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Nonprofit Management
September 14, 2021
Are you curious to discover how nonprofits have pivoted strategies in response to COVID-19 and how this pandemic is causing permanent change across the sector?
Read MoreAbout2021 Nonprofit Sector Report: Pandemic Impact on Workforce
Nonprofit Management
August 31, 2021
Risk management is defined as a discipline for dealing with the possibility that some future event will cause harm and nonprofit risk comes in an endless number of forms&...
Read MoreAboutThe Importance of Nonprofit Risk Management
Nonprofit Management
July 16, 2021
This quick reference guide highlights key findings from last quarter's most popular content—which focused on innovative nonprofit sustainability strategie...
Read MoreAboutUST Quarterly Nonprofit Digest: Nonprofit Sustainability Strategies
Nonprofit Management
July 07, 2021
UST recently published an eBook that discusses how the global pandemic challenged nonprofits in ways that were unprecedented at that time
Read MoreAboutNonprofit eBook “Preparing for Future Crises” Uncovers Strategies to Ensure Nonprofit Resiliency
Nonprofit Management
June 25, 2021
In the latest rendition of UST Live, we were joined by guest moderator, Jenny Berg of the Leadership Council for Nonprofits, where we welcomed thought leaders from across th...
Read MoreAbout[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Strategies to Identify Board Diversity
HR Management
June 18, 2021
While the nonprofit sector is dedicated to serving those in need, without encompassing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into their governance and operations, they risk...
Read MoreAboutDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit Management
June 14, 2021
With the rise of smartphones, social media and other digital channels, nonprofits now have more tools available to them for engaging donors than ever before.
Read MoreAboutFour Best Practices to Improve Donor Engagement
Nonprofit Management
May 27, 2021
Nonprofits across the country were forced to pause, pivot and make remarkable changes to their in-person events last year due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19....
Read MoreAbout2021 Virtual Event Best Practice Tips
Nonprofit Management
April 16, 2021
In today’s talent-based economy, an organization’s workforce is one of its most important tangible assets. Despite its importance, this asset is often not carefully planned,...
Read MoreAboutA Workforce Strategy Designed to Help Push Your Nonprofit Forward
Nonprofit Management
December 18, 2020
This year, UST has been busy creating a plethora of timely and relevant resources designed specifically to help the nonprofit sector navigate the many unknowns presented by ...
Read MoreAboutUST's Most Popular 2020 Content
Nonprofit Management
December 02, 2020
This short 30-minute on-demand webinar features tools and resources that can help nonprofit employers streamline HR processes and stay compliant with state and federal regul...
Read MoreAbout[Webinar Recording] Supporting Nonprofit Sustainability During a Crisis
Nonprofit Management
November 04, 2020
As we continue social-distancing—heavily relying on virtual resources—large-scale events have taken on a whole new look and feel.
Read MoreAbout2020 Virtual Event Best Practice Tips
Nonprofit Management
October 15, 2020
UST's latest interactive webinar series, "UST Live," brings the collective expertise of reputable nonprofit leaders to you—live&#x2014...
Read MoreAbout[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Developing a Sustainable Strategy for 2021
Nonprofit Management
April 03, 2020
While in the midst of a global emergency, the current COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are challenged with how to successfully continue managing their mission-driven brand.
Read MoreAboutHow to Manage Your Brand During a Global Emergency
Nonprofit Management
March 12, 2020
Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of your nonprofit organization–does your nonprofit have the ability to deliver a...
Read MoreAboutThe Benefits of Nonprofit Capacity Building
Nonprofit Management
February 20, 2020
Social media continues to prove to be an essential part of a nonprofit’s marketing strategy. A key benefit of social media is that it offers new forms of communication and t...
Read MoreAboutFive Steps to Achieve Social Media Capital for Your Nonprofit

Asset Publisher

COVID-19 and Employee Benefits Plans Q&A

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created new and unique challenges for employers and their employees. Group health plans and other employee benefit plans are one area of concern during these times. UST HR Workplace powered by ThinkHR has been on the front lines, supporting employers with HR and Benefits advice and compliance guidance through their online resources and on-demand advisors.

Here are some of the most-frequently asked questions received about COVID-19 and benefit plans:

Do all medical plans cover COVID-19 testing? Yes, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires that all medical plans provide 100% coverage of COVID-19 testing. There are no deductibles, copays, or coinsurance. This federal mandate took effect March 18, 2020 and applies to insurance plans and employer self-funded plans, including grandfathered plans. It does not apply to retiree-only plans.

All testing-related services and services, such as consultative visits to doctors (including telehealth), emergency rooms and urgent care centers that lead to an order for testing, and the administration of tests, are covered. Preauthorization is not required and coverage is not limited to in-network providers.

Is treatment of COVID-19 also covered at 100%? It depends. The FFCRA mandate for 100% coverages applies only to services and supplies related to testing. Once diagnosed, however, coverage for any treatment of COVID-19 will depend on each medical plan’s terms and conditions, including any provisions for deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and use of network providers.

Additionally, insured plans are subject to state laws that may be broader than the new federal mandate. A number of states now require that medical insurers cover COVID-19 treatment at 100% (in addition to testing). Many carriers also have agreed to provide 100% coverage even if not required by law. For details, contact your carrier or check the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) website for the latest updates.

Is a high deductible health plan (HDHP) that waives the deductible for COVID-19 testing still compatible with a Health Savings Account (HSA)? What about coverage for treatment? HDHP must cover COVID-19 testing at 100% per the FFCRA mandate. HDHPs also may be amended to cover treatment of COVID-19 as a first-dollar benefit without deductibles. On March 11, 2020, the IRS announced that pre-deductible coverage of testing and treatment does not cause the plan to lose its status as an HSA-compatible HDHP and does not interfere with the covered person’s eligibility to make HSA contributions.

Many employees are working from home now instead of coming to the office. Can they continue using their Dependent Care FSAs for childcare expenses? Yes, employees can continue using their Dependent Care FSAs provided that the childcare is required for the employee to be able to work. For instance, employees working full time may need the same childcare whether working from home or the office. If, however, the employee or spouse can care for the child while the employee works, the expenses are not reimbursable.

Can employees change their Dependent Care FSA election due to the COVID-19 issues? The IRS rules for Dependent Care FSAs set forth a list of permissible election changes. (Ref: 26 CFR § 1.125-4.) Assuming the employer includes all IRS-permissible change events in its plan document, employees may start, stop, increase or decrease their Dependent Care FSA contribution on account of specific events. Examples of events that are likely to come up due to COVID-19 issues include:

  • The dependent care center or provider is no longer available;
  • The employee needs childcare because the schools are closed; or
  • The employee’s or spouse’s employment status or work hours are changed.

Can employees change their commuter benefits since they are now working from home? Section 132(f) plan, often called pretax commuter benefits, allow employees to change their election, or start or stop contributing, for any reason. Generally, changes made by the middle of the month take effect the first of the next month, but employees will want to confirm their plan’s procedures with the administrator. Note that there is no use-or-lose provision for commuter benefits, so any unused balance now will be available for the employee’s use when they get back to commuting to work.

Many employees have been put on reduced hours or furloughed. Can the employer continue covering them on the group health plan? Many employers and workers are concerned about maintaining group health coverage when work hours are cut due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Each employer’s case is different, so we suggest the following steps:

  1. Review the group policy or plan document. If the plan limits eligibility to employees who are regularly scheduled to work 30 hours or more per week and states that coverage ends when the employee ceases to be eligible (unless protected by the FMLA or similar law), then reduced hours or furloughs will cause the employee to lose coverage. Plans must be administered according to their terms, so the employer cannot continue reporting that employee (and dependents) as active on its eligibility file to the carrier.
  1. If the employer wants to continue eligibility for reduced-hours employees or furloughed employees, contact the carrier regarding options to amend the policy. Many carriers are agreeing to changes, and a number of states are requiring carriers to give employers the option of maintaining active coverage for furloughed or reduced-hours employees.
  1. If the plan is self-funded, the employer may amend its plan as long as the plan does not discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees. If the employer has stop-loss insurance, that policy also may need to be amended to ensure its terms are consistent with the underlying self-funded plan.
  1. Is the employer an applicable large employer (ALE) that uses the look-back measurement method to determine eligibility for group health (medical) coverage? If so, employees who are deemed full-time employees for a stability period will not lose eligibility during that stability period even if they are furloughed or their work hours are cut (if they remain employed).
  1. If the employee’s coverage ends, note that loss of coverage due to reduced work hours or furlough is a COBRA qualifying event. The federal COBRA rules apply plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more workers (except certain church plans). Insured plans also may be subject to state insurance continuation laws (often called mini-COBRA).

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here.

Asset Publisher

Nonprofit Finance
April 23, 2021
According to the 2021 Benchmarks Report, the average nonprofit donor contributed an average of $167 in 2020—this per-donor metric was slightly lower than 2019.
Read MoreAboutOnline Fundraising Best Practices for the New Year (and Beyond)
Nonprofit Finance
December 18, 2019
Understanding the concept of the “business model” for your nonprofit has become a more integral component to maintaining organization sustainability within the nonprofit sec...
Read MoreAboutThe Importance of Understanding Your Nonprofit's Cash Flow
Nonprofit Finance
November 14, 2019
Last year, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2018-08, which clarifies the accounting guidelines for contributions re...
Read MoreAbout[Webinar Recording] Accounting for Nonprofit Grants and Contributions
Nonprofit Finance
October 29, 2019
Giving in the U.S. in 2020 will be different in many ways than previously—mainly because of campaigns, economic conditions, and tax law implications. Don'...
Read MoreAbout[Webinar Recording] Trends and Forecasts for Charitable Giving
Nonprofit Finance
October 08, 2019
What is an executive director? An executive director is “responsible for overseeing the administration, the program and the strategic plan of a nonprofit organization. Other...
Read MoreAboutHow an Executive Director Becomes a Financial Leader
Nonprofit Finance
September 27, 2019
Thousands of nonprofits have registered with their states in order to legally solicit donations... do you know what state requirements extend to your organization?Presented ...
Read MoreAbout[Webinar Recording] Fundraising Registration 101
Nonprofit Finance
May 10, 2019
Are you familiar with the Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-14 issued by FASB? It’s a standard created to offer solutions to simplify and improve how a nonprofit organi...
Read MoreAbout​​​​​​​Lessons Learned from Implementing ASU 2016-14 – Functional Expenses
Nonprofit Finance
May 01, 2019
Did you know that certain nonprofits can legally opt out of paying state unemployment taxes? Do you understand who is benefiting from this tax exemption law? In this article...
Read MoreAbout​​​​​​​The True Story of Nonprofits and Taxes
Nonprofit Finance
November 08, 2018
With holidays on the horizon, this is the time for holiday shopping, family gatherings and ringing in the New Year. With so much on our plates, time can get away from us&...
Read MoreAboutExercise Your Nonprofit’s Tax Exemption for 2019
Nonprofit Finance
August 01, 2018
UST releases 2018 UI toolkit to help nonprofit organizations better understand unemployment insurance options and claims management best practices. UST, a program dedicated ...
Read MoreAboutNonprofit Toolkit Offers the Top Guides for Managing Unemployment
Nonprofit Finance
July 13, 2018
UST is giving 532 nonprofits $3,869,249 in cash back for their ability to reduce their anticpiated unemployment claims within the year. UST, a program dedicated to providing...
Read MoreAboutNonprofits Receive Over $3.8 Million in Cash Back Through UST’s Claims Management Services
Nonprofit Finance
June 26, 2018
UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission objectives. UST, a program dedicated to ...
Read MoreAboutUST Nonprofit Members Utilized Over $1.1 Million in Cloud-Based HR Resources
Nonprofit Finance
June 20, 2018
UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission...
Read MoreAboutUST Uncovers $2.8 Million in Potential Unemployment Claims Savings for 135 Nonprofits
Nonprofit Finance
May 31, 2018
UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help...
Read MoreAbout70 Nonprofits Choose UST as Their Primary Nonprofit Workforce Solution
Nonprofit Finance
May 03, 2018
In an Effort to Provide More Robust and Readily Accessible HR and Unemployment Resources to the Nonprofit Sector, UST Launches a New ...
Read MoreAboutUST Launches New Website to Unveil New Branding & Nonprofit Programs
Nonprofit Finance
August 17, 2017
Utilizing State-Specific Unemployment Claims Administrators, Who Help Protest Unemployment Claims and Attend 100
Read MoreAboutNonprofits Experience $27.8 Million in Unemployment Claims Savings With UST Program
Nonprofit Finance
October 08, 2016
Working on a restricted budget isn’t easy. But you can take some simple cost-cutting measures to free up some more dollars for your mission. Here are UST’s top 8:1. Get disc...
Read MoreAbout8 Simple Nonprofit Cost Cutting Ideas
Nonprofit Finance
August 15, 2016
Sometimes the hardest part of being a nonprofit isn’t fulfilling your organization's mission — sometimes it’s just making sure there are enough supplies f...
Read MoreAboutFree Resources for Nonprofits

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