Legislative Updates

  • 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

  • 05/27/2022 10:11 AM | Maggie Garry (Administrator)

    In correlation with National Health Awareness month, the US Department of Labor recently published updated Family and Medical Leave Act Guidance on Mental Health for both employees and employers.  The DOL issued new frequently asked questions and Fact Sheet #280: Mental Health Conditions and the FMLA.  For more information, see Fact Sheet # 28O: Mental Health Conditions and the FMLA | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov) and Mental Health and the FMLA | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).  

  • 04/12/2022 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    A federal bill that would decriminalize cannabis use has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives for the second time, but the bill's fate in the Senate is unclear. If signed into law, the act would resolve conflicts between federal and state law that cause confusion for employers—but state laws on medical and recreational marijuana use would still vary.

    The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, H.R. 3617, passed the House in a 220-204 vote on April 1 with all but two Democrats voting for the measure and all but three Republicans voting against it.

    Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means it is deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value. The MORE Act would deschedule marijuana, remove criminal sanctions and provide some relief for past convictions.

    What would the act mean for the workplace? States would still regulate cannabis and would not be required to legalize its use. Currently, 37 states have approved medical marijuana use, and 18 of those states and Washington, D.C., also have approved recreational use.

  • 03/31/2022 10:39 AM | Anonymous

    The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) became law in 2008 but wasn't "given teeth" until Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA, 2021), which requires employers to evaluate their compliance with the MHPAEA and ensure they provide equal coverage limits for mental health/substance use disorder benefits and medical/surgical benefits. Last April, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance to help plan sponsors and administrators comply with the stepped-up compliance requirements.

    Employers that sponsor physical health and mental health coverage are on notice that they can face DOL enforcement actions and be sued by employees if they fail to provide equal coverage for mental health issues.

    Mental health parity rules are directed at both insurance carriers and employer-sponsored group health plans. Fully insured employer-sponsored plans, however, often rely on their insurance carriers and trust that their administration is appropriately following the rules. For self-funded plans, employers rely on third-party administrators (TPAs) and, if drug coverage is carved out, pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs).

    To stay compliant, employers should ensure that mental and physical health coverage offered are equivalent. 

Sioux Empire SHRM is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. | PO Box 1302 | Sioux Falls, SD 57101 | Chapter #217

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