MOVING FORWARD >>>
WEBINAR: Best Practices for Re-Opening the Agency Office (May 28 - 10:00 a.m. Webinar) IIAG is hosting a free webinar Thursday, May 28 at 10:00 a.m. that will focus on
the legal, logistical, and organizational challenges that agencies will face
when reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. REGISTER HERE Featuring Claudia St. John of Affinity HR Group, Mark Burnette of Joyner & Burnette, PC, Michael Mellars of Prichard & Jerdan, and Ashley Ellis of BBWH Insurors.
Re-Opening: Agency Resources
New Benefits Rules
Emergency Paid Family Leave. As daycare facilities open up and as school years come to an end, employers must revisit leave requests for employees out on emergency paid family leave to care for a child whose schooling or daycare was closed due to the coronavirus.
New documentation should be obtained and leave forms updated to demonstrate how daycare provisions and how family childcare provisions planned for the summer months have been disrupted by the pandemic.
Changes to COBRA and FSAs. The IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) have recently released notices changing certain rules for employer-sponsored health plans. Some major provisions are:
- Benefit Plans—COBRA. In a joint statement, the IRS and DOL announced several changes to COBRA timing and process. For these provisions, the agencies defined the “Outbreak Period" as March 1 and ending 60 days after the end of the declared COVID-19 emergency.
- The following rules have been issued:
- Election period: Under the new rule, the 60-day timeframe to elect for coverage does not start until after the end of the outbreak period.
- Premium payment period: The new rule extends initial and monthly payment deadlines beyond the outbreak period so an employee can pay COBRA payments due beginning in March until 30 days after the outbreak period without cancelation of coverage.
- Notices: Employers must still provide employees with the COBRA election notice within 14 days from the date of the COBRA-qualifying event. However, employers will need to make adjustments to reflect the new changes.
- Benefit Plans—mid-year elections and changes. The IRS announced new flexibility regarding mid-year elections and changes for group health plans and FSAs, allowing employers the option to let employees enroll in employer-sponsored health plans during the plan year through a new election. Switching plans, coverage or tiers within plans they are already enrolled in is also permitted.
- FSA—enrollments and elections. The IRS stated that employers may choose to allow employees to enroll in, drop or increase coverage—up to the annual limit. They may also decrease payroll-deducted contributions for health and dependent care FSAs during 2020. Depending on the structure and timing of the FSA, employers may also elect to allow employees additional time to use FY2019 FSA balances which were carried over into FY2020.
- FSA—carryover limits. In Notice 2020-33, the IRS increased the amount of funds employees could carry over without penalty at the end of the year if their plans offer a carryover option. This amount is now $550, increased from the previous $500.
Employers should contact their plan administrators to learn more about their options and obligations due to these and other provisions and changes under COBRA, ERISA, and other related regulations. Should you need any assistance or advice as you manage your workplace in the midst of the coronavirus, visit Affinity HR Group online to learn more about HR policies and procedures.
What does Coronavirus/COVID-19 mean for you and your customers?
The news about the COVID-19 coronavirus is in constant update, and at this point the impact is spreading. From cancelled events, business interruption, gossip and fear, and—at its worst—illness, your customers, agency, and family will feel its effects. But there's no need to panic. Information is power, and we're curating some of the best resources to help you plan and maintain your well-earned position as the trusted source for your customers.
IIAG remains open for business and fully functional. We will continue to be available to our members when you call or email. We are part of your team, and we will always have your back through successes and challenges—like this coronavirus outbreak.
We've put together several resources to walk you through how this affects you:
The Coronavirus Aid,
Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has numerous provisions that impact
Big “I” members, businesses both large and small, and
individuals. The legislation focuses on four urgent priorities: delivering
aid to small businesses to avoid insolvencies and to keep paychecks flowing,
providing recovery checks and unemployment insurance directly to the American
people, appropriating additional funding and resources for the healthcare
fight against COVID-19, and stabilizing key industries to prevent
The Families First
Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA requires certain employers
to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave
for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s
(Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new
law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective
date through December 31, 2020.
The Covid-19 Business and
Community Continuity and Recovery Fund (the "Recovery Fund") is
modeled after a streamlined version of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund
legislation, with important distinctions designed to simplify the application
process and speed payment to COVID-19 impaired business, while reducing the
potential for fraud. This is another tool to provide tailored federal
assistance to keep businesses solvent and workers employed. The Recovery Fund
would leverage private sector contractors, and potentially insurers and
producers on a voluntary basis, to facilitate both expedited applications and
interim payments as well as auditing ongoing relief.
The Georgia Department of
Insurance has released bulletins and directives related to the Coronavirus
crisis that are accessible to the public on the DOI Website. For the convenience of
our members, pertinent information is listed here. For the
most complete list of directives and the most current information, visit
the DOI site.
Last Updated 5-21-2020