May 26, 2020

IRS Issues Guidance for HDHPs and Expenses Related to COVID-19

As part of the federal government's response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus ("COVID-19"), the IRS issued Notice 2020-15 yesterday. The notice provides that, until further guidance is issued, a health plan that otherwise satisfies the requirements to be a high deductible health plan ("HDHP") under section 223(c)(2)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code will not fail to be a HDHP merely because the health plan provides health benefits associated with testing for and treatment of COVID-19 without a deductible, or with a deductible below the required minimum deductibles (self only or family) for a HDHP.

The Internal Revenue Code permits eligible individuals to deduct contributions to health savings accounts ("HSAs"). Among the requirements to be an eligible individual and qualify for the deduction, the individual must be covered under a HDHP that satisfies the applicable requirements, including the requirements with respect to minimum deductibles, and have no disqualifying health coverage. The notice allows a health plan to provide medical care services and items related to testing for and treatment of COVID‑19 without satisfying the requirements with respect to minimum deductibles and still maintain its status as a HDHP, so long as all the other HDHP requirements are met. This relief should help to remove certain barriers to the testing and treatment of COVID-19.

The notice also clarified that it does not otherwise modify previous guidance regarding the requirements of a HDHP in any manner, and, specifically, that vaccinations continue to be considered "preventive care" for purposes of the HDHP rules.

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Al Ward Executive Compensation Hill Ward Henderson
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Al is Co-Chair of the firm's Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits practice. Al is recognized throughout the professional community for his depth of experience and knowledge in the employee benefits area. Prior to entering the practice of law, Al was an actuarial and employee benefits consultant for over eight years.

Al has focused for over four decades on executive compensation, employee benefits, trusts and taxation. He represents many clients including publicly traded and privately held, taxable or tax-...

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Kirsten Vignec Employee Benefits Attorney HIll Ward Henderson
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Kirsten is a Shareholder in the firm's Corporate & Tax Group and practice co-chair of the Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group. Kirsten’s practice involves employee benefit matters associated with the design and ongoing administration of executive deferred compensation plans, welfare benefit plans, Section 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, and pension plans. Kirsten represents tax-exempt entities, for-profit, private, and publicly-traded companies.

Kirsten represents clients before the IRS, DOL, and the PBGC with respect to employee benefits matters.

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Melanie Hancock Brown Employee Benefits lawyer Hill Ward Henderson
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Melanie is a Shareholder in the firm’s Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group. She practices in the area of ERISA, employee benefits and executive compensation. Melanie counsels a diverse clientele of for-profit,  nonprofit and governmental entities of all sizes regarding their qualified and nonqualified employee benefit plans, including 401(k) and profit sharing plans, 457 and 403(b) plans, defined benefit plans, ESOPs and other stock based benefits, and health, welfare and other fringe benefit plans. She drafts qualified and nonqualified plans, and provides...

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Bret Hamlin employee benefit lawyer Hill Ward Henderson
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Bret is a Shareholder in the firm’s Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group. He practices primarily in the areas of employee benefits, deferred compensation and trusts. Prior to entering the private practice of law, he provided plan design and consulting, third-party administration and investment, as well as retirement plan education services for clients. 

Bret represents large, medium and small employers with respect to many employee benefit matters, including both single employer and multiple employer qualified retirement plans, deferred...

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Timothy P Zehnder employee lawyer Hill Ward Henderson
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Tim is an Associate in the firm’s Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group. His practice focuses primarily on advising client employers (private and public, tax-exempt and for-profit) on a wide variety of compensation and benefits matters, including plan design, administration and termination, compliance with applicable laws (including the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, HIPAA, and the Affordable Care Act), and resolution of compliance issues with the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.  Tim has experience assisting...

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