May 10, 2021

Volume XI, Number 130


May 07, 2021

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Managing the Employment Impact of the Coronavirus: Employer High Deductible Health Plans Can Waive Deductible for COVID-19 Related Services

On March 11, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued guidance indicating that until further notice, employer high deductible health plans (“HDHPs”) can waive deductibles that would otherwise apply to health services for testing and treatment of COVID-19 without taking their health plan out of HDHP status.  Under the normal rules for HDHPs, if an HDHP waives the deductible for any services other than preventative care services, then it is not considered an HDHP and employees who participate in that plan are not eligible to contribute or receive employer contributions to a health savings account (“HSA”).  The IRS guidance provides an exception to the normal rule, allowing employees to receive first-dollar coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment and continue contributing or receiving employer contributions to an HSA.

If your company is interested in waiving deductibles for COVID-19-related services, then you will want to talk to your insurer or third-party administrator (for self-funded plans) before announcing that benefit to employees.

You can find the full text of the IRS guidance, Notice 2019-15, here. For more information about this, please contact your Foley relationship partner. For additional web-based resources available to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may visit the CDC and the World Health Organization

© 2021 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 72



About this Author

Amy C. Ciepluch, Foley Lardner, employment law, Milwaukee, Employee Benefits, Compensation,
Of Counsel

Amy Ciepluch is a member of counsel with Foley and Lardner. Her areas of specialization include compensation law, and employee benefits & executive law. Practicing out of the East Milwauke offices, she provides professional legal services for clients, while contributing as an author for the firm. 

Nick J. Welle, Foley, Employment Benefits Lawyer, qualified retirement plans attorney
Senior Counsel

Nick Welle is an associate and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. His practice is focused on health and welfare plans. He also assists clients with qualified retirement plans, including defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

Mr. Welle advises employers, insurers, and brokers concerning the federal laws governing health and welfare plans, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Internal Revenue Code (Code), Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Mental...

Ann Marie Uetz Foley Lardner Debtor Representation Bankruptcy Lawyer Foley Lardner Detroit

Ann Marie Uetz is a partner and trial attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP, where she represents clients in a variety of industries in all aspects of their contracts and business disputes. She also represents debtors, creditors and secured and unsecured lenders in all facets of restructuring. Ms. Uetz focuses her practice on business litigation and bankruptcy, two of Foley’s practice areas recently ranked by U.S. News—Best Lawyers® as “national First-Tier” practices in recognition of excellence in client service.

Ann Marie heads Foley’s Coronavirus Task Force and...