Tagged: HIPAA

IRS Issues Guidance on an Employee’s Reduction in Hours and Involuntary Termination of Employment to Qualify for the 100 Percent COBRA Premium Subsidy

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 enacted on March 11, 2021 (the “Act”) provides a federally-funded, 100 percent subsidy for the premiums for COBRA continuation coverage from April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021 for assistance eligible individuals. On May 18, 2021, the IRS issued Notice 2021-31, which provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of the subsidy. The Notice is in the form of 86 questions and answers and spans 41 single-spaced pages. This news alert focuses on the guidance dealing with the two events that trigger entitlement to the subsidy: a reduction in hours and an involuntary termination of employment. The guidance on reduction in hours is found at Q&A 21 to 23, and on involuntary termination of employment at Q&A 24 to 34. Definition of Assistance Eligible Individual The Act defines an assistance eligible individual as an individual who: Is a qualified beneficiary for a period of COBRA continuation coverage that includes the months between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021; Is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage due to a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment other than for gross misconduct; and Elects COBRA continuation coverage. Other COBRA qualifying events, such as a voluntary termination of employment, a child’s aging out of dependent status, or divorce, do not...

The EEOC Finalizes Wellness Program Guidance, Issuing Final Rules on Workplace Wellness Programs and a Sample Notice

After much anticipation (and confusion) regarding legally permissible parameters for certain employer-sponsored wellness programs, on May 16, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued two final rules concerning wellness programs that offer incentives in exchange for health information from employees and their spouses. Specifically, the rules describe how wellness programs can comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act (“GINA”). According to the EEOC’s press release, the rules provide guidance under the ADA and GINA consistent with the relevant provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), as amended by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The EEOC’s proposed regulations were discussed in a previous post following our presentation entitled “Wellness Programs for a Healthy Workplace” at the Fifth Annual Gibbons Employment & Labor Law Conference. Then, in June, the EEOC issued a sample notice for employer-sponsored wellness programs. Here, we parse the rules into bright-line takeaways for employers.

EBSA Provides Additional Guidance Regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) recently provided additional guidance on its website regarding implementation of provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This guidance, which is provided in the form of Frequently Asked Questions and responses, was prepared jointly by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury.

Thunderstorms on the Horizon for Cloud Computing

With the U.S. economy still reeling from the aftershock of what is now known as the “Great Recession,” companies large and small are evaluating cloud computing as a means of reducing IT costs. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies (“NIST”) and the Cloud Security Alliance have defined cloud computing as a model for on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources over the internet, namely software applications, data servers, networks and other services. Just as businesses and consumers now pay for gas, electricity and other utilities, cloud enthusiasts predict that the cloud will be sold on demand as a pure IT service.