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Consolidated Appropriations Act: Health and Welfare Benefits Provisions

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (the Act) was signed into law by the president on December 27, 2020, and includes significant health and welfare benefits provisions that affect group health plans and health insurance issuers. The Act is the most comprehensive single piece of legislation to impact group health plans since the Affordable Care Act. Access the article.

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Virus Stokes Telemedicine, Mental Health Benefits’ Popularity

The COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged 2020 spurred workers to take advantage of telemedicine and mental health benefits more frequently, and demand for those services isn't expected to wane in the near future, experts say. A recent article in Law360 examined three ways the pandemic had an impact on employee benefits over the past year, with McDermott partner Jacob Mattinson weighing in. Access the article.

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Healthcare and Childcare FSA Fix for 2021, Finally: Special Carryover Rules and More

The Consolidated Appropriations Act provides tax relief for workers who socked away pre-tax money into flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for 2020 and couldn't use it because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now employees may be able to carry over all of their unused funds to use later. Even ex-employees might get more time to spend down unused money instead of forfeiting it. In a recent article in Forbes, McDermott partner Jacob Mattinson speaks to the employer perspective on FSA carryovers. Access the article.

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Healthcare Briefing: Georgia Races to Shape Biden Health Policy

This week's runoff elections in Georgia could help President-elect Joe Biden quickly confirm his cabinet and begin in earnest on his healthcare agenda. However, it won't mean that Democrats will be able to easily make good on their promises to expand on Obamacare, send more funds to states to fight the pandemic or lower the cost of prescription drugs. In an article for Bloomberg Government, McDermottPlus consultant Rodney Whitlock speaks to the future of healthcare policy in the United States. Access the article.

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The EEOC Releases First Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its first direct guidance for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Important takeaways from the guidance, as well as FAQs from the EEOC, are discussed in the attached link. Access the article.

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Digital Health as Healthcare Delivery: A Path to Transform Care Delivery Post-Pandemic

As has been widely noted, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted countless people to rely on telehealth and virtual monitoring for their healthcare needs. This dramatic pivot is catalyzing a demand for digital health tools that will persist post-pandemic, as providers, payers and patients alike grow accustomed to the benefits of digital care. In a recent article for MedTech Intelligence, McDermott partner Jennifer S. Geetter outlines specific steps that digital health technology developers and providers can take to integrate digital health into our care delivery system. Access the article.

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Podcast | After the Curve: Focus on Health Insurance and Coverage

COVID-19 has catalyzed significant changes in the patterns of healthcare delivery, with the potential for long lasting effects on payors as a result. In this episode of the After the Curve podcast, we discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic may shift the healthcare coverage and payment landscape as well as how it may boost integration among payors and providers. McDermott's Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Tullio is joined by Kate McDonald and Ankur Goel to discuss relevant topics for both payors and the healthcare industry. Listen now.

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Agencies Issue Final Employer Healthcare Price Transparency Rule

On October 29, 2020, the US Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury (collectively, the Departments) issued the Transparency in Coverage final rule (the Rule), along with a fact sheet, setting forth requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers to disclose cost-sharing information upon request to participants, as well as additional pricing information to the general public. Access the article.

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Be Sure to Change Furloughs into Layoffs Lawfully

Employers that are converting furloughs into permanent layoffs need to ensure compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). In a recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management, McDermott partner Carole Spink explains why employers should carefully consider both state and federal regulations—and the importance of clear communication—when converting furloughs into layoffs. Access the article.

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