Health & Welfare

Participant May Sue Insurer Before Exhausting Administrative Remedies

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona has ruled, in Greiff vs. Life Insurance Company of North America, that a long-term disability plan participant need not exhaust an insurer's administrative remedies before suing in federal court, unless the insurance contract and other relevant communications specifically require such exhaustion.

IRS Issues Guidance to Clarify Health Reimbursement Arrangement Rules

The IRS has issued proposed regulations to clarify the application of the ACA's employer shared responsibility provisions under Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code") and certain nondiscrimination rules for self-funded plans under Code Section 105(h) to Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements ("ICHRAs"). Background. The ACA's employer shared responsibility ...

Genetic Testing May Include Medical Expenses

The IRS has ruled, in Private Letter Ruling 201933005, that portions of the cost of a genetic testing service may be considered medical expenses and may, therefore, be reimbursed by a health care Flexible Spending Account ("FSA"). An employee purchased a private company's DNA ancestry and health testing services and submitted his DNA sample. His DNA sample was then tested and the company provided ...

Agencies Issue Final FAQs on Mental Health Parity Implementation

HHS, DOL and IRS have issued final FAQs on the implementation of the requirements of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act ("MHPAEA"). The MHPAEA requires that the financial requirements (e.g., coinsurance and copays) and treatment limitations (e.g., visit limits) imposed on mental health or substance use disorder ("MH/SUD") benefits cannot be more restrictive than the predominant ...

CHIP Notice Revised

The Department of Labor ("DOL") has released a revised and updated model notice that employers can use to inform employees of the potential for state premium assistance subsidies for the purchase of group health coverage. The Children's Health Insurance Program ("CHIP") Reauthorization Act of 2009 requires employers who maintain group health plans to provide an annual notification of the ...

Single Document Can Serve as ERISA Plan Document and SPD

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in MBI Energy Services v. Hoch, has held that a self-insured medical plan is entitled to reimbursement because its summary plan description ("SPD") was also the plan document. With this ruling, the Eighth Circuit has joined the Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts in concluding that the Supreme Court's ruling in Cigna v. Amara does not prevent an SPD ...

Agencies Issue Guidance on Impact of Drug Manufacturer Coupons on ACA's Out-Of-Pocket Limits

DOL, IRS and HHS (collectively, the "Agencies") have issued a FAQ to address whether drug manufacturers' coupons for name brand prescription drugs should be counted toward the annual cost-sharing limits under the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), including situations where there is no medically appropriate generic drug available.

ERISA Plan Administrator Denies STD Claim Too Quickly

The United States District Court for the District of Nevada, in Speca v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., has ruled that a ERISA plan administrator did not provide a full and fair review when it denied a short term disability ("STD") claim in just 14 days and before receiving medical records from the plaintiff's treating physicians.

Attending Children's Special Education Meetings Covered by FMLA

The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") has released Opinion Letter FMLA 2019-2-A confirming that an employee may take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA") to attend special education meetings called "Individualized Education Programs" ("IEPs") for children with serious health conditions.

Requirements for Requesting FMLA Leave Cannot Be More Onerous than for Requesting Non-FMLA Leave

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, in Moore v. GPS Hospitality Partners IV, LLC, etc., has ruled that an employer's notice and procedural rules for requesting FMLA leave violated the law because it placed additional burdens on employees seeking FMLA leave. Law. Employees who take FMLA leave may be required to comply with the employer's usual and customary ...