The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, passed by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 27, includes a number of provisions that affect employers and their workers in terms of paid sick leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act provisions.
The legislation also boosts unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans, as well as reopening and expanding the Paycheck Protection Program that was introduced in March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and many Americans see unmet needs outside of their health insurance, more and more workers are increasingly signing up for the voluntary benefits their employers offer.
While many workers in the past had skipped on voluntary benefits, they have grown concerned that a good group health insurance plan may not be enough to provide all the coverage they need.
New Law Bans Surprise Billing
Part of the COVID-19 relief package that Congress passed in late December includes a notable provision that bans surprise medical bills when out-of-network doctors work on insureds at in-network hospitals.
This so-called "balance billing" occurs when an out-of-network provider is involved in a patient's care at a hospital that accepts their insurance, often without the patient knowing about it. Patients can end up facing unexpected bills in the tens of thousands of dollars.