Human Resources

The Washington Report

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March 10, 2021

Note to subscribers: Due to the current environment, information is changing at a rapid rate. While we do our best to provide timely updates, it is possible that the information shared in the newsletter may change or be revised after our publication deadline. Stay healthy and safe! ~The Washington Report team



COVID-19 Relief Bill Returns to House After Senate Passage; Enactment Expected This Week
On March 6, 2021, the Senate approved with a 50–49 vote the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319). The House passed the relief bill on February 27. The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill would provide additional relief to address the continued impact of the pandemic on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses. As expected, modifications were made to the bill with the Senate passage, including removing the $15 an hour minimum wage provision. (At the time of our publication deadline, the House was expected to consider and pass the bill on Tuesday. The bill would then be sent to President Biden for signature. Enactment is anticipated to occur this week before federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14.)

Among other provisions, the bill would provide funding for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, treatment, and prevention; small business assistance; and mental health and substance-use disorder services. A maximum recovery rebate of $1,400 per eligible individual would be provided as well as $300 a week in unemployment assistance through September 6, 2021. Also included is pension funding relief for both single and multiemployer plans, additional relief for various federal health care programs, (including the Affordable Care Act), and a six-month provision that would have the federal government covering COBRA health insurance premiums. (Note: This summary is meant only to provide a general overview. Please refer to the bill text and amendments for specific details.)

The full text of H.R. 1319 is available here.

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Departments Issue More FAQs on COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing and Coverage of Coronavirus Preventive Services
The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (the Departments) issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) addressing implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and other health care coverage issues related to COVID-19. The FAQs provide information and clarifications for employers and plans.

The Aon bulletin on the FAQs is available here.

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