Topic: COVID-19

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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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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IRS Issues COVID-19 Relief on Mid-Year Changes to Safe Harbor 401(K) Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued helpful guidance to plan sponsors of safe harbor 401(k) plans that are considering reducing or suspending safe harbor employer matching contributions or safe harbor nonelective contributions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As explained below, IRS Notice 2020-52 provides temporary relief from certain requirements that would otherwise apply for making mid-year amendments to safe harbor 401(k) plans.

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Helpful FAQ Guidance Issued to Assist Group Health Plans With Implementing COVID-19 Coverage Requirements of the FFCRA and CARES Act

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury jointly ‎released additional frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) regarding implementation of ‎the health coverage provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ‎‎(“FFCRA”); the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), and ‎other health coverage issues related to COVID-19.‎

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IRS Issues Guidance on Waiver of 2020 Required Minimum Distribution

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued Notice 2020-51 which provides much needed guidance concerning the waiver of 2020 required minimum distributions (“RMDs”) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”).  The Notice also includes transition relief for plan administrators regarding the change to the required beginning date for RMDs under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (“SECURE Act”).

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: New ERISA Safe Harbor Expands Opportunities for Electronic Disclosure of Retirement Plan Information

On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a new safe harbor rule that will allow plan sponsors, by default, to post retirement plan disclosures online or deliver them to participants by email in satisfaction of their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”).

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