Federal Employment Law Update – February 2017

Federal

CMS Extends “Grandmothered” Policies Another Year

On February 23, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a welcome extension for individuals and small businesses who have certain, non-Affordable Care Act compliant policies. The extension applies to non-Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant coverage offered in the individual and small group market, commonly referred to as “grandmothered” policies. These policies are available in certain states and regulated under applicable state laws. The transition policy is not new; it was originally implemented in 2014 and has been extended several times. The new extension applies to policies beginning on or before October 1, 2018 that end no later than December 31, 2018.

The transition relief only applies to individuals or small businesses with coverage that has been in effect since 2014, under the original transition relief policy. Because this coverage is not subject to the ACA, the plans are regulated under state law and are not required to meet ACA reforms, including community premium rating standards, guaranteed availability and renewability, and coverage of essential health benefits, to name a few. Issuers renewing coverage under this extension must notify all individuals and small businesses of the transition relief extension and their coverage options.

Read the Announcement

EEOC Extends Public Input Period on Proposed Harassment Enforcement Guidance to March 21

On February 3, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has extended for 40 days the public input period on its proposed enforcement guidance on unlawful workplace harassment. The proposed guidance is now open for public input until March 21, 2017 (previously February 9, 2017).

The proposed guidance explains the legal standards applicable to claims of unlawful harassment under federal employment discrimination laws. The laws enforced by the EEOC protect individuals from harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or genetic information.

After reviewing the public input, the Commission will consider appropriate revisions to the proposed guidance before finalizing it.

Read the Proposed Guidance

DOL Updates Employer CHIP Notice

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently updated the model notice for employers to use in informing employees about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). All employers with group health plans are required to distribute a CHIP notice at least once a year to employees living in certain states. There is no need to send another notice to workers who received the prior version in the past year, but employers should use the updated notice going forward.

Download the Updated Model Notice