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IRS Relief for HDHPs Covering COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Costs

Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-15 announcing that a high deductible health plan’s payment of COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing and treatment prior to satisfaction of the plan’s minimum deductible will not affect its status as a high deductible health plan.

Pursuant to Section 223(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, high deductible health plans generally must require covered individuals to satisfy minimum deductibles before the plan can pay for any medical care services and items (subject to certain limited exceptions such as preventive care) in order for the covered individuals to remain “eligible individuals” for health savings account (HSA) purposes.   Under the relief provided in Notice 2020-15, this minimum deductible requirement will not apply to:

  • Medical care services and items related to testing for and treatment of COVID-19. These services and items may, therefore, be provided without a deductible or with a deductible that is less than the otherwise applicable minimum deductible.  For 2020, the minimum deductibles are $1,400 for self-only coverage and $2,800 for family coverage.
  • Any COVID-19 vaccine developed in the coming months. The IRS included a reminder that vaccines will continue to be treated as preventive care to which the minimum deductible requirement does not apply.

This is welcome news for employers sponsoring high deductible health plans who have been exploring ways in which to help alleviate the financial obstacles that may prevent employees from getting tested or seeking treatment for COVID-19 as well as for individuals with fully-insured

IRS Releases 2020 Adjusted Qualified Plan Limitations

The Internal Revenue Service released the cost-of-living adjusted qualified retirement plan limitations effective January 1, 2020.  For ease of reference and comparison to prior years, we have placed the adjusted limitations in the table below.  For more information, refer to the Internal Revenue Service’s news release and Notice 2019-59 and to the Social Security Administration’s October 10, 2019, fact sheet.

Qualified Plan Limits

Type of Limitation 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 Elective Deferrals (401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1)) $19,500 $19,000 $18,500 $18,000 $18,000 Section 414(v) Catch-Up Deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or SARSEP Plans (457(b)(3) and 402(g) provide separate catch-up rules to be considered as appropriate) $6,500 $6,000 $6,000 $6,000 $6,000 SIMPLE Salary Deferral $13,500 $13,000 $12,500 $12,500 $12,500 SIMPLE 401(k) or regular SIMPLE plans, Catch-Up Deferrals $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 415 limit for Defined Benefit Plans $230,000 $225,000 $220,000 $215,000 $210,000 415 limit for Defined Contribution Plans $57,000 $56,000 $55,000 $54,000 $53,000 Annual Compensation Limit $285,000 $280,000 $275,000 $270,000 $265,000 Annual Compensation Limit for Grandfathered Participants in Governmental Plans Which Followed 401(a)(17) Limits (With Indexing) on July 1, 1993  

$425,000  

$415,000  

$405,000  

$400,000  

$395,000 Highly Compensated Employee 414(q)(1)(B) $130,000 $125,000 $120,000 $120,000 $120,000 Key employee in top heavy plan (officer) $185,000 $180,000 $175,000 $175,000 $170,000 Tax Credit ESOP Maximum balance $1,150,000 $1,130,000 $1,105,000 $1,080,000 $1,070,000 Amount for Lengthening of 5-Year ESOP Period $230,000 $225,000 $220,000 $215,000 $210,000 Taxable Wage Base $137,700 $132,900 $128,400 $127,200 $118,500

Employer CCPA FAQs #9: May an employer become subject to the CCPA because of a corporate transaction?

As our series of FAQs regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) continues we are examining the scope of the law’s jurisdiction.    These FAQs should help employers determine if they are required to comply with the CCPA and if so, what steps their HR professionals and IT departments should take to be in compliance.

As a reminder, the CCPA is a new privacy law that applies to data collected about California-based employees.   The CCPA will go into effect in early 2020, and employers who must comply should be addressing compliance obligations now.

For US employers who have not had to comply with the GDPR, the requirements of the CCPA will likely require a new analysis of the treatment of employee-data and implementation of updated or new data policies.  For employers with European operations, one key area of interest is the degree to which the CCPA aligns with the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).   Employers in compliance with the GDPR will likely already be familiar with many of the requirements of the CCPA – and with some assistance, should be able to bring their operations and policies into compliance with respect to California-based employees.

BCLP offers a complete compliance program to employers that includes a formal gap assessment as well as policies, procedures, and protocols to close identified gaps.  If you or your organization would like information on this compliance program or any other issue, please contact us or one of your other trusted BCLP attorneys.

Question #9: May

Employer CCPA FAQs #8: Does the CCPA apply to non-profit employers?

As our series of FAQs regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) continues we are examining the scope of the law’s jurisdiction.    These FAQs should help employers determine if they are required to comply with the CCPA and if so, what steps their HR professionals and IT departments should take to be in compliance.

As a reminder, the CCPA is a new privacy law that applies to data collected about California-based employees.   The CCPA will go into effect in early 2020, and employers who must comply should be addressing compliance obligations now.

For US employers who have not had to comply with the GDPR, the requirements of the CCPA will likely require a new analysis of the treatment of employee-data and implementation of updated or new data policies.  For employers with European operations, one key area of interest is the degree to which the CCPA aligns with the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).   Employers in compliance with the GDPR will likely already be familiar with many of the requirements of the CCPA – and with some assistance, should be able to bring their operations and policies into compliance with respect to California-based employees.

BCLP offers a complete compliance program to employers that includes a formal gap assessment as well as policies, procedures, and protocols to close identified gaps.  If you or your organization would like information on this compliance program or any other issue, please contact us or one of your other trusted BCLP attorneys.

Question #8: Does

Deep Dive: DOL Appeals Federal Court’s Association Health Plan Ruling and Issues Interim Guidance

As we predicted in our last Deep Dive, the Department of Labor (DOL) has appealed the District Court for the District of Columbia’s ruling in State of New York, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al. which vacated key portions of the DOL’s association health plan regulation (AHP Rule). The DOL filed its Notice of Appeal with the federal district court (D.D.C.) on April 26.

In response to the Court’s ruling (and before filing its appeal) the DOL had published a Q&A-style discussion of the ruling’s impact. After filing its appeal, the DOL published an official statement (DOL Statement) outlining interim guidance for previously-formed AHPs and employers who began participating in an AHP in reliance on the AHP Rule. The DOL Statement clarifies that these employers and AHPs may continue their coverage for the time being, yet leaves key questions unanswered.   In welcome news for AHPs that sought to form under the AHP Rule, the DOL confirms its commitment to “taking all appropriate action within its legal authority to minimize undue consequences on employees and their families.”  As support, the DOL Statement reassures that:

  • Employers participating in insured AHPs formed under the AHP Rule may continue their coverage through the later of the end of the current plan year or contract term and that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed employers have an independent right to continue coverage through

Employer CCPA FAQs #7: If an employer is based in California, will the CCPA requirements apply to all employee data held by the employer?

As our series of FAQs regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) continues we are examining the scope of the law’s jurisdiction.    These FAQs should help employers determine if they are required to comply with the CCPA and if so, what steps their HR professionals and IT departments should take to be in compliance.

As a reminder, the CCPA is a new privacy law that applies to data collected about California-based employees.   The CCPA will go into effect in early 2020, and employers who must comply should be addressing compliance obligations now.

For US employers who have not had to comply with the GDPR, the requirements of the CCPA will likely require a new analysis of the treatment of employee-data and implementation of updated or new data policies.  For employers with European operations, one key area of interest is the degree to which the CCPA aligns with the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).   Employers in compliance with the GDPR will likely already be familiar with many of the requirements of the CCPA – and with some assistance, should be able to bring their operations and policies into compliance with respect to California-based employees.

BCLP offers a complete compliance program to employers that includes a formal gap assessment as well as policies, procedures, and protocols to close identified gaps.  If you or your organization would like information on this compliance program or any other issue, please contact us or one of your other trusted BCLP attorneys.

Question #7:  If an

Employer CCPA FAQs #6: Does an employer need to generate revenue in California in order for CCPA to apply?

As our series of FAQs regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) continues we are examining the scope of the law’s jurisdiction.    These FAQs should help employers determine if they are required to comply with the CCPA and if so, what steps their HR professionals and IT departments should take to be in compliance.

As a reminder, the CCPA is a new privacy law that applies to data collected about California-based employees.   The CCPA will go into effect in early 2020, and employers who must comply should be addressing compliance obligations now.

For US employers who have not had to comply with the GDPR, the requirements of the CCPA will likely require a new analysis of the treatment of employee-data and implementation of updated or new data policies.  For employers with European operations, one key area of interest is the degree to which the CCPA aligns with the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).   Employers in compliance with the GDPR will likely already be familiar with many of the requirements of the CCPA – and with some assistance, should be able to bring their operations and policies into compliance with respect to California-based employees.

BCLP offers a complete compliance program to employers that includes a formal gap assessment as well as policies, procedures, and protocols to close identified gaps.  If you or your organization would like information on this compliance program or any other issue, please contact us or one of your other trusted BCLP attorneys.

Question #6: Does an employer need

Employer CCPA FAQs #5: Does an employer have to be “established” in the United States for U.S. data privacy and security laws, and particularly the CCPA, to apply?

As our series of FAQs regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) continues we are examining the scope of the law’s jurisdiction.    These FAQs should help employers determine if they are required to comply with the CCPA and if so, what steps their HR professionals and IT departments should take to be in compliance.

As a reminder, the CCPA is a new privacy law that applies to data collected about California-based employees.   The CCPA will go into effect in early 2020, and employers who must comply should be addressing compliance obligations now.

For US employers who have not had to comply with the GDPR, the requirements of the CCPA will likely require a new analysis of the treatment of employee-data and implementation of updated or new data policies.  For employers with European operations, one key area of interest is the degree to which the CCPA aligns with the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).   Employers in compliance with the GDPR will likely already be familiar with many of the requirements of the CCPA – and with some assistance, should be able to bring their operations and policies into compliance with respect to California-based employees.

BCLP offers a complete compliance program to employers that includes a formal gap assessment as well as policies, procedures, and protocols to close identified gaps.  If you or your organization would like information on this compliance program or any other issue, please contact us or one of your other trusted BCLP attorneys.

Question #5: Does an employer

Deep Dive: Association Health Plan Considerations following the Court Order Vacating the DOL’s Final Rule

On March 28, 2019, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion and order vacating key portions of the Department of Labor’s regulation, published in June 2018, which had expanded the definition of “employer” under Section 3(5) of ERISA (the “AHP Rule”), thereby broadening the scope of association health plans (“AHPs”).  According to the Court, it is unreasonable to interpret “employer” as including working owners and groups that do not have “a true commonality of interest” and doing so leads to “absurd results” and is an “end run” around the Affordable Care Act.  The Court’s opinion was issued with immediate effect and has cast doubt on the future use of AHPs, especially self-insured AHPs.

As background, the AHP rule was promulgated in response to President Trump’s October 12, 2017, Executive Order, which directed the DOL to expand access to and allow more employers to form AHPs.  Before the Executive Order, the DOL had been characterizing AHPs maintained by a “bona fide” group or association of employers as being sponsored by a single employer (with the AHP retaining its status as a MEWA under ERISA). The AHP Rule significantly expanded such application by permitting groups or associations, including groups consisting entirely of “working owners” (self-employed individuals without common law employees), to form a single employer AHP that could qualify as a “large group” plan that would be exempt from certain Affordable Care Act reforms, such as offering the full suite of

Employer CCPA FAQs #4: What information is not “Personal Information” under the CCPA?

This post is part of our series of FAQs examining the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”)  that should help employers with operations in California to determine if they are required to comply with the CCPA and if so, what steps their HR professionals and IT departments should take to be in compliance.

By way of background, the CCPA is a new privacy law that will go into effect in early 2020. Because the CCPA refers to “consumers” many HR professionals do not realize that the CCPA, as currently enacted, also applies to data collected about California-based employees. Please see our recent blog post for a summary of which employers will be subject to the CCPA and the key requirements of the law.

Although the law will not be in effect until next year, employers who must comply should be addressing compliance obligations now.  For U.S. employers who have not had to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), the requirements of the CCPA will likely require a new analysis of the treatment of employee-data and updated or new data policies. Employers who are required to comply with the GDPR will likely already be familiar with many of the requirements of the CCPA, and a key area of interest is the degree to which the CCPA aligns with GDPR for purposes of implementing CCPA compliant practices for their California-based employees.

BCLP offers a complete compliance program for employers that includes a formal gap assessment and tailored policies, procedures, and protocols

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