Judith Wethall Judith Wethall

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Judith Wethall focuses her practice on employee benefits, specifically health and welfare programs. She counsels employers, plan administrators, insurers and consultants on a wide range of ERISA compliance issues. Judith's clients include sole proprietors to Fortune 100 companies and cover a variety of industries including health care, technology, manufacturing, insurance and financial. Read Judith Wethall's full bio.

Just How Many Employers Will Mandate Vaccines?


By on Sep 22, 2021
Posted In Employment, Health and Welfare Plans

An August Willis Towers Watson poll found that 52% of 961 surveyed companies intend to implement at least one vaccine mandate by 2021’s fourth quarter. In a poll in May, 72% of respondents said they had no plans to require vaccines. To encourage vaccination, some employers—like Delta Air Lines—are introducing or considering company healthcare plan...

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Red Tape, Legal Risk Douse Fervor for Surcharges on Unvaccinated


By on Sep 16, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment, Health and Welfare Plans

Companies curious about Delta Air Lines’ unvaccinated healthcare premium surcharge are discovering that it may be too complex to copy. The airline recently announced that unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company’s health plan would see a $200 monthly surcharge. In this Bloomberg Law article, McDermott partner Judith Wethall said the compliance hurdles are “tricky and...

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Companies Eye Financial Penalties for Unvaccinated Workers


By on Sep 10, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment, Health and Welfare Plans

As companies consider whether or not to introduce vaccine mandates for employees, there is interest among some employers to increase health care premiums or impose financial penalties on employees who refuse vaccination. Delta Air Lines, for example, recently announced that unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company’s health plan would see a $200 monthly surcharge. However,...

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Requirements Related to Surprise Billing: Policy Update


By , , and on Sep 9, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

The US Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management issued an Interim Final Rule with comment implementing portions of the No Surprises Act, legislation enacted in December 2020 that bars surprise billing beginning January 1, 2022. Under the law, payers and providers (including hospitals, facilities, individual practitioners...

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Can Employers Offer COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives for Employees?


By , and on Jul 28, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment, Health and Welfare Plans

Can employers offer incentives for employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine? In short, yes. Incentives may take many forms, such as a one-time bonus, a gift card or a few extra vacation hours. Employers can get creative. According to McDermott’s Michelle S. Strowhiro, Judith Wethall and Ludia Kwon, there are two issues to consider when...

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Ruling Gives Ammunition in Fights Over Health Insurer Clawbacks


By on Jul 1, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Health and Welfare Plans

A recent ruling from a New Jersey federal district court gives ammunition to providers fighting to stop insurers from engaging in cross-plan offsetting, a common billing practice where health insurers attempt to claw back overpaid claim money from one patient by withholding payment from another patient in a different health plan. The ruling—which found that...

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How to Apply the IRS’s COBRA Premium Subsidy Guidance


By , , , and on Jun 9, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment, Health and Welfare Plans

On May 18, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued much-anticipated Notice 2021-31 (the Notice) regarding the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) premium subsidy provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Under ARPA, a 100% COBRA premium subsidy and additional COBRA enrollment rights are available to certain assistance eligible individuals (AEIs)...

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IRS Announces 2022 Limits for Health Savings Accounts, High-Deductible Health Plans and Excepted Benefit HRAs


By and on May 11, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced cost-of-living adjustments to the applicable dollar limits for health savings accounts, high-deductible health plans and excepted benefit health reimbursement arrangements for 2022. Some of the dollar limits currently in effect for 2021 will change for 2022. Access the article.

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Biden HHS Pick Is a Shot in the Arm for Mental Health Parity


By on Apr 27, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment, Health and Welfare Plans, Labor

The federal government has taken major steps to boost insurers’ coverage of mental health and substance abuse treatment in recent years, and with the confirmation of former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that trend will likely continue. Access the article.

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IRS Provides Additional COVID-19 Relief for Cafeteria Plans


By , and on Apr 13, 2021
Posted In Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

On February 18, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued clarifying guidance on the temporary special rules for health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs). This provides welcome guidance regarding the application of cafeteria plan relief provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA). Access the article.

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