The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), enacted in December 2020, included a large surprise medical billing package. This Blueprint will focus on the law's surprise billing provisions, which are generally effective for plan years beginning January 1, 2022.
Critical retirement provisions in pandemic relief bill will save billions of dollars, speed economic recovery
WASHINGTON, DC – "The pension funding relief enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) may be overlooked among the bill's many other provisions," said Lynn Dudley, the American Benefits Council's senior vice president, global retirement and compensation policy, "but it is critically important for pension plan participants and the companies that sponsor them."
The American Benefits Council advocates for employer benefit plan sponsors and is dedicated to the achievement of best-in-class solutions that protect and encourage the retirement savings and financial well-being of workers, retirees and families. In our role as a resource on retirement policy issues, we have assembled this collection of data and research from reputable sources to demonstrate the strength and vitality of 401(k) plans and the employer-sponsored retirement system.
On February 26, 2021, the U.S. departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury ("the Departments") issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Implementation Part 44. These FAQs are the latest in a long-running series, dating back to the earliest implementation of the Affordable Care Act, issued by the regulatory agencies to help health plan stakeholders understand and comply with the law.
The American Benefits Council ("the Council") thanks the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee for its efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We commend the subcommittee for holding a hearing focusing on telehealth and how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the delivery of virtual care. The pandemic has transformed telehealth from an innovative option for delivering services into a vital lifeline to care for millions of patients. Even after the immediate crisis passes, telehealth and its role in the health care system will be forever changed.
In recent months, there has been widespread confusion among plan sponsors as to when and if the prior Department of Labor guidance extending certain plan participant timeframes would lapse. Today's notice answered that question, by determining that the original guidance will continue for as long as the COVID-19 national emergency continues. However, for each individual participant, the time period to be ignored in calculating the relevant deadline, which effectively creates the extension, cannot be more than one year. The Council had advocated for a clear end to the guidance at the end of February 2021 – one year from when relief first began, thereby giving effect to the one-year outer limit provided in the statute. However, the Department of Labor's interpretation extends the guidance for the foreseeable future.
Now available for American Benefits Council members is a Benefits Blueprint summary of the CAA, prepared by Groom Law Group, Chartered, which provides a brief overview of the CAA's health and transparency provisions, along with a chart that lists the health plan related provisions and, for each one, provides a summary, the regulatory plan and the effective date. Separately, soon we will be providing a Benefits Blueprint that goes in-depth on the provisions related to the surprise billing in the CAA.
Now that the composition of the U.S. Senate has been determined, it is clear that Democrats will control the White House and Congress, albeit by narrow margins in both the Senate and House of Representatives. To assist you we are providing an executive summary of important documents the Council released at the end of 2020, which will supplement your strategy and compliance for this year as a new Congress and new administration take control. Some of these materials also highlight several resources and services provided at no additional charge to all Council members, which we encourage you to use throughout the coming year.