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Supreme Court rules for religious employers

Two of the U.S. Supreme Court’s final decisions of the 2019-2020 term backed employers’ ability to invoke religion to exempt themselves from laws affecting employees and the workplace.

Use open enrollment to explain new plan changes

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in important changes for employer-provided health plans. According to experts at the Mercer consulting firm, this fall’s upcoming open enrollment season is the perfect opportunity to make sure employees understand what’s new.

Snapshot: Who uses telemedicine most?

Virtual care grew 1.6 times in the last year.

IRS grants more health benefits flexibility

The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance that provides health benefits options for employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Abortion excluded from 10% of employee coverage

Ten percent of workers are employed by an organization that has asked their insurer or third-party administrator to exclude abortion coverage from their health plan, according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

COBRA compliance, notice deadlines extended

Because employers may be working with skeleton staffs, some of the necessary paperwork associated with coronavirus-related terminations may have slipped through the cracks. The federal government has extended several deadlines so employers can catch up.

Final regs delay health & 401(k) plan deadlines

Final regulations and a separate disaster relief notice from the Department of Labor set up an outbreak period—running from March 1, 2020, until 60 days after the announced end of the coronavirus national emergency—that plans must ignore for purposes of employees’ health plan elections and 401(k) plans’ responsibility to provide notices to participants.

Coronavirus could actually cut employer health costs

COVID-19 could reduce employer health care costs by as much as 4% in 2020, as medical care for noninfected patients has declined during the pandemic, according to a Willis Towers Watson analysis of large, self-funded employers, released May 1.

Employers broadening their health and well-being efforts

Employers are broadening their efforts to help their workers cope with COVID-19 while at the same time preparing for an eventual return to a stable workplace, according to a survey conducted March 30 by the Willis Towers Watson consulting firm.

Almost 10 million lost health benefits in just one month

An estimated 9.2 million workers probably lost their employer-provided health insurance in the four weeks between March 15 and April 15, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute,