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Important Deadlines Delayed for Health and Welfare Plans due to COVID-19 Emergency: Impacts for Employer Plan Sponsors, Administrators, and Insurers

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notification of relief, effective immediately, that extends certain critical deadlines in health, disability, and other welfare plans (Deadline Relief).[1] This Deadline Relief requires that these plans extend certain deadlines that affect … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Leads to Liberalization of e-Prescribing of Controlled Substances, May Presage Permanent Rulemaking

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) recently issued guidance permitting the use of telemedicine to prescribe controlled substances (schedule II to V) for the duration of the public health emergency declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Specifically, if (a) the prescription “is issued for a legitimate medical … Continue Reading

CMS Takes Significant Action to Spur Use of Telehealth Services for Duration of COVID-19 Emergency

On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation declaring a national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease (the “Emergency Declaration”).  The president framed the emergency declaration as empowering the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to waive “laws to enable telehealth,” which gave providers hope that the administration would remove some of … Continue Reading

NLRB Gives Employers Greater Discretion to Limit Union Activity on Their Premises

The National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) recently issued a decision in UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside that reverses longstanding Board precedent and holds that employers no longer have to allow nonemployee union representatives access to public areas of their property unless (1) the union has no other means of communicating with employees or (2) the employer … Continue Reading

HHS Issues Practical New Cybersecurity Guidance for Healthcare Businesses of all Sizes

In late January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthcare & Public Health Sector Coordinating Council issued a new cybersecurity guidance document for healthcare businesses of all sizes. The guidance document, entitled “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices: Managing Threats and Protecting Patients,” available at https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/405d/Pages/hic-practices.aspx, provides concrete and practical guidance for addressing what the … Continue Reading

Effects of State Individual Mandates on Employer Group Health Plans

Late last year, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which included a provision  effectively repealing the requirement for most Americans to have health insurance.  This “individual mandate” was originally imposed by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Beginning in 2019, the tax penalty individuals face if they do not enroll in health coverage considered … Continue Reading

CMS Rule Extends Short-Term Health Insurance

On August 1, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a final rule that allows individuals to purchase short-term limited-duration health plans. Under the rule, short-term health plans can span an initial period of less than 12 months, with renewals and extensions capped at 36 months. Under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), lower-grade … Continue Reading

ACA Debate Intensifies Ahead of Midterm Elections

Ten Republican Senators have introduced a bill that they say will require health insurers to cover pre-existing conditions if the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is invalidated. Critics counter that the bill offers little actual protection. Like the ACA, it would prohibit insurers from denying enrollment based on pre-existing conditions, but unlike the ACA, it would … Continue Reading
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