How the CARES Act Affects Employee Benefits

The Senate unanimously passed the massive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”).  The House is expected to pass the CARES Act as soon as Friday, which will send the bill to the White House for President Trump’s swift signature. It’s almost impossible to overstate the size and scope of the bill. In […]

President Signs Bill with Free COVID-19 Testing Coverage Mandate for All Group Health Plans

President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) yesterday night. The bill worked through Congress with amazing speed to match the country’s quickly broadening needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  After passing the House last Friday, the Senate passed the bill earlier in the day Wednesday. Despite the Republican Senate’s […]

Effect of COVID-19-Related Reduction of Hours, Furloughs, Layoff Pay, and Premium Shortfalls on Health Benefits

Question:  How do reductions in hours, furloughs, layoff pay, and premium shortfalls caused by COVID-19 affect employee eligibility for active health benefits? Short Answer: The default position is that a reduction in hours to part-time work will cause a loss of eligibility for active health plan coverage, but multiple potential exceptions may apply. Default Position: […]

COBRA for Infertility HRAs and Other Specialty HRAs

Question:  How do the COBRA rules apply to infertility HRAs or other specialty HRAs? Short Answer: All HRAs are group health plans subject to COBRA, and the standard COBRA requirements apply to an infertility HRA or other form of specialty HRA. General Rule: HRAs are Subject to COBRA HRAs are employer-sponsored group health plans subject […]

Employee HSA Rollovers and Transfers

Question:  What are the rules governing employee HSA rollovers and transfers? Short Answer:  Within the restrictions imposed by the IRS (which depend on whether the distribution is a rollover or a transfer), employees can freely move their HSA assets to a new custodian at any time and for any reason. General Rule: HSA Rollovers and […]

Registered Domestic Partners and Company-Defined Domestic Partners

Question:  What are the differences between a Registered Domestic Partner and a company-defined domestic partner for health plan purposes? Short Answer:  Employers with a fully insured plan in California must offer coverage to Registered Domestic Partners on the same terms as spouses, but many employers choose to also offer coverage more broadly to company-defined domestic […]

ACA Essential Health Benefits

Question:  How do the ACA essential health benefits rules apply to employer-sponsored group health plans? Short Answer:  Most employer-sponsored group health plans are not required to offer essential health benefits, but all plans cannot impose a lifetime or annual dollar limit on any covered essential health benefit. Essential Health Benefits Defined The ACA broadly defines […]

Cafeteria Plan Nondiscrimination Tests

Question: What are the cafeteria plan nondiscrimination tests, and what is the definition of highly compensated for each? Short Answer:  Each component of the cafeteria plan has a different set of nondiscrimination tests and the definition of highly compensated. Cafeteria Plan Nondiscrimination Testing (§125) a) Nondiscrimination Test Components Eligibility Test Contributions and Benefits Test Key […]

Severance Benefits May be Subject to ERISA

Question:  When are an employer’s severance benefits subject to ERISA? Short Answer: Severance benefits that are part of an ongoing administrative program with clear eligibility standards or benefit provisions are subject to ERISA.   General Rule ERISA §3(1) includes severance plans as a welfare plan subject to ERISA because they provide benefits in the event […]