On March 11, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 was passed and signed into law by President Biden. There are several provisions in the law that could have an impact on employers and specifically on their employees' payrolls.
With all the constant, fast-breaking news pertaining to COVID-19, you may not have heard that yesterday, President Trump signed the “phase two” stimulus legislation. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides paid leave for certain workers, enhances unemployment insurance, and ensures free testing for infection by the Coronavirus. Unemployment eligibility requirements have been eased by waiving the work search requirements as well as the waiting week before benefits can be claimed. This measure also helps take care of small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) by providing reimbursement through tax credits for offering the qualified paid leaves.
Following his a very high overview of the paid leave benefits. For additional, detailed information, we encourage you to refer to the H.R. 6201 Act passed by Congress.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has made it easier for small employers (i.e. generally 50 employees or less) to join together to buy health insurance coverage with big company benefits and potential large group savings. The DOL's recently released Association Health Plan (AHP) final rule expands access for these organizations. AHPs have been around for many years, but the rules on them have now been loosened a little with the newly adopted legislation. AHPs have a better negotiating position due to the health risks being spread over a larger pool than if the members participated individually. The final rule also bestows upon them the ability to self-insure without being required to meet all of the essential benefit mandates of a small employer.
"Why do I need Long Term Care Insurance? I already have health insurance!"
This is a common response when people are asked if they have considered Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI). What people don't realize is that their health insurance will typically not cover long-term care needs in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, or in one's own home. Another common misperception is that it's just the elderly population that has these needs. Unfortunately, this is not true, as young people also experience accidents as well as chronic and debilitating illnesses, all of which can create a need for long-term care.