On April 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service issued a new final rule and additional guidance that together extend numerous deadlines under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (Code) that apply to group health plans, retirement plans, and participants in those plans (Extension Guidance). The extensions, which are being enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to the authority granted to the DOL by the CARES Act, promise to have a significant impact on employers’ administration of various benefit plan requirements, such as administration of benefit plan claims and appeals, COBRA continuation coverage and mid-year special enrollment in group health plan coverage.
Here are a few highlights of the Extension Guidance:
The implications of the Extension Guidance are far-reaching. Employers will need to consider how the extensions affect many routine benefit administration practices, such as whether a participant’s health plan claims are pended during the participant’s COBRA election period and how the employer’s health plan collects COBRA premiums. Faegre Drinker is continuing to review the Extension Guidance and will provide additional considerations for employee benefit plan sponsors in future client alerts.