In August 2021, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), andTreasury (the Departments) issued an FAQ addressing certain elements of the CAA provisions. While the industry may believe that certain parts of the legislation have been delayed, the reality is they have not. Certain deadlines for enforcement have been delayed due to the need for clarification of conflicting definitions under multiple laws driving transparency and electronic reporting development. This legislation is still very much in effect! Beyond the law being in effect now, every day you and your clients wait to drive toward transparency and disclosure is another day the plan is not identifying savings and improving participant outcomes.
What Dates Were Affected and Why?
Gag Clauses: The requirement to remove gag clauses by the end of 2021 is still in effect. The Departments, however, have provided additional clarification regarding the time frame for plan sponsors to submit their attestations of compliance. The FAQ states that regulators anticipate the collection of attestations to begin in 2022. This clarification does not affect the requirement for Plan Sponsors to implement a process to remove any and/or all gag orders by the end of 2021. Despite the delay in attestation, the FAQ makes it clear that Plan Sponsors are expected to implement the requirements: “Until any further guidance is issued, plans and issuers are expected to implement the requirements prohibiting gag clauses using a good faith, reasonable interpretation of the statute.”
Regulators will defer the enforcement of the pharmacy reporting requirement into2022. However, the Departments make it very clear that the pharmacy reporting requirements themselves are currently in effect and “strongly encourage plans and issuers to start working to ensure that they are in a position to be able to begin reporting the required information with respect to 2020 and 2021data”.
This pharmacy reporting accommodation is being made so that the industry can develop the machine-readable files needed for proper reporting. Plan sponsors still need to meet the regulatory requirements - it’s simply the enforcement of the regulation that is being delayed.
It is essential that preparations begin...NOW.
Plan Sponsors and advisors MUST be actively planning to meet the CAA requirements immediately. The longer you delay your preparations, the further behind you will be in effectively managing and capitalizing on the impact of this legislation.
For more information, please see the official FAQ.