As employers continue to navigate the daily changes of combating Coronavirus (COVID-19), the IRS has issued Notice 2020-15 to help answer a key question we’ve been receiving: can a high deductible health plan (HDHP) maintain its status as a Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible HDHP without cost-sharing associated with testing and treatment for COVID-19?

The answer is YES. To eliminate administrative and financial barriers for testing and treatment of COVID-19, HDHPs may cover COVID-19 testing and treatment without a deductible, or with a deductible below the minimum annual deductible otherwise required, without the plan losing its HDHP status. This provides HDHPs the flexibility needed to provide testing and treatment for COVID-19 either cost-free or at a lower fee than would have normally been applied under the standard HDHP requirements.

Employers should be on the look out for specific updates on how various carriers plan to apply this new guidance to HDHPs and other health plans.

The DOL also updated their guidance as it relates to FMLA to include, by reference in the heading, COVID-19. The information itself still refers to the flu, but the same approach applies to COVID-19 when applying FMLA. One answer that is reaffirmed is that an employee who is trying to avoid the virus, which would also include an individual on a quarantine, does not qualify for FMLA. FMLA would apply if the employee experiences complications from COVID-19 or is caring for a family member with the virus and meets the FMLA eligibility requirements. The does not mean that employers should not still consider appropriate measures in providing time off or alternative work methods, as available. It simply means that the time may not qualify under FMLA.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic for regulatory guidance. Assurance has also created a resource page to help with support, planning, and communications related to COVID-19. Please contact your Assurance Representative with any questions.

Information contained herein is not intended to constitute tax or legal advice and should not be used for purposes of evading or avoiding otherwise applicable regulatory responsibilities as issued by the federal or state government(s) and/or taxes owed under the Internal Revenue Code. You are encouraged to seek advice from your legal or tax advisor based on your circumstances.