Reporting Developments Affecting Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

Additional Guidance Issued on Coverage for OTC COVID-19 Tests

On February 4, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury ‎‎(the “Departments”) released additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding group ‎health plan coverage of over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests (OTC Tests) plans, without ‎participant cost-sharing, ‎preauthorization, or medical management.‎

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Group Health Plans Must Pay For Over-The-Counter At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Beginning January 15, 2022, and continuing throughout the duration of the public health ‎emergency, group health plans and insurers are required to cover over-the-counter (OTC) at-home ‎COVID-19 ‎tests (OTC Tests), including tests not ordered by a ‎health care provider, without ‎participant cost-sharing, preauthorization, or medical management, according to Frequently ‎Asked Questions (FAQs) recently issued by the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and ‎Human Services.‎

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IRS Announces 2022 Retirement Plan Limits – Most Limits Increase

The Internal Revenue Service announced the 2022 cost-of-living adjustments to the dollar limitations for qualified retirement plans and other benefits, and the Social Security Administration announced its own cost-of-living adjustments for 2022.  Most of the dollar limits, including the elective deferral contribution limit for 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans, the annual compensation limit under 401(a)(17) and the maximum annual contribution limit under Code Section 415(c) will increase from 2021 limits.

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: New Guidance Issued on What Employers Must Consider Before Charging Higher ‎Group Medical Insurance Premiums for Unvaccinated Employees

In our September 2, 2021 QuickStudy available here, we outlined the various laws governing wellness plans and described how group health plans might structure a premium surcharge for employees who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine to fit within such existing rules. This week, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) issued new Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) that specifically address wellness plan compliance requirements for group health plan premium discounts or surcharges on vaccinated or unvaccinated employees, respectively.

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: What Employers Should Consider Before Charging Higher Group Medical Insurance Premiums for Unvaccinated Employees

On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine, which has been referred to as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and has been available only under an emergency use authorization up to now, will be marketed under the brand name Comirnaty.

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US Dept. of Labor Announces Cybersecurity Guidance for Plan Sponsors, Plan Fiduciaries, Record-Keepers and Plan Participants

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued guidance on best practices for ‎maintaining cybersecurity directed to plan sponsors, fiduciaries, record-keepers and ‎participants of employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income ‎Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”). While some prior cybersecurity guidance ‎has been issued for certain employee benefit plans governed by ERISA ‎, this is the ‎first guidance issued by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the ‎DOL related to cybersecurity.‎

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