Healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis are treating patients around the clock to help them recover. As a result, many workers have fallen ill and been forced to quarantine indefinitely, while some have even lost their lives. In the United States, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations are adjusting their benefits and compensation policies to support their employees during these uncertain times.
The following infographic highlights results from the Milliman Northwest Healthcare COVID-19 Pulse Survey, which summarizes key actions local healthcare employers are taking to address issues in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. For more perspective on the survey and benefits and compensation landscape, read Lauren Busey’s article “Managing benefits and compensation for healthcare workers in the time of COVID-19.”
This blog post first appeared on Retirement Town Hall.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling that a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, much has been written about the effects of the decision for employer-sponsored benefits and payroll tax administration. Although affected employers will be expected to modify their plans and practices, the federal regulatory agencies to date have not released the necessary guidance for taking such steps as amending plan documents or updating administrative systems to address the application of the Court’s decision. Among the many issues to consider are plan eligibility, spousal benefits, rights of survivors or former spouses to pensions/savings/nonqualified retirement benefits, tax-free health benefits, and COBRA healthcare continuation coverage rights. Furthermore, the guidance will have to address whether required changes will apply prospectively only, or, if applied retroactively, for how far back in time.
The issues raised by the Court’s ruling overturning DOMA at the federal level also are complicated by the fact that same-sex marriages are not recognized in all states. At this time, there are 13 states and the District of Columbia that do so. The remaining states remain free to define marriage as they see fit, and most have banned same-sex marriages.
We anticipate that the federal agencies—including the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services—will issue specific guidance for employers that sponsor retirement, health and welfare, compensation, and nonqualified plans. When they do so, Milliman will release a Client Action Bulletin or other appropriate communications.
In the meantime, please call your Milliman consultant to discuss the DOMA ruling and the possible effects it may have on your employer-sponsored plans.