The Washington Report
April 15, 2020
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
Departments Release FAQs on Expanded Coverage for Essential Diagnostic Services Amid COVID-19
On April 11, 2020, the Departments of Health, Labor, and Treasury (the Departments), issued guidance to “ensure Americans with private health insurance have coverage of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic testing and certain other related services, including antibody testing, at no cost.” The guidance, regarding implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and other health coverage issues related to COVID-19, is provided in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
The guidance implements the requirement for group health plans and group and individual health insurance to cover both diagnostic testing and certain related items and services provided during a medical visit with no cost-sharing. This includes urgent care visits, emergency room visits, and in-person or telehealth visits to the doctor’s office that result in an order for or administration of a COVID-19 test. Covered COVID-19 tests include all Food and Drug Administration-authorized COVID-19 diagnostic tests, COVID-19 diagnostic tests that developers request authorization for on an emergency basis, and COVID-19 diagnostic tests developed in and authorized by states. It also ensures that COVID-19 antibody testing will be covered.
For additional information on the FAQs, please refer to the Aon bulletin titled Departments Issue More FAQs on FFCRA and CARES Act in the Publications section of the newsletter.
The news release is available here.
The FAQs are available here.
IRS Expands Relief for Tax Forms and Other Filings; Extends Form 5500 Deadline to July 15, 2020
On April 9, 2020, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2020-23, which extends additional key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses. In March the IRS announced that taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay federal income taxes originally due on April 15. Notice 2020-23 expands this relief to additional returns, forms, tax payments, and other actions. In the latest Notice, the IRS has postponed the filing of the Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) otherwise due April 1, 2020, through July 14, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Please refer to the Notice for an overview of all the extensions granted in the guidance.
The IRS news release is available here.
IRS Notice 2020-23 is available here.
PBGC Extends Deadlines for Premium Payments and Other Filings to July 15, 2020
When the IRS provides relief to employee benefit plans because of a major disaster by delaying the Form 5500 due date, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC’s) disaster relief policy provides that many PBGC due dates are automatically extended. On April 10, 2020, the PBGC announced extended deadlines for upcoming premium payments and other filings with the agency. Due dates for filings or actions that would otherwise have been due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, have been extended to July 15, 2020. This includes 4010 filings and many reportable events. The extended due dates do not apply to important or time-sensitive filings on the “Exceptions List” on the PBGC’s Disaster Relief web page, but such filers may request individual extensions.
The PBGC news release is available here.
Additional information on the PBGC’s disaster relief policy and efforts is available here.
The PBGC’s Disaster Relief web page is available here.
DOL Issues Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of COVID-19
On April 10, 2020, the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as they relate to recording cases of COVID-19. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if the case:
- Is confirmed as a COVID-19 illness;
- Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.
In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employers other than those in the health care industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, fire-fighting, and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work. Accordingly, until further notice, OSHA will not enforce its record-keeping requirements to require these employers to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where: 1) there is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and 2) the evidence was reasonably available to the employer. Employers of workers in the health care industry, emergency response organizations, and correctional institutions must continue to make work-relatedness determinations pursuant to 29 CFR Part 1904. For additional information and resources about COVID-19, employers should visit OSHA’s COVID-19 web page.
Please note that some government websites are experiencing technological issues due to increased traffic. Readers may have to cut and paste the links below to access the information.
The news release is available at: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20200410-2
The interim guidance is available at: https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-04-10/enforcement-guidance-recording-cases-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
The OSHA COVID-19 web page is available at: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/
EEOC Releases Updated COVID-19 Technical Assistance Publication
On April 9, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted an updated and expanded technical assistance publication addressing questions arising under the federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws expands on a previous publication that focused on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act, and adds questions and answers to respond to common inquiries.
The news release is available here.
The updated What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws publication is available here.
Additional COVID-19 resources are available here.
Departments Issue More FAQs on FFCRA and CARES Act
The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury (the Departments) jointly issued additional frequently asked questions (FAQs) on COVID-19 and group health plan coverage under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), as amended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
The Aon bulletin, which provides a brief overview of the FAQs, is available here.
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