Legislative Updates

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  • 09/30/2022 8:45 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    The US Department of Labor announced that they are expanding the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Severe Violator Enforcement Program in order to strengthen and improve compliance for safety standards.  

    Per OSHA's news release, the updated criteria will now include the following:

    • Program placement for employers with citations for at least two willful or repeated violations or who receive failure-to-abate notices based on the presence of high-gravity serious violations.
    • Follow-up or referral inspections made one year – but not longer than two years – after the final order.
    • Potential removal from the Severe Violator Enforcement Program three years after the date of receiving verification that the employer has abated all program-related hazards. In the past, removal could occur three years after the final order date.
    • Employers' ability to reduce time spent in the program to two years, if they consent to an enhanced settlement agreement that includes use of a safety and health management system with seven basic elements in OSHA's Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.

    You can find the news release at US Department of Labor announces changes to OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program to strengthen enforcement, improve compliance | Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  

  • 09/26/2022 10:36 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    On September 15th, Safer Federal Workforce Task Force clarified that they will not implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. 

    SFWTF_model agency safety principles_20220915.pdf (saferfederalworkforce.gov)

  • 09/26/2022 10:17 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    Employers that offer prescription drug coverage in 2023 must provide notices of coverage to Medicare eligible employees or covered dependents by October 14, 2022.  This is before the annual Medicare Part D enrollment period begins which is from October 15th to December 7.    The notice requirement applies to both fully insured and self-funded plans.

    Model Notices are available at: 

    Credible: Important Notice to those Covered under Sponsor Plans (cms.gov)

    Non-Credible: Important Notice to those Covered under Sponsor Plans (cms.gov)

  • 08/17/2022 8:47 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    Following President Biden's executive order on ensuring access to reproductive health care, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor issued guidance for birth control coverage protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Most non-grandfathered health plans are required to provide contraceptives at no cost to members. 

    Read the new guidance at: FAQS ABOUT AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IMPLEMENTATION PART 54 (cms.gov)

  • 08/16/2022 8:34 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    The IRS announced the 2023 affordability threshold for group health plans which will be 9.12 percent down from 9.61 percent for 2022.  The affordability threshold is adjusted annually and is used to determine if an employer's lowest premium health plan meets the affordability requirement which affects an employer's potential liability for penalties.  The affordability threshold is applied on a plan year basis - not calendar year.

    RP-2022-34 (irs.gov)

  • 08/05/2022 1:36 PM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    The US Department of Health and Human Services announced that they will be declaring a Public Health Emergency due to the ongoing spread of monkeypox.  The US has reported more than 7,000 cases of monkeypox across 48 states.  Monkeypox is most often spread through close, personal, and often skin to skin contact per the CDC.  

    HHS Release: Biden-Harris Administration Bolsters Monkeypox Response; HHS Secretary Becerra Declares Public Health Emergency | HHS.gov

    CDC Website for Monkeypox: Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC

  • 07/20/2022 9:01 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    Due to high numbers of fatalities in the first six months of 2022, the US DOL plans to announce enhanced nationwide enforcement of trench safety.  OSHA Compliance Officers plan to perform more than 1,000 trench inspections.  More information can be found at: Alarming rise in trench-related fatalities spurs US Department of Labor to announce enhanced nationwide enforcement, additional oversight | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

  • 07/20/2022 8:47 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    On 7/16/2022, the US transitioned the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from a 10-digit number to 988.  The line also links to the Veterans Crisis Line.  This initiative is part of President Biden's strategy to support American's mental health.

    More information is available at: U.S. Transition to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Begins Saturday | HHS.gov

  • 06/24/2022 12:50 PM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    Roe v. Wade was overturned on Friday, June 24th in a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court stating there is no longer a constitutional right to an abortion.  The court’s ruling gives individual states the power to set their own abortion laws.  The ruling may lead employers to review their employee’s healthcare benefits following the decision. 

  • 06/10/2022 12:55 PM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    On June 9, 2022, the IRS announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate effective July 1, 2022 in recognition of recent gasoline prices.  The rate will increase 4 cents per mile to 62.5 cents.  The last time a midyear increase was imposed was in 2011.  

    IRS increases mileage rate for remainder of 2022 | Internal Revenue Service

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