COVID-19 Relief Extends Certain Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines

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On April 28th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued deadline relief and other guidance under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to help employee benefit plans, plan participants and beneficiaries, employers, and other service providers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Highlights:

Participant Extensions

A final rule extends the timeframes for health plan participants to:

  • Request special enrollment under HIPAA.
  • Elect COBRA continuation coverage, pay COBRA premiums
    and notify the plan of a COBRA qualifying event.
  • File benefit claims and appeals and request an external review of denied claims.

ERISA Notices & Disclosures
DOL Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01 extends the time for plan officials to furnish benefit statements and other notices and disclosures required under ERISA, if good faith efforts are made to provide the documents as soon as administratively practicable.

 

To learn more about the guidance, read LoVasco’s latest compliance overview.

At the same time, the Department of Labor issued 23 questions-and-answers covering health and retirement plan benefits, in a document entitled: COVID-19 FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries. Although the question-and-answer document is directed to participants and beneficiaries, plan administrators may find it contains helpful summaries of various notice and timing requirements.

DOL question-and-answer document. 

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