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Government Clarifies End of Benefit Plan Deadlines Due to COVID-19

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Benefits Consultants
Lumity, Inc.

On Friday, February 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance regarding the suspension of benefit plan deadlines during the "outbreak period". (See EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01).

This new guidance was necessary due to a provision of ERISA that states that the DOL and Treasury may “prescribe (by notice or otherwise) a period of up to one year that may be disregarded” [ERISA section 518 and Code section 7508A(b)]. That year ended on Feb. 28.

Essentially, the new guidance means that employers must apply the one-year limit on an individual-by-individual basis.

Here’s further reading:

One bit of welcome news for former employees: the “Obamacare” marketplace reopened on Feb. 15, 2021 for a 90-day period. It may provide people the opportunity to apply for health insurance in 36 states where HealthCare.gov is operated. [More details]

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