DOL and IRS Extend Timeframes for Some Employee Benefit Plans
May 22, 2020
The Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service have extended timeframes for some group health plans, according to a joint notice:
As a result of the [National Emergency declared due to COVID-19], participants and beneficiaries covered by group health plans, disability or other employee welfare benefit plans, and employee pension benefit plans may encounter problems in exercising their health coverage portability and continuation coverage rights, or in filing or perfecting their benefit claims. Recognizing the numerous challenges participants and beneficiaries already face as a result of the National Emergency, it is important that the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, and Department of the Treasury (the Agencies) take steps to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with certain pre-established timeframes. Similarly, the Agencies recognize that affected group health plans may have difficulty in complying with certain notice obligations.
Accordingly, under the authority of section 518 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and section 7508A(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the Code), the Agencies are extending certain timeframes otherwise applicable to group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, and their participants and beneficiaries under ERISA and the Code.