The Washington Report
June 9, 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
President Biden Releases Fiscal Year 2022 Blueprint
On May 28, 2021, President Biden released the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget blueprint. Passage of the President’s $6 trillion budget is unlikely, as proposals are typically intended as a framework for discussion. The 2022 budget includes a number of provisions and priorities in the upcoming year and can offer insight regarding future legislative and/or regulatory actions.
A Fact Sheet is available here.
The 2022 budget blueprint is available here.
HHS Announces 31 Million Individuals Covered Under ACA
On June 5, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the findings of a report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE): Health Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA): Enrollment Trends and State Estimates. The report indicates that 31 million individuals now have health coverage through the ACA, the highest number to date. According to HHS, “The report also shows that there have been reductions in uninsurance rates in every state in the country since the law’s coverage expansions took effect. People served by the health Marketplaces and Medicaid expansion have reached record highs.”
The news release is available here.
The ASPE report is available here.
Departments Release FAQs on Limitations on Cost-Sharing Under ACA
On June 4, 2021, the Departments of Labor, HHS, and the Treasury (the Departments) released two frequently asked questions (FAQs) on limitations on cost-sharing under the ACA. The Departments issued the FAQs to help “ensure that plans and issuers are aware of the final values for the premium adjustment percentage and maximum annual limitation on cost-sharing for the 2022 plan year.” The first question asks for the maximum out-of-pocket (OOP) limit for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022 (i.e., $8,700 for self-only coverage, and $17,400 for other than self-only coverage). The second FAQ addresses why HHS finalized two different maximum OOP limits for the 2022 plan year from the ones that were proposed. Please refer to the FAQs for additional information.
The FAQs are available here.
EEOC Releases Updated COVID-19 Guidance on Employer Incentives Under EEO Laws; Publishes New Resource Page
On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released updated and expanded technical assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing questions arising under the federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. The latest guidance can be found under Section K – “Vaccinations.” The EEOC also posted a new resource (Federal Laws Protect You Against Employment Discrimination During the COVID-19 Pandemic) for job applicants and employees, explaining how federal employment discrimination laws protect workers during the pandemic.
The expanded guidance provides new information about how the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act apply when an employer offers incentives for employees to provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination when an employee gets a vaccine in the community or from the employer or its agent. The EEOC reiterated that the technical assistance answers COVID-19 questions only from the perspective of the EEO laws. Other federal, state, and local laws come into play regarding the COVID-19 pandemic for employers and employees.
For additional information, see the Aon bulletin titled EEOC Issues Rules for Employers on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Incentives in the Publications section of the newsletter.
The EEOC news release is available here.
The EEOC guidance is available here.
The new EEOC resource page (Federal Laws Protect You Against Employment Discrimination During the COVID-19 Pandemic) is available here.
EEOC Issues Rules for Employers on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Incentives
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on May 28, 2021, released updated guidance for employers on COVID-19 vaccination mandates and incentives under various equal employment opportunity laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC guidance only addresses the application of equal employment opportunity laws to COVID-19 vaccination programs. Employers will have to review their COVID-19 vaccination programs for compliance with other laws, such as HIPAA and ERISA. The EEOC’s guidance does not reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent guidance on fully vaccinated individuals and masking requirements.
The Aon bulletin is available here.
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