Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – August 7, 2020

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: COBRA regulations, 7/20 (329.2.-1)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • Analysis: Midyear election changes, 7/20 (351.-15)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • Analysis: Premium stabilization programs, 7/20 (542.-1)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • Analysis: Fully vested retirees lacked standing to sue, 7/20 (602.4.-17)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • News

    Jury to decide whether CFO had good faith belief employee ‘forged’ FMLA paperwork

    Citing evidence that called into doubt a CFO’s good-faith belief a billing department employee altered her FMLA certification, including that the company did not investigate the alleged alteration before terminating her and testimony from the HR director that the CFO had been “trying to get rid” of the employee because of her absences, a federal court in Alabama denied summary judgment on her FMLA retaliation claim. Her FMLA interference claim also advanced.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    Court vacates overbroad health care exemptions to DOL’s COVID paid leave rule

    Acknowledging that the DOL “labored under considerable pressure in promulgating” the final rule implementing the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a federal court in New York nonetheless found invalid several features of the April 2020 rule. Accordingly, the court granted the State of New York’s motion for summary judgment as to the rule’s work-availability requirement, the definition of “health care provider,” and the temporal aspect of the documentation requirements; it granted in part and denied in the motion as to the intermittent-leave provision. The COVID-19 crisis, said the court, has “required public and private entities alike to act decisively and swiftly in the face of massive uncertainty, and often with grave consequences,” but “as much as this moment calls for flexibility and ingenuity, it also calls for renewed attention to the guardrails of our government. Here, DOL jumped the rail.”

            (Read Cheetah) »

    Stolen laptop incident revealed systemic ePHI protection failure in Rhode Island health system

    An HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) compliance review found that Lifespan Health System ACE, a not-for-profit health system in Rhode Island, had systemic HIPAA noncompliance issues following the report of a stolen laptop from an employee’s car. As a result, the health system agreed to a $1.04 million settlement and a two-year period of monitoring over its implementation of policies and procedures to bring it into compliance.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    Trump’s Executive Orders focus on lowering drug prices, increasing access to drugs

    Eliminating rebate checks to negotiators in drug sales and increasing the importation of drugs from other countries will lower drug prices, according to President Trump’s “Executive Order on Increasing Drug Importation to Lower Prices for American Patients” and “Executive Order on Lowering Prices for Patients by Eliminating Kickbacks to Middlemen,” signed on July 24, 2020. On the same day, President Trump also signed another executive order, “Executive Order on Access to Affordable Life-saving Medications,” that aims to lower the prices and increase access to insulin and injectable epinephrine. The executive orders require HHS to take certain actions including requiring federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) who purchase insulins and epinephrine in the federal Medicaid 340B program to pass the savings from discounted drug prices directly on to medically underserved patients.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    PBGC issues FAQs on CARES Act’s effect on plan sponsor obligations and PBGC operations

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has posted frequently asked questions (FAQs) that provide guidance related to plan sponsor obligations and PBGC operations in light of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L.116-136) and the COVID-19 pandemic. The PBGC posted answers about how the CARES Act affects missed contribution reporting requirements and premium filings for single-employer plans. Also, general information is provided about the pandemic’s impact on the PBGC’s Single-Employer Insurance Program operations.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    IRS updates premium tax credit table, required contribution percentage

    The IRS has updated the applicable percentage table used to calculate an individual’s premium tax credit and required contribution percentage plan years beginning after 2020. The percentage is used to determine whether an individual is eligible for affordable employer-sponsored minimum essential coverage; the percentage is used to determine whether an individual is eligible for an exemption from the individual shared responsibility payment because of a lack of affordable minimum essential coverage.

            (Read Cheetah) »