|COVID-19 Economic Relief|
(Thursday Jan. 28th)
Biden’s Regulatory Freeze and What it Means for Health Plans. It’s Important!
Biden issued a regulatory freeze Memorandum on January 20th prohibiting the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (responsible for Federal Register regulations promulgated in the post legislation signing and during the rulemaking process effectuating the new law or rule). The “OMB” is prohibited by the Memorandum from publishing new rules absent an emergency. This rule attempts to stop the so-called “midnight regulations,” left over from the Trump Administration and passed in his final days. These regulations will be halted and reviewed pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. Any rules within the look-back period (this year going back to August 21, 2020) may be halted for review to give the new Administration the opportunity to review any rules the Trump administration tried to finalize in its last days.
For any new rules already published in the Federal Register but not yet effective, the OMB is to consider postponing the rules’ effective dates for 60 days after the date of the Executive Order (3/22/21) and consider a public comment period of 30 days during this time.
Rules this may affect include a non-exhaustive list of the following:
- Proposed rules on wellness program discrimination.
- Transparency in Pricing.
- Prohibited Transaction Exemption for investment advice fiduciaries; set to take effect February 16th, 2021.
- Health insurer and cost-sharing/coverage transparency.
- Short-term Limited Duration Health Plans (a.k.a., STLDI) – Trump Administration made it easier to substitute ACA-compliant plan in the individual market with coverage of limited scope and duration (less than 12 months, instead of pre-Trump 6 months).
- Codifying definition of “independent contractor” (set to become effective on March 8th).
- Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement / Excepted Benefit HRAs (ICHRA and EBHRA, respectively), including new final regulations addressing the application of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Applicable Large Employer and Nondiscrimination Rules for ICHRA.
- ACA grandmothered plan extension of non-ACA compliant individual and small group policies.
- Expanding employer coverage for contraceptives and rescinding policy requiring separate payments for abortion coverage (set to be a consequence of Executive Order for January 28th).
- Payment Notice Parameters governing the Affordable Care Acts (ACA) Exchange Marketplaces and insurance plans, including eliminating Marketplace enrollment function in favor of agent/broker enrollment.
Rulemaking, and the undoing of the rules, takes time. The effects will sometimes be unintended but should include some lead time to begin compliance with any changing rule. Be sure to sign up for Leavitt Group news alerts at news.leavitt.com for upcoming details as Congress works through the Biden stimulus proposal package and any industry-relevant Orders, including which regulation to expect further delays or postponed effective dates. Leavitt Group is your trusted advisor for compliance!
The information herein is educational only and not intended as legal advice.