We're here to help during COVID-19. Visit our guide for information relating to the coronavirus and your accounts.
New to this site? Here's a quick introductory video.
- HDHP Preventive Care Benefits Expanded - 7/17/2019
- On July 17, 2019, the IRS issued guidance that expands health savings account (HSA) qualified expenses. HSAs will now cover additional services and items used to treat chronic conditions, such as preventative care. This guidance expands the list of preventative care benefits covered by high deductible health plans (HDHPs) under section 223(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code).
The change took effect on July 17, 2019.
The list of approved preventive care items and details regarding the notice are provided here.
- HRA Expansion Passes - 6/14/2019
- Announced June 14, 2019, the DOL, IRS and HHS released final regulations for broadening Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) rules. The final rules adopted most of the regulations proposed by the same agencies on October 24, 2018. These expanded HRA rules allow employers to offer an HRA that reimburses an employee for individual health insurance premiums or a standalone HRA that reimburses medical expenses of up to $1800 a year.
Specifics of these rules will be published June 20, 2019. The regulations will take effect for plans which start after January 1, 2020
For the most part, the final rules keep the terms of the proposed rules with helpful clarifications around issues such as employee class types, the amount and variation of benefits offered to employees, and what individual plans qualify for reimbursement.
Read our article outlining the basic framework of the final HRA rules.
- Update to Proposed HRA Expansion - 11/19/2018
- A new IRS notice addresses issues under the Code concerning the requirements of Section 4980H (employer mandate) and Section 105(h) (non-discrimination tests). The IRS is working through disparities of the new HRA rules and the employer mandate rule. The employer mandate requires employers to offer affordable coverage that meets a minimum value (comprehensive benefits set at 60 percent actuarial value).
Below are the primary highlights of the notice that we feel are important to note.
Application of the Employer Mandate and Applicable Large Employer (50 or more employees) that offers an Integrated HRA
Affordability - The IRS anticipates that the existing safe harbors under the Employer Mandate (W-2 Safe Harbor, Rate of Pay Safe Harbor, and Federal Poverty Line Safe Harbor) will continue to apply in conjunction with the following:
- Location Safe Harbor - What is deemed affordable is based on the self-only lowest cost silver plan offered on the exchange and is based on where the primary site of employment is rather than on where the employee resides.
- Calendar/Non-Calendar Year Safe Harbors - If the group's plan year falls on January 1st, the employer can use the cost of the lowest cost silver plan for the prior plan year, whereas if the groups plan year falls midyear (typically 7/1), the group can use the cost of the silver plan in existence on the first month of the plan.
- Uniformity Test - In order to meet nondiscrimination rules, HRA amounts cannot be varied for different employee classes. The IRS expects that as long as the employer offers uniform contributions to all participants in a particular class, they would meet the 105 rules.
- Age Variance - An exception to the uniform contribution rule above is that there can be variation within a class due to age so long as the variation coincides with the age-based cost of the individual insurance plan.
- Federal Agencies Propose Expansion of HRAs - 10/26/2018
- On October 24, 2018 the DOL, IRS, and HHS released proposed regulations broadening HRA rules which would allow employers to offer HRAs that reimburse an employee's individual insurance premiums or a standalone HRA that reimburses medical expenses of up to $1,800 a year. This would go into effect January 1, 2020.
The proposed regulations would allow for the following two types of HRAs:
Premium Reimbursement HRA (PRA): The PRA would reimburse employees for the cost of individual insurance plans.
Standalone HRA: Standalone HRAs are not integrated in a group health plan or attached to an individual insurance policy.
If this proposal goes into effect, employers looking to incorporate these new HRA types into their benefits offerings may need to amend their cafeteria and ERISA plan documents and provide a notice to advise employees that electing a PRA may prevent them from receiving an exchange premium tax credits (PTC). As always, Further will ensure that we have supporting materials available on this site if we administer these new accounts to any groups.
- House Passes Two Bills Modernizing HSA and FSA Rules - 7/25/2018
- The Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 6199) and the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 6311), if signed into law, would:
- Allow individuals with bronze or catastrophic coverage through government-approved health insurance plans to contribute to an HSA.
- Allow unused FSA funds to roll over to the following year. Current IRS rules limit individuals to carry forward up to $500 from an FSA into the following year.
- Broaden the qualified medical expense definition to include over-the-counter drugs, menstrual care products, and certain sports and fitness expenses.
- Increase the contribution limits for HSAs.
Both pieces of legislation are expected to go to the Senate for vote later this year. Before they become law, President Donald Trump will need to sign.
Further will continue to monitor events and provide updates.
- On Oct. 12, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that directs federal regulators to issue new rules regarding health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), association group health plans, and short-term health policies. President Trump has asked agencies to issue new regulations broadening the use and availability of HRAs, specifically allowing for non-group HRAs. The agencies have 120 days to issue proposed regulations.
Currently, the existing rules surrounding HRAs have not changed. Further is continuing to monitor events.
- 2021 Limits for HDHPs and HSA Contributions Announced - 5/22/2020
- The IRS announced the following 2021 limits for high deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs).
In 2021, individual HSA contribution limits will rise to $3,600; the family HSA contribution limit will rise to $7,200.
The HDHP minimum deductible limit for individual coverage will stay the same in 2021 at $1,400, with family coverage remaining at $2,800. Additionally, the HDHP maximum out-of-pocket expenses will change under this provision. For individuals, it changes to $7,000 and for families, $14,000.
These limits become effective January 1, 2021.
- CARES Act Expands Eligible Expenses to Include OTC and Feminine Hygiene Products - 3/27/2020
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on Friday, March 27th. One component of the law was an expansion of products eligible for reimbursement from health savings accounts (HSAs) and medical flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
Changes include the addition of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines, which previously were only eligible for reimbursement with a prescription. Additionally, feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads, liners, cups, and sponges are now eligible as well. Members may use an HSA or FSA to purchase those items, or file reimbursement claims. These are permanent changes.
The CARES Act also addressed telehealth accessibility. We encourage those interested in telehealth to check with your health plan provider to see what your coverage is.
For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on spending accounts, visit our COVID-19 FAQ guide.
- IRS Extends HSA Contribution Deadline to July 15, 2020 - 3/20/2020
- On March 20, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IRS Notice 2020-17 extended the federal tax filing deadline by three months to July 15, 2020. Included with that, health savings account (HSA) holders now have until July 15 to make contributions to their HSA and count toward their 2019 contribution totals.
The 2019 maximum HSA contributions are $3,500 for those with individual plans and $7,000 for those with family plans. If the member is 55 years old or older, the member can contribute an additional $1,000 toward their HSA for either an individual or family plan.
For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on spending accounts, visit our COVID-19 FAQ guide.
- IRS Allows HDHP Compatibility With No Cost for COVID-19 Plan Coverage - 3/12/2020
- On Wednesday, March 11, the IRS released Notice 2020-15 that states high deductible health plan (HDHP) participants will not lose eligibility if their health plan provides testing and treatment of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at no cost or with a deductible below the minimum HDHP deductible.
The Notice is in response to nationwide preparation of COVID-19, including many health plans announcing coverage for testing and treatment.
More information about this Notice can be found on the IRS website.
- What the Cadillac Tax Repeal Means for Employers - 12/20/2019
- In December, 2019, President Trump signed spending legislation that will repeal of an excise tax on high-cost health plans, known as the Cadillac Tax. The Cadillac Tax, which was scheduled to take effect in 2022, would have imposed a 40 percent excise tax on employer health plans, deemed by many to be too generous.
Are you curious what this could mean for you and your employees? At Further, we have been working hard to bring awareness to this tax and advocate for the repeal on behalf of our partners and clients. With the Cadillac Tax repeal, effective December 21, 2019, employees will continue to have access to their health spending and savings accounts that they rely on to pay for care today, and employers can continue to offer great health benefits without the worry of potential taxes.
At Further, our mission is to provide resources and tools to our members that empower them to spend every day wisely. There are many online sources that provide more background on this tax, including information from the National Association of Health Underwriters and the Tax Policy Center.
- IRS Releases 2020 FSA and TRA Limits - 11/7/2019
- Issued Wednesday November 6, 2019, the IRS has raised the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) limit to $2,750 for 2020. Additionally, Transportation Reimbursement Account (TRA) expense limits for parking and transit have been set at $270/month.
For groups that already set their contribution limits to the 2019 amount ($2,700), Further will automatically update that amount to the new 2020 limit of $2,750 unless notified otherwise within the next 30 days.
- New California law requires FSA employers to notify employees of withdrawal deadlines - 10/22/2019
- California has enacted a law that requires employers with flexible spending accounts (which includes health FSAs, dependent care or adoption assistance FSAs) to notify account participants of any deadline(s) to withdraw funds before the end of the plan year.
The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020.
The law does not give insight into when the required notices are to be provided but notes the notice must be provided in two different forms, one of which may be electronic. Permitted forms of notice include (but are not limited to) email, telephone, text message, postal mail or an in-person notification.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) likely preempts the law as applied to health FSAs that are under ERISA. DCAPs and adoption assistance FSAs are rarely subject to ERISA, nor are health FSAs that are governmental or church plans; the law is potentially applicable to these programs. Groups are advised to work with benefit counsel to determine if compliance is required.
More information on this new law can be found on the California Legislative Information site here.
If you have additional questions about these changes or impacts, please contact a Further representative.