On April 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01, which extends certain health care benefit deadlines.
Who does this temporary deadline extension impact?
The new Rule extends certain health care benefit deadlines under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and may impact your ConnectYourCare (CYC) programs, including Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), and COBRA.
Note: Those not subject to ERISA may not be required to comply with this rule. Groups not subject to ERISA (e.g., church or government plans) and plans not subject to ERISA (e.g., Dependent Care Assistance Programs (DCAP) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Commuter benefits) may not be required to comply with this Rule. You should consult your legal and benefits advisors to determine what impact this Rule has on your plans.
(Publication date: May 4, 2020)
What is the extension timeline?
The Rule extends health care benefit deadlines under ERISA. This means calculation of deadlines that begin or end during the timeframe of March 1, 2020 until 60 days following the declared end of the COVID-19 national emergency may not take that same period into account when calculating the deadline under applicable law.
What changes are included in the rule?
The Rule gives participants extra time to comply with certain deadlines related to health care FSAs, HRAs and COBRA.
Changes that may impact FSAs and HRAs include:
- Extension of the deadline to notify the plan sponsor of a qualifying life event for purposes of an election change.
This may result in delayed notifications from participants about a marriage, the birth of a child, or other change in life event that would allow participants to make a change to their HRA or FSA election.
- Extension of the deadline for submitting HRA and FSA claims.
If your plan’s run-out period ended after March 1, 2020, you may be required to extend a participants’ ability to submit FSA or HRA claims until 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 national emergency is declared over.
- Extension of the deadline for appealing an adverse claim decision.
Changes that may impact COBRA include:
- Extension of the deadline to notify the plan sponsor of a qualifying life event for the purpose of an election change.
- Extension of the deadline for notifying plan sponsors of a qualifying life event or disability for the purpose of extending COBRA.
- Extension of the deadline for electing COBRA continuation coverage.
- Extension of the deadline for making COBRA premium payments.
Are there any administrative changes?
The Rule also extends deadlines for plan administrators to provide COBRA election notices, benefit statements, and other notices and disclosures required by ERISA if the plan sponsor acts in good faith and provides any required notice disclosure or other document as soon as administratively practicable.