When it comes to navigating the world of employee benefits, there’s a lot to take in, especially if you’re a first timer. Among the suite of benefits you’re likely to be offered, voluntary benefits are often misunderstood. What are Some Examples of Voluntary Benefits? Voluntary benefits include a variety of options, all designed to...
Testing and Treatment for Coronavirus Now Covered by HDHPs
Testing and treatment for COVID-19 will now be covered by high-deductible health plans prior to those covered by such plans meeting their deductible, thanks to new guidance from the IRS. IRS Notice 2020-15 classifies coronavirus testing and treatment as qualified medical expenses for HDHPs, meaning that people can use their health savings account dollars to cover those expenses.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. As a result of this national health emergency, the recently issued IRS notice also applies to HDHPs that provide other benefits covering coronavirus testing and treatment. It also applies to HDHPs whose deductibles are below the minimum requirement.
As concerns regarding transmission of coronavirus have intensified, the HSA Council has worked in conjunction with the United States Congress to get this measure passed quickly. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to request approval, and Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Donna Shalala (D-FL) introduced H.R. 6173, which would “amend title XXVII the Public Health Service Act to require group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage to cover COVID-19 testing without cost sharing.” If H.R. 6173 is passed, testing for coronavirus will be added to the list of preventive care mandates. High-deductible health plans are required to cover items on the preventive care mandate list without cost-sharing.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, though these symptoms may take up to 14 days after exposure to appear. If you develop symptoms or if you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your doctor. Preventive measures include washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol; and social distancing. If you become sick, stay home and separate yourself from other people and animals.
For more information on COVID-19, see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.