UPDATE: Covid-19 & Your Benefits 4/13/2020
This information is being given during a time of national emergency and is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any information be construed as legal advice. Please consult your legal, tax, or other council for official guidance.
Covid-19 | Your Benefits in the Real World
Question 1
In this scenario the employer initially deemed themselves non-essential. All the employees were furloughed (with pay) for a two week period.
The employer took this time to “retool and repurpose” in order to perform essential work needed by our country, and now plans to call everyone back. May they receive the tax credit for the two weeks of furlough, as well as count the days off towards the paid time off allowed under FFCRA?
Answer: Rules established under FFCRA state that there must be work for an employee to perform before the paid days can be credited. There was no work available for the employees while the company was retooling.  
We have referred them to a legal resource to see if an exception is warranted.  
Question 2
In this scenario, an employee had exhausted their FMLA for the year prior to the enactment of the FFCRA. This employee works for an essential business, but needs to be home to care for a child that is out of school due to the emergency closure. What recourse does the company have to help this employee?
Answer: While the FFCRA does not extend additional FMLA to this employee, they can still take advantage of the two weeks paid sick leave provided in the ACT, with 1 00% of employer costs offset for providing this mandated paid sick leave.
Return to Work: Cleaning and Sanitizing Workplaces

Some Ohio businesses are building their return-to-work plans, or are considered essential and are still in the workplace. Thoughts have turned to how to keep employees safe after a return from quarantine.

Businesses should consider an initial, professional cleaning from experts that deal with hazardous situations regularly (such as Serv-Pro). These experts can use ultra-low volume (ULV) fogging machines that use large volumes of air at low pressures to transform liquid into droplets that are dispersed into the atmosphere covering all surfaces with a hospital grade disinfectant, followed by multiple levels of cleaning

If a professional cleaning service just isn't feasible, the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines to ensure that the work is performed both thoroughly, and safely. These guidelines include the use of EPA-registered disinfectants, special attention to high-touch surfaces, the importance of air circulation (opening windows or turning on fans), and protecting yourself.

CARES Act Reverses ACA Restriction on OTC Drug Reimbursements


The ACA had amended several provisions of the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit tax-favored reimbursement for over the counter (OTC) drugs costs by health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health flexible spending arrangements (Health FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

The ACA excepted insulin purchases and prescribed OTC drugs from this prohibition. This reimbursement restriction was controversial and has been in the current administration’s crosshairs from day one, since both legislative attempts in 2017 to repeal and replace the ACA would have permitted OTC drug reimbursements.

The CARES Act reverses the ACA’s reimbursement limitation and allows HSAs, Archer MSAs, Health FSAs, and HRAs to reimburse for OTC drugs and products after December 31, 2019. 

The CARES Act also allows health accounts and plans to treat menstrual care products as medical expenses reimbursable on a pretax basis.
FFCRA Effective Date
NOTE: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act's paid leave provisions became effective on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

Earlier language in the bill had included a retroactive provision, but this language was not included in the final signed law.
Carrier Specific Updates on COVID-19

We are working with each carrier to determine how benefits will be impacted. Below are links to the major carriers and their current COVID-19 Resources.

Effective immediately, and through May 31, 2020, Paramount will waive member deductibles, coinsurance and co-pays for coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic testing. This new policy applies to all Paramount commercial clients, and includes HSA-qualified high deductible plans.