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Action Item for Employers with HSA-Eligible Health Plans in Oklahoma

Beginning November 1, 2021, a new Oklahoma state insurance law requires health insurers providing pharmacy benefits and pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”) to count any amount paid on behalf of a participant towards that participant’s out-of-pocket maximum, deductible, copayment, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing arrangement. The law appears to be intended to apply only to pharmacy benefits. Counting such third-party payments, such as a prescription drug manufacturer’s coupon, towards a participant’s deductible could cause the participant to be ineligible for a health savings account (“HSA”). The Oklahoma Insurance Department has stated it is seeking clarification from the Oklahoma legislature regarding the conflict between the state statute and the federal rules governing HSA eligibility. Employers may want to contact their health insurers and PBMs (i) to determine whether any third-party payments are being applied toward the deductible under an HSA-eligible health plan and (ii) to communicate any relevant information to participants who may be affected. This new law… Continue Reading

Updates on Employee Benefits Regulations Impacted by the Biden Administration?ÇÖs Regulatory Freeze

On January 20, 2021, the Biden Administration issued a memorandum (the ?Ç£Memo?Ç¥) calling for a 60-day freeze on regulations that had not taken effect as of the date of the Memo, which included certain regulations related to employee benefits (see our prior blog post regarding the Memo here). The Memo also authorized additional postponement of such regulations following the 60-day period where deemed necessary for further review. Listed below are some of the previously discussed proposed and final regulations related to employee benefits that were impacted by the Memo and updates to their effective dates: Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Final Rule. Effective date is delayed until May 7, 2021. There is also a proposed withdrawal of this rule with comments due by April 12, 2021. Medicare Program; Secure Electronic Prior Authorization for Medicare Part D. Final Rule. Effective date was delayed until March 30, 2021.… Continue Reading

Employee Benefits Regulations Potentially Impacted by the Biden Administration?ÇÖs Regulatory Freeze

On January 20, 2021, the Biden Administration issued a memorandum (the ?Ç£Memo?Ç¥) announcing a regulatory freeze on regulations that have not taken effect as of the date of the Memo. Specifically, the Memo recommends postponing the effective date of any regulation that has been issued, but has not taken effect, for 60 days from the date of the Memo. The Memo further directs that regulations not yet published in the Federal Register be immediately withdrawn for review. Listed below are some of the proposed and final regulations related to employee benefits that may be subject to withdrawal or postponement under the Memo: Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2020-02 ?Çô Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees. Final Rule. Application of the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions and Certain Nondiscrimination Rules to Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Other Account-Based Group Health Plans Integrated with Individual Health Insurance Coverage or Medicare. Final Rule. Pension Benefit Statements-Lifetime… Continue Reading

New Law Starts Clock Ticking for FDA to Issue Social Media Policy

For more than fifteen years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has struggled to craft a policy on how the Internet may be used to promote medical products. Now, the FDA has a firm deadline: July 9, 2014. On Monday, President Obama signed into law a bill that will require the FDA to finally state its policy on use of the Internet ?Çô including social media ?Çô to promote medical products that are regulated by the FDA. Under Section 1121 of the bill, the FDA has two years from the date the bill was signed into law to issue the new guidelines. The provision is one of several ?Ç£Miscellaneous Provisions?Ç¥ in a bill that reauthorizes the FDA to collect user fees from drug companies and creates new user fee programs for generic drug manufacturers. The FDA has been deliberating on the subject of online drug promotion since as early as… Continue Reading

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