Educate employees about their benefits with the March Benefits & Me Newsletter.
How the End of the COVID-19 Emergency Periods Will Impact Health Plans
The Biden Administration has announced its plan to end the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023. Employer-sponsored health plans have been required to comply with certain coverage requirements during the COVID-19 emergency periods, including:
- Health plans must cover COVID-19 diagnostic tests and related services without imposing any cost-sharing (such as deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance)
- Non-grandfathered health plans must cover certain preventive services, including recommended COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, without cost sharing. During the PHE, this coverage mandate applies to COVID-19 immunizations provided by all providers, regardless of whether in-network or out-of-network.
When the PHE ends, health plans will no longer be required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic tests and related services without cost sharing. Health plans will still be required to cover recommended preventive services, including COVID-19 immunizations, but this coverage requirement will be limited to in-network providers. Also, health plans can return to their nonextended deadlines for purposes of HIPAA special enrollment, COBRA continuation coverage, and claims and appeals procedures.
Bon Secours & Optima Health Reach Agreement
Bon Secours and Optima have reached an agreement and the Bon Secours Health System will remain as part of the Optima provider network. Optima members can continue to visit in-network Bon Secours hospitals, physicians, providers, or other healthcare facilities for covered services under their plan.
A letter was sent to Optima members in January informing them that Bon Secours would be leaving their network effective March 1, 2023. Optima members can disregard this notice and there will be no interruption to their network.
Final Rule Significantly Expands IRS Electronic Filing Requirement
On February 23, 2023, the IRS released a final rule that substantially expands the req
uirement to file certain information returns electronically, including the ACA reporting requirements under Sections 6055 and 6056. The final rule will eliminate paper filings for most employee benefit plan returns
. Only very small employers, those with less than 10 returns, will continue to have the option to file paper returns. The final rule establishes lower thresholds for the electronic filing of the following employee benefit plan returns:
- ACA Reporting (Forms 1094-B/1095-B and Forms 1094-C/1095-C): Employers that file at least 10 returns during the calendar year must file their ACA returns electronically, beginning with returns required to be filed during 2024.
- Form 5330 (Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans): Employers must file this excise tax return electronically if they file at least 10 returns of any type during the calendar year that Form 5330 is due.
- Form 8955-SSA (Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits): This retirement plan return must be filed electronically if an employer must file at least 10 returns of any type during the calendar year that includes the first day of the plan year.
The information herein should not be construed as legal or tax advice in any way. This content is provided for informational purposes only. You should seek the advice of your attorney or tax consultant for additional or specific information.