Financial

The past several months have seen a flurry of activity surrounding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Since HIPAA’s last significant update in 2013, advancements in technology and in the health care industry have left covered entities and business associates in need of more specific guidance. In response to these calls for action, the federal government has used the past several months to enact reforms, including proposing substantial changes to HIPAA’s Privacy Rule and amending the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act). Proposed Changes to the Privacy Rule On…
On February 4, 2021, the Wisconsin legislature voted to repeal Wisconsin’s statewide mask mandate that has been in effect since August 1, 2020. Within an hour, Gov. Evers reinstated the mask mandate for the State of Wisconsin (by declaring a public health emergency via Executive Order 105 and the corresponding Emergency Order 1). Substantively, the mask mandate is the same as the mandate repealed. Full details on the requirements of the mandate can be found in our alert on the initial mask mandate. The Emergency Order is effective immediately and will expire March 20, 2021 (unless extended, or repealed). Several…
In our prior article, we introduced the No Surprises Act, one of the most prominent benefits-related measures included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA). There we discussed the general requirements for coverage of out-of-network emergency services, air ambulances and nonemergency services performed by out-of-network providers at a network facility. This article, part of our ongoing series covering the group health plan changes in the CAA, outlines the second step of this process – how to resolve differences between the provider’s billed charge and the plan’s payment amount. To that end, the No Surprises Act establishes a process by…
RETIREMENT PLAN DEVELOPMENTS DOL Issues Guidance on Missing Participants On January 12, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued highly anticipated guidance regarding fiduciary duties to locate and distribute retirement benefits to missing or nonresponsive participants. This new sub‑regulatory guidance is non‑binding and is intended to provide clarity regarding existing requirements. The guidance includes three parts, which are summarized below. For additional information, please see Reinhart’s forthcoming e-alert on the subject. Missing Participants – Best Practices for Pension Plans This guidance describes what the DOL views as “best practices” for retirement plan fiduciaries in addressing missing participants and identifies red…
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will once again be utilizing an Internet-based electronic registration and lottery process for employers seeking to file H-1B petitions for beneficiaries that are required to be counted under the annual allocation of new H-1B slots. An H‑1B cap slot must be obtained in order for a foreign worker to engage in “new” H‑1B employment. “New” H‑1B employment generally refers to H‑1B petitions that are filed for foreign nationals who are not currently in H‑1B status. When new H‑1B employment requires an H‑1B cap visa, it is generally referred to as “cap‑subject.” Foreign workers whose…
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CAA) includes a number of benefits-related measures to help Americans in 2021 and beyond. One of the most prominent is the No Surprises Act, which bans most surprise medical bills. Currently, in addition to needing to pay cost-sharing amounts (such as deductibles, coinsurance and copays), patients frequently receive unanticipated “balance bills” after visiting the emergency room or receiving care from an out-of-network provider at a network facility. The No Surprises Act addresses both of these situations, along with charges from out-of-network air ambulances, which can often be up to six figures. The No Surprises…
On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amended Rule 206(4)-1 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to replace its existing advertising rule (prior Rule 206(4)-1) and solicitation rule (prior Rule 206(4)-3). The amended rule represents a substantial update of the prior rules to reflect current marketing practices and new technologies. This alert briefly summarizes the most important aspects of the amended rule. All SEC registered investment advisers will need to update their compliance policies and procedures to reflect the amended rule. In order to give advisers time to prepare for the amended rule’s requirements,…
When the United States Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled a multifactor test to determine whether workers are employees or independent contractors on January 6, 2021 it generated wide discussion. If workers are classified as independent contractors then they are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements, including minimum wage and overtime. But employers should think twice before relying on the rule. Currently, the DOL considers an individual’s employment classification through five or six different factors, weighed equally. Under the new rule, the DOL will focus on the “economic realities” test, which analyzes whether the individual is economically dependent…
On November 19, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to modernize a number of financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K. The amended rules take effect on February 10, 2021. Companies will be required to comply with the amended rules for their first fiscal year ending on or after August 9, 2021. A company may elect to comply before its mandatory compliance date if it complies with all of the amended rules in their entirety. The amendments include the following: Elimination of Item 301 – Selected Financial Data. The amendments eliminate Item 301, which had required the…
The 2020 CARES ACT created the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) to encourage employers to continue to retain employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ERC was originally available through December 31, 2020. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (the Disaster Relief Act), signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020, extends the availability of the ERC to wages paid before July 1, 2021, expands certain eligibility requirements and the amount of the credit for 2021 and retroactively allows employers who receive Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans in 2020 to be eligible for the credit.…
GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 Impact on Employer-Sponsored Health and Retirement Plans On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA). The CAA represents the federal government’s latest attempt to provide relief from the ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic and it includes numerous provisions affecting both health and welfare as well as qualified retirement plans. Additional details on the health and welfare plan provisions and the qualified retirement plan provisions are available in the preceding links, but generally, the CAA impacts employers and plan sponsors as follows: Health and Welfare Flexible Spending…
On January 14, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that the City of Chicago did not violate section 362(a)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code, one of the many “automatic stay” provisions designed to protect debtors in bankruptcy, when it retained and refused to return the debtors’ impounded motor vehicles following their bankruptcy filings. The Supreme Court’s decision reversed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and resolved a long-standing circuit split on the issue. The Court of Appeals held that the City of Chicago’s practice of withholding debtors’ impounded motor vehicles was an “exercise” of…
Among its many provisions, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CAA) provides greater flexibility for employees who were enrolled in health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) in 2020, or are enrolled in 2021. The CAA provides for the following optional relief for health and dependent care FSAs: Carryovers from 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022 Participants may carry over unused health FSA or dependent care FSA funds from the plan year ending in 2020 to the plan year ending in 2021, and from the plan year ending in 2021 to the plan year ending in 2022. Unlike…
On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law another COVID-19 aid package, the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 (the Act). The Act includes several key tax provisions that are intended to provide relief and stimulate the economy. The Act includes aid for individuals in the form of direct payments, jobless aid and rental assistance as well as aid to airlines, small lenders, entertainment venues, farmers, Amtrak and small businesses. The key tax provisions included: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Expansion and Modifications Temporarily allows a 100 percent deduction for business meals Extends deadlines for CARES Act payroll and leave…
On November 2, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to its rules to facilitate capital raising in exempt offerings under the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act). These amendments increase clarity and flexibility in the conduct of offerings, harmonize disclosure requirements and expand some exemptions. These amended rules take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The main areas addressed by the amendments include: Integration principles and application. Integration doctrine seeks to prevent an issuer from avoiding registration by artificially dividing a single offering into multiple offerings. The amendments increase the flexibility for…
In the final days of 2020, the nearly 5,600-page Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CAA) became law. The pandemic relief and government spending package includes a myriad of provisions that affect group health plans and insurers. With most health coverage provisions taking effect for the 2022 plan year or sooner, and the CAA’s promise of regulations, group health plan sponsors will want to start preparing early. The CAA also included a number of provisions relevant to retirement plans, which are summarized in our prior alert, Appropriations Act Includes Several Provisions Applicable to Qualified Retirement Plans. Below is a brief…