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Adam Wright

Adam Wright

The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for many employers who worry that expensive Coronavirus testing and treatment could lead to a spike in premiums in 2021. But is it a foregone conclusion that we’ll see large renewals, or a myth?

After Colorado’s Legislature returned in late May to one of the most unusual legislative sessions in recent history, a flurry of bills was introduced and passed in an abrupt end to the legislative cycle. Among the approved pieces of legislation was SB-205 or “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act” requiring new paid sick leave rules for Colorado employers. 

Telemedicine has been a solution for employers and employees seeking more convenient round-the-clock care for years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began and traditional in-person doctor’s offices have closed or moved to restricted visits, telehealth is no longer a novel benefit, but a vital part of any benefits package.

A proposal for paid family and medical leave (FAMLI) has undergone substantial modifications, but its future on the Colorado legislative agenda this year is anything but certain. In 2019, the Colorado legislature created a task force to study paid FAMLI programs, which provided recommendations in January to legislators for a plan covering Colorado workers. 

It’s been quite an eventful year for legislators both at the Colorado Capitol and in Washington, DC. Though Congress has been largely unable to pass any comprehensive legislation addressing healthcare or employment concerns in 2019, the Colorado Legislature was busy this year working on several must-know laws which could impact your business. 

Colorado’s reinsurance program received federal approval this summer. We first reported on the program in April while the proposal was being debated in the Colorado legislature.

Friday, 12 July 2019 11:29

The Expanded HRA Rules

In June, the Trump Administration issued new rules expanding the function of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) in an attempt to provide employers additional options for providing health coverage.  These rules, which will go into effect in January 2020, create two new ways to offer pre-tax dollars for purchasing health coverage: the Individual Coverage HRA (ICHRA) and the Excepted Benefit HRA (EBHRA).

Among the multitude of healthcare bills Colorado’s legislators have been debating this session is HB19-1168, the State Innovation Waiver Reinsurance Program. The proposal would authorize Colorado to request federal approval to implement a state-run reinsurance program aimed at reducing individual premium costs in the healthcare marketplace.

In late January, the Trump Administration proposed a substantial change to the way prescription drug rebates operate under Medicare Part D and Medicaid. While proponents argue that the change would help to lower consumers’ out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions, insurers warn that it would do the very opposite.

In federal policy news, the midterm elections are (nearly) over, with a new Democrat-led US House of Representatives and a Republican-led Senate set to be seated for the first time on January 3. North Carolina’s 9th District US Representative will be noticeably absent from the new Congress as investigations continue into possible mail-in voter fraud in this year’s elections.

Before the 116th Congress convenes, however, the current government will be considering a spending bill to fund the government beyond its current deadline of December 21st.

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