On January 7, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued proposed guidance regarding employer-sponsored wellness programs and the level of incentives employers may offer employees who participate in these programs in the form of two proposed rules. On January 20, 2021, the Biden administration ordered agencies to immediately withdraw most unpublished rules, including the EEOC proposed rules. Agencies may not issue any new regulations until they can be reviewed and approved by agency or department heads appointed or designated by President Biden. Access the article.
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.
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.
Healthcare Employers: What You Need to Know about the New FFCRA “Health Care Provider” Exclusion and California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Healthcare employers are immediately impacted by two recent developments in federal and California COVID-19 paid leave laws: a Department of Labor revision to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and a new California supplemental paid sick leave legislation. For both changes in the law, quick action is required for compliance. Access the article.
The most significant issues in any employment or severance agreement are going to be personal to that situation, and will be driven in part by special issues and circumstances. For instance, succession planning issues may be incredibly important to the organization when the CEO is 65 years old and there is no clear successor, and may be far less important when the CEO is 45 and there are very able executives ready to assume the CEO role if necessary. With that said, there are certain considerations to keep in mind for all who are drafting these contracts. McDermott’s Ralph E. DeJong contributes to an article in The Practical Lawyer that identifies and describes what frequently are the most important considerations in an employment or severance agreement between an exempt organization and its CEOs. Access the full article. Originally published in The Practical Lawyer, December 2019
Federal Court Certifies Class in Multiple-Plan ERISA Challenge to Health-Plan and Retirement-Plan Fees
A Texas federal court certified a class in case brought by participants in one plan, and allowed those participants to represent participants in unaffiliated plans. The claims alleged that the defendants, who marketed and provided services to all of the plans, breached fiduciary duties by imposing excessive fees. See Chavez, et al. v. Plan Benefits Services, Inc., et al., No. AU-17-CA-00659-SS, United States District Court for Western District of Texas (Aug. 30, 2019). Access the full article.
A growing number of medical organizations, courts and administrative bodies have stated that transition-related medical care is medically necessary and should be covered by employer-sponsored medical plans. Access to employer-sponsored healthcare coverage for transgender workers has become an issue of focus for civil rights advocacy groups such as Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union, and there has been an uptick in discrimination lawsuits filed against health plans and insurers denying such care. These trends highlight the importance of weighing the legal and business considerations that come with providing (or not providing) comprehensive health benefits for transgender workers. Health plan sponsors and insurers should consider how the decision to provide or exclude transition-related medical coverage will affect their legal compliance, overall costs and workplace culture—all of which are discussed in this article. Access the full article....
IRS Regulations Provide That Certain Employees of Partnerships Now Have Self-Employment Status for Employee Benefit and Tax Purposes
The IRS and US Department of Treasury have issued final and temporary regulations which address benefit and self-employment tax issues regarding partners in a partnership which is the sole owner of a second, wholly owned legal entity. The regulations are intended to clarify that where the partners are separately working for the second legal entity, such individuals may not be treated as employees, and must be treated as self-employed individuals for both self-employment and employee benefit plan purposes. As a result, the partners may not be provided the tax benefits provided employees with respect to benefit plans such as cafeteria plans, parking and transit benefits, health benefits and health insurance. Read the full article.
Lorman Education Services Live Audio Conference Why Is This Guy Still on My Health Plan? September 26, 2011 1:00 pm (EST), (12:00 p.m. [CST], 11:00 a.m. [MST], 10:00 a.m. [PDT]) 1 hour 30 minutes Instructor: Amy Gordon, Co-Chair of McDermott Will & Emery’s Health and Welfare Benefits Group Companies have encountered many situations where an employee remains on the company's health benefits as an active employee for many years past the date in which the employee was actively at work for the company, both intentionally and unintentionally. This live audio conference will answer a common problem employers experience: what date should an employee be treated as a terminated employee when he/she is on a leave of absence or fails to return from a leave of absence, and how does this coordinate with the company-provided health and welfare benefits? This program will discuss the legal issues surrounding a leave of absence. It will...