🗓️ September 2021 Updates
Keeping HR leaders up to date with important compliance updates and human resource articles.
EEOC Makes Final Extension to EEO-1 Reporting Deadline
Covered employees now have until Oct. 25 to file their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports, according to a recent announcement from the EEOC. Although the reporting deadline has been delayed several times during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said it will not authorize any more extensions. Under Federal law, businesses with at least 100 employees and federal contractors with at least 50 employees plus a contract of $50,000 or more with the federal government generally must file the EEO-1 form each year. The form asks for information about the number of employees who work for the business sorted by job category, rate, ethnicity and sex. The EEOC uses information about the number of women and minorities companies employ to support civil rights enforcement and analyze employment patterns, according to the agency.
IRS Releases the 2022 Affordability Percentage
IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2021-36, which decreased the affordability threshold for ACA employer mandate pay or play purposes to 9.61% for plan years beginning in 2022 from 9.83% for 2021. For a copy of this IRS Procedure, click on the following link: Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2021-35 | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
COBRA Subsidy Expiration Notice Due by Sept. 15 (Sooner for Some)
The COBRA Subsidy period under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is nearing its end. Under ARPA, an assistance eligible individual (AEI), which is a COBRA qualified beneficiary who becomes eligible for COBRA due to a reduction in hours or involuntary termination of employment, may be eligible for a COBRA subsidy equal to the entire COBRA premium for the period of April 1, 2021, through September 20, 2021. Employers and plan administrators are required to provide subsidy termination notices to AEI’s before their COBRA subsidy ends.
Medicare Part D Notices are Due Before Oct. 15, 2021
Medicare Part D imposes disclosure requirements on employers with group health plans that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals. Plan sponsors must provide the annual Medicare Part D creditable coverage disclosure notices to individuals before Oct. 15, 2021. Model notices are available for employer use.
Departments Defer Transparency & Disclosure Rule Enforcement, Provide FAQ Guidance
On Aug. 20, 2021, the DOL, HHS, and the Treasury Departments issued FAQ guidance regarding provisions of the ACA, the No Surprises Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Specifically, the issued FAQ guidance provides information to group health plans and health insurance carriers to help them comply with the final Transparency in Coverage Rules issued under the ACA and similar provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The FAQ’s provide that Departments will defer enforcement of the rules regarding:
- Publishing transparency in coverage machine-readable files related to prescription drug pricing (pending further rulemaking);
- Publishing other types of machine-readable files (until July 1, 2022);
- Providing a price comparison tool (until Jan. 1, 2023);
- Providing a good faith estimate of expected charges and Advanced Explanation of Benefits to certain individuals (pending further rulemaking); and
- Reporting of pharmacy benefit and drug costs (pending further rulemaking).
The Departments plan to issue regulations on several other issues, including the interaction of the CAA and the transparency in coverage final rules, as well as the provider directory and continuity of care requirements. Regulations may not be issued until after Jan, 1, 2022. Until then, plans and issuers should use good faith, reasonable interpretations of the statute.
They do not expect to issue regulations on provisions prohibiting gag clauses or balance billing disclosure requirements. Again, plans and issuers are expected to use good faith, reasonable interpretations of the statutory requirements.
Employer Questions to Answer Before Imposing a Surcharge on Unvaccinated Workers
Many employers are struggling to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among their workforce, concerned not only about both the safety of the workforce but also the costs of COVID-19 treatment that could be avoided through vaccination. Some are now turning to the possibility of a higher premium cost, or surcharge, for any group health plan participants who remain unvaccinated. What are the hurdles you would have to navigate if you want to impose such a surcharge on your unvaccinated workers? Here are the six questions you need to resolve before undertaking such a plan.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information & Updates
Unfortunately, we are not out of the COVID-19 woods yet and we are still occasionally fielding questions from clients on isolation and quarantine protocols (and, we welcome your calls!). I do want to share that Kalamazoo County’s Health & Community Services Department is a great resource for current information, along with their handy “Quarantine & Isolation Calculator” – check it out here https://www.kalcounty.com/hcs/covid19.php