October 23, 2020

Volume X, Number 297

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IRS to Waive HSA Rule for Coronavirus Coverage

High-deductible health plans may now cover testing and treatment for 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on a first-dollar basis without risking making participants ineligible to participate in health savings accounts (HSAs). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a notice providing temporary relief for high-deductible health plans covering COVID-19-related health care services and supplies before the minimum deductible is met.

The IRS is granting cost-sharing relief for COVID-19 testing and treatment to remove administrative delays and financial disincentives that may otherwise discourage individuals from getting tested and treated for the illness. The IRS reserves the right to terminate such relief by future notice.

The IRS notice will be especially welcome in states such as California, New York, and Washington, which have required insurers (though not self-insured plans) to waive all health plan cost-sharing associated with COVID-19 testing.

Other proposals are also circulating to increase access to COVID-19 coverage. Legislation has been proposed in the House of Representatives to add COVID-19 testing to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s list of preventive health services that health plans are required to cover on a first-dollar basis. Vice President Mike Pence also recently announced the administration’s plans to deem COVID-19 tests an ACA “essential health benefit,” meaning individual policies would have to cover the testing and group health plans would have to meet the ACA cost-sharing rules with respect to testing.

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 76
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About this Author

Timothy Stanton, Ogletree Daikins Law Firm, Data Privacy and Employment Attorney
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Tim Stanton is an energetic advocate for and trusted advisor to inside counsel and benefits and HR executives.

His clients include: retailers and wholesalers; insurance, banking and financial services firms; and food companies and manufacturers, as well as colleges and universities.

Tim actively counsels clients on the roller coaster ride that is national health care reform, as well as on ERISA fiduciary duties, health information privacy and security, retiree medical age discrimination, and consumer-directed health...

312-558-1249
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Hillary Sizer joined Ogletree Deakins’ Chicago office as an associate in 2019. She assists clients with ERISA compliance matters, focusing on health and welfare plans. She graduated in 2019, with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center where she earned a Master of Laws in Taxation and an Employee Benefits Certificate. She is a 2018 graduate of the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. While there, she spent a summer externing for the Oregon Tax Court. She received a BA in Philosophy, cum laude, from Colorado State University where she spent some time earning a Russian language certificate from Kuban State University in Krasnodar, Russia.

312-558-3147
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