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

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 is operated. [More details]

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