Health & Welfare

Retiree Medical Benefits Vest for Life and Survived CBA Termination

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in Stone v. Signode Industrial Group, LLC, has upheld a district court's decision that an employer was obligated to continue providing lifetime health care benefits to its retirees, even after the employer terminated the operative collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") that provided the benefits.

New Laws Impact ACA and Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

President Trump has signed into law a spending package which includes the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, (the "Act"), and contains a number of provisions related to employer-sponsored group health plans and the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"). Below is a summary of the key provisions found in the Act:

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.

IRS Releases ACA Affordability Rates for 2020

The Internal Revenue Service has issued Revenue Procedure 2019-29 to implement the 2020 index adjustments for certain Affordable Care Act ("ACA") contribution percentages used to determine affordability under the employer shared responsibility mandate. Background. Under the ACA, contribution percentages are used to determine: (i) whether an Applicable Large Employer ("ALE") is subject to the ...

IRS Expands List of Preventive Care Benefits

IRS has issued Notice 2019-45 which expands the list of "preventive care benefits" permitted to be provided by a high deductible health plan ("HDHP") when determining if an individual is eligible to make tax-exempt contributions to a health savings account ("HSA"). In general, an individual is eligible to contribute (or have his or her employer contribute) to an HSA if he or she participates in ...