1/15/2022: Group Health Plans must now cover at-home COVID-19 tests
Beginning January 15, 2022, group health plans will be required to cover the cost of certain at-home COVID-19 tests.
In December 2021, President Biden directed the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and Department of the Treasury to issue requirements by January 15, 2022, that would allow group health plan participants to seek reimbursement for FDA-approved at-home COVID-19 tests. On January 10, 2022, the Departments issued formal guidance.
Under the new requirements, group health plans must generally reimburse participants for the full amount of FDA-approved at-home COVID-19 tests. Each participant, along with each dependent covered by the group health plan, may obtain up to eight (8) at-home tests per month without a doctor’s note. Some participants may be eligible for additional tests each month if ordered by a health care provider.
In certain circumstances, the guidance permits plans to limit the amount reimbursed for each test. If the plan administrator chooses to utilize a provider network, in which participants may obtain the tests free of charge through insurance with no upfront costs, then the plan may limit the per test reimbursement amount for retailers outside of that network to $12 per test, or the actual price of the test, if less. For example, if an employee has the option to receive an at-home test for free through an in-network pharmacy, but chooses to purchase a test at an out-of-network retailer, the plan is only required to reimburse the employee up to $12 per test.
Importantly, the plan is not required to cover tests purchased for employment purposes, or tests purchased prior to January 15, 2022.
As group health plan administrators work to implement these changes, employers should notify plan participants of the new requirements and direct eligible employees to preserve any relevant receipts for at-home COVID-19 tests.
For more information or assistance drafting appropriate notices, please contact Julie Noel at (309) 673-1681.
12/21/2021: Chicago Vaccination Mandate in Response to COVID-19 Omicron Cases
On December 21, 2021, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a vaccination mandate in an effort to combat a recent surge of COVID-19 “omicron” cases in Chicago. Under the mandate, restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues will be required to check the vaccination status of all patrons 5 years of age and older. Valid proof of vaccination includes a valid photo ID and a vaccination card, photocopy of vaccination card, digital record or app or a printed record from a vaccine provider. While all patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination, workers at the businesses will not need to prove that they are fully vaccinated. Workers who are unvaccinated will have to wear masks when dealing with customers and provide the business proof of weekly negative COVID-19 testing. This mandate will go into effect January 3, 2022. In addition to this, the city announced that the City of Chicago mask mandate will also remain in effect for all public indoor settings.
The following indoor businesses will be affected by the mandate: restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, coffee shops, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, dining areas of grocery stores, breweries, wineries, distilleries, banquet halls, hotel ballrooms, gyms, yoga, Pilates, cycling, Barre and dance studios, hotel gyms, fitness boot camps, movie theaters, music and concert venues, live performance venues, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades and card rooms. Covered businesses will be required to develop and keep a written record describing the protocol for implementing and enforcing the vaccine requirement and post signage at each publicly accessible entrance as well as one location inside the building. As of now this mandate does not include schools and day care facilities, airports, churches, grocery stores, or office buildings. Further, individuals entering an establishment for less than 10 minutes to order carry out food, make a delivery or use the bathroom do not need to provide proof of vaccination. Businesses that do not comply with this policy may be subject to penalties, fines, sanctions, and arrest.
Please contact Paul Burmeister or Gaetano Urgo at 312.995.7112 if you have any questions regarding the Chicago vaccine mandate.
The Emergency Temporary Standard on Vaccination and Testing was filed in the Office of Federal Register on November 4, 2021.
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What Happens to FFCRA Leave under the New Stimulus Bill?
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused businesses to wade through uncertain and uncharted territory. Furthermore, the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) have exacerbated this uncertain territory, as businesses are attempting to dissect the difficult and convoluted acts. In an attempt to alleviate some of the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the attorneys at Davis & Campbell L.L.C. have put together the following public and firm resources. If you have any questions regarding the following resources, the FFCRA, the CARES Act as it/they relate to your company, or regarding your company’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please do not hesitate to contact our office or any of the firm’s Peoria attorneys listed below at (309) 673-1681 or Chicago attorneys listed below at (312) 995-7110. Davis & Campbell L.L.C. is here to assist you and your company in navigating these difficult times.