The New Mental Health Parity Analysis: The Department of Labor Issues Guidance to Assist Health Plans with Compliance

On December 27, 2020, Congress enacted the Appropriations Act, which included several provisions that affected Health & Welfare Plans. One of those provisions required Health Plan to perform an analysis of the Plan’s “Non-Quantitative” Treatment Limits (“NQTLs”). NQTLs are rules, limits, or restrictions on coverage that are cannot be counted; such as rules on prior authorization, standards for admitting providers to the network, and the classification of treatments as...

Continue reading…

Modern Board of Trustee Meetings Require a Modern Trust Agreement

The global pandemic has had a substantial impact on all our lives. Nearly every aspect of our day-to-day life has changed in some way. In the Taft-Hartley fringe benefit world, many Boards of Trustees have been forced to meet virtually as opposed to meeting in person since the pandemic began. Only just recently have most Plans began to meet in person again. While the preference may be for Trustees...

Continue reading…

Ohio Modifies Employment Discrimination Law: The Impact of the New Ohio Employment Law Uniformity Act

Recently, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law the Employment Law Uniformity Act. This Act amends the employment protections in the Ohio Civil Rights Act in multiple respects, which include expanding the statute of limitations and clarifying administrative procedures and remedies. The purpose of Ohio’s new law is to conform more closely to federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws. The law went into effect on April 13, 2021. Statute of Limitations....

Continue reading…

Final Thoughts on the New (and Temporary) COBRA Subsidy

DOL RELEASES MODEL ARPA COBRA NOTICES

Final Thoughts on the New (and Temporary) COBRA Subsidy

Recently, the Department of Labor released the final model COBRA Notices for the new subsidy created under the Americans Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”). This new subsidy requires plans to cover the full COBRA cost between April 1, 2021 and September 30. 2021 for eligible participants. ARPA also requires plans to...

Continue reading…

Congress Continues to Debate the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: When it Comes to Pension Reform, the Plot Thickens

Whether Congress finally enacts pension reform, and how that reform will look, looms in the background as Congress continues to debate (and modify), the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill currently floating around Capitol Hill. The bill, called the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” was recently modified by the Senate and is with the House of Representatives for final approval. If the House does what is expected and passes...

Continue reading…

Flexible Spending Account Relief Adopted by the IRS in 2020 Extended Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

Flexible Spending Account Relief Adopted by the IRS in 2020 Extended Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (“CAA”) extended the relief provided to health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts under IRS Notice 2020-29 for the 2021 and, in some cases, 2022 Plan Years. This relief was largely expected and essentially extended the rules provided by the IRS under IRS Notice 2020-29....

Continue reading…

Congress Finally Tackles “Surprise” Out-of-Network Medical Billing & Also Adds New Rx Benefit Reporting Requirements

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the “Appropriations Act”) that was recently signed into law on December 28, 2020 by President Trump is mostly famous for two things: (1) it extended unemployment benefits and rental assistance for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) it provides a second round of stimulus payments to most Americans, though less then the earlier payments issued under the CARES Act. However, the Appropriations...

Continue reading…

Close Counts in Horseshoes & Hand Grenades: But Not ERISA

ERISA is full of statutory deadlines, includes those related to disclosing Summary Plan Descriptions, changes enacted through Plan Amendments, required financial information, and governmental filings. Perhaps none of those deadlines is more critical than those related to the claims and appeals rules. Participants that are denied benefits are likely to sue. And as shown in the case of Fessenden v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co and Oracle USA, Inc.,...

Continue reading…

Department of Labor Dials Back ESG Investing Regulations

The Department of Labor has issued its final rules on the investment duties of fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). These rules differed from the proposed rules issued over the summer which required additional responsibility for retirement plans who wanted to consider environmental, social, or governance factors in their investing (known as “ESG” investments). This is of particular concern to Taft-Hartley Plans, who often include investment...

Continue reading…

Public Employees and the Use of Social Media

Are political posts shared on social medical by Ohio public employees protected speech under the law? In short, it is unclear. The answer ultimately depends on how the activity is categorized under the Ohio Administrative Code (“OAC”). OAC section 123:1-46-02 separates protected (subsection B) and prohibited (subsection C) political activities. Although government employees do not completely forfeit their First Amendment rights at work, their employers can impose restrictions that...

Continue reading…