American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) – The ARPA was signed into law on March 11 with countless facets of intended economic relief, including direct stimulus payments, vaccination aimed spending, tax credit extensions, and government subsidies. Given our industry of focus, we wanted to point out the law’s impacts to your company’s group health insurance, specifically as it relates to:
- Dependent Care FSA plans – Employers may elect to amend their plan allowing an increase to the contribution limit to a Dependent Care FSA plan in 2021 from $5,000 to $10,500.
- COBRA/State Continuation notices provided between 4/1/21 and 9/30/21 need to be revised to include language regarding the premium assistance program below (DOL model notice still pending).
- COBRA/State Continuation premium assistance as of 4/1/21 –
- An assistance eligible individual (AEI) is any individual who qualifies/qualified under Federal or State continuation due to losing coverage as a result of involuntary termination of employment or a reduction of hours.
- Premium assistance to AEIs will be 100% of their applicable COBRA premium starting 4/1/21.
- Assistance to AEIs will end upon the earliest of the following: becoming eligible for another group health plan, becoming eligible for Medicare, exhaustion of max COBRA period, or Sept 30, 2021.
- AEIs who have not elected COBRA as of 4/1/21 can elect coverage with assistance as of 4/1/21 (not retro).
- AEIs who previously elected COBRA, but terminated coverage before 4/1/21, can now re-elect coverage with assistance as of 4/1/21 (not retro).
- All employers must provide a notice to AEIs by 5/31/21 (DOL model notice still pending).
- COBRA premium is initially “advanced” by the employer, and then reimbursed as a credit toward the employer’s portion of their Medicare payroll tax.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to review the details of ARPA and determine how to best support our clients.
FREE Payroll Vendor & HR Technology Search – Need help looking for a new Payroll vendor, or maybe just looking to improve the relationship with your current vendor? Millson James is an independent HR & Payroll Technology consultant that can help you search and evaluate IT vendors associated with your company’s Payroll / HRIS / Benefits Admin / Time & Attendance functions. Stumm Insurance continues to offer this service at NO COST to our clients (i.e. Stumm pays Millson James for their fees), and over 40 of our clients have taken advantage of this free service, saving countless hours and dollars in their search. Contact your Stumm Insurance rep to learn more about how Millson James can assist your company in its HR/payroll vendor search.
The Transparency Rule and the Consolidated Appropriations Act – Late in 2020, the Dept. of Health & Human Services imposed a new “Transparency in Coverage” rule around the same time Congress passed their Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included separate but related rules & laws pertaining to carrier price transparency and the elimination of “surprise” medical bills. In a lot of ways both have language that add to or overlap with each other on their related topics, but neither are written as final, and more governmental modifications, delays, or clarifications are expected later this year. For the time being though, insurance carriers are already working to comply with these related measures by 2022 or 2023 including: publicly listing their in-network rates, out-of-network allowed amounts, and prescription drug costs, providing personalized cost-sharing estimates to members upon request and/or for certain covered items & services, implementing accuracy reviews of provider directories every 90 days, adding deductible amounts & out-of-pocket maximum to ID cards, along with many more efforts to increase medical price transparency.
Crain’s Chicago Business, Best Places to Work 2021 – Stumm is proud to announce that our company has been selected as one of the top 100 companies in Crain’s Chicago “Best Places to work” list in 2021! We are honored to be recognized, but truly acknowledge it is our employees that make working at Stumm such a positive experience. And that positivity directly stems from them working with all of you, our great clients, on a daily basis – so we thank each and every one of you for helping us together achieve a spot on this esteemed list.
Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your Stumm Client Service Team.