10 Potential Causes of Employee COVID-19 Lawsuits

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The novel coronavirus has caused immeasurable suffering, both physical and economic. For employers struggling to stay in business, there are a number of ticking timebombs they must try to avoid to keep employees and customers safe, and keep their business afloat. With so much still unknown, this is a fraught time where mistakes in managing their workforces could lead to employee COVID-19 lawsuits. 10 Potential Causes of Employee COVID-19 Lawsuits Workplace safety Businesses that still have employees working on-site run the risk that a single infected worker may send the virus ripping through the entire workforce. While workers’ compensation laws…
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Workers’ Comp Claims For COVID-19 May Not Be as High as Expected

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

There is some good news coming out in terms of workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19 in California. Overall workers’ comp claims tied to the coronavirus may not be as numerous and as costly as originally thought. Gov. Gavin Newsom in early March announced that any worker who is reporting to a worksite in California and contracts COVID-19 will automatically be eligible for workers’ comp benefits on the presumption that it was contracted at work. This announcement came after the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau filed a recommendation for special rules that would exempt COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims from an employer’s…
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Concerns Rise Over Individual Coverage HRAs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Employers, health insurers, regulators and hospitals are all raising concerns about the Trump administration’s rules issued last year that allow employer-funded health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) that employees can use to purchase health plans on the open market, called Individual Coverage HRAs (ICHRA). The rules continue to receive pushback from small business groups, insurers, regulators and others, who say that employers who want to go this route are facing a bureaucratic nightmare. One of the biggest concerns is that employers will use the opportunity to move older and sicker workers from their group health plans to exchanges, in order to reduce…
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How to Handle Group Health Coverage for Laid-off, Furloughed Staff

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, many employers have had to lay off or furlough staff due to a tremendous drop-off in business. Besides the loss of income they face, these workers will often also lose their employer-sponsored health insurance. With this in mind, many employers have been wondering if they can permit coverage to continue during the time the staff is temporarily laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There are some important points to consider when deciding how to handle group health coverage for laid-off or furloughed staff. If you are looking at options for keeping…
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IRS Allows Mid-Year Changes to Health Plans, FSAs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The IRS has loosened restrictions on employees who want to make election changes to their group health plans and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) in the middle of the policy year. IRS rules are typically stringent and rigid, barring changes from being made to health plans except during open enrollment. Under the new rules, the employer would still have to approve letting staff make changes to their plans if they have more than one option to choose from. The IRS issued the new guidance after employer groups lobbied the agency and Congress to loosen the rules because the COVID-19 pandemic has…
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Leasing a Car? Put It in Your Company Name

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As a business owner or company director wanting to lease a car for yourself, you have the choice of either business contract or personal car leasing, and each option has its own implications, benefits and disadvantages, particularly in terms of insurance. Which policy will cover my car? If you are using your new car mostly for work (think sales calls and visiting job sites), and you bought the car in your name, that mistake can cost you as your business won’t be able to insure it properly. Your personal auto policy will provide coverage for some business use of your…
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COVID-19 Changes to Health Plans Must Be Documented, Circulated

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

A number of plan sponsors have made changes to their group health plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as covering testing and sometimes treatment without any cost-sharing by the plan enrollee. Any changes that are made must be followed up by amending the plan and communicating the changes to the enrollees. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), all health plans are required to deliver a Summary Plan Description (SPD) to enrollees to inform them of the full spectrum of coverage and their rights under the plan. Whenever a plan sponsor makes a material modification to the…
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Focus on Your Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Now more than ever you should make sure your body has the best fighting chance possible, and that means you should pay especially close attention to what you put into it and focus on your health during the COVID-19 crisis. Your body needs the right fuel to stay healthy, including a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids. The World Health Organization recommends that you eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your…
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FSAs, HSAs Can Now Be Used for Non-Prescription Medications

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The recently enacted $2 trillion stimulus law aimed at providing financial assistance during the coronavirus outbreak also includes a key change on how health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts can be used. The Coronavirus Aid, Recover and Economic Stabilization Act, or CARES Act for short, reverses an Affordable Care Act rule that barred policyholders from using funds in HSAs and FSAs to pay for over-the-counter medications. Health Savings Accounts, known as HSAs, and Flexible Spending Accounts, known as FSAs, allow people to set aside pre-tax funds for medical costs, medical out-of-pocket and copays, as well as for the cost…
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Protecting Employees During the Pandemic

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

If you are one of the companies that has been deemed an essential employer and are remaining open during stay-at-home orders, you should be doing all you can to protect employees against contracting COVID-19. While some workers are really on the front lines of fighting the disease, like health care workers and emergency services personnel, there are many other people working in factories, grocery stores, warehouse and transportation, among other industries, that are also at risk to varying degrees. The response to this has been varied. Some employers have taken steps to protect their workers. For example, some grocery stores…
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