The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued FAQs on June 23, 2020 regarding the FFCRA and the CARES Act as they relate to a host of welfare benefit plan issues. They provided us with 18 pages of goodness! Frankly, it mostly provides more detail and clarification on issues that have either been previously partially addressed by other regulatory authorities or aren't of direct or critical concern to employers.
However, one question does stand out that is worth highlighting as many employers are facing questions of COVID-19 testing in the face of creating Return to Work policies.
Is COVID-19 testing for surveillance or employment purposes required to be covered by health plans under the FFCRA?
No. The FFCRA requires coverage of items and services only for diagnostic purposes as outlined in this guidance. Clinical decisions about testing are made by the individual’s attending health care provider and may include testing of individuals with signs or symptoms compatible with COVID-19, as well as asymptomatic individuals with known or suspected recent exposure to COVID-19, that is determined to be medically appropriate by the individual’s health care provider, consulting CDC guidelines as appropriate. However, testing conducted to screen for general workplace health and safety (such as employee “return to work” programs), for public health surveillance for COIVD-19, or for any other purpose not primarily intended for individualized diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 or another health condition is beyond the scope of the FFCRA coverage requirements.