January 15th, 2022: At-home COVID-19 tests must be covered even if they are obtained without the involvement of a health care provider.





On Jan. 10, 2022, the Depts. of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury issued FAQ guidance regarding the requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers to cover over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Legal Requirements Plans and issuers must cover the costs of COVID-19 tests during the COVID-19 public health emergency without imposing any cost-sharing requirements, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements. Under guidance issued in June 2020, at-home COVID-19 tests had to be covered only if they were ordered by a health care provider who determined that the test was medically appropriate for the individual. At that time, the FDA had not yet authorized any at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Since then, several types of OTC at-home tests have been approved. As of Jan. 15, 2022, the cost of these tests must be covered, even if they are obtained without the involvement of a health care provider. However, the FAQs do not require tests to be covered if they are not for individualized diagnosis (such as tests for employment purposes). Plan Options Plans and insurance issuers may place some limits on coverage, such as:

  • Requiring individuals to purchase a test and submit a claim for reimbursement, rather than providing direct coverage to sellers.

  • Providing direct coverage though pharmacy networks or direct-to-consumer shipping programs and limiting reimbursements to other sources (the actual cost of the test, or $12, whichever is lower).

  • Setting limits on the number or frequency of OTC COVID-19 tests that are covered (no less than 8 tests per month or 30-day period).

  • Taking steps to prevent, detect and address fraud and abuse.

Important Dates Dec. 2, 2021 President Biden announced that guidance would be issued clarifying coverage of OTC COVID-19 tests. Jan. 10, 2022 Federal agencies issued the guidance implementing the requirements for coverage of OTC COVID-19 tests. Jan. 15, 2022 Deadline for plans and issuers to provide coverage for OTC COVID-19 tests available without a health care provider order or assessment. ***At-home COVID-19 tests must be covered even if they are obtained without the involvement of a health care provider.

This Legal Update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. ©2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


Employers are constantly looking for ways to attract and retain workers. These efforts often include tailoring benefits packages or adjusting compensation. While valuable offerings, these solutions don’t always address the needs of one critical workplace segment: part-time workers.

In some cases, part-time employees don’t qualify for benefits packages; in others, they are only offered limited perks. An obvious solution would be expanding all benefits to all employee segments, but that’s not feasible in many cases.

Instead, employers can consider offering perks that speak directly to the unique needs of part-time workers. This article identifies three coveted workplace perks that part-time employees are looking for right now.

1. Scheduling Power

Scheduling autonomy is a huge perk for part-time employees. These workers might not work full time for a variety of reasons, scheduling conflicts chief among them. Part-time workers may have multiple jobs, school, dependent care duties or other responsibilities that necessitate their schedules.

Allowing part-time employees to choose when they work can be a huge attraction and retention tool. An even bigger draw could be allowing employees to also choose where they work. While this is only reasonable for some workplaces, remote working opportunities are consistently among the most coveted employee perks.

2. Early Wage Access

Financial difficulties might affect any worker segment, but they are especially problematic for part-time employees. While salaried workers can expect a consistent paycheck, part-time employees do not have this luxury. Sometimes other life responsibilities take precedence, and part-time workers cannot pick up their usual shifts, resulting in budget shortages.

In these instances, offering part-time employees early access to earned wages can be critical. This is when an employee receives money they earned a few days ahead of their normal pay date. This early access can lead to greater overall employee productivity and well-being, as it saves employees from seeking high-interest loans that can lead to further debt. Moreover, since the employees have already earned the money they’re gaining access to, there is little risk to employers.

3. Streamlined Communication Solutions

Communication is vital to part-time employees. These workers often rely on timely messages from managers for scheduling and other information. Sometimes this information is only available through limited channels, such as paper schedules or in-person chats.

Alternatively, employers can consider streamlining communication using a consistent technology platform, such as a company webpage or app. On such a platform, employers could post scheduling information and important announcements. Most platforms also allow managers to communicate directly with employees and retain message records in one spot rather than using individuals’ personal emails.

Summary

Part-time workers can be just as important to businesses as full-time employees. Offering workplace perks that speak to part-time employees’ unique needs can be critical for productivity, well-being and retention.