BAS Blog


 

What is the difference between a furlough and a layoff and how does COBRA apply?

A “furlough” is generally an employer-forced temporary leave of absence after which an employee is expected to return to active employment. The individual is still considered an employee during a furlough. A layoff is a generally a termination of employment where all terms and conditions of employment cease. A layoff could be permanent or temporary, but it is a separation from employment and the individual is no longer an employee.

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Question of the Week

Q.- My employer offers a debit card with my health FSA. May I use the card to purchase pain relief medicine?

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Form 1094-B/C Transmission Due Next Week

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers must remember their Affordable Care Act (ACA) obligations. Form 1094-B/C must be transmitted to the IRS by March 31, 2020.

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Dependent Care FSA COVID-19 Considerations for Employers

With the change to remote work and the closure of day care facilities, many employees will no longer be able to use funds in a Dependent Care FSA. A Dependent Care FSA allows an employee to set aside up to $5,000, pre-tax, to pay eligible dependent day care expenses. An expense is eligible for reimbursement if the expense is for care for a qualified individual and the expense is incurred in order for the employee (and spouse) to work or look for work.

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Health Care FSA COVID-19 Considerations for Employers

With the life-altering changes brought about by COVID-19, many employees are not able to incur services for dental, vision and other medical needs. Employees may have taken these anticipated medical expenses into account when making their Health Care Flexible Spending Account elections for the plan year.

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ACA Full-Time Status Even When Work Hours Reduced

Employers are facing difficult decisions as COVID-19 impacts business operations. Some employers are considering the possibility of office closings, workforce reductions, temporary layoffs or furloughs. Employers may also be considering reducing the work hours of employees. When decisions are being made, employers must remember to take into account health coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Question of the Week

Q.- One of our health FSA participants submitted a receipt for 250 large bottles of contact lens solution. He is probably worried about a shortage during the coronavirus pandemic. Should we allow the full reimbursement?

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Don’t Forget COBRA Requirements for COVID-19 Layoffs

Employers are facing difficult decisions as COVID-19 impacts business operations. Some employers are considering office closings, workforce reductions, temporary layoffs or furloughs. When furloughing, terminating, laying off or reducing employee hours (even for a limited time) causes a loss of health coverage, employers must remember to properly administer continuation of coverage rights.

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Question of the Week

Q.- May I use funds in my HRA to pay COBRA premiums? I know premiums are not eligible to be reimbursed from a health FSA.

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Coronavirus and Employer FMLA

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has frequently asked questions addressing COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act. If an employee misses work for an illness such as the flu or coronavirus, or if an employee is caring for a sick family member, such leave may be covered under the FMLA. The FMLA requires covered employers to provide employees job-protected, unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. Employees on FMLA leave may continue their group health coverage under the same terms as in effect before the leave.

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U.S. Supreme Court to Review ACA

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear two petitions on the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. The individual mandate requires virtually all Americans to have health coverage or pay a penalty.

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Employee Questions About 1095 Forms

Full time employees and employees with health coverage should have received Form 1095-B and/or C by March 2, 2020. While individuals are no longer penalized for not having health coverage, employers are still required to offer coverage and provide 1095 forms documenting the offer of coverage. Employees may be confused when they receive Form 1095 this year and may have questions about what the form means.

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Question of the Week

Q.- I am becoming entitled to Medicare because of disability. I have determined that Medicare Part B and D will not benefit me and I will only keep Part A (Hospital Insurance). Will I lose my right to COBRA coverage if I enroll only in Part A even if that does not give me medical insurance?

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New Form I-9

A new version of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form has been issued and should be used when hiring new employees. Form I-9 is used to confirm that individuals hired in the United States are authorized to work. All U.S. employers must complete Form I-9 for every person hired for employment (citizens and non-citizens).

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