The Paid Family Leave Program enacted in 2016 has expanded statewide and increased the share of private workers eligible for the benefit in New York to at least 88 percent in 2021 compared to 23 percent nationally.
Listed are some of the claims data from the initial years (2018-2021):
- Participating insurers approved over 550,000 claims and paid over $2.2 billion in cash benefits to eligible employees.
- Bonding with a newborn child generated over 80 percent of all payments and more than 70 percent of all claims by claim type.
- Women filed and received about two-thirds of all program claims and payments.
- Service employees-such as health care, education, information, and legal services workers-accounted for nearly 45 percent of all claims by industry.
- Employees earning less than $40,000 per year accounted for the greatest number of claims, with the number generally decreasing as income rises, suggesting paid family leave is a particularly important benefit to low- to moderate-income employees.
- 2023 the deduction rate is 0.455 percent of employee wages per pay period (lower than 2021 and 2022)
This information was provided by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, visit: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/new-yorks-paid-family-leave-program For more information
The recently launched DOL portal on mental health and wellness has helpful resources and tools for HR practitioners to promote best practices and compliance.
Particularly with the GenZ population, awareness of mental health, reducing stigma, and employers providing appropriate support will play a role in where job candidates seek employment.
With the tight labor market, employers are finding that offering just a “good health plan” is not enough. Employees are looking for help with income protection and supplemental plans that help cover deductibles. Employers are increasingly engaging employees on these benefits that are valued and make a real difference.
On April 26th NABIP submitted written testimony to the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Health proposing solutions to help control healthcare costs. Although there is no silver bullet, we’re pleased to see Federal discussion of issues we supported at the state level when we went to Albany in March.
The Biden Administration is ending the National Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 at the end of the day May 11, 2023. This means that there will be changes to the way insurance plans cover testing and treatment of COVID-19.
Excellus lists the following changes:
- FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be available at no cost in network. A standard cost share will be charged for out of network services.
- OTC tests will no longer be covered after May 11, 2023.
- Lab testing will revert to the diagnostic laboratory benefit.
- Telehealth for COVID-19 will be covered at the primary care or specialist benefit.
- For FDA-approved over-the-counter (OTC) tests purchased after January 15, 2022
- For those exposed to or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19
- NOT for assessment testing required for school or work
Aetna – Offers reimbursement and no-cost options for those enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual plans. For more information:
Aetna COVID Test Reimbursement Information
Excellus – Offers reimbursement and no-cost options for those enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual plans. For more information:
Excellus COVID Test Reimbursement Information
MVP – Offers reimbursement to commercial plan members. For more information:
MVP COVID Test Reimbursement Information
UHC – Offers reimbursement and no-cost options for those enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual plans. For more information:
UHC COVID Test Reimbursement Information
Other options for free at home tests:
The Federal government has a website for each household to request a one-time shipment of four free at-home COVID-19 tests. Go to www.covidtests.gov
Medicare has announced that free at-home tests will be available under Part B in the spring of 2022.
The Department of Labor announced an increase in ERISA penalties for 2022 for employers who fail to maintain plan documents for health and welfare plans, file Form 5500, or provide required documents and notices. For details, click here.
Excellus, United Healthcare, and MVP have updated their policies regarding cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
- Testing: Medically appropriate testing is still covered with $0 cost-sharing. Testing to return to work or for public health surveillance is NOT covered.
- Treatment: Cost-sharing is the same as it would be for the treatment of other illnesses under the member’s coverage.
Governor Cuomo has announced that the New York State of Emergency, first declared on March 7, 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, has expired. Businesses are no longer required to limit capacity or maintain social distancing, although they are free to continue restrictions if they choose.
CDC guidance remains in effect for large venues, schools, public transit, healthcare settings, nursing homes, and correctional facilities. The CDC is monitoring for the presence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 due to the higher transmissibility of the strain and the tendency to become the dominant strain in areas where it has been detected.
New York’s success in bringing the COVID infection rate down has been attributed in part to tighter restrictions and the high vaccination rate. Over 20 million doses of the vaccine have been administered. Areas of the country with the lowest vaccination rates (such as the Gulf states) are considered the most vulnerable to future surges in COVID infection rates.
Benefit Design Services is moving to another building in our corporate park. Effective May 1, 2021, our new address will be:
5010 Campuswood Drive, Suite 105
East Syracuse, NY 13057
We’ll be moving on April 29th and 30th and are hoping for minimal disruption of phone and internet service.