Mileage Rate for 2021

    Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the optional standard mileage rate used in deducting the costs of operating an automobile for business will be 56 cents per mile, down 1.5 cents from 2020, the IRS announced Dec. 22 in Notice 2021-02. Businesses can use this amount—also called the safe harbor rate—to pay tax-free reimbursements to employees who […] More

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    Appropriations Act Eases Retirement Plans Rules

    The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27, 2020, relaxes several normally rigid health, welfare and retirement plan rules in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This article covers the Act’s effects on employer-sponsored retirement plans. Partial Termination Relief As a condition of qualification, Section 411(d)(3) of the […] More

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    Supreme Court Ruling on Drug Pricing Complicates Multistate Employer Plans

    On Dec. 10, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that allows individual states to enact laws regulating pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBMs’) ability to set prices for prescription drugs paid for by employee health plans. The court found that these laws, with certain limits, do not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). […] More

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    IRS Raises Health Plan PCORI Fee Payable in 2021

    The IRS is raising the fee that insurers or self-insured health plan sponsors will pay in 2021 to fund the federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) trust fund. The fee will be $2.66 per plan enrollee, up from $2.54 for the 2020 plan year, according to Notice 2020-84, which the IRS issued on Nov. 24. The […] More

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