Health Plan Compliance

The Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services (the “Departments”) recently issued guidance for group health plans outlining a “therapeutic equivalence” medical management technique for required preventive services coverage of contraceptives. The guidance, which was issued in the form of FAQs that can be downloaded here, builds on previous FAQs addressing required

As we approach December, the impending arrival of Santa Claus is no doubt dominating discussions in many households.  However, there is another, perhaps lesser known, “clause”-related item that health plan sponsors need to keep top of mind in the coming month. 

Specifically, as discussed in our blog found here, health plan sponsors must remember

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part a Texas federal district court order revoking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the drug mifepristone, which is used as part of a two-drug regimen to induce abortion.  The Fifth Circuit vacated the district

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit approved the parties’ stipulated agreement to stay enforcement of the district court decision in Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra until the appeal is resolved (with a limited exception for the named plaintiffs).  As readers will recall from our prior blog, in Braidwood, a district court had enjoined enforcement of the preventive services mandate for “A” or “B” items and services recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (“USPSTF”) on or after March 23, 2010.  If the district court decision stands, non-grandfathered health plans would not have to cover those particular preventive services without cost-sharing.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an administrative stay of enforcement of the district court decision in Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra.  Readers of our earlier blog (found here) will remember that in Braidwood, the district court enjoined enforcement of the preventive services mandate for “A” or “B” items and services recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (“USPSTF”) on or after March 23, 2010.  If the district court decision stands, this means that non-grandfathered plans would not have to cover these services without cost-sharing.  However, as a result of the Fifth Circuit stay issued on May 15, non-grandfathered health plans will continue to be subject to the mandate for these services for the time being.  All other preventive care requirements for health plans remain in place.

“Didn’t we just do this?” might be the first question asked by many health plan sponsors and administrators when gearing up to complete 2022 prescription drug reporting by June 1, 2023.  The answer to that question is both “yes” and “no.”  Yes, because group health plans were required to complete prescription drug reporting for the 2020 and 2021 reference years by January 31, 2023. No, because the agencies released revised instructions for reporting 2022 year data—meaning the reporting exercise for 2022 may be a little different than the last go-around.

The Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services (the “Departments”) recently released guidance for group health plans on required preventive services coverage.  The guidance was issued in response to a federal district court decision in a case called Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Becerra that enjoined enforcement of the preventive services mandate for items and services with an “A” or “B” rating from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (“USPSTF”) on or after March 23, 2010. The Departments issued this guidance to clarify the current scope of the preventive services mandate in light of the court’s decision.

Important Update: Based on informal comments from the U.S. Department of Labor, it appears that the tolling of benefit plan deadlines will end on July 10, 2023, as described in our earlier blog on this subject, notwithstanding the legislation that was signed on Monday ending the COVID-19 National Emergency on April 10th

Update: On April 10, 2023, President Biden signed into law legislation ending the COVID-19 National Emergency prior to the previously announced May 11, 2023 date.  See our blog on this new development here.  The legislation does not impact the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. 

Earlier this week, the Departments of Labor, Treasury,

On February 23, 2023, the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services (the “Departments”) issued new guidance (in the form of FAQs) implementing the No Surprises Act’s prohibition on “gag clauses” in agreements between health plans and service providers.  While the attestation requirement has been effective since December 27, 2020, the Departments had